The #Dare2Care initiative culminated with the highlight of the weekend: a divine service for young people conducted by District Apostle J Kriel at Silvertown congregation.
This divine service was conducted in English and interpreted into South African Sign Language (SASL) at the altar by Beryl Botha. Despite the service and musical items aimed at younger viewers, the rest of the congregation were also invited to watch the service with their ‘young’ hearts.
The District Apostle was accompanied by Apostle Marc Diedricks, Priest Carl Stephens, a small music ensemble which included a live band, the NACTV crew, sister Alexandra Hanson who did the Bible reading and a small congregation of young people. This divine service was made available on NACTV, Cape Town TV on DSTV channel 263, as well as Radio KC, Radio Teemaneng and SABIE stereo. Members could also listen to the divine service by calling in from either a mobile phone or landline. This divine service was also streamed live on the NACTV Facebook page.
For members who were unable to watch ot listen to the divine service, please find a detailed summary of the sermon:
Opening Hymn: Brighten every corner (EH: 122)
Bible Word: “So God created man in His own image; in the image of God He created him; male and female He created them.” (Genesis 1:27)
My dear brothers and sisters, dear young people, the vocalist who sang the hymn tells us of a place that has been prepared for us that we cannot even imagine; and this place is prepared for us all. And, that will come, our God will provide it for us, and that is a place to come. But now, He has given us a place wherever we are; He has given us a place to gather together, albeit it in a virtual sense, where we are able to surround God’s altar and to hear His word. Be thankful that we found this place. Be thankful that this place, now, today, in this hour can be of benefit and being of great value to us.
Bible reading: Galatians 3:22-29
My dear brothers and sisters, my dear young people, again I bid you a hearty welcome to this divine service which I think is the first time we are having a virtual young people’s divine service – there is always a first for everything. We have also had a first #Dare2Care weekend and I trust we enjoyed it – I certainly did. We enjoyed our concert on Friday evening, with blue guitars and all – it was just nice. I could enjoy the talents of our young people, and I dare say, this seems to be the general feeling. And then yesterday, we could fulfil all our dares and we could take part in various discussions which created lots of interest. And I am deeply thankful that there was so much participation, and I am thankful for all those who could arrange it and be part of it. And yesterday while I did my walk, as you know, I was challenged and I feel very proud that I could fulfil the challenge.
And while I was on that walk I looked around and I thought about so much, and I thought of you dear young people. And I looked at our environment; I thought about our society, and for a moment, I thought maybe, as one who is of a previous generation to what you are, maybe we should apologize and say I am sorry that the world is in the state that it is. I am sorry that the environment which was created pure and beautiful and God said it was good is somehow not so good anymore. And the depressing part, when you open up the newspapers or listen to the television, and you see what man does to each other, and you see the state that we are in, then maybe an apology is necessary. To say: sorry, we couldn’t give you something better. And dear young people: one could have been actively involved in destroying or subtly involved in destroying and not say anything. But, it doesn’t have to stay this way.
For that reason it’s maybe a good idea to go back to the beginning; we have a Bible word out of Genesis today. And I must be honest that when I have a word out of Genesis I think of my old Sunday School teacher who attended this very congregation – he couldn’t speak
English very well and he said to us: you must read the Bible from Genesis to Generations. Ok; he got it wrong but I think I got the message and today we are in Genesis – that’s the beginning; that’s where everything started. And we read that “God created man in His own image; in the image of God He created him; male and female He created them.” And may I add that He created male and female equally as we have heard in the Bible reading. And, we are not unaware that we celebrate Women’s Day today. We are not unaware that we walked and ran yesterday to make us aware of gender-based violence. It wasn’t always like that. When God created man; He made them equal. After He was done with the creation, He took man and He put them in a special place, and He gave them special gifts; He created them in His image. They were not like God, but He gave them Godly principles and values – He gave them things that He did not give the other things He created; the animals and the earth. He created them; He gave them the ability to speak. Remember, God is word anyway. He gave them that ability to speak. He gave them the ability to discern. He gave them freedom of choice and they should take the consequences of their choices. He gave them the ability to love and to be loved – to experience God’s love and to love in return. That’s what He gave this man – this is what He did. And He put man in a very special place and He says: “You take care of my creation.” And we see that man was supposed to live given he had to talk to God; he had to feel the presence of God, he had to pray to God, he had to live in fellowship with God – that was His purpose – he had to praise God; he had to embrace God’s love and love God in return in trust and obedience. That was his purpose; that’s what man was given. Here, man and woman, because He created them in His image.
