In days to come when historians record the story of our present time they will characterise it as an age of TRAVEL. Anybody who tries to drive in and out of Cape Town will know exactly what I am talking about. Traffic congestion is horrendous. Bean counters have said that 250 000 vehicles look for parking in the city everyday. They argue that if we put a metre between the bumpers of each car and stretched them out in a straight line we would be in Johannesburg.


Behind this everyday picture of constant movement, there is a deeper truth – all of us are TRAVELLERS on the road of time. My sister Jeannie (pictured below) turns 70 on Tuesday. However varied our individual ages or circumstances may be, we all have this in common – we are growing older.


Jesus was a TRAVELLER. He is constantly on the move. We see him speaking to an individual then to the crowd; being in town then out in the country; walking on the road then seated in a fishing boat on the lake; talking to a group on the level plain or on the slopes of the mountain; in a private home or a synagogue or a temple, showing friendship to children and parents.


When he expressed a great truth about himself and declared “I am the Way”, he spoke with experience of a TRAVELLER. “The foxes have holes, and the birds of the air have nests, but the Son of Man has nowhere to lay his head”, he said. For he was a man on the move. Every road of life can be an Emmaus Road. Christ  is our  fellow TRAVELLER  who breaks into our conversation and makes all things new.


When Jesus established his church in this world he did not refer it as ‘the churchbut ‘my church’. There is something special about that which is our own. We may pass along streets with rows and rows of houses and not pay attention to them. But when we come to our own house, there is a difference. There is something special about it. In our Bible Study on Thursday we talked about times when there were no strangers on our streets. We traced the life world of our great grandparents and remembered the days of cart and horses, when the garage was preceded by a stable. Everyone was made to feel at home.


As much as the motor car has become our preferred means of transport, we are still TRAVELLERS. Christ continues to be our companion on the road of life. He is the same yesterday, today and forever. There are many who wonder – because of physical suffering – from their hospital beds about the pain they feel. “Can we go any further?” they ask. Others struggle with disappointment. Things have not turned out as they had hoped and it all seems so futile.


There was a time when St. Paul felt that he just could not go on. He cried to God to have his “thorn in the flesh” removed. The answer he got was not the one he expected. It was the assurance that God was on that road of suffering all the time. His grace was there – sufficient to meet every basic human need.


As the years pass by we journey from youth to age. The road varies – at times easy and pleasant – at other times steep and painful. There are days of sunshine and also days of cloud. The hymn writer reminds us that through all the changing scenes of life we do not TRAVEL alone. In Christ we celebrate God’s providential care. He is the One who will neither leave us nor forsake us.


In our joys, He is the very spirit of joy. In adversity and temptation a rock of strength. His story is a daily reminder for us to stop and look again. The seeds of His Kingdom, the proof of His love brings a new song of companionship in our hearts.




South Africa is in serious trouble. The pile of dirty laundry gets bigger every day. Crime and corruption leave stains that are hard to remove. How long  will the protests persist? How much damage will be done to critical infrastructure? The way our country is moving becomes emotional and upsetting as more and more disclosures hit the headlines. South Africa is in deep, deep trouble.


Those in power have become obscenely rich and greedy. Breath sucking cover ups greet us with unmistakable clarity.  Our President and his clique do everything they can to insulate and isolate their behaviour from public scrutiny. Happily the tide is turning. It starts with resisting corruption, defending our democracy and assuming our constitutional duties as citizens. We are not helpless. We are capable of achieving a better life for all.


A “deliver-or-depart” style of judgement appears to be the quick solution. I think the problem is far deeper than that. I would like to pull together three assumptions and offer four practical suggestions to meet the future. One theologian reflecting on Public Faith in Action recently said:  “We need to think carefully, engage wisely and decide (vote) with integrity”. So what am I saying?


My first assumption is that leaders need followers. Without oxygen, fire dies out. Let’s be honest.  All our unresolved conflicts  require an enormous human investment of energy, time, money and emotion. Followers can stop bad leadership.  They can rise up and say “NO!”. The road of squandered opportunity and personal aggrandisement is not the way of democracy. Followers in search of GOOD Leadership can turn things around.


