A Eulogy for Lydia Labuschagne

No one ever told me that grief felt so like fear. I am not afraid, but the sensation is like being afraid. The same fluttering in the stomach, the same restlessness, the yawning. There is a sort of invisible blanket between the world and me.’

– C.S. Lewis in ‘A Grief Observed’

Graduating Lydia cropped

Many of you know that Lydia Labuschagne passed away unexpectedly on 31 March 2014, and her dying has left a huge hole in our hearts.

Lydia started her journey with Hatfield Training Centre as a YOYL student in 2002, stayed on as a leader the following year and returned for a second leadership year in 2005. She also completed her correspondence studies in Bible and Theology, graduating with a second degree just five weeks ago with a 92% aggregate; the top marks of the group. She was always a reader and a thinker, and her house was securely built on Jesus, the Rock.

Today we are remembering you, dearest Lydia as your home-town of East London celebrates your life in a memorial service. The truth is we oscillate between drowning in a tidal wave of grief and seeing you laughing from the bottom of your heart as you do flick-flacks in the lush eternal meadows of heaven. We love you * we miss you * we applaud you!

Proverbs 22:1 sounds like Solomon is talking about you: ‘A good name is more desirable than great riches; to be esteemed is better than silver or gold.’

Your face book page says it all; your good name and gracious spirit are echoed in the posts of those who knew you. Somehow you managed to be fully present wherever you were, making each of us feel important and special. Thank you for sprinkling our lives with the stardust of your acceptance and love!

We will see you soon, in the twinkling of an eye, and our prayer is that grace may abound to us as we journey on without you… for now.

Pam Ferreira

Principal: Equipping@Hatfield

 

Memorial Service Information

A second, local memorial service will be held for Lydia on Friday 11 April in Johannesburg South. Details are as follows:

Date:         Friday 11 April, 14:00

Address:  Waterstone College

                        Main Service Road

                        Kibler Park, Johannesburg South

Tel:           011 943 2682

The family has asked that we wear bright colours.

New year’s greeting – 2014

I do trust that as you read this some Christmas cobwebs are still lingering, and that you have managed good rest in December. May the memories of days in the sun, late night movies, connecting with family and friends, and mostly the luxury of sleeping until you are done still be close to the surface. How wonderful it is to put down the weight of work responsibilities for a while, and have time to just be! May there be a special grace and peace as you pick up those responsibilities again and press on to what beckons you in the year ahead.

If 2013 was particularly difficult, may grace abound to you so that you can commit to eternity those things that have caused you pain, one way or the other. “Forgetting what is behind – both the failures and the successes – and straining toward what is ahead, I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus.” Philippians 3:13

A thought by CS Lewis has recently captured my attention:It seems that we all long for happiness and security! We are waiting for the perfect day, the perfect moment and the perfect relationship before we can be happy. But safety is not what is offered in the Scriptures. The Scriptures offer us peace, and the company of Emmaunuel; God with us! In the words of CS Lewis in his book The Problem of Pain, “We are never safe; but we can have plenty of fun…and even some ecstacy.” What the scriptures clearly offer us, though is peace….not necessarily safety at all times, but peace of mind and heart!

May the God of the universe keep company with you on the mountain tops of 2014, as well as be your shepherd in the valleys that may await us.

With kindest thoughts and prayers

Pam and the Team!

PS: Hatfield Training Centre has joined forces with Hatfield Art Centre. Equipping@Hatfield is our new name, and we are now a Division of Hatfield Christian Church, rather than the Department that we were before. All our contact details remain the same, but I thought you would like to know about the change of name.

A Thought For Christmas

Christmas Hope

For some 2013 was a year of “the best of times and the worst of times”! It was year of staying close to the 12 Benedictine Rules of Humility:
* respect God
* love not my own will
* the wisdom of heaven is submissive
* be faithful
* be transparent
* be content in my job
* see myself correctly
* stay within my appropriate boundaries
* control my tongue
* avoid mindless frivolity
* speak plainly, and
* keep a humble posture!

And so the struggle for self leadership, and for integrity continues.
Much in our daily routines has changed, and it’s almost as if we will need to engage in new operating systems in 2014.

May there be a special grace on each one reading this to make the shifts – to keep hope alive in the midst of challenges – to allow small glimpses of beauty to revive the soul and lift our spirits.

May God be with you in the weeks leading up to Christmas as Emmanuel, God with us!

And so we press on in the Kingdom:
* being loved by God
* loving God as best we know how
* loving ourselves
* and loving those whom God loves!

Grace and peace to each of you, fellow travellers.

With love
Pam

JUST A THOUGHT…..victories that give momentum….