Remember, God said: “Let Us make man.” God is a triune God: Father, Son and Holy Ghost – three divine persons in one. And so, when He created man, He didn’t want man to be alone, He also created the woman. Different, but equal. He created the woman so that man was not alone and to support each other and care for each other. And to make each other better – they were interdependent – that’s how He created them. And so, man had to live by worshipping and feeling the presence of God - that was the one task. And then, He created them that they had to live in fellowship with each other; they had to care for each other; they had to support each other in everything that they did with their fellow man. And then, they also had to care for the creation and be God’s representative on earth and take care of what God created in His stead. He said to them that they should fill the earth and subdue it; take care of that which He created – that was their job.
And, I dare say, all went well up to a point. And then, dear brothers and sisters, something happened: sin entered the world. Mankind did not use their freedom of choice well. And maybe we pause here for a moment because we are all faced with choices in our life. And when they were faced with choices, they only thought of the moment and not of the consequence that their choice would bring about. You and I are faced with choices all the time, and sometimes we choose the joy and the pleasure just for the moment and forgetting the consequence of our choice. And so, man forgot the consequence of their choice and they decided against God. And so, when they chose to go with the evil one they chose to be remote from God – the closeness to God did not exist anymore because now their freedom was taken away somewhat. Man could only sin and became the slave of sin – he could do nothing without sin. And that is a consequence of their decision. So now they were not so close to God anymore. They could always talk to God, but now He had to look for them. That was the one aspect.
The other aspect: where they were supposed to have fellowship with each other and enjoy each other. After sin entered the world, man forgot that God created them equal. Now, suddenly, man went on a power trip and said: “I am in charge of the women now, she must do whatever I say.” And maybe, from then on, wrongfully the woman had to assume a lesser role than the man. That was not what God intended. That was not in the beginning – that’s what happened when sin entered into the world. And soon, there came jealousy. Soon, there was envy. Soon, there was violence and murder, and Cain killed his brother Abel. This was a consequence of the wrong choices made in the beginning and they had to endure that.
And then came the situation with the earth. No longer did they treasure the earth. Now everybody exploited the resources that was in the earth, the creation of God, and took just what they wanted with no thought of the future generations will have; as long as they had enough; as long as they sometimes had too much and someone else had nothing didn’t matter to them. The thinking changed to ‘I must have as much as I can’ even if it’s at the expense of the poorest of the poor. God didn’t intend that. There is enough on the earth for all to enjoy. But then the greed of man took over. They forgot what the plan was. They forgot what God intended. They forgot what it all was about in the beginning. Now, everybody just took. And it is no different today. If you look today you see how people take the resources of the earth without a care of what happens to others. If they want the gold, diamonds or oil they destroy the whole environment - they couldn’t care about the person who needs that fish to live; because of their actions, all of the fish are killed. But we can say that we are not in that position. Yes. But am I taking care when I throw my plastic away and it ends up in the river and some creation of God could be killed because of my carelessness? Remember: take care of the earth – that was in the beginning. But today, man partake in what somebody said is the ‘rat race’. Someone once said that even if you win the rat race, you are still a rat – you still just want what you can have and everybody else is poorer for you being richer. And that’s where it ended up. If you think of the condition of society in the world; if you go back to the beginning it is not the way God intended it to be. God did not have that in mind. And, if you see, sometimes things start off so beautifully. I said once before that I was reading a storybook to my grandson who was about four or five at the time, and I read to him the story of Snow White. And when I read the part where the witch spoke into the mirror: “Mirror mirror on the wall, who is the fairest of them all?” She expected the mirror to say “you dear queen”, but the mirror said Snow Whit is, and that made her very angry. And when I read that to my grandson he said: “no grandpa, that’s wrong.” And I said no, it’s right I am reading the words in the book and it says that here. But he said no, Snow White isn’t the prettiest of them all; mommy is. For this child, his mother was the most beautiful. Now, what has happened? My prayer is that it will stay like that. But when these young men, who were all four at one time, who all had that opinion at one point, when they become older they do the most horrible things to women. What happened? How did we get it so wrong? What happened that brought about that deterioration? That today we must-have Women’s day and have a campaign against gender-based violence. That’s not from God. We need to do something about that. And dear brothers and sisters, I think of another occasion. I remember doing a funeral once of a 12-year-old boy. He was riding his bicycle and he was knocked down by a taxi and he was killed – it was very sad. And I did the funeral, and I remember as I was leaving the cemetery somebody ran after me, and I looked back and saw it was a woman who didn’t belong to our faith but was a faithful Christian. And I will never forget what she told me. After I buried this 12-year-old boy she said thank you very much for the service, and she mentioned that she also had a 12-year-old boy once and he was an altar boy; he went to church and I was so proud of him and he made me so happy. Then she said today, that 12 year old is a 23-year-old and he makes my life hell – he is addicted to drugs; he sells all my stuff; he is even prepared to beat me. And then she said something that I will never forget. She said: “If only the Lord had taken him when he was 12 years old.” Dear young people, we have to make choices. Let’s make wise choices. Let’s make choices that was meant to be like in the beginning. How did we get it so wrong? But, thankfully, it does not have to stay that way because God made a plan for us. When He saw what went wrong He said that He must send His Son which he promised long ago and He sent Jesus. And Jesus was born as a man, but a true man, and He was a man just as God wanted Him to be. He was obedient, He was faithful to His Father, He prayed deeply to His Father and brought honour to His Father’s name that God could say: “This is My beloved Son in whom I am well pleased.” So, Jesus was the man and lived just as He wanted man to be. And here was the example; here was the model to say it doesn’t have to stay that way. And Jesus came and brought about teaching and a gospel which we want to embrace going forward that when you are my age you don’t have to apologize but are able to say that we have done the gospel and we leave, if we are still here, a better environment to those who remain behind because we considered you in the decisions we had to make. That our decisions aren’t only based on today, but that we consider the future. Jesus was that. So, He had a close relationship with His Father and He trusted His Father – He did what His Father wanted Him to do even if it was not convenient, even if it was painful to Him.