My second assumption is that bad leaders do not step down. Good leaders know when to step down. Everything in our lives is shifting and changing; every belief and principle we cherish is challenged or disrespected. Leaders reach their sell by date and should have exit strategies in place. There’s a reason for limited terms of office, regular performance reviews and sharing power. Bad leaders (drunk on power) struggle to negotiate with humility.


My third assumption is that leaders need an internal sounding board. Consultation is the key. I think we harness all our developmental capacities in practical networks and modes of co-operation. There is a desperate need to demonstrate competence, to work effectively and to show that responsible decisions have been made. Confusion reigns in crisis – especially amongst those whose view of history is different from others. Other than “common sense” an internal sounding board is critical for good leadership to unfold. It’s all about the deep christian conviction of “being true to ourselves” in the life that we live.


  1. We need visions and dreams. The first rule of learning is that people learn what they need to learn, not what someone thinks they need to learn. Ideals attract strong feelings of identity and intense emotions. The greater the coherence of values, needs and wants, the higher the motivation.
  2. We need good stewards. People who continually seek and oversee the purpose and direction of the organisation. Stewards build trust. They generate excitement by making sure that our achievements are recognised, publically communicated and celebrated. Good stewardship sparks inspiration.
  3. We need inspiring teachers. People who conceptualise the strategic insights and bring systematic understanding.  The public is certain of purpose but uncertain of plans. They need to be taught. Teachers arouse interest through facilitating critical thinking and debate.
  4. We need determined commitment.  This kind of resolve inspires vision in others which enables them to take action.


Good leaders believe in the unseen potential of all people. How to harness people’s competencies is the key. Good leaders go the extra mile and ensure that everyone works together as a team with a common object in mind. Sadly, this is not happening in South Africa. SOUTH AFRICA IS IN TROUBLE. If the truth be told, we will ALWAYS BE IN TROUBLE. The Good News is that there is work to be done.


DAY 458: LOOK!


I went for an eye test the other day and asked the optician to explain the changes that were  happening to my eyes. Clearly one eye is stronger than the other.  Sight is such a special gift. The examination forced me to think long and hard about how we use our eyes during the day.


Jesus repeatedly exclaimed “LOOK!”.  A new world opened to those who obeyed his word. There’s a story of a teenager who found himself sitting in a tiny Primitive Methodist  Chapel in Colchester, Essex on the first Sunday of the year 1850. He got there by default. It was snowing heavily and he needed shelter.


At last a very thin looking man came into the the pulpit, opened his Bible and read these words: “LOOK unto ME and you will be saved, all the ends of the earth” (Is. 45:22). Warming up, the teen (16 years old) continued his story: “Just setting his eyes upon me, as if he knew me, all by heart, he said: “Young man, you are in trouble”. Well I was sure enough. Then the preacher said: “You will never get out of it unless you look to Christ”. And the, lifting up his hands, he cried out: “Look, LOOK, LOOK!“. It’s only “LOOK” he said.


I at once saw the way of salvation. Oh, how I did leap for joy at that moment. Oh, I LOOKED until I could have LOOKED my eyes away and in heaven I will LOOK on still in my joy unutterable.”  These words come from the pen of Charles Haddon Spurgeon (1834 – 1892), the “Prince of Preachers”.

Squash Raquets

There was a time when I lay in the ophthalmic ward of Groote Schuur Hospital wandering if I would ever see out of my right eye again. I had been hit full on by the edge of my opponent’s racquet during a vigorous game of squash. The thought of being permanently deprived of eyesight never left me. Fortunately (after strict bed rest) the sight returned. So when Jesus says “LOOK!”, I press replay. Sadly, many of us have lost the art of LOOKING at the right things.


There was also a time when pictures of Nelson Mandela became a constant inspiration to those rejoicing in the spirit of democracy in a new South Africa. Sometimes I want to say to our leaders … whenever you are tempted to be dishonest (corrupt) and take advantage of your office, or become racist, step back and look at Madiba’s face.


Christians dig deeper. We look to the One who is The Way, The Truth and The Life.I think of Jesus and Pontius Pilate facing each other. Pilate was angry at the prisoner’s silence and cried “Why don’t you answer me? Don’t you know I have power?”. Things come right when we look at the one who answered with not a word.


Today, the savage mood of protest is mastered by courage and principled dignity. Things will get worse until our barbed words which hurt others are tempered by the challenge to look into the eyes of the One who alone can save us from our sins.


