The District President of the Leeward Islands District Conference, Bishop Rev’d Charles A. Seaton, has written the Pastoral Letter to the Congregation 2022 – 2023.
By clicking here you will be diverted to the letter.
GOD WORKS THROUGH US
“For it is God who is at work in you, enabling you both to will and to work for His good pleasure”. Phil. 2:13 NRSV
In Paul’s epistle to the Philippians, which he wrote while imprisoned in Rome, he expressed his appreciation to the believers in Philippi for their gift, and he encouraged and strengthened them with his assurance that genuine joy emanates from Jesus Christ alone. He emphasized his conviction that the Christian life is a partnership with God through the indwelling of the Holy Spirit.
In our text, Philippians 2:13, Paul advised the believers that God was constantly working in them to inspire them to will, envisage, dream, and plan for the good things, things that please God. Yes! When we open our innermost being to the promptings of the indwelling Spirit of God, we become vessels, instruments in God’s hands. The Holy Spirit will cause the believer to decide what is best, and what will glorify God. The Holy Spirit will subsequently enable the believer to work towards the realization of that desire.
So, God puts in us a desire to do things that are excellent and praiseworthy, and then enables us to accomplish what we desire.
Friends, think about it: all too often some persons strive to be Christians, or endeavor to be good persons, by their own strength and effort. This often leads to failures, blunders, disappointments, frustrations, and cynicism. It is no wonder that so many of us who embark upon the Christian pathway soon surrender, recant, or backslide. My Dear Brothers and Sisters, we cannot run the Christian race in our own strength. We simply cannot!
Today, I encourage us to pause, realize, acknowledge, and affirm that the Christian life is a partnership with God. God calls us into partnership, a relationship. God is the Initiator and the Source of all that is good, and so followers of “the Way, the Truth, and the Life” — Jesus Christ — must learn to relax in the assurance that our God is at work in and through us. God helps us to want to obey Him, and then gives us the power to do what He wants. Yes! The secret to a changed and exciting life is to submit to God’s control and to let God do His work in and through us.
Let’s face the simple, hard, but profound fact, that God never created us and placed us in this world to struggle all by ourselves. If that thought ever invades your consciousness, you must expunge, extinguish it instantly! God is working His purposes out.
As followers of Jesus, and as mortals in this transient world, we struggle with many issues. Some of us have gone to God in earnest prayer for an end to the Covid-19 pandemic. We have seen, felt, and heard how this deadly virus has contributed to the demise of millions, and how it is causing division and divisiveness in churches, families, educational institutions, and communities. We desire and pray for this terrible affliction to end, and for God to help us overcome it.
We want, and plead with God for, an end to domestic violence, human trafficking, exploitation and inhumane treatment, sexual abuse, and papedophilia. We desire, and are praying for, the elimination of destitution and avarice; for the creation of greater community spirit and neighborliness; for God’s will to be done on earth as it is in heaven. Where did these noble desires come from? From God. It is God who has implanted these desires in our hearts, and it is God who is working through us to realize these desires.
God is working His purpose out as year succeeds to year. Do you believe, like me, that God answered the prayers of the faithful, and has led scientists to create vaccines, in rapid, record time, to mitigate the spread of Covid-19, protect individuals, facilitate face-to-face learning, and ease the pressure on our frontline workers? God is working though us in amazing ways. Recognizing this, Charles Wesley wrote:
My every weak, though good design,
O’errule, or change, as seems Thee meet;
Jesus, let all my work be Thine!
Thy work, O Lord, is all complete,
And pleasing in Thy Father’s sight;
Thou only hast done all things right.
The wise man therefore said that in all our ways and efforts we must trust and acknowledge God, and God will direct our paths.
Thought: God is working in us, but it’s not a one-size-fits-all situation.
Prayer: For the willingness to allow God to create the desire in us, and use us to realize that desire.
Bishop, The Rev’d Everald L. Galbraith
President of Conference
“But in fact the ministry Jesus has received is as superior to theirs as the covenant of which he is mediator is superior to the old one, since the new covenant is established on better promises” Hebrews 8:6.
God unconditionally and independently chose Abraham and initiated a covenant relationship him and his descendants. They were God’s special people and an instrument to reveal God’s love and grace to the rest of humanity. This covenant required obedience to the Commandments which were written on tablets of stones and carried from place to place and could be left anywhere at any time. Unfortunately, the chosen people were prone to wander, plagued by a spirit of forgetfulness, and were frequently punished for their disobedience and rebellion.
Through the prophet Jeremiah, God promised a new covenant. In the new covenant God said: ‘I will put my law in their minds, and I will write them on their hearts. I will be their God, and they will be my people’ Jer. 31:33b. The implication is that they would have God’s requirements and expectations with them every second of the day. God “contracted to a span” (CW) and became a human named Jesus; Jesus taught and demonstrated the love of God, suffered and died to successfully institute the new covenant.
Hebrews 8:6 tells us that “the covenant of which Jesus is the mediator is superior to the old one since the new covenant is established on better promises”. It was superior in that it was not limited to the people of Judah and Israel but included everyone because God loves everyone and became a human being to redeem everyone, not just some persons.
