So far we haven’t decided which congregation to join. We have attended services at the Lutheran Theological Institute (LTI), with the Scottsville Methodist Congregation, in the Anglican Cathedral of Pietermaritzburg and in the Lutheran churches in Macebisa (PMB), Imbali (PMB), Sobantu (PMB), Elsies River (Cape Town), and Batho (Bloemfontein). Our plan was to celebrate Easter at LTI but it has been closed over Easter. So we went to the Anglican Cathedral of Holy Nativity on Maundy Thursday and today, on Easter Sunday. Good Friday we felt the services in the Cathedral were either too early or too long, so we joined the Lutheran Congregation in Hayfields (Kreuzkirche – Church of the Cross), which belongs to the Lutheran Church with German origin (ELSCA-NT). (The reason was, that this was one of the few churches nearby that had published their service roster on their web site. And the service was in English on this occasion). The church is mainly a white church but they are involved at LTI and I hope that in the future this church and our own church, ELCSA, could join.
Both in the Cathedral of the Holy Nativity and in Kreuzkirche much focus was put on the sermons. But the liturgy is more elaborated in the Anglican tradition. So, on Maundy Thursday there were both washing of feet and stripping of the altar. Today we enjoyed the renewal of our baptismal vows with the sprinkling of water. But the sermon was a bit longer then we usually find in the Anglican cathedral. The best sermon, though, the children presented. Totally unexpected! The Dean invited all the children at the end of the 2½ hour service. He asked one of the Sunday school leaders to estimate how many they were and the leader answered: 40! The Dean seemed satisfied and started to give out sweets to the children. We prayed hard, because more than 40 kids approached the altar. When the sweets were finished 8 kids still waited for their treats. I really felt for those children but also for the Dean. I could have done the same.
I promise that you will get sweets if you come next Sunday!
Probably not the answer the children wanted. So we all held our breath. Then one of the older girls, who had already received a piece of chocolate, came forward and gave hers to the youngest among the eight. She was followed by another and soon the youngest had got sweets and the oldest had willingly given up theirs. We were impressed! And so was the Dean. What a mighty example in today’s world and today’s South Africa were entitlement and corruption are such major problems.
The Very Revd Ndabezinhle Sibisi, gathers the Sunday school children to give them sweets.