Soon we will be invited to LOOK UP. With darkness all around us we will catch a glimpse of a star shining brightly, high in the heavens. We will remember those who found the Christ child because they first LOOKED up and saw the star.


We turn to the Author and Finisher of our faith allowing the Light of the World to shine on thoughts of resentment and injured pride. We do not know the precise details of what the future holds, nor do we need to know. We have the assurance that God is at work in our lives and that one day his purpose will be fulfilled.


The message is clear: “LOOK!”. What more could we want?





As children grow, something of the PAST finds expression in them. Their physical appearance reflects their heredity. Give it some thought. Often those who know (have known) our parents  can tell at a glance whose children we are when they see us for the first time. Our movements and unconscious reactions, the way we walk and move our hands, the stance we adopt when speaking – all these and much else form an integral part of who we are.


Personality turns into an expression of OLD and NEW – past heredity and present environment. In other words, we cannot understand people’s lives without examining the OLD and the NEW. These are TREASURES awaiting discovery.

So too in the life of the Spirit. Jesus tells us that in the Kingdom of Heaven there are TREASURES OLD AND NEW. Whoever learns of the Kingdom is like a householder bringing out his TREASURE – things NEW and OLD. This certainly happens to me every time I spring clean my MAN CAVE!  But have we learned the art of discovering TREASURE in both the old and the young?


I think there is place for us to find God’s TREASURES in life – things both OLD and NEW. As we meet with others this day – either known to us or meeting for the first time – may we have the insight to see the best in them. The hard task in today’s society is “to believe evil of no one unless fully proved; to bear one another’s burdens and so fulfill the law of Christ”. The teachings of Jesus contain truths both OLD and NEW. Look at the way he dealt with people.


When he rose from the dead, he returned to those he had known in the OLD days – the same OLD crowd if you like – who had denied him, betrayed him and all run away.  It was to them with all their OLD sins that he went and to them that he brought NEW life.


Perhaps as we look into the world round about us we do so without much enthusiasm, for knowing our history, we are haunted by past failure. If so, then we forget that there is a way ahead, that there is One who makes all things NEW,  in whose Kingdom are treasures both OLD and NEW.  When Jesus called others into his service, he chose those who were so very human – so much like ourselves. They were selfish, proud, quarrelsome and cowardly. And yet into their lives came a NEW and transforming spirit. Courage displaced fear. Love overcame hatred.


As we start to gear up for the Advent Season, may our lives be open to the influence of the Holy Spirit that checks each fault, calms each fear and speaks of heaven. Let us remember that the Bible is a book for all seasons – including that of winter.  There is TREASURE in the Scriptures both OLD and NEW. That’s why we give thanks to God for his abiding presence through all the seasons of life from YOUTH to OLD age.


We worship God as the ALPHA and OMEGA, the BEGINNING  and the END. We pray for those in life’s EVENTIDE, now no longer able to move about with the freedom of former years. In my pastoral visitation and care for the elderly, I have really come to know the meaning of divine friendship.


The assurance of unfailing goodness and mercy is an affirmation of where we have come from (the OLD). We welcome the NEW in the knowledge that underneath and round about us are the everlasting arms of Christ’s love. That embrace is TRANSFORMATION at work. Words spoken by Christ Himself have a tendency to speak to us when we need them most.


God is continually striving to recreate us in the likeness of Christ:  a TRANSFORMATION  that, depends not wholly on our own efforts but on his GRACE. This surely is the secret of TREASURES OLD AND NEW.




In the manses where we grew up, my Dad always found a place to regularly record our growth. I well remember a series of pencil marks against which my name and the date of the mark was recorded. My sisters were taller than me and those marks represented the varying heights at different stages of our growth.


Dad had to ensure that we played fair. We could not sneak a little extra height by wearing shoes or standing on our toes. All three of us (Anna, Jean and Mark) had to be able to move our heads freely under the ruler and still be able to touch it when it was placed at right angles to the wall.


We were keen to be as tall as possible and found it hard to resist the temptation to stretch. How pleased we were to see the increase in height since the last mark was made. The keenness to grow and develop has never left me.


