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Monday, 19 December 2011






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Christian Perspectives

Tutu urges South Africans to join in faith over climate

Archbishop Emeritus Desmond Tutu urged South Africans to join world faith leaders, political leaders and pop stars at an ‘extraordinary’ mass rally which was to be held on November 27 at the King’s Park Stadium in Durban.

The Archbishop was to host the “We Have Faith – Act Now for Climate Justice” rally and concert, at which he was to lead a call to world leaders attending the COP17 climate change talks in Durban that they should reach a fair and legally binding agreement to curb climate change.

Archbishop Emeritus Desmond Tutu

Musicians including Ladismith Black Mambazo, Yvonne Chaka Chaka, Arno Carstens, rap star HHP, Shabalala Rhythm and Kenyan Gospel rapper Juliani had confirmed they will perform at the rally, which will be free. The COP17 talks start in Durban the day after the rally.

Faith leaders including Pope Benedict XVI, Chief Rabbi Lord Jonathan Sacks and Archbishop of Canterbury Rowan Williams, had also been invited. Those who cannot attend have been asked to send video clips of support. Environmental campaigners and motivational speakers Lewis Pugh, the ‘human polar bear’, and Braam Malherbe, a 50/50 presenter, were to be among the many who were to address the crowd.

“Apartheid seemed an overwhelming challenge that could not be defeated but we mobilized and defeated it. We need the same passion and determination to defeat climate change,” says Tutu.

“Climate change is an even greater threat to us than apartheid was, because as temperatures rise, millions of Africans will be deprived of water and crops. This will cause enormous suffering. It is something we simply cannot allow.

“In the face of such a huge threat, many of us feel numb and throw up our hands, believing we can’t make a difference. But we can make a difference come to the rally. It will be an extraordinary event. And if you cannot come, please sign our petition on www.wehavefaithactnow.org. We want to have over one million signatures on these petitions at the rally to hand over the world leaders. “Along with the many other faith leaders in the campaign, I appeal to you all - don’t hesitate to join us. Your support could help make a world of difference in keeping our planet cool.”

The ‘We Have Faith’ petition calls on world leaders to commit to a fair, ambitious and legally binding agreement, for a renewal of the Kyoto Protocol, and for funding to help Africa adapt to climate change. Learners from dozens of schools throughout KwaZulu-Natal were to participate in the rally, presenting environmental-themed posters and messages to the leaders and performing song-and-dance numbers. The faith leaders participating in the campaign are reiterating scientists’ predictions that that if greenhouse gas emissions are not curbed, by the end of the century average world temperatures will rise between 20C and 40C, and up to 60C in parts of Africa.

Climate change is already causing unpredictable, extreme weather across the world, they say. Large numbers of people, especially in Africa, are struggling to survive amid increasingly severe droughts, floods and other disasters. Although Africans have done very little to cause climate change, they will be among the most devastated. A new climate change treaty is crucial to prevent enormous suffering and loss of life.

South African finance minister Pravin Gordhan, Archbishop Tutu, university chancellor Ela Gandhi, satirist Pieter–Dirk Uys and author John van de Ruit are the latest public figures to sign the “We Have Faith” petition, which has also been signed by thousands of people across Africa. The “We Have Faith” campaign has several other key elements, which include a youth caravan travelling from Nairobi to the rally, and a day of prayer on December 4 for a just outcome to the talks.

Hundreds of youth activists and artists from many African countries, including South Africa, were travelling from Nairobi to Durban in the caravan (a convoy of “We Have Faith”-branded buses). Along the way, they were to stage youth-led climate concerts in cities including Nairobi, Dar Es Salaam, Lusaka, Gaborone, Lilongwe and Johannesburg (Soweto). Over 200 climate activists are taking part in an epic “Ride for Climate Justice” from Beitbridge in Mpumpalanga to Durban, where they were to attend the rally.

His Eminence Malcolm Cardinal Ranjith solemnly declared
the Year of the Word of God

The Year of theWord of God

His Eminence Malcolm Cardinal Ranjith solemnly declared the YEAR OF THE WORD OF GOD in the Archdiocese of Colombo on the eve of the first Sunday of Advent, November 26, 2011 at St. Lucia’s Cathedral, Kotahena, Colombo 13. The Year of the Word of God will be from first Sunday of Advent 2011 to October 10, 2012.

The Episcopal Vicars, several Rev. Fathers serving in the Colombo City, religious, seminarians and lay faithful from different parishes in the City participated in the Solemn Vespers and the Benediction on Saturday 26th Nov. 2011 and during the solemn prayer service, the Year of the Word of God was to be declared by His Eminence.

At the end of the Benediction Service, His Eminence Malcolm Cardinal Ranjith solemnly declared the Year of the Word of God.





World Day of Prayer andAction for Children

The World Day of Prayer and Action for Children (DPAC) initiative is a global effort to mobilize secular and faith-based organizations to work together for the well-being of children and highlight the important role religious communities can play in promoting child rights. It is held every year around November 20 to coincide with

Universal Children’s Day and the anniversary of the Convention on the Rights of the Child. The focus of DPAC over the next three years (2011-2013) will be on violence against children.

Archbishop of Canterbury said,“the November 20, 2011, is the World Day of Prayer and Action for Children. This day has been promoted by UNICEF, Religions for Peace, Save the Children and other agencies to focus the world’s attention on the well-being of our children. In every faith community, our children are the treasure that we value beyond price. A child born into health and safety is a sign of hope in our common life. In children we recognize the preciousness and dignity of the human being as well as a vulnerability which calls for our care and protection.

