A Travellerspoint blog

South Africa

ON SAFARI

at Kwandwe Game Reserve in South Africa

semi-overcast 58 °F
View Bill and Hope 2019 on HopeEakins's travel map.

Church, lunch, and our departure to Kwandwe Game Reserve in a van ... Six of us travelled across a very prosperous looking South Africa for a long four hours. Kwande is VAST, so vast that after our arrival and champagne welcome at the Gatehouse, we went right out on our first game drive without going to our accommodations. Why? Because our “room” at Great Fish River Lodge was a twenty-five minute drive from the reception building. Vast, remember?

So what happens on a game drive? First you climb into a land cruiser, a tough behemoth of a vehicle that can cross any terrain and probably has. Climbing into it isn’t easy. It requires mounting the wheel housings and then throwing your legs over the sides like a Rockette (well, maybe not quite like a Rockette) and a heave-ho into the seats and then hanging on as the vehicle careens up and down the road. We saw two beautiful cheetahs grooming each other, giraffes and zebras grazing, ostriches prancing elegantly, black-backed jackals popping their heads up, nyala and oryx and kudu striding along, and elephants flapping their ears to make themselves look bigger and scare us away. Jono, our guide, gave commentary as he drove, and Ernie, our tracker, looked for spoor and tracks and movement from a metal chair mounted on the hood. The excitement of seeing these beasts in the immense landscape, coupled with charging up and down steep trails, produced lots of adrenaline --- quite welcome because it was COLD (58 degrees and windy).

After three and a half hours we went back to River Lodge, climbed down the 58 steps for drinks by a fire and a fine dinner of springbok, pork, or shrimp. Finally, we were escorted to our “hut;” you’re not allowed to go outside alone after dark because the lion doesn’t always sleep at night. After a 1/3 mile walk traversing two bridges we discovered the luxury of “hut” number two: an entrance hall, bedroom, sitting room, indoor shower, outdoor shower, bathroom, dressing room, terrace, and plunge pool --- and we were too tired and cold to enjoy it yet.

Our wakeup call came at six the next morning. We scrambled to walk the long trek back for a light breakfast and then climbed into the 4WD vehicle for the next game drive at seven. Within minutes Ernie had spotted signs of a lioness. He climbed down from his tracker seat (see it below!) and we set off. Suddenly she was prowling on the road in front of us, and we got instruction to stand our ground if she charged, to make noise so we sounded like an enemy rather than looking like prey. The lioness was hunting for food for her three cubs. The radio crackled: she was walking down the hill beside Lodge #2 (remember where we are staying???). We continued on to see black and white rhinos (the white ones look very silly with teeny little eyes and strange horns), a little yellow mongoose, and baboons. The African buffalo look like dear cows munching on their grass, but are the fiercest of the Big Five species. We stayed away; the lioness was enough.

After a brunch at eleven (a big wow), we walked back to our “hut” for a nap. Tea was at 3:30, then another game drive at four. About six thirty, we turned behind a bush and saw a sundowner party for us in the clearing! Lanterns lit a table with drinks and over the top canapés – and we threw our blankets around us and celebrated, even though ice cold champagne was the last thing on our wish list.

On the third day, we had our final game drive; you can see us silhouetted beneath the giraffes. After another fine brunch, including ostrich meat pie, we left for the airport at Port Elizabeth – and after a two and a half hour drive and a two hour flight, we returned to the Whisper, glad to be back, glad to have had this great adventure.

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Posted by HopeEakins 07:19 Archived in South Africa Comments (0)

WORSHIP and SERMON

Good Friday

sunny 70 °F

WORSHIP aboard the Silver Whisper on April 19, 2019 at 9:15 am

All wait in silent prayer.

Officiant Blessed be our God. 

People For ever and ever. Amen.
Officiant Let us pray.

Almighty God, we pray you to behold this your
family, for whom our Lord Jesus Christ was willing to be
betrayed, and to suffer
death upon the cross; who now is alive and reigns with you and
the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever. Amen.

The Passion of our Lord Jesus Christ according to John.

Then Pilate took Jesus and had him flogged. And the soldiers wove a crown of thorns and put it on his head, and they dressed him in a purple robe. They kept coming up to him, saying, ‘Hail, King of the Jews!’ and striking him on the face. Pilate went out again and said to them, ‘Look, I am bringing him out to you to let you know that I find no case against him.’ So Jesus came out, wearing the crown of thorns and the purple robe. Pilate said to them, ‘Here is the man!’ When the chief priests and the police saw him, they shouted, ‘Crucify him! Crucify him!’ Pilate said to them, ‘Take him yourselves and crucify him; I find no case against him.’ The Jews answered him, ‘We have a law, and according to that law he ought to die because he has claimed to be the Son of God.’