Jesus reminded us that growth is a characteristic of healthy spiritual life. In the parable of the talents it was the servant who showed no growth in service. He hid his talent and was condemned. Opportunities for growth abound in today’s world. The gift of each new day invites us to grow in grace and set  about our duties with a spirit that is kinder, more helpful and more considerate of the needs of others.


Another MEMORY OF MANSE LIFE was the steady flow of visitors who came into our home. A spirit of curiosity drove me to find out as much as I could about the strangers sitting in the study. Before they had time to engage in conversation, my head would appear at the door. Curiosity brought me there. I wanted to see for myself who it was who had arrived.


Jesus urged his hearers to “Seek first the Kingdom of God”. He implies that we be so busy with our own agendas that we have no time for the Kingdom. Maybe we have been impatient while others have spoken and have not sought to understand their problems. Maybe its worse. Perhaps we have harboured grudges and have not sought reconciliation. MANSE LIFE taught me to be curious.


My third MEMORY OF MANSE LIFE was to take a break and go for a walk on the beach. The tide would be out and my feet felt the strength of the firm moist sand. Those trips always turned into an exciting adventure. Shells were collected and soon Dad’s pockets were bulging with treasures.


Just ordinary shells brought such a sense of wonder at their beauty and form. The smell of the fresh sea air always renews within me a sense of wonder about the energy of the ocean. I went on in later years to immerse myself in salt water. Surfing became a way of life. The vast expanse of water and the sight of perfect waves is awe inspiring . I learned to respect the power.  Through the enjoyment of riding waves I also learned to understand the majesty of God in a positive way.


I can relive the excitement of riding waves as if it was yesterday. With the passing of the years my enthusiasm for Kingdom values has not waned. The MEMORIES OF MANSE LIFE come back to help me find fulfillment in life. Even as we get older, growth continues. Curiosity is a gift from God. He gives wisdom (the knowledge of his ways) to all people who come to him seeking true understanding.


Through Christ, the work of transformation has begun. MEMORIES OF MANSE LIFE enable me never to lose sight of that promise. Neither do I forget what God has done nor what he shall yet do.




There is always an air of excitement when we await the arrival of family or friends who have been away for some time. I  really looked forward to my return home after months at boarding school or trips overseas.


Over time, regular visits to airport terminals helped me master the art of people watching. The long awaited joyous reunions become happenings not to be missed. Often there is a visible difference in approach between adults and children. The INHIBITED adult may express his feelings through a formal handshake, a brief kiss, a gentle hug or a word of greeting.


Children are the exact opposite. They show whole hearted affection – UNINHIBITED LOVE. They normally come running as fast as their little legs will carry them to an outstretched pair of arms – pure UNINHIBITED LOVE. They are quite unconcerned as to who sees them or what others say about them. They express their love completely – without restraint.


When I witness these sacred moments, I think of the way Jesus illustrated the Kingdom of God. He set a child in the midst and said: “Whoever will not receive the Kingdom of God as a little child will in no wise enter in”. It was this quality of whole hearted affection that he commended in Mary – despite the criticism of others.


When Mary anointed Jesus with costly perfume the critics murmured “What a waste! She could have sold the perfume for a good price and given the money to the poor!”. Jesus intervened. “Leave her alone. Why trouble her? She has shown UNINHIBITED LOVE!


As a child I grew up knowing that I could vanish from my parents. They didn’t worry because they knew that I was playing with my friends. Deep down in my heart, I knew that if there was trouble or an accident, I could depend on them. They would be there for me. This was my core. My safe place. Jesus likens this relationship to the Kingdom of God and in telling the story, urges us to get back to our roots of UNINHIBITED LOVE.


What alters our attitude of dependence on God?  Does the quest for independence flushed with a sense of self achievement pull us away from the core values? Infatuated by our own accomplishments, have we no need for God? His guidance and leading will not be required because – in our own estimation – we shall be self sufficient.


Jesus told the story of a self made man who ceased to depend on God. The man grew his business, prospered, enlarged his barns (capacity) but thought only of himself. UNINHIBITED LOVE for his creator had vanished. But Jesus called him foolish – saying that the end of the road had arrived. “Those who lay up treasures for themselves and who are not rich towards God face a problem”. He asks us to think about our investment decisions.


