“Great is the Lord” – Du Preez Stolz & Texas Girl’s Choir

Tema/Theme : “Die God wat grense oorsteek”
“The God crossing borders”

The theme of a production, where both this Texas Girl’s Choir and this Bloemfontein Childrens Choir partook at the Arts Festival, was “Crossing Borders”.

Our first reaction on such a theme can be a cautious one: “That is dangerous!”
One needs boundaries! Isn’t it a bit risky and liberal?

Actually the Law of God is a set of boundaries which is meant to protect:
To protect yourself and to protect other people.
• To protect youself from others acting without love towards you.
• To protect others from your own love-less acts which could hurt others.

In South African past we know about military “operations across borders”.
Those were also very dangerous and risky.

However, how amazing was it for me to embark on a journey in the Spirit – discovering God as the God who crosses borders. And I discovered: It is part of His character.
It is His way of doing things. He loves to cross borders.
And I will show you why I say so during the rest of the liturgy.

1. The first border God crossed was to create.

(The Scripture texts will be shown in English and read in Afrikaans.)
In die begin het God die hemel en die aarde geskep.
Die aarde was heeltemal onbewoonbaar, dit was donker op die diep waters,
maar die Gees van God het oor die waters gesweef.
Toe het God gesê: “Laat daar lig wees!” En daar was lig. (Gen 1:1-3)
“In the beginning God created heaven and earth” – Gen 1:1

Out of God’s “lonely” heavenly existence, God crossed the borders of his own existence and created creation: heaven and earth, with plants and creatures, animals and mankind.

That was an amazing and challenging thing to do.
The amazing God stepped across His own borders to create something outside of Himself.
And the verdict was “This is good, this is very good!”
We have a wonderful God who deserves to be praised!

Sing praise songs.

2. The second border which God crossed was to step into a relationship with this creation.
God crossed over the borders of heaven every day and strolled with Adam and Eve in the garden of Eden. And there formed a relationship.

God het die mens geskep as sy verteenwoordiger, as beeld van God het Hy die mens geskep, man en vrou het Hy hulle geskep. Toe het God hulle geseën en vir hulle gesê: “Wees vrugbaar, word baie, bewoon die aarde en bewerk dit. Gen 1:27, 28

Hulle het gehoor hoe die Here God in die tuin wandel teen die tyd dat die aandwind opkom… Gen 3:8.

This crossing into a relationship was a risky step to take.
Not so much was the relationship with nature a risk, but the relationship with mankind.
In nature God is obeyed kind of automatically.
But in the relationship to Adam and Eve that was not so obvious.

Actually it was a huge risk! No wonder that Adam and Eve lost the priviledge of the nice strolles with God in that beautiful garden.

3. Amazingly God stepped even over that boundary of disobedience.
In mercy He reached out to Abraham with a covenant (or contract):

“Ek bring ‘n verbond tot stand tussen My en jou en jou nageslag en al hulle geslagte. Dit is ‘n blywende verbond: Ek sal jou God wees en ook die God van jou nageslag. Ek gee aan jou en jou nageslag die land waar jy as vreemdeling woon, die hele Kanaän, as ‘n blywende besitting, en Ek sal hulle God wees.” Verder het God vir Abraham gesê: “Jy moet my verbond nakom, jy en jou nageslag en al hulle nageslagte. (Gen 17:7 -9)

“I will be your God and you must be my people.”
And God cared for them and they obeyed Him in faith.”
And God led His people over a multitude of boundaries – over the boundary of famine, to Egypt, through the Red sea, into the desert, over the Jordan river all the way into the Promised Land.

And on those roads they learned to trust and believe.
We as God’s covenant people are still learning to trust and to believe and to worship Him.

4. But even that covenant outreach did not prevent Israel from stepping over the boundaries of rejecting God – time and again.

And God realized that He must make another plan: Which was to send a Saviour!
And in another huge step God crossed not only the boundaries of heaven, but the boundaries of the “difference” between God and man.

Nadat die engele van hulle af weggegaan het na die hemel toe, sê die skaapwagters vir mekaar: “Kom ons gaan reguit Betlehem toe om te sien wat gebeur het, soos die Here dit aan ons bekend gemaak het.” Hulle gaan toe haastig daarheen en kry vir Maria en Josef, en die Kindjie wat in die krip lê. Toe hulle Hom sien, het hulle vertel wat oor hierdie Kindjie aan hulle gesê is. Almal wat dit gehoor het, was verwonderd oor wat die skaapwagters hulle vertel het. (Luk 2:15-18)

In the manger in Bethlehem God became Man. He took on the image of man. He became man: Jesus Christ.
He did it because He loved the world so much that He gave His only Son, Jesus Christ. (John 3:16

If ever there was a boundary which really challenged God, it must have been this boundary to became Man himself.

And the crossing of this high boundary is the manifestation of His immense love for us.
He demonstrated His love on the cross.
He died for us.

And with that ransom which He has earned He paid for all our sins.
He paid for our sins that “whosoever sal believe in Him, will not die, but wil have eternal life”.
( John 6:47)
That is worth praying and singing about!