Now when Pilate heard this, he was more afraid than ever. He entered his headquarters again and asked Jesus, ‘Where are you from?’ But Jesus gave him no answer. Pilate therefore said to him, ‘Do you refuse to speak to me? Do you not know that I have power to release you, and power to crucify you?’ Jesus answered him, ‘You would have no power over me unless it had been given you from above; therefore the one who handed me over to you is guilty of a greater sin.’ From then on Pilate tried to release him, but the Jews cried out, ‘If you release this man, you are no friend of the emperor. Everyone who claims to be a king sets himself against the emperor.’

When Pilate heard these words, he brought Jesus outside and sat on the judge’s bench at a place called The Stone Pavement, or in Hebrew Gabbatha. Now it was the day of Preparation for the Passover; and it was about noon. He said to the Jews, ‘Here is your King!’ They cried out, ‘Away with him! Away with him! Crucify him!’ Pilate asked them, ‘Shall I crucify your King?’ The chief priests answered, ‘We have no king but the emperor.’ Then he handed him over to them to be crucified.

So they took Jesus; and carrying the cross by himself, he went out to what is called The Place of the Skull, which in Hebrew is called Golgotha. There they crucified him, and with him two others, one on either side, with Jesus between them. Pilate also had an inscription written and put on the cross. It read, ‘Jesus of Nazareth, the King of the Jews.’ Many of the Jews read this inscription, because the place where Jesus was crucified was near the city; and it was written in Hebrew, in Latin, and in Greek. Then the chief priests of the Jews said to Pilate, ‘Do not write, “The King of the Jews”, but, “This man said, I am King of the Jews.” ’ Pilate answered, ‘What I have written I have written.’ When the soldiers had crucified Jesus, they took his clothes and divided them into four parts, one for each soldier. They also took his tunic; now the tunic was seamless, woven in one piece from the top. So they said to one another, ‘Let us not tear it, but cast lots for it to see who will get it.’ This was to fulfill what the scripture says,
‘They divided my clothes among themselves, and for my clothing they cast lots.’
And that is what the soldiers did.

Meanwhile, standing near the cross of Jesus were his mother, and his mother’s sister, Mary the wife of Clopas, and Mary Magdalene. When Jesus saw his mother and the disciple whom he loved standing beside her, he said to his mother, ‘Woman, here is your son.’ Then he said to the disciple, ‘Here is your mother.’ And from that hour the disciple took her into his own home.
After this, when Jesus knew that all was now finished, he said (in order to fulfill the scripture), ‘I am thirsty.’ A jar full of sour wine was standing there. So they put a sponge full of the wine on a branch of hyssop and held it to his mouth. When Jesus had received the wine, he said, ‘It is finished.’ Then he bowed his head and gave up his spirit. (19:1-30)

A Reflection The Reverend Hope H. Eakins

From the beginning of time God has tried to explain it all, to tell us how much we were loved. God tried to show us through the rainbow promise to Noah, God tried to tell us by parting the Red Sea waters. God sent us prophets, and when their words rang hollow in the skies, God put flesh around his word and sent Jesus, to teach us and heal us and love us. But God knew that love couldn’t be taught in words alone; love can’t be preached from a pulpit or written in a book, or told from far off. The words “I love you” don’t count for much if we hear them on a radio, or hear them from somebody who doesn’t know us.

We are here on Good Friday because when God said, “I love you,” God said it from a cross. I can’t explain the meaning of it all; some things you just can’t say with words, but I can tell you another story of love stripped bare, of love that did not run from pain.

It happened in ward of a large Veteran’s Hospital. The patients were quadriplegics and paraplegics, men whose bodies had been broken by war and whose spirits were even more broken. One day a Bishop came to visit that bleak ward. He stepped onto the brown linoleum in civvies, with no crosier, no miter, no purple shirt. He was a good Bishop. He moved slowly from bed to bed and didn't offer pleasantries or foolish hopes. He listened mostly and remembered not to start to shake hands with an armless man. When someone called out, “Hey, Padre, give us a speech,” he did. It was a good talk, an earnest talk, and since he believed what he was saying, they believed him too. He told them how much Jesus loved them and how Jesus became one of them; he told them how Jesus brought healing to the sick and hope to the prisoners; he told them about Jesus’ wounds and how he ended up dying on a cross for them. And before he left, the Bishop spoke a prayer, not read from the Prayer Book but sprung from his heart. As he said good-bye, the men thanked him, but the Bishop knew that he had not brought them the hope they needed. He walked out the door, and then he suddenly turned back into the ward as if he had forgotten something. He stood silently before the men and then he started to undress. He took off his coat and let it fall to the floor. He took off his necktie and his shirt. He peeled off his undershirt, and every movement was painful. Then he took off his trousers and his socks and his shoes, and the patients saw that every part of his body was scarred and strapped together by braces. The Bishop was a wounded war veteran too. He stood there for a moment and then put his clothes back on. No words were spoken because no words had to be spoken. There was compassion in that ward; there was understanding in that ward; there was love in that ward. As he left, the Bishop raised his hand and blessed the men. They never forgot him.