“Everyone must have two pockets, so that he can reach into the one or the other, according to his needs. In his right pocket are to be the words: ‘For my sake was the world created,’ and in his left: ‘I am earth and ashes.’”    – Rabbi Bunam of Pzhyshacaravaggio_-_saintjeromewriting

And so ‘for by the grace given me I say to every one of you: Do not think of yourself more highly than you ought, but rather think of yourself with sober judgement bin accordance with the measure of faith God has given you.’   – Paul in his book to the Romans 12:3

So, this is my thought….

What does ‘looking at ourselves with sober judgement’ mean? Being honest in our self-evaluation can be tricky, because to base our evaluation on either our successes or our failures will most likely skew our perspective. Our successes could lead us to consider ourselves more highly than we ought, and our failures would probably have the opposite effect.  It is neither our strengths nor our weaknesses that give us our place of significance in this world. Rather, it is our identity in Christ, our measure of faith that reminds the ashes evident in our lives, that the world was created for us!

I have thought that momentum comes from our successes. Now I am thinking that momentum comes from our victories; those small obediences to the voice of God that most people would be totally unaware of. These victories, these overcomings of ourselves, are only  possible by the grace of God – those successes whose glory truly belongs to Him, for it was in His strength that our obedience and good deeds were possible.

“It is ours to offer what we can, His to supply what we cannot.”  – St. Jerome

 

Pam Ferreira

Principal

Equipping@Hatfield

Picture: St Jerome by Caravaggio

Lent Journey- Behold the Lamb of God

LENT: OUR JOURNEY OF JOY – BEHOLD THE LAMB OF GOD!

The first stage of loving is often sheer gratitude! Jesus had cast out seven demons from Mary, and now she was the one who stayed at the tomb.

‘Mary stood outside the tomb crying. As she wept, she bent over to look into the tomb and saw two angels in white, seated where Jesus’ body had been, one at the head and the other at the foot. They asked her, “Woman, why are you crying?” “They have taken my Lord away,” she said, “and I don’t know where they have put him.” At this, she turned around and saw Jesus standing there, but she did not realize that is was Jesus.

“Woman,” he said, “why are you crying? Who is it you are looking for?” Thinking he was the gardener, she said, “Sir, if you have carried him away, tell me where you have put him, and I will get him.”

Jesus said to her, “Mary.”

So Mary Magdalene went to his disciples with the news: “I have seen the Lord!” And she told them that he had said these things to her.  -John 20:11-16, 18

 

The moment of recognition for many of us was the moment when Jesus called our names!

 

‘All night long on my bed I looked for the one my heart loves; I looked for him but did not find him. I will get up now and go about the city, through its streets and squares; I will search for the one my heart loves. So I looked for him but did not find him. The watchman found me as they made their rounds in the city. “Have you seen the one my heart loves?”

Scarcely had I passed them when I found the one my heart loves. I held him and would not let him go.’ -Song of Songs 3:2-4

 

Equipping@Hatfield would like to give gredit to Delia Smith, from whose book most of the Lent Journey content came from.

Delia Smith – A Feast for Lent. 1983. The Bible Reading Fellowship, Oxford, UK.

Lent Journey

LENT: JOSEPH OF ARIMATHAEACommunion-Cup_Bread

Joseph’s was an important member of the Sanhedrin, and a secret disciple of Jesus. His story is recorded in all four the gospels, and is a wonderful example of doing what we can, and like him to live in the hope of the kingdom.
‘Now there was a man named Joseph, a member of the Council, a good and upright man, who had not consented to their decision and action. He came from the Judean town of Arimathaea and he was waiting for the kingdom of God. Going to Pilate, he asked for Jesus’ body. Then he took it down, wrapped it in linen cloth and placed it in a tomb cut in the rick, one in which no one had yet been laid. It was Preparation Day, and the Sabbath was about to begin. The women who had come with Jesus from Galilee followed Joseph and saw the tomb and how his body was laid in it. Then they went home and prepared spices and perfumes.’-Luke 23:50-56
Pam Ferreira
Principal
Equipping@Hatfield

Lent Journey – Good Friday

communion02-300x225LENT: GOOD FRIDAY

Our lent journey has been one of returning, seeking, hearing and learning. Let us not be desensitized and turn our faces away from Jesus, the Suffering Servant. The punishment that was on Him brought us peace.
‘He had no beauty or majesty to attract us to him, nothing in his appearance that we should desire him. He was despised and rejected by men, a man of sorrows and familiar with suffering. Like one from whom men hide their faces he was despised, and we esteemed him not.
Surely he took up our infirmities and carried our sorrows, yet we considered him stricken by God, smitten by him, and afflicted. But he was pierced for our transgressions, he was crushed for our iniquities; the punishment that brought us peace was upon him, and by his wounds we are healed.
Therefore I will give him a portion among the great, and he will divide the spoils with the strong, because he poured out his life unto death, and was numbered with the transgressors. For he bore the sin of many, and made intercession for the transgressors.’ -Isaiah 53:2-5, 12 (written 600 years before the death of Jesus)
Pam Ferreira
Principal
Equipping@Hatfield