The spirit of UNINHIBITED LOVE uncovers an absence of restraint and becomes a word from God which takes us to the heart of Good News. Give it some serious thought. We live in a world where differences of opinion translate into aggression and violence. Quarrels make people express themselves in a torrent of words which may not be found in any dictionary.  These outbursts turn into permanent rifts between contestants. Justice, truth and reconciliation become a distant dream. Attitudes are poisoned.


How far are we from the Kingdom of God when we allow this behaviour to destroy our lives?  Jesus was most explicit on the this point. “If you are nursing a grievance against another … first be reconciled, then come and offer your gifts of UNINHIBITED LOVE”.




deathMy late mother Helene always used to worry about us as children. Somehow my eldest sister Anna (pictured above) did things and made decisions that really “stressed out” the old lady. Comments like “she makes me so mad!” and “YOU’LL BE THE DEATH OF ME” still ring in my ear and come back to haunt me time and time again.


Mom died in 1987 and  Anna 20 years later in 2006. Now it is 2016. On Saturday we celebrated HERITAGE DAY. Time was given on this public holiday to retrace our steps as a nation and as individuals. The gift of honouring our heritage as Christians draws me into the thoughts of the prophet Isaiah: “He awakens my ear that I may hear like a disciple” (Is. 50:4)


On HERITAGE DAY in South Africa, we listen to an irregular heart beat. We are living in a world of unresolved conflicts – forcing young students, for example, to express their anger in unacceptable patterns.  A video of a Touws River Truck driver expressing his concern about what’s happening on campus has hit the headlines. So too has a Master’s student now into his 3rd Post graduate degree.


The Press is loving it. There’s a feeding frenzy in cyberspace. Here’s a story that sadly is turning into “THE DEATH OF US”. When a precious Law Library is destroyed and rhinos are killed or raw sewerage is poured into lagoons, we are trashing our Heritage.  It’s hard to speak these ongoing issues in a relaxed conversational tone. We are responsible not only for what we say, but equally how we say it.


I really appreciated the comments that brought back memories of our life at Salty Print. Beatrice Smith (pictured above) was (and still is my P.A.). She gave me structure, time and space to exercise my creativity and fulfill my dreams of transformation. Salty Print (Transforming Paper, People and Places) left a memorable imprint by becoming utterly and radically flesh in terms of its Mission Statement.


We learned life’s lessons. A supportive Board of Management became our canon (measuring rule). Presenting those financials and monitoring the trends of how we were doing steadied the ship. I realised we were making history.


My argument was quite simple. I said: “The church is in decline and transition. We need to generate new income streams, because the way we are operating is unsustainable”. Nobody seemed to understand. Today, Salty Print continues to flourish as a Private Enterprise and is no longer owned by the church.


The old Salty Print Circuit (0125) had a name change and was transformed into Circuit (Mowbray) 0125 five years ago. Mossop Hall (the only Society in the Circuit) returns to the Dumisani 0103 Circuit (formerly Rosebank) as a Preaching Station in January 2017. The other Societies Rosebank, Pinelands, Athlone, Langa, Maitland Garden Village, Klipfontein, Thornton and Ruyterwacht will be able to tap into the reservoir of experience and wisdom we have sourced in our work with churches in transition.


My eye blink  response is that most Methodist Churches are close to bankruptcy. The way we live out our ministry is just not sustainable. “YOU’LL BE THE DEATH OF ME!” is prophetic. Jesus talked of life being like seeds that need to die and be buried in the ground. He leaves us with the promise that (like the Arum lily) he will rise again. Therein lies our hope.

I was speaking to a friend about a subject close to my heart. The conversation reminded me of the late Dr. Ivan May (pictured above). He said: “Mark it’s all about discipline”. Discipline in our private lives, business and “the way we make decisions”.  Some of us need PA’s (like me) to keep us close to the real world. If we don’t put systems in place it will be “THE DEATH OF ALL OF US”. The thought of a whole new world is always our hope. Those who die and rise again with Christ can credibly bear witness.





We OPEN OUR EYES each morning to a new day, but how much of the newness of life will we really see?  If the truth be told, there is a great deal that we miss. Social media addicts deal with  FOMO (Fear Of Missing Out) in our internet driven society. Yet they fail to see what is happening around them because they are glued to their screens.