Gebed
Here, dankie da tons U kon leer ken as die Verlosser, nie net vir die wêreld nie, nie net vir ander mense nie, maar vir onsself/myself. On seer U en ons aanbid U.
U is die Brood wat lewe gee.
Ons vat vanoggend weer ‘n groot hap van daardie Brood. Laat ons lewe! Amen

Choir en solo: Panis Angelicus – Du Preez Stoltz & Bloemfontein Kinderkoor
Heavenly bread
That becomes the bread for all mankind;
Bread from the angelic host
That is the end of all imaginings;
Oh, miraculous thing!
This body of God will nourish
Even the poorest,
The most humble of servants.
Even the poorest,
The most humble of servants.

Heavenly bread
That becomes the bread for all mankind;
Bread from the angelic host
That is the end of all imaginings;
Oh, miraculous thing!
This body of God will nourish
Even the poorest,
The most humble of servants.
Even the poorest,
The most humble of servants.

5. Jesus crossed from life to death. But also the other way round. He also crossed from death to life. Crossing the boundary from the side of death to life was Jesus’ greatest triumph.

Toe sê die engel vir die vroue: “Julle moet nie bang wees nie. Ek weet julle soek Jesus wat gekruisig is. Hy is nie hier nie, want Hy is uit die dood opgewek, soos Hy gesê het. Kom nader en kyk: daar is die plek waar Hy gelê het.
Gaan gou en sê vir sy dissipels: ‘Hy is uit die dood opgewek… (Mat 28:5-7a)

The tomb and death could not hold Hom.
Because He is the Conquerer of death.
He said “I am the First and the Last and the Living”
That is what gives hope to us.
It gives hope because it testifies about Jesus’ power.
It gives hope because now we know that death can not hold us… because Jesus crossed the border from death to life.

6. The next crossing of borders happened when Jesus ascended into heaven.
The road between heaven and earth became a commen road to Him.

Maar julle sal krag ontvang wanneer die Heilige Gees oor julle kom, en julle sal my getuies wees in Jerusalem sowel as in die hele Judea en in Samaria en tot in die uithoeke van die wêreld.” Nadat Hy dit gesê het, is Hy opgeneem terwyl hulle dit sien, en ‘n wolk het Hom weggeneem, sodat hulle Hom nie langer kon sien nie. (Hand 1:8,9)

Jesus had to take up His ruling position again.
Now He is governing over all the earth.
He sits at the right hand of the Father.
He is in controll, whether we see and acknowledge it or not.

7. Then God crossed the borders in a brand new way when He not only descended in the Holy Spirit – but decided that He wil not only be God with us but also God IN us.

Skielik was daar ‘n geluid uit die hemel soos van ‘n geweldige stormwind, en dit het die hele vertrek gevul waar hulle gesit het. Hulle het iets soos vuur gesien wat in tonge verdeel en op elkeen van hulle gekom het. Almal is met die Heilige Gees vervul … (Hand 2:2-4a)

Through His Holy Spirit He came to stay in the lives of his children.
In that way He can be God’s Parakletos, the Ons ‘called in to help’.
Hy guides us.
He comforts us.
He transforms us.
He recreates us … to newness.
He teaches us to worship, to obey, to sing, to witness … to love the Lord!

That is worth singing about.
Sing worship medley.

8. As God stays in us through his spirit He urges us as His church across borders.

Maar julle sal krag ontvang wanneer die Heilige Gees oor julle kom, en julle sal my getuies wees in Jerusalem sowel as in die hele Judea en in Samaria en tot in die uithoeke van die wêreld.” (Hand 1:8)

We are called to bring the Good News not only to Jerusalem and Judea (homeground), but also to Samaria and to the ends of the earth (foreign soil). Like the Freestate and Texas.
But that also makes us the extension of Jesus’ ministry today – right around the world.
There is not a single address, no corner or secret hideout where his Name is not to be proclaimed.

The crossing of borders is our biggest challenge in this day.

In the past week we saw people all over the world crossing the borders to Thailand where those young people of the soccer team were trapped in the underwater caves.
That is what we as Christians are called to. To go and help where the need is.

• We have to cross borders to bring hope to those with whom we do not normally associate.
• We have to cross borders to all races,
• … to all people in need,
• … to everyone discriminated against,
• … to everyone who has lost hope…..

And you know why that became a possibility?
– Because God Himself taught us to cross borders!

9. The last border to be crossed will be at the Second Coming of Christ.
We look forward to it.
It means that not only will God come to us, but we shall be take to Him. With a new world and a new heaven. Is that not what we are longing for?
Read: Rev 21:1-4
Amen.
We give a few moments of silence as you look over boundaries – even into the future.
Maybe you have something to discuss wil the Lord .

“Blessed are they” – Texas Girls Choir

10 And when we are finished here today, not only is the Arts Festival of Bloemfontein finished.
We step across the doorsteps of this church into a world who who is in desperate need for the hope and presence of God in their midst.

Jesus kom toe nader en sê vir hulle: “Aan My is alle mag gegee in die hemel en op die aarde. Gaan dan na al die nasies toe en maak die mense my dissipels: doop hulle in die Naam van die Vader en die Seun en die Heilige Gees, en leer hulle om alles te onderhou wat Ek julle beveel het. En onthou: Ek is by julle al die dae tot die voleinding van die wêreld.” (Mat 28:18-20)

Me and you are the vehicles carrying not only God’s Good News, God’s love and God’s hope to this world.
We are actually carrying God Himself across the doorsteps of this church into our community.
………….. into this world!
………….. this is our priviledge!
God bless you!
“The mercy of our Lord Jesus, the love of God, the presence of the Holy Spirit be with you…”

Irish blessing – Bloemfontein Childrens Choir