Friday, November 26, 2010

Ghost Park - Poem

Down on the plain the buffalo ghosts
graze in midday sun.
Higher on the plateau amongst the acacia,
giraffe necks sway transparent
in timeless azure.
The river snakes down the basin
to where the hippo’s are dead rocks,
still, as water passes.
Elephant shapes are a sight for sore eyes
as the herd disappears over the intrepid ridge,
and if one squints your eyes tight,
so tight you can barley see,
the shadow of the lion lies there
lazying under the tree
in the African mirage.

*Gazing over the basin formed by the Drakensburg mountains one can only imagine what used to be.

Thursday, November 25, 2010

My Rainbow - Frank Meintjies

I read a poem by a South African poet Frank Meintjies yesterday that gave me a haunting sense of where many of those I taught on Wednesday were at. There were 13 folks listening intently as I shared the hope we have in Christ and how this transforms ones living. All of them HIV/AIDS clients at Masibumbane mission. They were all on my mind when I read this poem. I will just quote it in parts as I don't think it is legit to copy it all:

" on better days
my rainbow is your smile

frequently, my rainbow bleeds...

my rainbow's sharp edges
as i try to pick it up

deep patterning
its marks
on the palm of my heart

my rainbow is a purple bruise
sluggishly regaining
the colour of living flesh"

They are such lovely, smiling people, but I know as I try to encourage them and lift them up, their hurts and past wounds will cut me and make my heart bleed. But, when they smile it is my rainbow of hope.

Friday, November 19, 2010

Stories work

I spoke about using pictures when teaching at Masibumbane (HIV mission) but I have learnt that stories work even better. I was teaching on 'Grace' and what that meant to about ten clients who volunteer to be there. I began with a story I adapted from "Companions in Christ" about a boy who was given a catapult by his father and told not to kill any birds. It was great fun, I acted out this story of a boy in the township who was told how he wasn't allowed to shoot any chickens or goats with the sling and then a big white chicken strutted in front of him and thinking he was a bad shot he couldn't resist picking up a stone and whamo he hits the chicken. Remorseful he climbs into his bed all tearful and dreading his fathers return. His father comes to his bed but instead of a sjambok (whip) he comes with forgiveness and turns the day into a lesson. It was such fun, they laughed and got into the story and from then on it was no problem explaining grace. We know these things but when we see them work it just drives it all home.

Thursday, November 18, 2010

Cathedral with a difference


My cathedral of soft walls,
creation, a sacrament taken
with no words from a hymnal
or sermon to convince.

Just the whispering of wind,
the whistle of a duck,
the sip of the swallow and
the splash of spoonbill
is the unpracticed choir
that moves my soul.

The willow and I dip thirsty
straws to the depths of this sacred place,
longing to be quenched by
the spring of dreams.

This membrane thin between
earth and heaven, is where I am.
My offering to such can only be
to breathe, write and proclaim.

* Creation is a true place of worship

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

No sermon week

For those who prepare sermons every week will identify. I am not preaching a sermon or preparing for any service this Sunday. Now, for those who don't identify, preachers don't just get up on Sunday morning and think up what they are to say before breakfast. It may seem this way (hopefully not) but the preparation for a sermon can take a full day to prepare or a few days depending on how you do it. The best for me is to allow it to brew on Monday or Tuesday and then each day to return with fresh ideas. This is the ideal, it usually gets done on Thursday or Friday. I personally cannot allow a sermon to wait until Saturday or else my nerves give in. Blah, blah, blah what I am really saying is I have time to do other things in the ministry that get sidelined. Roll on week....

Friday, November 12, 2010

fading friends

solitude lost
when making new found friends
the lichened rock
the mossy grass
the angel
the eagle
and ORIBI - fading friend

* going to nature is not a solitude it is the meeting of new friends and friends soon to be lost

Thursday, November 11, 2010

lemon birds

once adrenaline-bungee
watch patiently through sparkling lens
the multi flowers dressing
dust drowsy suns and lemon birds
whilst metronome rocks receive the waters lapping

*nature tends to ease the need for adrenaline seeking entertainment

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

sparrow man

sparrow man am i,

nothing but my thoughts to read,

my mind to quiz,

to realize that i am, just me.

quietness the tutor,

the frail and vulnerable

creature small,

i am,


* this ceramic sparrow is always on my desk. it reminds me of my size in the universe. it reminds me of what is greater in the creator's domain

Saturday, November 06, 2010

A beatitude of a world

It is that place where the poor in spirit, the humble, are encouraged and uplifted as the teachers and trend setters.
A place where those who have mourned and grieved the injustices of this world will be comforted and consoled by the hope of it happening no more.
A place where the quite and the gentle people will have the chance to reign and rule the way of the world.
A place where people who search to live closely with their Creator will find their fulfillment in becoming what they seek.
A place where forgiveness, compassion and mercy will not be ideals but the actual practice of humankind.
A place where those who have pure and innocent motives will be the architects of world politics.
A place where all who fought for what was right, good and beautiful will find the fruit of all their labour materialize.

*Part of a sermon I'm preaching for a Remembrance Day service. The beatitudes paint the dream of a whole new world order.

Friday, November 05, 2010

Extravagant Generosity

Thought I would use the concept of an abstract to help conceptualize my sermon for Sunday. So here goes:

Extravagant Generosity


Generosity may not be what you think. Generosity is not just digging into your wallet and handing over money to a needy cause. Generosity is about living in such a way that is generous to the planet and thus others. Generosity is about building new community that shares life and sustains life. Generosity is a spiritual condition that is fed by the extravagance of God’s generosity. Generosity is a means of grace, a spiritual discipline. Generosity is the mother of forgiveness, mercy and offering. Generosity is at times spontaneous but mostly it is a sacrifice of the will.

Wednesday, November 03, 2010

Preparing for Remembrance Service

Getting myself together for a Remembrance service on Sunday. I was browsing through an anthology of poems entitled '101 poems against war' and I was reminded of this one that speaks volumes into our responsibility when it comes to defending others . What goes around comes around and what happens when it eventually comes around to our doorsteps. It also touches on the fact that there is no passive position in war, no action equals action, we are accepting the status quo.

First they came for the Jews.
But I didn't speak up because I was not a Jew.

Then they came for the communists.
But I didn't speak up because I was not a communist.

Then they came for the trade unionists.
But I didn't speak up because I was not a trade unionist.

Then they came for the Catholics.
But I didn't speak up because I was a Protestant.

Then they came for me.
And by that time one was left to speak up.

(Written supposedly by a U-boat captain Pastor Martin Niemoller)

Tuesday, November 02, 2010

Teaching in pictures

Last week I started my first teaching session at Masibumbane. (Masibubane is a Methodist HIV mission that runs from Mpophomeni)
I am working with a great guy by the name of Duduzi. I am helping him in the spiritual growth & development part of the mission. On Wednesdays I have the privilege of conveying the message of hope to the clients of the mission. I have started by drawing pictures on the blackboard that relate to the scriptures, we then read the relevant scripture and use the pictures to draw the meaning out in ways that are memorable. The critical aspect of this ministry is to help Christian spiritually be a reality and not some disconnected part of their lives. To help them realize that their lives are important and can add value to the relationships around them. If anybody has material that could assist us we would be most appreciative.