“Jesus was stripped of his garments,” says the Gospel. Jesus hung before the world exposed and vulnerable, wounded like we are. God comes to us in the person of a man who showed himself to us in all his weakness. God did not stay aloof from us, working miracles from the sky; God did not just send us a Bible full of love letters; God came to be with us, to hang on the cross beside us, to tell us that even the pain of thorns and nails can be redeemed and healed.

Somehow the dogma has arisen in Christianity that Jesus died so that our sins might be forgiven, as if God’s anger had to be appeased, as if God wrote a passion play so that Someone Else took the punishment we deserved. There are theologians who talk like that, but not the ones who walked beside Jesus. Jesus didn't die so that God could forgive our sins; Jesus stretched out his arms upon the cross to show us that God does forgive our sins - because God loves us – this much.

The Solemn Collects

Officiant Dear People of God: Our heavenly Father sent his Son into
the world, not to condemn the world, but that through him the world might be saved and that all who believe in him might be delivered from the power of sin and death, and
become heirs of everlasting life. We pray, therefore, for people everywhere according to their needs.

Let us pray for all the nations and peoples of the earth,
For
those in authority among them and
For all who serve the common good
That by God's help they may seek justice and truth, and live
in peace and concord.

Silence

Almighty God, kindle, we pray, in every heart the true love of
peace, and with your wisdom guide those who take counsel for
the nations; that in tranquility your dominion may increase, until the earth is filled with the knowledge of your love; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.

Let us pray for all who suffer and are afflicted in body, mind, and spirit;
For the hungry and the homeless, the destitute and the oppressed
For the sick, the wounded, and the crippled
For those in loneliness, fear, and anguish 

For those who face temptation, doubt, and despair 

For the sorrowful and bereaved 

For prisoners and captives, and those in mortal danger
For those whose hope and trust have been dashed by the torching of black churches in Louisiana and victims of racism everywhere
That they may know the vastness of God’s love for them and be comforted and relieved and that God may stir up in us the
will and patience to minister to their needs.

Silence

Gracious God, the comfort of all who sorrow, the strength of
all who suffer: Let the cry of those in misery and need come
to you, that they may find you present with them in all
their afflictions; and give us, we pray, the strength to serve
them for the sake of him who suffered for us, your Son Jesus
Christ our Lord. Amen.


Let us pray for all who have not heard the Gospel of Christ;
For those who have lost their faith 

For those hardened by sin or indifference 

For the contemptuous and the scornful 

For those who have persecuted others in the Name of God
That God will open their hearts to truth, and lead them to 
faith and obedience.

Silence

Merciful God, creator of all the peoples of the earth and
lover of souls: Have compassion on all who do not know you; and bring
home to your fold those who have gone astray; that there
may be one flock under one shepherd, Jesus Christ our Lord.
 Amen.

Silence

O God of unchangeable power and eternal light: Look
favorably on your whole Church, that wonderful and sacred 
mystery; by the effectual working of your providence, carry
out in tranquility the plan of salvation; let the whole world 
see and know that things which were cast down are being
raised up, and things which had grown old are being made
new, and that all things are being brought to their perfection
by him through whom all things were made, your Son Jesus
Christ our Lord; who is alive and reigns with you, in the unity
of the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever. Amen.

Officiant We adore you, O Christ, and we bless you
People Because by your holy cross you have redeemed the world.

.
. Officiants: The Reverend William J. Eakins, The Reverend Hope H. Eakins
. Altar Guild: Jane Kline, Directress; Jill Ingham

A Sunrise Easter service will be celebrated in the Observation Lounge at 7:15 am on Sunday, April 21.
.
. Future services: Sunday, April 28 at 5:30 pm
. Sunday, May 5 at 9:15 am

Posted by HopeEakins 02:18 Archived in South Africa Comments (0)

WORSHIP SERVICE & SERMON

Maundy Thursday

sunny 70 °F

A SERVICE OF HOLY COMMUNION
aboard the Silver Whisper on MAUNDY THURSDAY, April 18, 2019

The people speak the words in bold.

