14 From The Dean’s Pen

 

July 01, 2018

My Dear Brothers and Sisters in Christ!

The twin miracles of the healing of a woman with a life-long hemorrhage and the raising of Jairus’ daughter showcase the need for faith at all times, but more especially when medical help seems elusive: Mark 5:21-43.

Jesus felt the touch of the woman in her desperation and he heard the cry of a religious and civil leader in society. In each case, there was a touch; symbolic of Jesus’ desire to overturn the taboos of his era. The touch of a Rabbi by a woman would have been out of order and for a religious leader to touch a dead body, he would have been rendered unclean. Nevertheless, the touch proved to be the means through which the power to heal and to restore was transmitted. To both, Jesus brought life and did so gladly. Obviously physical life was the primary object of Jesus’ concern; however, in the context, the woman’s saving faith also enabled her to claim an even richer life with God.

These scenes served to reassure the faithful of Mark’s community of their hope in the resurrection to eternal life, through Christ.  Through the years, these familiar encounters have also served to  shape the minds of believers in Christ. Perhaps, in our time, they can help to affirm the relationship between medicine and faith; they are not to be seen as opposed to each other.

Meantime, if one enjoys good health, one should be grateful to God and see it as a gift to be treasured. But if there is poor health, there is no need to despair; one can take comfort in the fact that one can reach out and receive God’s gift of wholeness. Let everyone, therefore, work for the joyful celebration of life.

Yours sincerely,
Dean Jeffrey

———————————————————————————————

June 03, 2018

My Dear Brothers and Sisters in Christ!

In the recently concluded General Election, all the parties, as well as those who offered themselves as independent candidates, indicated their desire to serve the country.

It is against that backdrop that I have penned my message today, and commend to everyone’s consideration, the excellent example of Jesus, the embodiment of service. He challenged his followers to do the same (Mark 10:32-45). Many were impressed with his miraculous deeds; he was celebrated as a great miracle-worker, and some, James and John, even wanted to share in his glory. His own sacrificial service was presented as a model for the brothers and all disciples, “For the Son of Man came not to be served but to serve, and to give his life a ransom for many.” (10:45).

Personal ambition and patronage did not start with James and John, nor did they end with them. In fact, similar attitudes remain alive and both church and state are exposed to this twin scourge today. However, Jesus calls us to a different ethic. If service is the basis of one’s participation in public life, there is an underlying ethic of surrender and sacrifice; God honours service rather than
power. He challenges us to practice living by Kingdom Rules in this world.

It is the model which the Christian Church and individual Christians need to embrace. It is one which is hereby commended to our newly elected and installed government. I end with the prayer of St. Ignatius of Loyola.

Teach us, good Lord,
to serve you as you deserve,
to give and not to count the cost,
to fight and not to heed the wounds,
to toil and not to seek for rest,
to labour and not to ask for any reward,
save that of knowing that we do your will. Amen.

Yours sincerely,
Dean Jeffrey

——————————————————————————————-

May 06, 2018

My Dear Brothers and Sisters in Christ!

Much has been said about the election of the 14th Bishop of the Diocese of Barbados, but not much has been said about the role of a Bishop.

In 1988 the Lambeth Conference, a gathering of bishops from the Anglican Communion, usually held every ten years (since 1867) at Lambeth Palace and presided over by the Archbishop of Canterbury, agreed thus:

The Ministry of Bishops

Within the wider context of the mission and ministry of the whole Church, the diocese is often seen as basic to the life and unity of the local Church. This unity is personified and symbolised in the office of the bishop. Under God, the bishop leads the local church in its mission to the world.

Among other things, the bishop is:
a) A symbol of the Unity of the Church in its mission;
b) A teacher and defender of the faith;
c) A pastor of the pastors and of the laity;
d) An enabler in the preaching of the Word, and in the administration of the Sacraments;
e) A leader in mission and an initiator of outreach to the world surrounding the community of the faithful;
f) A shepherd who nurtures and cares for the flock of God;
g) A physician to whom are brought the wounds of society;
h) A voice of conscience within the society in which the local Church is placed;
i) A prophet who proclaims the justice of God in the context of the Gospel of loving redemption;
j) A head of the family in its wholeness, its misery and its joy.
The bishop is the family’s centre of life and love.”
(Mission and Ministry, paragraph 151, Lambeth Conference 1988)

May we be enlightened by this vision as we seek to discern the will of God in choosing someone to serve this section of the One, Holy, Catholic and Apostolic Church.

Yours sincerely,
Dean Jeffrey

————————————————————————————————-

March 04, 2018

My Dear Brothers and Sisters in Christ!

One of the surprising features of the ministry of Jesus was his action in the Temple, when he made a whip of cords, overturned the tables of those who were trading, and drove out the money-changers and spilled their coins all over the pavement. The scene of the cleansing of the Temple has been included in all the Gospels (Matthew 21:12-27; Mark 11:15-19; Luke 19:45-48; John 21:13-25). It is reasonable to conclude that the evangelists were all convinced that it happened; the Church would have been too embarrassed to have made up this story.

Some have interpreted this action by Jesus in a very revolutionary light and  revolutionary movements in the world have appealed to it to legitimize their own brand of violence. But if they are to use it,the Christian Church would insist that it be used on Jesus’ terms. Only if their zeal is for “the Father’s house,” for the reign of God, can anyone presume to affect radically the lives of others.
Consequently, such zeal would be directed towards winning people for the Kingdom.

The recognition of the divine initiative and the primary goal of restoring relations with the Lord must be central to any liberation movement. The Church, too, must be guided and inspired by the same. In pursuance of its mission, the Church’s activities can degenerate into a number of events which give the impression that something is really going on. Instead, the relationships may be devoid of justice, charity and mercy. If such circumstances exist in today’s Church, perhaps a special divine intervention is needed. Is Jesus’ whip of cords needed in today’s Church?

Yours sincerely,
Dean Jeffrey


My Dear Brothers and Sisters in Christ!

Today, the Gospel (Mark 1:29-39) reminds us that evangelization is the means whereby we can keep our identity as Christians. There is a note of compulsion in the first chapter of the Gospel of Mark where the Evangelist uses the word “immediately“ some ten times. In the scene of the cure of Peter’s mother-in-law, it is found twice, though translated differently. Altogether, there is a note of the overwhelming urgency to get the message across, by word as well as by deed.

For Jesus evangelizing meant preaching the presence of God’s reign. Consequently, preaching the gospel came to be most closely identified with evangelization. However, it is not to be restricted to the pulpit; instead, one can say that it simply means each believer bearing witness to a deep faith conviction, in his or her own personal setting. Peter certainly did while enjoying the hospitality of his mother-in-law’s house.

Since the 1990s was observed as The Decade of Evangelism, greater emphasis has been placed on this primary task across the Anglican Communion. A comprehensive understanding of the task of proclaimation has been adopted and this has been captured in the following mission statement:
 To proclaim the good news of the kingdom;
 To teach, baptise, and nurture the new believers;
 To respond to human needs by loving service;
 To seek to transform unjust structures of society; and,
 To strive, to safeguard the integrity of creation and sustain and renew the life of the earth.
(The Anglican Consultative Council, 1990)

As we look towards 2020, a renewed effort to proclaim the good news of God needs to be undertaken in our country by the Anglican Church. The average  person can get involve, just by one’s way of life. The healing, reconcilating and liberating presence of Christ is as much needed now, as it was when it was first experienced in the homes, hills and shores of Galilee. Make yourself available, today.

Yours sincerely,
Dean Jeffrey