That’s what the sign said in the window…but in reality the sale only applied to a few items. Apparently “storewide” means something different to them than it did to us.
But it did get me thinking about how the modern Church often uses misleading slogans to get people inside and how different that is to the way Jesus taught. He never sought to mislead people into thinking they were going to get a discounted ticket to the pie-in-the-sky-when-they-died. His teaching was often filled with stories of suffering and hardship and trials and crosses and dying. These stories were often hard to understand and when the numbers of followers began to fall, He asked those who made up the core if they wanted to leave as well. No deception…no tricks…no manipulation…just the harsh reality of life in a fallen, broken world that wants nothing to do with their Creator.
No discount for Jesus…His aim was to pay the full amount. Did He want a discount? For sure…in the Garden He prayed: “My Father, if it is possible, may this cup be taken from Me.” But He added: “Yet not as I will, but as You will.” And He drank that cup to the dregs…100%
Am I committed to His kingdom cause 100%? I know I look for discounts, not just in the clothing department, but in the life department as well. I don’t like to struggle, but, if I am honest, I have learned more about the Lord’s character and His love during times of hardship than during times of ease.
And what is my goal in life anyway? Isn’t it to know Him? Indeed, it is. To quote St Paul: “I want to know Christ – yes, to know the power of His resurrection and participation in His sufferings, becoming like Him in His death, and so, somehow, attaining to the resurrection from the dead.”
There are no short-cuts to get to that goal and I know that I have not yet obtained all this. But this much I do know: there are no discounts worldwide. And so we press on…
I made it a policy not to talk about politics—South African or American—on this blog, but I cannot keep silent by the recent events in the USA, concerning immigration.
Yesterday in chapel, we had a Thanksgiving Eucharist for the 10th-anniversary of Growing the Church (GtC), the organisation with whom my husband and I serve on the field. In lieu of a homily, staff members shared some of their favourite stories about GtC, especially those that displayed God’s provision. When it was my turn to share, I broke down in tears. I couldn’t believe how emotional I became. I talked about my first encounters with the GtC staff and my earliest days at GtC, about how everyone had welcomed me with opened arms.
You see; I am an immigrant. I know what it feels like to leave one’s beloved family, country, and culture and move half away across the world. I know what it feels like to quit a good job and head into the unknown of financial security. I know what it’s like to completely uproot, to sell one’s possessions and to arrive in a new country, carrying only three suitcases and two carry-on bags.
I am a foreigner. I know what it’s like to learn how to grocery shop again, learning new foods, how to read labels, new terminology, a new system of weight and volume. I know what’s like to learn to drive on the left side of the road and to learn different rules of the road. I know what it’s like to struggle to communicate, to understand people and for them to understand me. I know what it’s like to feel so homesick at times that the feeling feels almost like physical pain.
I am an immigrant. I know what it feels like to be welcomed with opened arms and with love, for people to be happy that I am here, for people to have me over for dinners and braais and to take me for walks on the beach. I know what it feels like to receive needful help and advise and guidance from opening a bank account, to cooking, to where to get the best bargains for clothes, to which neighbourhoods to be cautious of, to which doctors to go to for medical help. I know what it’s like for people to be patient with me, as I struggle to communicate in their language. I know what it’s like for people to live out Leviticus 19:34a, “The foreigner residing among you must be treated as your native-born. Love them as yourself.” This has been my experience in South Africa, and I can never thank my friends, family, colleagues, parish family, and all the countless churches, parishioners, priests, bishops, students and other individuals who have welcomed and loved me as one of their own.
British Overseas Territory of St. Helena
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