At this time of the year, Capetonians sense that Spring is in the air. The Arum lilies are in full bloom and wherever there are open fields with access to water, the Arums thrive. Jesus told his disciples to KEEP THEIR EYES OPEN. “Be observant!”, he insisted. To those who were bewildered and confused in life, and who felt that they had not real purpose, he said: “Consider how the lilies (wild flowers) grow!”.


“If God clothes the flowers of the field, is he not more likely to clothe you – you little faiths?”.  Jesus goes on to urge them not to worry about what they will eat, drink and wear. “Set your heart on his kingdom and his goodness”.


I remember climbing with an experienced and sharp eyed mountaineer in the mountains of the Western Cape. We were making our way through a drab stretch of terrain in which there did not appear to be much that was interesting. Suddenly she left the party and then went some distance away from where we were and called us to come over. There in a little crag she showed us a small cluster of exquisite wild flowers. She had seen what we had missed. We had been blind. Yet all the time the beauty was there. So it is with God’s wonderful world.


The voice of Lois Armstrong brings focus and the lyrics express a wonder that OPENS OUR EYES. There is spleandour even in the ordinary things of life and places for those who have EYES TO SEE. The point is that there is so much in life that we just do not see. Jesus looking at the wild flowers uses the imperative “TAKE A CAREFUL LOOK AT THEM!”.


Here in the Cape, springtime is always wonderful after the heavy winter rains. Even from my home I can see waterfalls gushing down the rock faces of the mountain once the cold front has moved on.  There is a grandeur right on our doorstep that takes your breath away.

New Year10

But DO WE SEE IT? The gift of each new day is filled with opportunities for doing good. I think that God’s Spirit creates beauty even in the arid areas of life. The wonder of creation is life giving. If there is someone reading this blog who has lost heart and (for various reasons) become discouraged and cynical … maybe springtime is inviting you to make full use of your eyesight.


“Open your eyes” says Jesus “and look around”. He told his hearers to look at the farmer ploughing or sowing; at the housewife busy sweeping or mending or baking. Living life to the glory of God.


There is a story that suggests that the Arum lily goes back to the Garden of Eden. It is said that when Eve left the garden she shed tears of penitence and from those tears sprang up the white lilies. It is from that act of penitence that the Christian life begins.


Let me explain. The word Arum comes from the Greek verb meaning “to raise to life”. It is only when there is true repentance, a readiness to acknowledge our wrong doing and a willingness to apologise that new life kicks in. We OPEN OUR EYES.


May God grant us the courage to admit the wrong that we do and in sincerity to say “I’m sorry” to make amends. Raised into newness of life through EYES wide OPEN, let us ask the one who urged his disciples to consider how the wild flowers grow. Better still, our  preparation for Holy Communion always includes the prayer “to create in all of us a new and a clean heart”.  His Spirit OPENS OUR EYES  and heart and mind.




I often think of Paul, a prisoner in chains, stating his case before King Agrippa in the judgement hall. He talked about the impact of Christ on his life. In that blinding encounter with Christ on the Damascus road something dramatic happened.  Saul quickly learned that there was work to be done “Why do you persecute me?” asks Jesus. Jesus gave him a completely NEW OUTLOOK on life. Saul of Tarsus knew that he was needed. He became Paul the Apostle.


A NEW OUTLOOK  begins when we realise that we are needed and have a part to play in the task at hand. Life now has a purpose. Soon we discover something that comes from meeting basic human need. When God comes into our lives, there is  A NEW OUTLOOK. We know that there is work to be done for God’s Kingdom. We realise that we must shoulder responsibility because our contribution is needed. On reflection, we understand that there is something unique in our personality which makes the difference.


Paul speaks of diversities of gifts but the same spirit. He tells how one had words of wisdom, another the gift of faith, another the gift of healing. All these gifts were to be used to the glory of God in the fellowship of His church. So today we are not all cast in the same mould. Some are able to preach, some are specially suited for teaching, some have the gift of friendship bringing new hope to the discouraged, the lonely and the sick; some have the gift for writing and through correspondence give splendid service; some are gifted with their hands and are helpful in so many ways.