Holy God, maker of the skies above,
Lowly Christ, born among us,
Spirit of life, wind over the flowing waters,
In earth and sea and sky, you are there.
In everything we touch, in everyone we meet, your presence surrounds us.
We give you thanks.

But we have trampled you in creation
We have missed seeing you in one another
We have rejected you in the poor.
Forgive and renew us, fill us with joy.

Let us pray.
Gracious God, we give you thanks for your Son, Jesus who, on the night before he died, promised that he would be with us always, gave us the gift of himself in bread and wine, and gave us a new commandment to love one another as he has loved us. Mercifully grant that as we open our hearts to receive these gifts we may be strengthened by them. Amen.

Psalm 78:14-20, 23-25

God led them with a cloud by day, *
and all the night through with a glow of fire.

He split the hard rocks in the wilderness *
and gave them drink as from the great deep.

He brought streams out of the cliff, *
and the waters gushed out like rivers.

But they went on sinning against him, *
rebelling in the desert against the Most High.

They tested God in their hearts, *
demanding food for their craving.

They railed against God and said, *
“Can God set a table in the wilderness?

True, he struck the rock, the waters gushed out, and the gullies overflowed; *
but is he able to give bread or to provide meat for his people?”

So he commanded the clouds above *
and opened the doors of heaven.

He rained down manna upon them to eat *
and gave them grain from heaven.

So mortals ate the bread of angels; *
he provided for them food enough.

The Holy Gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ according to Mark.
Glory to you, Lord Christ.

When it was evening, Jesus came with the twelve. While they were eating, he took a loaf of bread, and after blessing it he broke it, gave it to them, and said, ‘Take; this is my body.’ Then he took a cup, and after giving thanks he gave it to them, and all of them drank from it. He said to them, ‘This is my blood of the covenant, which is poured out for many. Truly I tell you, I will never again drink of the fruit of the vine until that day when I drink it new in the kingdom of God.’ When they had sung the hymn, they went out to the Mount of Olives. (14:17, 22-26)
The Gospel of the Lord.
Praise to you, Lord Christ.

A Reflection The Reverend William J. Eakins

It was the Last Supper, the last time the disciples would eat together, the last time the disciples would all be together as a family, because within a few hours of that supper, all Hell would break loose.

It was night and there were soldiers, and the air was choked with the fear of the disciples’ own deaths - and they didn’t yet know the half of it. But Jesus knew that if ever there were to be a day we would call Good Friday, if the world were ever to be saved from the evil outside those doors and the evil outside our doors, then, within hours, he would bear a cross to Calvary’s hill.

I remember my own last suppers, times of separation that were filled with poignant meaning and choked back tears. I remember when my last son left to go away to school and all the advice I wanted to give him - how to separate the laundry, how to manage his money, how to drive safely, how never to skip breakfast - all the things he needed to know.

I remember the last time I ever saw my father. He was in a nursing home trying to recover from a stroke. He was very weak, lying in bed and barely able to speak. I had to fly home to go back to work. I gave him a big hug and started to leave. And it was then my father lifted his hand as in blessing and spoke the precious words I’ll never forget: “You’ve been a good son, Bill. I’m proud of you.”

Offering a last act of love, giving last words of advice - this is what Jesus was trying to do at the Last Supper, trying to keep his little family of disciples safe in the face of his death. The Passion narratives in the Gospels tell us that his last meal with his disciples, Jesus did three things.

He warns the disciples not to squabble among themselves, that a dispute over who is the greatest is foolish because they are all the greatest, made in his Father’s image and so precious that he will soon die for them, and because being the greatest isn't what it is all about anyway. He tells them to love one another because one another is all they have.

Next he tells them to be servants. “I am among you as one who serves,” he says, as he washes their feet. I have given you an example. Now go and serve each other, remembering that you are so precious that the Almighty God stooped down to be born in a manger for you, that I have stooped to wash your feet, and that I am breaking my body for you.

Jesus knew that servanthood is not an easy road, and so he gives them one last thing; he feeds them a last supper that will endure; he gives them himself. He takes the loaf of bread. “This is my body,” he says and breaks it, fragments it, that the bread can be shared among them and in the sharing make them whole and make his new body whole, his new body that is the Body of Christ, the church, constituted by the squabbling disciples and by all of us throughout the ages who have been fed from the one Body broken and the blood poured forth.

For thousands of years we have shared this real presence, this sacrament of Christ’s giving his life away for the life of the world, for us, that we may give ourselves away for our brothers and sisters. Again and again, over the centuries, the ancient drama of the Last Supper has been enacted in catacombs, on battlefields, in hospital beds, in great cathedrals and tiny chapels, and here in the Show Lounge on the Silver Whisper.