“Thy will be done”, He said to His Father. And that is our model, that is our example, and that is what we need to do. Jesus lived in harmony with His fellow human beings – He loved them and He loved all. It did not matter if it was Greek or Jew as our young sister read to us – where you come from is not important – He loved you. What your standing was in life was not important. He was not supposed to be with the Samaritans, but He spoke to the Samaritan woman. He spoke to the winebibbers and had fellowship with them because He loved them because God loved them and God made them. And so, for us today, we also want to take that lesson out of Jesus’ life. Who you are doesn’t matter – God made you. Where you come from doesn’t matter; what car you drive does not matter; where you live does not matter. God does not love you less. Let us not judge and put our fellow human being in boxes and say that I don’t mix with you. That we are and have that relationship that God intended us; that we teach our children. You know, our children have become so involved with name brands that those who don’t have the same name brands as them they think that those children are lesser beings. We cannot do that. Jesus came to serve and not to be served. He came, not to enrich Himself, He came to serve mankind and He did that well. And for that we are thankful, and we have the gospel. Jesus was prepared to make a change. When He saw the woman who was to be stoned he got involved. There were those standing with stones in their hands ready to stone her – He did not take a bigger stone and throw all of them. No. I suppose He could have, but He didn’t. He taught them. When He saw them wanting to stone the woman He might have thought that, as we have heard: not on my watch are you going to stone her. And He taught them, and no one could hurt her.
And maybe that example we want to take out of Jesus’ life on this Women’s day and violence in general that we live the gospel. That when we see that happen get involved as Jesus did; not by fighting, but by teaching, and saying as we have heard: not on my watch. When He saw the disciples ill-treat the children when they said Jesus is tired, He has no time for you. Again, Jesus says: not on my watch. And He gave us the lesson: don’t hurt them; don’t injure them. And when we see that, we take that lesson out Jesus’ life and we are able to say: not on our watch. We want to leave this world a better place. We want to leave our congregation a better place and we want to go to the place which was sung to us at the beginning: eternal in the heavens. But let us look after the place that He gave us today, that we don’t harm it, that we don’t destroy each other, that we don’t be unkind and want to enrich ourselves at the expense of others. We read about those in power who seem to be doing that at will. Take the example out of Jesus’ life and we say that’s what we want to do. Jesus also enjoyed the earth. When we read the Bible we see that Jesus enjoyed a good meal; He enjoyed good wine too. He enjoyed that which God provided for them. And, remember, when we heard of circumcision in the Bible reading; circumcision caused division because the women were cut out; only the men and that made it kind of special that a male child is more important than the female child. Jesus brought about a new teaching and brought about baptism because baptism is gender-neutral. All could come to God through Jesus. And many women came, and many women contributed. We don’t want to forget that, and we want to salute our women; our mothers who do so much in the congregations. And, through all this, we want to fulfil the gospel and teaching of Christ. Our journey is not to remain here, and before God, there is no man or woman. We are all loved by Him. He gave us all gifts and He has gone to prepare that place not just for men, but for women. It is through sin that we created the inequality in the agendas. But we want to restore it to where it belongs and where it should be and give each one their rightful place in the creation of God so that we are able to accommodate the new and blessed creation that He has gone to prepare for us – for all of us. And we want to say, wherever we can, we implement the culture, the gospel of Jesus that we are able to take care of the creation; take care of each other. That we have fellowship with God – that’s what we want – that’s why He created us: fellowship with each other in a positive way and also take care of the creation He has provided for us. And that as we go through our lives as young people to make those wise decisions and be the best we can and the Lord will complete His work in a wonderful and blessed manner. Amen.
Thoughts from District Apostle J Kriel
#Dare2Care #Notonmywatch #StopGBV