Lent Journey – The Passion Week

HOLY WEEK: PETER468529368_6577714215_o

As we follow Peter’s story we are so often encouraged by his constant, and public, mistakes; he fills us with hope that our lives, too, may be worth something in the kingdom despite our many mistakes. Peter is destined for great things, and receives his training through his mistakes.

“Simon, Simon, Satan has asked to sift you as wheat. But I have prayed for you, Simon, that your faith may not fail. And when you have turned back, strengthen your brothers.” – Luke 22:31

‘Just as Peter was speaking the rooster crowed. The Lord turned and looked straight at Peter. Then Peter remembered the word the Lord had spoken to him: “Before the rooster crows today, you will disown me three times.” And he went outside and wept bitterly.’  -Luke 22:60-62

It is so often in our mistakes that we learn to be humble, and only in our humility that we begin to grow strong. It was the Peter who had wept bitterly who preached with such power that 3 000 people were converted. He is our example that every failure is an opportunity for growth. Peter, accepting his weakness, repented and became the Rock on which the church of Jesus would be built.

Take a moment to reflect on your most recent mistakes. Thank Him for his forgiveness and kindness to you.  Humbly ask the Lord to help you grow through these mistakes.

 

Pam Ferreira

Principal

Equipping @ Hatfield

Lent Journey – The Passion Week

HOLY WEEK: THE IRONY OF FAITH

 

‘I am the Lord’s servant. May it be to me what you have said.’ – Luke 1:38

biblebreadcup

‘But Mary treasured up all these things and pondered them in her heart.’- Luke 2:19

The irony of faith is that we worship, we profess our faith, we declare that God is almighty, but when, like Mary, we are visited with the supernatural power and intervention of God, we ask, ‘but how can this be?’. Mary knew that Jesus had been born by the power of God, and then faced the unimaginable horror of seeing her son die. Her words of surrender ring through history!

‘Near the cross of Jesus stood his mother….when Jesus saw his mother there, and the disciple whom he loved standing nearby, he said to his mother, “Dear woman

, here is your son”, and to the disciple, “Here is your mother.” From that time on, this disciple took her into his home.’- John 19: 25-27

We are all needing faith to worship, and believe. May there be grace today to say ‘Yes’ to God, like Mary, even though it may be in the midst of suffering.

‘But I trust in your unfailing love; my heart rejoices in your salvation. I will sing to the LORD, for he has been good to me.’  – Psalm 13: 5&6

 

Pam Ferreira

Principal

Equipping@Hatfield

Lent Journey -The Passion Week

HOLY WEEK: THE BETRAYAL OF A FRIEND

It’s the last week before the Easter celebration, a time for final reflection and for aligning ourselves in humility and worship. Easter is a time of great joy and celebration as it celebrates the redeeming of each of our lives. Each of journeys has been deeply personal and this last week of reflection is again deeply personal.

47 While he was still speaking, Judas, one of the Twelve, arrived. With him was a large crowd armed with swords and clubs, sent from the chief priests and the elders of the people. 48 Now the betrayer had arranged a signal with them: “The one I kiss is the man; arrest him.” 49 Going at once to Jesus, Judas said, “Greetings, Rabbi!” and kissed him.
CommunionBreadWine
50 Jesus replied, “Do what you came for, friend.”

Then the men stepped forward, seized Jesus and arrested him.

–      Matthew 26:47-50 (NIV)

Delia Smith says “In reflecting on the events of the Holy week and on some of the principal characters involved, I think what we need to do is look at three distinct aspects: (a) how the person himself might have felt, (b) how Jesus felt, and (c) what is our own response. For me the simplest way to begin to begin to reflect on these significant events – which mark the turning point of our entire history – is to look at them from the human level. I have long felt that nothing makes the Gospels more alive and vivid than the essentially human nature of the story.”
Take a few moments to reflect on your own life, can you identify in some way with the reading of today? Would you allow your life experience to draw you closer to the Lord in this holy week?

“If this had been done by an enemy
I could bear his taunts.
If a rival had risen against me,
I could hide from him.
But it is you, my own companion,
My intimate friend!
(How close was the friendship between us.)
We walked together in harmony
In the house of God.”

–      (Psalm 55:12-14)

Pam Ferreira
Principal
Equipping@Hatfield