Pastoral Letter 23 September 2015

Hi Table View Methodist Family,
Food Fare - 1-5pm Saturday

I hope you get a long weekend!  But if you don't - enjoy heritage day.  This Saturday is our international food fare.  Come in traditional dress if you can (I'm not sure what that is for me.)  I think you'll be able to feed two people for about R50; but you're welcome to spend and eat more.  Please invite your friends to come:  Who wants to cook on a long weekend?
No Alpha this Thursday
Instead of Alpha - please come to the food fare; we'll meet again next week Thursday.
This Sunday

Our reading from James reminds us:  "If anyone is in trouble?  He should pray." - James 5:13  So I'll be speaking about how we pray.

March Against Corruption - 30 September
Please pray against corruption in our country; and if you can join in the protest - please do.  But if you can't - pray that it will be a peaceful demonstration and pray that those who have the power to do something about corruption - would have the courage to do it.

Christians, the Bible and Homo Naledi (Last Sunday)

The discovery of Homo Naledi in Maropeng raises the great creation debate; Can science and religion co-exist? 
In James 3:17 we learn that wisdom from above is 'willing to yield' or 'open to reason' - in Acts 15 we see how James applies this wisdom:  Some Christians insist that gentile converts must be circumcised and follow Jewish rules and customs. Peter and Paul argue otherwise.  James leads the church through resolution on this matter and delivers a judgment that says:
"...we should not make it difficult for the Gentiles who are turning to God." - Acts 15:19

Christian insistence on Genesis based science makes it very difficult for agnostics and atheists to come to faith.  It is interesting to note that just as Darwin was forming his understanding of the 'Evolution of Species'; archaeological exploration in ancient Nineveh (modern Iraq) uncovered the library of Ashurbanipal, the last great ruler of ancient Assyria.  Within this library clay tablets contained a record of ancient Babylonian creation myths.
The Babylonian creation myths told about gods who created human beings as slaves. The Hebrew stories speak of a God who created human beings in his own image (Genesis 1 & 2).  The Babylonians worshiped the moon, the stars and the sun - the Hebrew story told how One God created all of these.  The Babylonians told of a great flood to destroy all people because they made too much noise when the gods had a hangover.  The Hebrew story is about God's sadness at the pain people were causing each other and the hope he saw in Noah - the dream of redemption and the possibility of a new beginning (Genesis 9).
The discovery of Ashurbanipal's library and stories of creation from the Babylonians help Christians to interpret the Genesis accounts in a new light. They give us insight into the kind of relationship God wants with his people; about the nature and character of God and his purposes for creation.  They help us to realize that Genesis is not about the mysteries of science; it is about the nature of God, creation, his purpose, and our relationship with him.  Insights into science - and insights into the context of Genesis 1 and 2 helped us to understand more clearly what God is saying to us through these scriptures.
Can Christians believe in God and Evolution at the same time?  I know many who do and some who don't.  The thing is - we don't believe in something like evolution; we believe that evolution might just be the way in which God brought us here.  We believe in God; trusting that even though we don't fully understand all that we go through, we don't understand all of creation; God is still working his purpose out. As Paul says in 1 Corinthians 13:12 -
Now we see but a poor reflection as in a mirror; then we shall see face to face.

If you want to learn more - please don't hesitate to start a conversation with me.
Iain and Kirstin Wedding
Iain and Kirstin will be getting married next Saturday (3 October); keep them in your prayers as they embark on this part of their journey together.
God bless,
Rev Angus Kelly
Minister at Table View Methodist