In one way or another, the bread is broken and shared, the wine poured out and drunk. It is our Lord’s last gift to us and his greatest promise. “Take this,” he said, “and share it, divide it, so that the whole world may be fed in my name.”

Jesus’ last instructions are echoed at the end of Ernest Hemingway’s novel, For Whom the Bell Tolls. The freedom fighter, Robert Jordan, is fatally wounded, and Maria, the woman he loves, wants to stay behind and die with him. But he tells her that she must go on, must go ahead and live for him. He says to her:

“Now you will go for us both; you must do your duty now.… Not I but us both. The me in thee. Truly. We both go in thee now. This I have promised thee. Don’t look around. Go.”

And Pablo hit the horse across the crupper … and it looked like Maria tried to slip from the saddle…. “Roberto,” Maria turned and shouted. “Let me stay! Let me stay!” “I am with thee,” Robert shouted back, “I am with thee now. We are both there. Go.”

These words are like the words that Jesus says to us tonight: Take my body. The me in thee. Truly. This have I promised thee. Go. And live for me.

HYMN: Let us break bread together on our knees

THE INVITATION

The table of bread and wine is the table of communion with the world for which Christ died. So come to this table; it is Jesus Christ who invites us to meet him here. Come you who have much faith, and you who would have more; Come you who have received this Communion often, and you who have not been at the table for some time; come you who have tried to follow Jesus and you who have failed.

The Lord be with you.
And also with you.
Lift up your hearts.
We lift them to the Lord.
Let us give thanks to the Lord our God.
It is right to give God thanks and praise.

We offer you praise, Almighty God, for in the communion of your love, Christ comes to us and we come to Christ. With the whole realm of nature around us, with brothers and sisters from the east and the west, and with those separated from us now who yet in your great mystery are close to us, we join in the song of your unending greatness.

Holy, holy, holy, Lord God of power and might,
heaven and earth are full of your glory. Hosanna in the highest.
Blessed is the one who comes in the name of the Lord.
Hosanna in the highest.

On this night on which Jesus was betrayed, he took bread and blessed it and broke it and gave it to his disciples saying, “This is my Body, given for you.” In the same way, he took wine, gave thanks for it, and gave it to his disciples saying, “Drink this, all of you. This is the cup of my blood shed for you.”

Hear us now, O Christ; breathe your Spirit upon us and upon this bread and wine. May these gifts become for us your body, healing, renewing and making us whole. Filled with your presence, may we live in this world as people of mercy and compassion and love.

See, the Body of Christ is broken for the life of the world. Here Christ comes to us in bread and wine, in body and Spirit.

All who are drawn by faith are welcome to receive the sacrament at this,
our one Lord’s table.

THE WORDS OF ADMINISTRATION

The Body of our Lord Jesus Christ, which was given for you, preserve your body and soul unto everlasting life. Take and eat this in remembrance that Christ died for you, and feed on him in your heart by faith, with thanksgiving.

The Blood of our Lord Jesus Christ, which was shed for you, preserve your body and soul unto everlasting life. Drink this in remembrance that Christ's Blood was shed for you, and be thankful.

Let us pray. Loving God, we pray for your church throughout the world and for the communities of faith from whom we have come and to whom we shall return. Hear us, O Lord.

We pray for the sick, the bereaved, the oppressed, the addicted, the homeless, and all who are in need. Hear us, O Lord.

We pray for the people of Paris and all who are disturbed and sorrowful over the fire at Notre Dame Cathedral. Keep safe those who work to stabilize the structure; guide those engaged in rebuilding; give hope to all who are discouraged and fearful. Hear us, O Lord.

We pray for the leaders and the people of all nations that they may seek peace and find justice. Hear us, O Lord.

Summing up all our petitions, we pray in the words our Savior taught us.

Our Father, who art in heaven, hallowed be thy Name,
thy kingdom come, thy will be done, on earth as it is in heaven.
Give us this day our daily bread. And forgive us our trespasses,
as we forgive those who trespass against us.
And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil.
For thine is the kingdom, and the power, and the glory, for ever and ever. Amen.

Jesus said: Peace is my last gift to you, my own peace I now leave with you; peace which the world cannot give, I give to you.

I give you a new commandment: Love one another as I have loved you.

Peace is my last gift to you, my own peace I now leave with you; peace which the world cannot give, I give to you.

By this shall the world know that you are my disciples: That you have love for one another.

The peace of God which passes all understanding keep your hearts and minds in the knowledge and love of God, and the blessing of Almighty God, Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, be with you now and remain with you always. Amen.


The veiling of the cross.

