God’s Wind of Change is Blowing
Homily for the Installation of Bishop Tsietsi Seleoane as Bishop of Mzimvubu – by the Revd Lynda Wyngaard, Diocese of Natal
Jehovah thel’ uMoya , oyincwele
Umoya oyincwele, oyincwele
God’s wind of change is blowing. The wind of a new decade. The wind of a new year.
For the Diocese of Mzimvubu, a new Bishop. For Bishop Tsietsi, a new ministry.
This should be good news. But the wind of change does not always feel like good news to us.
The wind of change blows us out of our comfort zones. The wind of change can be frightening.
The wind of change can stir up a storm in our hearts.
Then we are like the disciples in today’s gospel story. We are not sure if we will make it to the other side of this storm.
Today we are in the presence of an awesome and sometimes frightening God.
David was a king. He had power. He thought he could do what he liked with his power.
But he was wrong. God saw how David used power to hurt other people.
God saw David’s sin with Bathsheba and his murder of her husband.
God sent the prophet Nathan to confront David with his sin.
Nathan told David: “By this sin you have scorned God. You have despised God.”
God cares about how we use our power.
When we use our power to hurt other people, like David, we scorn God, we despise God.
This is the God to whom all hearts are open, all desires known, and from whom no secrets are hid.
I can try to close the door of my heart, but God can see through that closed door.
God knows the desires of your heart and my heart today.
You and I cannot hide secrets from God.
This God sees you, sees me, sees us gathered here.
This God knows our deepest secrets.
This God knows our fears and hopes, as we face the wind and the storm of change.
But there is good news. This God can calm a storm with a word from His mouth.
“Peace, be still!”, said Jesus. And the wind ceased, and there was a great calm.
This same God whom we worship, is the one to whom all hearts are open.
This same God whom we worship, can calm the wind and the storm in our hearts.
This same God is the God of our baptism. That is why today, we renewed our baptismal promises.
When we are facing the winds and the storms of change, it is good to remember the God of our baptism.
So today, together, we stood before the God of our baptism and we said some powerful things.
We said that as members of God’s Church, we would turn away from the wickedness of the world and its greed for possessions, power and status.
We said we would turn away from all that corrupts us – pride, selfishness and lust.
And we renounced Satan, the author of evil and the author of lies.
These are powerful statements as God’s wind of change blows among us!
And then we spoke out our faith in God.
We said that we believe and trust in God the Father, the Maker of all.
We said that we believe and trust in God’s Son, Jesus Christ, the Redeemer of the world.
We said that we believe and trust in God’s Holy Spirit, the Giver of life.
We made some promises, too.
We promised that we would faithfully play our part in the life and fellowship of the Church.
We promised that we would gladly obey the commandments of God and seek to do God’s will.
We promised that by our lives and witness, we would share in the Church’s mission to proclaim the gospel and to set forward peace and justice among all people.
As the wind of change blows, we have gone back to the God of our baptism.
We have gone back to stand on the Rock of our Salvation. This Rock is Jesus Christ.
It does not matter what has happened in the past.
Jesus is my Rock. Jesus will calm the wind and the storm in my heart.
Jesus will calm the wind and the storm in your heart.
Jesus will calm the wind and the storm in the hearts of all who love God in this Diocese.
And Jesus is the one who is sending His new Shepherd, Bishop Tsietsi, to you.
The God to whom all hearts are open – this God:
This God is speaking to us today as we stand in the wind and the storm of change.
He says, in the words of Jesus, ““Why are you afraid? Where is your faith?”
What is your answer?
Will you respond, in the words of Psalm 51:10
“Create in me a clean heart, O God,
and put a new and right spirit within me.”
Will you believe and trust that God has this Diocese in His powerful hands?
Will you have faith in the God who calms the wind and the storm?
Will you fulfil the promises you have made today?
God’s wind of change is blowing.
God’s wind of change can stir up a storm in our hearts.
But we will make it through this storm with Jesus, and in the power of the Holy Spirit.
And so I will end with a prayer for you, my dear brothers and sisters of the Diocese of Mzimvubu:
O God, our hearts are open to You:
thank You for Your beautiful people of the Diocese of Mzimvubu.
Thank You for sending Bishop Tsietsi to be their Shepherd.
Thank You for Your wind of change, the wind of Your Holy Spirit, blowing on them.
Jesus, calm the storm in their hearts.
Say ‘Peace, be still”, to them.
Give them faith to trust in You.
Give them faith to serve You.
Give them faith to love one another
in the Name of Jesus Christ who calmed the storm. Amen.
The Revd Lynda Wyngaard
01 February, 2020