The theme for this year is ‘stop violence against children’. Violence against children will take many forms in different contexts – all demanding our action and prayer. After visiting Eastern Congo earlier this year, I particularly hold in my prayers those children who are affected by armed conflict. I met children who had suffered unimaginable horror, attacked, abducted, forced into brutalizing ways of life - and yet, amidst the anguish, I also encountered precious flames of hope, where local churches and communities strove to protect and restore the lives of their children. I had the privilege of meeting a group of young people who are now involved in a peace initiative. They had been taken into the militia as children and forced to perpetrate terrible acts, and yet the Church continued to reach out to them and call them back. Many said to me: “The Church never gave up on us.” I know that UNICEF has supported faith communities doing similar work to rehabilitate child soldiers in other countries.

In Eastern Congo I also witnessed the work of faith communities helping children who had been subjected to sexual violence. I heard of churches and their communities which had repeatedly rebuilt their schools, destroyed in conflict. They said that their children and their children’s future were far too precious not to act, and act again.

I urge us all, in churches and other faith communities all around the world, to unite in this World Day of Prayer and Action for the protection and flourishing of our children.”

Weekly Devotions

Matt 2:1-4 “Now when Jesus was born in Bethlehem of Judea in the days of Herod the king, behold, there came wise men from the east to Jerusalem, saying, Where is he that is born King of the Jews? for we have seen his star in the east, and are come to worship him. When Herod the king had heard these things, he was troubled, and all Jerusalem with him. And when he had gathered all the chief priests and scribes of the people together, he demanded of them where Christ should be born.”-Matt 2:1-4.

I would just like to point out the message of the birth of Christ reached out to God’s chosen few. This message was carried out to them in miraculous ways. We all know that Angel Gabriel visited Mary, and the Shepherds giving them the special news as to how a babe is to enter this world bringing about deliverance and also open a way of peace with God where we humans are concerned. Today however, we are going to understand the selection of three special people. God selects three wise men from different parts of the world. These people are referred to as wise men as they were people who studied the stars.

They were equivalent to Philosophers and Scientists of our days. Just as we think such people are wise in these days these three were in that category in those days.

The scripture is silent as to why God wanted to reveal the birth of His Son specifically to these people and that too by a new star appearing in the sky. I can think of one connection of stars symbolically referring to angels made in the Book of Revelation. Revelation 1:20, however, a deeper study of this verse applies to the priests in charge of the 7 churches referred in this context. However, there is a symbolic reference to angels as stars.

The mysteries of the 7 stars which thou sawest in my right hand, and the 7 golden candlesticks. The 7 stars are the angels of the 7 churches.................

Perhaps, these wise men being non-Jews and involved in star gazing would be better directed by an angel in the form of a star! After all, we know that angels can take many forms. And in this instance took a form of a star, to bring them along to the Manger. Satan, himself was an angel of the highest place, endowed with many blessings in the musical field and in power and beauty who was referred to as ‘morning star’, son of the dawn Isaiah 14:12 We find that, once the star leads them to the manger and they pay their respect to Christ, the new born king in a dream they are warned not to return the same way and go back in a different route. No mention is made of the star any more.

God’s revelation reaches out to the ends of the world to a chosen few. It is not your position, or how clever you are, but the choice is made purely on the state of your heart. If there was a ray of hope in your heart towards searching and finding God, you will find God will not let go of you, but through a series of events in your life will make you understand that He exists and will use any method to bring this home to you.

Are you searching for spiritual truth and matters concerning God? Then, He is able to reach out to you in amazing ways, just as God reached the three wise men (Maggi) from different parts of the world, speaking and guiding them in the language they knew, as they searched the skies for Him the star guided these men to Christ and although Jesus was found in a lowly crib and in a manger, they understood who He was that Christ was the King of Kings, and they did worship Him, then and there.

Even as you search for the truth and you believe that God exists, may His light shine upon you and guide you to His presence as the star of wonder, star so bright did on the first Christmas guiding these three wise men whose lives were touched by the Almighty God. Have a Christmas that touches the heart of Christ - and be blessed by Jesus, our Lord and Saviour.

Prayer Lord Jesus Christ, as I spend time celebrating your birth during this season, make me understand who you are that you are God incarnate who came into this world to save the world. I pray, that as you revealed yourself to these three wise men, you will reveal yourself to me also. Even though my faith is weak, may the Holy Spirit birth in me the true meaning of your coming into this world to save me. Lord Jesus, Help me to open my heart to you fully, and accept you as my Lord and Saviour. Amen

Sunitha Sahayam

Christian Thought for the Week

Jeremiah 49, 34-38

Soon after Zedekiah became king of Judah, the Lord Almighty spoke to me about the country of Elam. He said ‘I will kill all the archers who have made Elam so powerful.

I will make winds blow against Elam from all directions and I will scatter her people everywhere until there is no country where her refugees have not gone.

I will make the people of Elam afraid of their enemies who want to kill them. In my great anger I will destroy the people of Elam and send armies against them, until I have wiped them out. I will destroy their kings and leaders and set up my throne there. But later on, I will make the people of Elam prosperous again, I, the lord have spoken.

Parable on the text

Accidentally I stumbled on this text in the Holy Bible and it sent a chilling shiver through my mind and body; Is this not what we experienced at the hands of rebels in our country who wanted Elam. Is this not what happened around other countries where Elam refugees had gone and scattered themselves and are been rejected today.

After over two decades of violence in the North and East, our country rests in the hands of our Lord. He destroyed them and their leaders but is promise that the people of Elam will be prosperous again, is taking place today.

Is this not a miracle that took place? Read the text in the Bible and you will be amazed how the Lord works mysteriously and protects us from our enemies, yet, paroding them at the end.


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