Officiants: The Reverend Hope H. Eakins and the Reverend William J. Eakins
Altar Guild: Directress: Jane Kline, Jill Ingram. Usher: Douglas Kline

This Friday, April 19, is called Good Friday, the day of Jesus’ death. At 9:15 am, we will say the Solemn Collects and pray for the world Jesus died to save.

Our Easter Sunday sunrise service will be at 7:15 am on Sunday, April 21, in the Observation Lounge.

Posted by HopeEakins 09:51 Archived in South Africa Comments (0)

WORSHIP and SERMON

Palm Sunday

sunny 74 °F
View Bill and Hope 2019 on HopeEakins's travel map.

WORSHIP Aboard the Silver Whisper Palm Sunday, April 14, 2019

The Liturgy of the Palms

Officiant Blessed is the King who comes in the name of the Lord.
People Peace in heaven and glory in the highest.
Officiant The Lord be with you.
People And also with you.
Celebrant Let us give thanks to the Lord our God.
People It is right to give God thanks and praise.

It is right to praise you, Almighty God, for the acts of love by 
which you have redeemed us through your Son Jesus Christ. On this day he entered the holy city of Jerusalem in triumph, and was proclaimed as King of kings by those who 
spread their garments and branches of palm along his way. 
 Let these branches be for us signs of his victory, and grant that we who bear them in his name may ever hail him as our King, and follow him in the way that leads to eternal life; who is alive and reigns in glory with you and the Holy Spirit, now and for 
ever. Amen.

Officiant Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord.
People Hosanna in the highest.
Officiant Let us go forth in peace. 

People In the name of Christ. Amen.

During the procession, all hold palms in their hands. Psalm 118:19-29 is recited in unison

Open for me the gates of righteousness; * I will enter them; I will offer thanks to the LORD.

“This is the gate of the LORD; * he who is righteous may enter.”

I will give thanks to you, for you answered me * and have become my salvation.

The same stone which the builders rejected * has become the chief cornerstone.

This is the LORD’S doing, * and it is marvelous in our eyes.

On this day the LORD has acted; * we will rejoice and be glad in it.

Hosanna, LORD, hosanna! * LORD, send us now success.

Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord; * we bless you from the house of the LORD.

God is the LORD; he has shined upon us; * form a procession with branches up to the horns of the altar.

“You are my God, and I will thank you; * you are my God, and I will exalt you.”

Give thanks to the LORD, for he is good; * his mercy endures for ever.

[b]HYMN[/b]: All Glory, Laud and Honor

Let us pray. Almighty and everliving God, in your tender love for the
human race you sent your Son Jesus to take our nature upon him and to suffer death upon the cross. Mercifully grant 
that as we walk in the way of his suffering, we may also share 
in his resurrection; through him who is alive 
and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever 
and ever. Amen.

A Reading from the Gospel according to St. Luke

When Jesus had come near Bethphage and Bethany, at the place called the Mount of Olives, he sent two of the disciples, saying, ‘Go into the village ahead of you, and as you enter it you will find tied there a colt that has never been ridden. Untie it and bring it here. If anyone asks you, “Why are you untying it?” just say this: “The Lord needs it.” ’ So those who were sent departed and found it as he had told them. As they were untying the colt, its owners asked them, ‘Why are you untying the colt?’ They said, ‘The Lord needs it.’ Then they brought it to Jesus; and after throwing their cloaks on the colt, they set Jesus on it. As he rode along, people kept spreading their cloaks on the road. As he was now approaching the path down from the Mount of Olives, the whole multitude of the disciples began to praise God joyfully with a loud voice for all the deeds of power that they had seen, saying, ‘Blessed is the king who comes in the name of the Lord! Peace in heaven, and glory in the highest heaven!’ Some of the Pharisees in the crowd said to him, ‘Teacher, order your disciples to stop.’ He answered, ‘I tell you, if these were silent, the stones would shout out.’ (19:29-40)

Reflection The Reverend William J. Eakins

On that first Palm Sunday, Jerusalem was in the mood for a celebration. The streets were filled with people come there for the Passover feast. There was talk of a Messiah in the air, rumors about a new rabbi from Galilee. They knew their Scripture, this crowd. They knew Zechariah’s prophecy, “Behold your King is coming to you, humble and mounted on an colt,” and then they saw him, the one called Jesus, and he was entering the city riding an ass, just like the prophet had said.

Some of them spread their cloaks on the ground; some cut down palm branches and made a carpet. “Hosanna,” they cried. “Hosanna to the Son of David!” It was a parade, and everybody loves a parade. But something was different about this parade. Jesus didn't wave like a politician but rode on silently knowing that this was no political rally. Palm Sunday was the beginning of a week that would end at the cross.

