Grahamstown

Dean’s Letter, December 17 2017

Dear Cathedral family

The Chancellor and the Dean joined many hundreds of others at the installation and enthronement, last Saturday, of the new Bishop of Mthatha, Bishop Nkosinathi Ndwandwe. It was good to be there and to see that diocese joining in celebration and welcome of their father-in-God, chief pastor, shepherd of the flock. It was a superbly organised service and beautifully led – an inspiring and wonderful act of worship. Well done to all involved, and to the diocese of Mthatha! Our love and prayers are with Bishop Nkosinathi and his wife, and those around him, in the time ahead.

Our prayers are also with the new Bishop-elect of the diocese of Khahlamba, Archdeacon Moses Madywabe, who was elected last week during their recent elective assembly. He will be consecrated and installed in February 2018. Khahlamba diocese is one of our many “daughter” dioceses, and is based in Queenstown.

This is the last week before Christmas, as I am sure you know. The build-up to and preparations for worship on Christmas Day is immense. We continue to be inspired, Sunday by Sunday, with readings from the Old Testament prophet, Isaiah. “The spirit of the Lord God is upon me, because the Lord has anointed me; he has sent me to bring good news to the oppressed, to bind up the broken-hearted, to proclaim liberty to the captives, release to the prisoners…” (Isaiah 61:1). Isaiah gives us a picture of the Messiah, points us to Christ and his ministry, and also gives a vision of what he is called to do. And then the reminder: “For I the Lord love justice, I hate robbery and wrong-doing…” (Isaiah 61:8). A sobering and important word for us all. God is not neutral when it comes to justice and doing what is right. God does not stand back. Martin Luther King Jr once said, “The arc of the moral universe is long, but it bends towards justice.” A community and society built on injustice and cruelty is built on clay. It won’t last. Injustice and corruption is like a cancer, a sickness, in our bodies, that eats away and ultimately destroys us.

In the face of so much that is negative, the Gospel message of Advent is one of hope. Waiting in expectation. Trust. Faith. Light even when it is dark. The love of God in the midst of suspicion, fear, hatred. Good that overcomes evil. God who is amongst us and who will come to us. The call, therefore, to be instruments of transformation and signs of hope as we centre our lives on Christ.

My love to you all