I marveled at their singing. I had never heard better singing than this; and from an angelic choir domiciled in Mwanza, Tanzania! They could be heard down the streets and past the market place crooning their welcome to the church goers on the steps that led into the old building. The congregation might have been lacking in alms but they made up for this with their enriched worship whose highlight, more often than not, included a guest priest with deeply discerning teachings of the Word. On one such day therefore was a burly, happy-faced priest whose passionate voice boomeranged across the walls, even managing to dull out the traffic outside.
A much deserved sermon on the principles of peace was my gift as a potential immigrant. It was about this time that I got to hear about the art of the timely answer and how we should learn this from our old folk. There was too the need to constantly avoid what does not concern us. Is it not how interesting how we hear gunshots renting the air and instead of diving for cover most of us will be seen filming it all with our eyes and giving unnecessary commentaries with little regard for the fact that we are in the line of fire? Surely one of the greatest follies of the human race is to spend most of our time enveloped in issues that do not concern us in the least. There is however the advice that when in doubt, we should pray in order to get answers as to whether or not we ought to be involved in certain matters.
Many are they that go around burdened by lack of forgiveness and hatred yet the Bible in the book of Romans 12:9-21 talks of how sincere love should be and how we should leave vengeance for our maker. It goes on to remind us that being kind to our enemy serves to heap burning coal on his head.
Praise is good but it will never be enough no matter how much of it we get. We should therefore avoid the pitfall of seeking it out and although we should not rebuke it, we should pass it on to our creator for it is He who should be glorified for the talents that He has lent to us to magnify His name.
Jealousy continues to be the one emotion that denies us the ability to enjoy what we have. As the green eyed monster seeks to feed off the blessings of others, we forget our own worthiness and uniqueness in the orderly universe. Jealousy remains one of the seven sins that are mentioned in the Bible and which greatly displease our maker alongside anger, lust, sloth, envy, gluttony and greed. There is absolutely no peace in jealousy as the heart remains troubled and dissatisfied.
Our environment is the biggest controller of who we perceive ourselves to be. The good news however is that our perceptions are from our minds where memory is stored and shapes us into being who we are in the interpretations that we make of what we see. This therefore means that we can decide how to be according to how we control our thoughts. More good news in this is the fact that we are able to change our environment simply by perception. Our moods can be changed by our coping mechanism. If we remain positive and see opportunities in all that is around us, then we are blessed to live a fulfilling life for we will forever be the sower of new ideas and the harvesters of our daring spirits. We should therefore change ourselves according to our environment; change what we can partake but not distress ourselves about what we cannot. After all an Indian Apache saying advises us thus 'you can take many paths to get to the same place'.
It mattered not that I had traveled thousands of kilometers to hear about life and how to be peaceful in it for these words would ring true anywhere. There remain many schools of thought concerning peace but for me this was timely and well received.
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May these words (sermons), from various men and women of God be a blessing to all.