It was wonderful to go back to Africa and meet with Fr Elias and his congregation. I think I must have something of the pioneer in me, I just love the wide open spaces of Namibia, miles and miles of bush stretching out before you and the amazing sky, which seems to go on forever. We were very lucky to have Lloyd with us as our driver and guide, Lloyd is a Fourth generation Namibian and he knows the country, its landscape and its wildlife like the back of his hand. There aren’t very many corners on Namibian roads, in fact hardly any, so it’s impossible to say ’round every corner’ there is something new to discover, perhaps it’s better to say every half kilometre, there is a new discovery. Perhaps we appreciate the vastness of this country because we live in such a crowded city, you can feel a bit lost in the vastness of the space, but once you open your heart and mind, fear turns into joy at the possibility of it all.
Being with Fr Elias again was a special privilege, he has done a remarkable job, he has used every penny we have given him wisely, well and to maximum effect, the exchange rate has helped, but it takes skill, vision and a great community behind you to create a church building out of nothing and frankly with so little money. Of course, Fr Elias would say it was all God’s work, indeed it is and to him we give the glory. Jesus said faith can move mountains, St Simon and Jude is proof positive of this teaching. In our micro managed society, such trust might seem foolish, but with the right vision and belief in the goodness of God, remarkable things can be achieved. Our visit to Namacunde has taught us much.
Thursday of this week is February 14th, known to most people as Valentine’s Day. The shops have been reminding us of this for weeks with their offers galore of cards, chocolates, roses and much more besides. Very little is actually known about St Valentine except that he was said to have been martyred in Rome in the third century. The legends associated with this mysterious saint are as inconsistent as the identification of the man himself so he was ‘downgraded’ in the ecclesiastical calendar some fifty years ago.
On February 14th the Western Churches now prefer to keep the memorial of two Byzantine Christian brothers St Cyril (827-869) and St Methodius (825- 885) who were theologians and Christian missionaries. They created the Cyrillic alphabet (named after St Cyril), based on Greek characters, in order to translate the Bible and other texts into Slavic languages and to bring the written word to Christian converts in what is now Russia. The final Cyrillic form is still used as the alphabet for modern Russian and a number of other Slavic languages today.
So if you are planning to celebrate Valentine’s Day this week perhaps you might also like to raise a glass to St Cyril and St Methodius.
With every blessing