It came with wonderful promises such as: “Whosoever believeth in him should not perish but have everlasting life” John 3:15; “…apart from me you can do nothing” John 15:5; “I will come again and will take you to myself, so that where I am, there you may be also” John 14:3; “…nothing can ever separate us from God’s love” Rom. 8:38; “There will be no more death’ or mourning or crying or pain” Rev. 21:4; and those who love and serve Jesus will live forever.
Also, this new covenant provides for an intimate relationship with God like the relationship between vine and branches. This requires the full surrender of oneself to God; the full embrace of God’s will and God’s way; the declaration that: “I am no longer my own but yours. Put me to what you will, rank me with whom you will; put me to doing, put me to suffering; let me be employed for you, or laid aside for you, exalted for you, or brought low for you”.
We must seek to become so closely connected to God that we share God’s life, and the beauty of Jesus can be seen in us, and then “every day with Jesus will be sweeter than the day before”, and daily we grow to love Jesus more and more until at last we are lost in God, our true and everlasting home.
Be so closely connected to God that God is manifested in and through us.
Pray to be drawn nearer and nearer to God as we live during 2021.
Rev’d Everald L. Galbraith J.P.
12th April 2020
Dear Brothers and Sisters in Christ,
Greetings to you in the name of the One who is the Resurrection and the Life.
Easter is, by no stretch of the imagination, the greatest of the Christian festivals, as it embraces and enunciates the good news of new life in Christ. Yet, Easter is different this year, not in its content or message, but rather, in the context in which it finds us all.
We are sharply aware of the impact that the COVID 19 pandemic is having on the world, and our region and church by extension. The implications are enormous as this virus invades every sphere of our lives, disrupting normal behavior and operations, and effectively creating chaos, uncertainty, fear and even death among us.
On the other hand, the outbreak of this Corona virus, has allowed for the massive outpouring of goodwill, generosity and courage from countless persons, especially those who are on the front line in the fight for the lives of many patients.
May I use this opportunity to remind us that we should not take this virus lightly. We may be familiar with the following information about it, yet I feel constrained to urge us to be very careful and vigilant.
Symptoms of COVID-19 can include fever, cough and difficulty breathing – very similar to a cold or flu. Some people can develop a more severe illness. The virus that causes COVID-19 is spread between people who are in close contact with one another (about 6 feet). The virus is spread through respiratory droplets that are produced when an infected person coughs or sneezes.
Do observe and practice the following important precautions they should take to help prevent the spread of this and other viruses:
As I close, I wish to emphasize that the essential message of the Easter event is about trust in the face of doubt, courage in the face of fear, hope in the face of despair, and life in the presence of death.
It is my prayer, that, as together, we battle in this difficult time, we will do so with the knowledge and confidence, that the same Jesus, who conquered death and the grave, will enable us in our struggles, that we too, can be overcomers.
May this Easter season be one of hope, of confidence and peace, through the power of the Risen Christ.
Blessed Easter to all!
Your Brother in Christ,
SIGNS OF HOPE
“Therefore, the Lord himself will give you a sign: The virgin will conceive and give birth to a son and will call him Immanuel” Isa. 7: 14.
Worshipping God with the Methodist community of Grove Methodist Church on December 8, 2019, was an inspiring and fulfilling experience, and left me feeling excited and very hopeful. Guess you are wondering, “Why?” Well, I saw a glimpse of a church family. Besides adults and young adults, there were youth, children, babies and pregnant mothers. I was thrilled to see the babies and pregnant women, because babies and pregnancies are signs of hope. They speak to the miracle of conception and hope for the continuation of humanity. They are signs of God’s love and amazing grace, and awesome power to do, “exceedingly abundantly more than we can ask or imagine”.
Through Isaiah, God spoke to the unbelieving and reluctant King Ahaz, and impressed upon him the need to remember God’s covenant with Judah, and to have hope in the face of his worst fears. What was happening?
King Rezin of Syria and King Pekah of Israel, as confederates, advanced on King Ahaz’s Jerusalem. Owing to the military alliance, “the heart of Ahaz and the heart of his people shook as the trees of the forest shake before the wind” v.2. To provide hope, Ahaz sought an alliance with Assyria. Ahaz was warned against the need for such a confederacy, seeing that the coalition of Aram and Ephraim was like “two smoldering stumps of firebrands” v.4; they were not blazing and were about to go out.
Ahaz was unconvinced, and even rejected the suggestion that he
ask God for a sign to persuade him that God would save Jerusalem without a military alliance with Assyria. God promised a sign. What’s the sign? The birth of a baby. Yes! A baby as a sign of hope.
The problems of our age are varied, potentially causing a sense of apprehension and trepidation. We will be tempted to lose heart and seek solutions that are not divinely inspired or God-affirming. The people of God must never lose hope in the power of God to transform lives and situations. Yes! Humans have answers, but God has THE answer.
The Incarnation of Jesus is God’s resounding “yes” to earthly life and human flourishing. Christmas is the annual reminder that we need not allow situations of fear and hopelessness to tone down our aspirations or make us lose hope for a better future. The people of God should maintain an indomitable spirit of hope in God’s promise of everlasting love and a new earth. Pregnancy and birth are two of the miraculous tokens sent to remind us of God’s power to deliver.
Babies and children, by their very nature, are signs of hope. Let us hope in the faithfulness and power of God to deliver.
Thought: There are signs of hope all around. Am I hopeful?
Prayer: Lord, you have spoken to me. Help me to see your signs of hope, and trust you.