Jesus had told his disciples that this journey would lead to his death, but they didn’t believe him, didn’t want to follow him to his death. That’s not part of a parade. And so Jesus asked them as he asks us, “Could you not watch with me one hour?” And we say no, we’re really sorry, Lord, but we’ve got a tour in Cape Town and Trivia is at 4:45 and there’s a great show at 10 tonight. “But could you not come and remember why I got nailed to the cross?” he asks. And one way or another, we say, “Well, we’re not comfortable doing that, Lord, because it’s not really part of the cruise experience, not part of our parade.

So Jesus continues on toward Calvary. Now it is a funny thing, but when you are dying, the important thing isn’t the parade but the cross. When you know that your life is going to end, you want somebody to listen to your fears and tell you that your life matters, not to reassure you that every little thing’s gonna be all right. When you are dying, you want somebody to say that they love you and they’ll stay with you and they’ll remember you. It is a funny thing, but it is through Jesus’ death, ugly as it is, that life is offered to us and hope is poured into our hearts. What matters is that Jesus Christ loves us enough to die for us. What matters is that Jesus Christ came to hang beside us on all the crosses of our living and all the crosses of our dying too. What matters isn’t the party but that someone loves us when the party’s over.

God asks those of us who come to the Palm Sunday parade to keep on walking to Calvary. And maybe the reason God asks us to do this is so that we can learn how to be present at the crosses of today: to listen to the bereaved, to sit by sickbeds, to hold the hands of the anxious, to hold out hope for those who are getting divorced and give confidence to those who have lost their jobs, to dream dreams for the despairing, to engage the lonely, to look the poor in the eye because we are brothers and sisters all of whom are in need.

When there are no quick fixes, no easy answers, God asks us to walk with those who go through the valleys of death. That is a hard thing for people like us who like solutions and plans, construction and parades, who want to fix things and make them all better. But then I imagine that Jesus preferred the parade to the cross too, and that is why he asked his disciples - why he asks us who would follow him: Could you not watch with me an hour?

The Prayers

Gracious and loving God, you sent your Son Jesus to walk the way of the cross and teach us that new life and new hope are present even in suffering and death.
You never forsake those who seek you.

Pour your Holy Spirit upon the leaders of all nations that they may work together to bring peace on earth and justice to all your children.
You are known by your acts of righteousness.

Bless the refugees who roam this earth. Unite your people everywhere that together, we may give hope and help to those who have no homeland and no home.
The needy shall not be forgotten, nor the hope of the poor be taken away.

Open our eyes to see a world without boundaries, and give us the will to free our lands and seas from pollution and contamination
that we may be not trapped in the works of our own hands.

Give us hearts and minds to see your wondrous presence in the varied forms of faith and worship we meet along our journey.
Let everything that has breath praise You.

Console all who mourn, all who are fearful and uncertain, all who have lost their way.
You will not forget the cry of the afflicted.

Comfort and heal those who are sick; shelter the homeless; relieve the troubled; guide the confused.
You are a refuge for the oppressed in time of trouble.

Soften our hearts to forgive those who have hurt or ignored us, those whom we envy, and those whom we scorn. Strengthen us to recognize our faults, repent, and make amends for our wrongdoing.
Have pity on us, O Lord.

Receive those who have died into the arms of your love, and eternal rest grant unto them.
You lift us up from the gate of death and remember all whom you have made.

Summing up all our petitions and all our thanksgivings, we pray in the words Jesus taught us

Our Father who art in heaven, hallowed be thy name
Thy Kingdom come; thy will be done on earth as it is in heaven
Give us this day our daily bread and forgive us our trespasses
As we forgive those who trespass against us
And lead us not into temptation but deliver us from evil
For thine is the Kingdom and the power and the glory forever and ever. Amen.


The Blessing

Life is short and we have little time to gladden the hearts of those who travel the way with us. So, be swift to love and make haste to be kind….and may the blessing of God Almighty, Father, Son and Holy Spirit be with you now and always. Amen.

HYMN: Ride on, ride on in majesty

. Officiants: The Reverend William J. Eakins, The Reverend Hope H. Eakins
. Altar Guild: Jane Kline, Directress; Jill Ingham
. Music: Alex Manev
.
. Expected time of next service: Maundy Thursday, April 18 at 5:30 pm

ANNOUNCEMENTS

This Thursday, April 18, is known as Holy Thursday or Maundy Thursday, because on this day Jesus commanded (gave a mandatum) those who follow him to love one another. On this day at 5:30 pm, we will celebrate the Holy Eucharist. All are welcome to come and receive the sacrament.

This Friday, April 19, is called Good Friday, the day of Jesus’ death. At our ecumenical service at 9:15 am, we will say the Solemn Collects and pray for the world Jesus died to save.