We all have our part to play in God’s Kingdom. The NEW OUTLOOK reminds us that there is certain work which only we can do for him. So, for example, do we bring out the best in our loved ones (partners)?  Or has the love of God in our heart grown cold?  Are our children becoming strangers to us? Have distractions eroded possible quality time with them? These are the questions that arise when we take  the NEW OUTLOOK to heart. Maybe our role at work is to pour oil over troubled waters, alleviating the tensions caused by jealousy and dented egos.


Learning to “say sorry” is part of the language of the NEW OUTLOOK. when barbed, unkind words are spoken in anger, how can we overcome the conflict with goodness and kindness?  All this and more is the work to which God calls us.


How tempting it is for us in the things of God to leave the work to others. Yet all the time God is calling us not to look around to blame and criticise others, or to look back, but to put our hand to the lawn mower (wheel/plough), to do the work ourselves and so be fit for the kingdom.


This is the NEW OUTLOOK. The source of all life has set us in the world for a purpose. Sunday is COSMOS Sunday:  time for those who worship to give thanks for the ways in which we experience our Creator through the sights and sounds, the feel, smell and taste of the world around us. The NEW OUTLOOK draws us into the peace of lonely places; the majesty of mountain and ocean; the excitement of wind and storm; the fascination of animals great and small; the glory of sunrise and sunset and the beauty of flower and tree.


As days go by, we rejoice that there is work for us to do. The possibilities are endless. Time and time again we have squandered opportunities for doing good.  Jesus invites us to forget ourselves and follow in his steps.





When we discover that there is special work for us to do, our lives are gifted with new purpose and direction.


Today, with so many distractions, we can find ourselves in a spiritual blur – completely out of focus. We live in an age when values are blurred. Think of what is spent on armaments, liquor, gambling and self indulgence – the obscene salaries of sports person and film stars – we can all name chapter and verse..


In contrast to this, spare a thought for those who are struggling to improve living conditions on earth by fighting poverty, disease, ignorance and evil. Yet they are always short of funds.


The way we spend our time is an indication of our sense of values. When there is a sporting event or show we would like to see, somehow we usually manage to find time for it. But when there is a challenge of sacrificial service we often find ourselves saying “I’m so busy – I simply haven’t got time”.


Spiritually we are BLURRED. Blurred vision fritters away our time on non-essentials ( many hours do we spend in front of the TV?). I think when our perspective in wrong, we discover (too late) that we have missed the best.


Happily in a world of blurred vision, the world/rule of God comes bringing true focus. In Scripture there is constant emphasis on that which is of real value. And an impatience with detail.  The Psalmist sings “One thing I want from God, the thing I seek most of all, is the privilege of meditating in his Temple, living in his presence everyday of my life, delighting in his incomparable perfections and glory” (27:4).

Martha’s VISION  was BLURRED and she was burdened by her “busy”ness. Mary saw things in their right perspective. She was not going to lose the golden opportunity afforded by the presence of Jesus. He commended her for her sense of values and said: “Mary has discovered it – and I won’t take it away from her” (Lk. 10:42).

The blind man, whose sight Jesus had restored was not particularly phased about the questions from the Pharisees. He was confident about something far more important: “One thing I know, that, once I was blind, now I see!”.  Like the owner of these two dogs at the Milnerton Flea Market.  He had to convince his pets that it was only a rocking horse!


I think we have lost much of that assurance in today’s world to BLURRED VISION. People of (Christian) faith claim to be followers of Jesus. They might not have slick answers for the cynics and critics. Yet deep down in their hearts they know that God has come into their lives. There’s an awakening. They lift up their hearts and proclaim to know Jesus as Lord and Saviour.


Even amidst the rush and complexity of living out the days of our lives, Christ is still the way, the truth and the life. His invitation (call) is not to be misled by the trivial but to fix our eyes on Him.


In our perplexity and battles with BLURRED VISION he will help (guide) us to see clearly and not miss our providential way. If we have been misled and bewildered by false values … or currently find ourselves wandering along paths that lead to nowhere  … his word is not a confused blur.


Christ sees what we mess. My prayer is that as we enter into the spirit of Spring time here in the Cape … more and more may we see all the beauty that is there. That we may set our hearts on His kingdom and His goodness. In the words of the chorus “Open our eyes Lord, we want to see Jesus”.  In that breakthrough there is NO BLURRED vision.