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"No Middle Way" says Ugandan Bishop
VirtueOnline-News ^ | 12/22/2005 | Bishop Nathan Kyamanywa

Posted on 12/22/2005 5:56:43 PM PST by sionnsar

The following sermon was delivered on the occasion of the consecration of two bishops in the town of Arua in Uganda on November 27, 2005 in the Diocese in the Anglican Church of Uganda.

On Sunday during a 5-hour ceremony Ugandan Archbishop Henry Orombi consecrated Joel Obetia (48) as Bishop of the Diocese of Madi / West Nile and Prebendary Sandy Millar (65) as Bishop of the Church of Uganda to serve as Assistant Bishop for Mission in the Diocese of London.

"Praise the Lord for this very important day, when we gather here to not only witness but also affirm the leadership of our two brothers Joel and Sandy and their wives.

This is the time for us to ask ourselves such question as why do we have Bishops at all? Why do we have church? My answer tot these two questions would not be far away or complicated. The church is here and therefore the Bishops to proclaim the message of hope, salvation, harmony and peace.

We have a message from God. The church has a message and that message must be delivered truthfully and with integrity. Joel and Sandy like Jeremiah and like all your brothers the Bishops have been called to deliver a message. Jeremiah 1:4-7 The word of the LORD came to me, saying, "Before I formed you in the womb I knew you, before you were born I set you apart; I appointed you as a prophet to the nations." "Ah, Sovereign LORD," I said, "I do not know how to speak; I am only a child." But the LORD said to me, "Do not say, 'I am only a child.' You must go to everyone I send you to and say whatever I command you. 8 Do not be afraid of them, for I am with you and will rescue you," declares the LORD.

Jeremiah was the Son of Hilkiah and he lived two miles north of Jerusalem in the village called Anathoth and as an object lesson to Judah he was not allowed to marry.

Jeremiah labored for forty proclaiming his God given message to the stiff-necked Judah between 627-580 BC because of his radical message of God's judgment, he led a life of conflict. That this consecration should happen, today here is confirmation of the words that God spoke to Jeremiah in Jer. 1:5-7 "before I formed you in the womb I knew you, before you were born I set you apart; I appointed you as a prophet to the nations"in your lives and ministry.

We thank God who called you, set you apart and appointed you. But that is just the beginning. When God told Jeremiah that he had called him, set him apart and appointed him he then added "you must go to everyone I send you to and say WHATEVER I COMMAND YOU" Vs 7 That iswhy I say that we have Bishops because the church has a message to deliver and the bishops are charged with the responsibility to deliver that message to "every one I send you to".

God's words are clear-YOU MUST GO, there is no debate GO; TO EVERY ONE I SEND YOU: you don't chose to whom to go but whoever God sends you to; say whatever, he commands. This is a very tough job. Jeremiah was sent with a message; and as we know it was a message, which was full of doom; actually Jeremiah is known as a prophet of doom.

One would rather be a massager of a welcome message but nobody enjoys either delivering or receiving a message of doom! At some point we see Jeremiah complaining to God in Jeremiah 20: 7-9. O LORD, you deceived me, and I was deceived; you overpowered me and prevailed. I am ridiculed all day long; everyone mocks me. Whenever I speak, I cry out proclaiming violence and destruction. So the word of the LORD has brought me insult and reproach all day long.

But if I say, "I will not mention him or speak any more in his name," his word is in my heart like a fire, a fire shut up in my bones. I am weary of holding it in; indeed, I cannot.

Delivering God's message had caused rejection for Jeremiah, insults, isolation and hate. And yet he could not withhold it or keep quiet. Jeremiah cried out in despair mixed with pride, pouring out his heart to God. He had faithfully Proclaimed God's word and had received nothing in return but persecution and sorrow. Yet when he withheld God's word for a while, it became fire in his bones until he could hold it back no longer.

When God's living message of forgiveness becomes fire in your bones you will feel compelled to share it with others, regardless of the results. The church should do exactly that, bishops should do that; not counting the cost. Was Jeremiah's message well received? So will yours if you are honest. Let us look at what type of message we bear as bishops and as church.

Our message has two blades to be complete; our message is the voice of God and our message is the voice of the people (or conscience). Both of these blades have paradoxes, the voice, or conscience of society varies from place to place and from age to age.

When you are faithful with the voice of society, you are likely to be popular with thepeople; example of this is our Lord Jesus Christ, when he fed the hungry and healed the sick he was popular with the masses and he commanded multitudes of followers; but that put him in direct clash with the status quo the Pharisees and Sadducees and that led him to the cross; so you have to know that to act as the voice of the people has a lot of challenges.

Nevertheless, the voice of society has to be tied directly to the voice of God, because when the voice of the people is detached from the voice of God, people begin doing their own thing. Then it is the responsibility of the Bishop's to bring the people back to God rather than to be swayed by the ever changing will of the people.

