Rector's Message

Some Autumn Reflections from the Rector
OH MY HEART
We Nhliziyo Yami
Oh my heart be wise when your enemies surround you,
Keep praying, ask the Lord for help as he is powerful,
That is your weapon, do not lose it.
Pray without ceasing for the Lord is powerful.
Ladysmith Black Mambazo

When my children were small our family attended Bishop Cronyn Memorial Church in London. It was there that we would meet two individuals that would become very important people in our lives, and in the lives of our children for these two soon-to-be dear friends, were most recently just moved here from Africa, starting up a new life in Canada. They would model for us what it was like, as strangers in a new land, to live out of a faith that guided and directed them through good times and bad. It would be them that would introduce us to the musical stylings of Ladysmith Black Mambazo, a male choral group from South Africa that was formed by Joseph Shabalala in 1964. Ladysmith Black Mambazo would become known for their traditional Zulu harmonies. They would go on to release a number of albums and received countless awards as they shared with the world not only their incredible musical gifts, but also much about the culture and people of South Africa.

When I recently came across one of their songs, included in one of my regular daily devotionals, I was both reminded of the great faithfulness of friends from an earlier time, and touched by the sentiments expressed in this song as cited above, as it reminded me of the place of prayer in our lives; in particular, the place of prayer when we are tempted through the pressures and circumstances of life to think or feel that prayer is not possible, not useful, not effective, not necessary, laying it aside, forgetting that it is one of our most valuable tools as people of faith. We lay down the very thing that has the ability to connect us to the truest source of our power. The song remind us, as did Paul in his writings (1 Thessalonians 5:16-18) that our prayer is to be unceasing, continuous, which at first might seem impossible. If our idea of prayer is limited to those words that we say when in a formal prayer posture, standing or kneeling, or reading from a particular prayer book, then yes, praying in this way continuously would be quite impossible. But prayer is primarily an activity and an attitude of the heart; an attitude that affirms God’s abiding presence with us, God’s guiding and directing us when days seem good and when days do not. Some days our prayers are full of praise and thanksgiving, and on other days prayer becomes the weapon we wield when we feel the darkness pressing in upon us. Both are part of our journey. It is our heart that needs to remember this, for it is our heart, the centre of who we are that can sometimes forget this.

As we find ourselves in these final days of autumn, let’s all be reminded to continue in prayer for one another, and for the work and ministry of St Anne’s in Byron, as God uses our hands and our feet to do the work of the Gospel in this community, opening our hearts and our lives to God’s Spirit, working in us and flowing through us.

val+

 

Archive of Rev. Rita Harrison's Messages to the parish