Monday, 6 September 2010

"Are you joking God?"

A year ago our friend and colleague Suzanne died, she took her own life in moment of despair.
This morning we sang and prayed, lit candles and picked up grain seeds of hope. A colleague from Aotearoa sang a wonderful lament in Maori, other colleagues played flute and piano, read despite tears and emotions.
Nyambura Njoroge preached an extraordinary sermon from the heart. She had suggested preaching and chose powerful texts from Numbers and 2 Corinthians as her starting point. She spoke of a meeting of bishops in Africa of the despair some of them expressed about working for the kingdom of God. In particular she spoke of her own son's suicide, of Suzanne, of her daughter's depression. Facing such suffering she said made her ask "Are you joking God?"
Gently, calmly, without notes but with humour and with a conviction that comes from faith and hope, she preached for herself and for us. Despair cannot have the last word, we have to learn to speak the truth to power - that truth has to be addressed to ourselves before we address that truth to others. I wish I had recorded Nyambura preaching but I'm glad there were so many of us there to hear God's word of hope and resurrection preached slowly, passionately and from the heart.
You can find our liturgy here. You'll see that we sang Shine Jesus Shine - this was Suzanne's last joke against me - I always stopped her from putting it onto the service sheets, it is one of my least favourite hymns. This morning as we began our serivce with it I really enjoyed it. Hope can tranform us.
We ended by saying "live love laugh" together before receiving the blessing. These were the words on a necklace that Suzanne had given to her sister a few years ago.
So we try to carry hope forwards.

1 Comment:

Mavis said...

I'd feel similarly about Shine JS :-) The preaching sounds wonderful