Choir rehearsal for Easter Sunday is on Saturday, April 20, in the Show Lounge at 9:15 am.

On next Sunday, Easter Sunday, April 21, we will worship together at a sunrise service on the deck at 7:15 am.

Posted by HopeEakins 11:24 Archived in South Africa Comments (0)

DURBAN, South Africa

A Matter of Respect

sunny 79 °F
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Sitting on the shuttle bus going into Durban, Bill spied a taxi, hired it, and thus began a serendipitous day’s adventure. Clive’s Taxi took us first to the Durban Botanical Garden just as a golf cart tour was departing for an hour’s tour. Our cart driver was filled with information, with tales, and with enthusiasm. He loves this garden, is proud of this garden, and delighted in showing us:
- a cannon ball tree with fabulous flowers and a fruit that unrolls like a carpet
- kapok which he uses to stuff pillows
- a sunken garden of exquisite beauty (below)
- a sensory garden for the blind to smell and feel
- a “kissing tree” which developed when two cedar seedlings were planted too close, rubbed together as they grew, and then fused
- an orchid house of delights
- the only male Wood’s cycad in the world (photo of cone below).
We had an interesting encounter in the Botanical Garden parking lot awaiting our taxi’s return. The (black) attendant offered Hope his plastic chair. Hope sat down and in so doing lightly brushed the grill of a Toyota van with her hand. A squawking woman carrying a baby denounced the attendant for letting Hope touch her car, although he had had nothing to do with it. Hope apologized profusely and got up and walked away. The woman continued to rant at Hope, “I was taught by my elders to respect the property of others, and I teach my child to live with this respect. You disrespected me!” Hope said “So sorry, unintentional, just a little touch.” Woman said, “You need to learn a lesson.” Taxi arrived. Thank God.

This country sees “disrespect” and violence around every corner. When Bill presented his passport to the South African customs agent, he dropped it on the counter. The agent growled at him, “Don’t you ever throw your passport; show some respect.”

Next we visited St. Thomas Anglican Church. The gate (everything is behind gates and fences here) was just being locked by Patti Shephard, a quintessential and wonderful church lady. Patti opened the gate and told us all about her ministries there (Prayer chain head and lector). As we left, alarms were put on and the gate locked. You can see the elaborate wiring in the photo below.

What goes on here in South Africa? There’s much talk of violence, of marauders breaking and entering, of “red districts” where you’d be mugged if you entered, of blacks disrespecting whites and walking on white property, of guns at the ready to shoot intruders. The novelist Paul Theroux (ship’s guest speaker) suggests that the origin of the violence is the influx of international aid to Africa, making the natives dependent, dissuading Africans from caring about Africans so that agencies like World Vision become bureaucratic ends in themselves and leave the land worse off that it was before they came. Dr. Mark Elovitz (ship’s enrichment lecturer) suggests that in the 19th century scramble to divide Africa into European colonies, with little regard for the people and their cultures, a model of rapaciousness developed. Who knows? Hope looks at the environment and wonders – all around us are wild animals that kill to survive; when they are hungry, they slaughter to eat something farther down the food chain. All around us are plants that survive only is they are protected by spines and thorns. Could it be that the model of the natural world permeates the people? Or maybe there really isn’t as much danger as everyone thinks and the fence and alarm system manufacturers just hype the news.

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Posted by HopeEakins 10:35 Archived in South Africa Comments (0)

RICHARDS BAY, South Africa

Gateway to the Zulu

sunny 73 °F
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We are in Zululand, surrounded by game reserves and cultural villages. Most everyone on the ship went on short safari adventures today. We are saving our oohs and ahs for the game we hope to see on a three day safari next week, leaving after church on Sunday. So we took the bus to a nearby shopping center and have a number of observations...

South Africa is NOT Mozambique! The highways are well constructed and well landscaped. Pretty little housing clusters sit behind pretty walls BUT all the walls are topped with razor wire. When we arrived at the mall, the first shop we saw was called Security Services and was well stocked with every kind of gun. We had lunch at a Wimpy’s and when the waitress saw our credit card unprotected by a RIFD sleeve, she told us to get it wrapped right away. (Hope’s cheeseburger and Bill’s grilled cheese sandwich tasted pretty good after all our gourmet meals aboard ship.) Somehow we get the idea that it's not very safe here.

So back to the ship where the dock area was lined with local artisans beading necklaces and carving wood. We loved it all. You might see the salad servers and beaded giraffe in the photo if you pay a visit to Scarborough Street.

Tonight we are looking forward to a show of local dance and Qadasi and Maqhinga, whatever they are.
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Posted by HopeEakins 09:11 Archived in South Africa Comments (0)

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