The blade of the voice of God; unlike the voice of the people, the voice of God is always the same in all places and in all ages; the packaging may vary but the message remains the same: "come back to me to repent and live" Challenges associated with this are also enormous; sometimes the voice of God is compromised, you must be willing to tell a polygamous person the truth about his marital status as God sees it, even when it means that he will with hold his giving to the Church!

There is need for us to build the church and therefore we need money! Are you sure you are going to be honest with your flock about their incomes, which do not please God? Yes God loves the sinner - What is the objective of that love? To bring us back to God in repentance! Church must tell the people the truththat is the prophetic voice, the prophetic voice has two blades that of the people and that of God.

Joel and Sandy you are joining the Episcopal calling at a time when people do not want to hear the truth! Their ears are itching as proclaimed by St. Paul in 2 Timothy 4:3-5 For the time will come when men will not put up with sound doctrine.

Instead, to suit their own desires, they will gather around them a great number of teachers to say what their itching ears want to hear. They will turn their ears away from the truth and turn aside to myths. But you, keep your head in all situations, endure hardship, do the work of an evangelist, discharge all the duties of your ministry.

And this is the time we are in now! God's timeless message is never determined by the majority or by human feelings or by wealth or by seniority or education.

Tragically, this is a time when some people have come to regard the Bible as a menu where they can pick and choose what suits their taste and appetite; and leave out what does not fit their own personal beliefs and desires.

It is common to hear comments like "Bishop's must understand that as we continue to evolve we can better understand what parts of the Bible are indeed divinely inspired and what parts are just unique to the society that existed 2000 years ago in Palestine". This is the time for the faithful to present and stand up for the changeless message of God - because God's message is indeed changeless and timeless. Sin must always be sin, whether in Judea two thousand years ago or in today's postmodern society.

To the Congregation: The only two possible responses to the message of God is either defiance or repentance. No middle way. These men of God are being consecrated today to be your voice and to be the voice of God to you; we must understand the nature of their work; they are under command to bring to you God's message in whatever form it is. Sometimes when they will faithfully represent the voice of the people we are likely to hear things like: "Bishops must keep out of politics".

Recently, I came across a story of an encounter between two men, one a politician actually a president and another one a priest who later became a Bishop. The politician said to the priest "Is it Church business to interfere in the politics of the state?" And after a brief silence the Priest responded and said, I have a question to ask before I give you an answer and the priest asked; is it in the best interest of the church to keep silent in the face of injustice?"

This was in South Africa. When the situation demands it, we Bishops are supposed to speak out for the people and when that happens we are within our mandate.

In the current sexuality issue that is going on: the global South is being intimidated by being reminded of polygamy: Yes polygamy is there, but is it right? We equally condemn it! Should we keep quiet when another monster sin comes out in the open simply because there is polygamy in Africa? Another finger is being pointed at us is corruption: "If you say homosexuality is sin, why do you have corruption in your countries?

Agreed! However, do two wrongs make a right? No! Corruption is sin and we condemn it in the strongest terms possible, andwe urge all the organs responsible for routing it out to do so as soon as possible, but we also clearly say that homosexuality is no less a sin than others. Furthermore, although there is polygamy in Africa we, here in the Church of Uganda, we have no polygamous Church leaders (more especially we have no ordained polygamous clergy) and we always stand against it even among the laity.

When we reject money from those who differ from us on issues that are essential to our faith, we are reminded of our poverty.

My question to these people is; are you sincerely sympathetic to my poverty or you want to use your money to lead me astray by accepting and endorsing your false teaching. Jesus said, "The poor you will always have with you, but you will not always have me"And St. Paul reminds us in Rom. 14:17 that "The Kingdom of God is not a matter of eating or drinking, but of righteousness, peace and joy".

We should not divert our attention from what matters and what is essential to our salvation. One other question comes from St. Paul in Romans 6:1-2. "What shall we say, then? Shall we go on sinning so that grace may increase? By no means! We died to sin, how can we live, in it any longer? Our arguments are brushed off as simplistic and uneducated - so what? After all what does St. Paul say? When I come to you. 1 Cor. 1:8-25 and Cor. 2:1-6 Words of caution to Joel and Sandy:

Two responses you should expect from your congregation: Rejection or acceptance example, 1. Jeremiahin Jer. 20:1-2 2. John the Baptistin Matt. 14:3-5 3. Nathan + Davidin 2 Sam 12:1-13 Let us receive these two brothers being set to us to bring His message to us and listen to His voice and as we have two options: either defy our Father's word to our own peril or to accept His Divine Word to our salvation. God bless you."

--The Rt. Rev. Nathan Kyamanywa is Bishop of the Diocese of Bunyoro-Kitara in Uganda.

TOPICS: Mainline Protestant

1 posted on 12/22/2005 5:56:44 PM PST by sionnsar
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2 posted on 12/22/2005 5:57:56 PM PST by sionnsar (†† || To Libs: Celebrate MY diversity, eh! || Iran Azadi 2006)
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