Homily at Anglican Cathedral, Diocese of North Kivu, Butembo, Democratic Republic of Congo
10 August 2014
Delivered with Swahili translator
Habari ya asabushi..(Good morning)
Bwana asifiwue…(Praise God)
I would like begin by thanking Bishop (Adolphe) Muhindo for giving me the opportunity to speak with you today.
I would also like to thank my friend Bishop Enoch Kayeeye for his support and fellowship in the past year and vision in bringing me to the Diocese of North Kivu.
I bring greetings in the name of Christ Jesus from the Diocese of Northern California, USA.
I come here today from Bwindi, Uganda, where I’ve served as a video volunteer since March.
My first visit to Uganda was last year. When I arrived I knew no one.
However, as a Christian man I knew that I would meet other Christians and have instant fellowship.
I feel the same with you today. Even though we have never met, we have a life in common in Jesus Christ. Therefore we are brothers and sisters and friends in Christ.
In todayâ€™s Gospel, we hear the familiar story about Jesus walking on water.
But unlike in the other accounts, the writer in Matthew adds an exchange between Jesus and Peter.
When Peter sees Jesus, he wants to join him. Jesus calls Peter.
Peter stands for a while, then panics as he sinks.
What happened? Jesus says, â€œOh you of little faith! Why did you doubt?â€
Isnâ€™t that what happens to us when our faith fails us? We sink!
And it can happen a lot. Our faith is often weak. When we lose faith we lose confidence in the Lord.
Peter must have lost confidence. We never read of him trying to walk on water again.
When we lose faith, or our confidence in the Lord, how can we get it back?
The answer, I think, is sitting right next to you.
It is in fellowship, and in prayer, and in scripture, and in worship together than we can be restored and regain our faith.
My faith has sustained me in Africa.
I had no idea I would ever visit Uganda once, let alone twice.
I never in my dreams expected to be standing here at the Anglican cathedral in Butembo.
Bishop Kayeeye and I often discuss how things happen in Godâ€™s time. This appears to be my time.
I was baptized as an infant, and later confirmed by a bishop when I was in secondary school.
I was called to follow Christ and serve others.
But it wasnâ€™t my time.
For more than 20 years, it wasnâ€™t my time.
But when my son was born in the hospital, more than 23 years ago, I was in the delivery room and saw the miracle of life.
I think at that time I was born again, too.
It marked the beginning of my time.
I rejoined the church and began to give OF myself instead of taking FOR myself.
God has heard and answered my prayers. It has been his faithfulness to me, and the encouragement and fellowship of Bishop Enoch that has brought me here.
Bishop Kayeeye has shared his experiences of God at work in the Congo and Uganda..and they have inspired me.
I have been blessed to get a glimpse of Godâ€™s great plan here..
It is written that Faith without works is dead.
For three days here, I have personally seen examples of God at work throughout the Diocese of North Kivu.
Iâ€™ve traveled with your diocesan secretary, Rev. Everest.
Iâ€™ve met with Charlotte and Fagan from Africa International Christian Ministries.
The works underway around Butembo and Beni shout to everyone God is alive and working in North Kivu and your faith is strong.
There are primary and secondary schools that are teaching young studentsâ€¦there are new churches, well built, that will soon welcome worshippers.
And there are health services provided by this diocese that serve the local communities.
And slowly, but surely, in Godâ€™s time, with the help of Godâ€™s people, these missions of God will be fulfilled.
It is their faith which drives Bishop Muhindo and Bishop Kayeeye to serve you, the people of God.
It is your faith which leads you to arise each morning and deal with significant challenges with the hope of a new day.
It is our faith which tells us that that the new day is comingâ€¦for all of Godâ€™s people.
The prophet Jeremiah wroteâ€¦.in chapter 29, starting at verse 11â€¦.
For I know the plans I have for you, declares the Lord.
Plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.
Then you will call on me and come and pray to me, and I will listen to you.
You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart.
My friends, like Jesus to Peter in the boat, God calls us to step out in faith and follow him.
And whether conditions are beautiful or terrible, he will be there.
With the support and fellowship of our brothers and sisters in Christ, let us grow our faith and serve others in his name.