Christmas Services 2010

24 December – Christmas Eve

6:00pm – Carols
6:30pm – Family Service

25 December – Christmas Day

8:00am – Eucharist

Sunday Services – 26 December 2010 to 13 February 2011

8:00am – Eucharist

Regular services will resume on 20 February 2011

Advent 1 – 28th November 2010

At the forefront of my mind, as I write today is the sad plight of a group of miners, their families and friends, in New Zealand.

By the time you read this I am pretty sure that we will have word that none, bar the two who escaped in the first hours, have survived. The blast was too severe and the gasses within the tunnels too toxic, for anyone to survive.

I can’t begin to assume I understand the grief and pain suffered by all who have awaited news on husbands, fathers, sons, brothers and friends. How tragic that there are unborn children who will never know their father.

I think the individual situation, which touched me most, was the story of the 17-year-old miner who set off for his 1st day at work, never to return.

I wonder, if anyone involved had known that these men would breath their last that day… would words and actions in the preceding days have been different?

That is really what our readings are asking us to consider this week. Jesus is asked about the signs of his time and about the coming of the “son of man on the clouds of heaven.” And his answer is “no one knows… but only the father.”

None of us knows when we will be called home to meet with our Lord and maker. The question we need to ask is “Are we ready?” and, if not “what do we need to do in order to be ready?”

These are serious questions, which require some time for reflection. They also balance out a little of the madness of the “silly” season and help us to focus on the true meaning of the birth of Christ.

Love and Blessings

Reverend Shan

Christ The King – 21st November 2010

Today we celebrate Christ The King… throughout the Church year we welcomed him as a child born in a stable, we journeyed with him to Jerusalem and the cross. We rejoiced in His resurrection and ascension and we gloried in the gift of His Spirit. Then we reminisced for a while… we remembered his teachings…  and today we proclaim him King.

Next week we begin the cycle again, we take the same journey, but we look through different eyes. Our attention is focused through the writings of Matthew, but we are also changed. The year has brought new events and new people into our lives. We look, anew at God’s word; we look with fresh eyes at the gift of His Son and His meaning in our lives.

On Wednesday morning we read the parable of the “talents” (Matthew 25: 14-30) and talked about it’s meaning for us. If we take the story out of context, it might seem that God supports gamblers, and those who speculate with their wealth. We do well to remember that Jesus is speaking of the end of this age and the coming of God’s kingdom.

Jesus is referring to our God given gifts… not only our earthly wealth… but our talents, our faith our hope and our love. These latter three are by far the most important. We are not to be like the fearful third servant who buried his treasure. We are to use our gifts in order that the word of God might reach others and, thereby, help to increase the Kingdom.

We have much to be thankful for… we are a people of FAITH, HOPE AND LOVE! What are you doing with these precious God given gift? As St Paul reminded Timothy (2 Timothy 1:6-7) “God did not give us a spirit of cowardice but a spirit of power and of love and of self discipline,. May we rekindle the gift of God within us. Amen!

Many Blessings

Rev Shan

14th November 2010 – Remembrance and Thanksgiving

On Thursday we commemorated Remembrance Day”. We recalled the official end of World War I, as the major hostilities of World War I were formally ended “at the 11th hour of the 11th day of the 11th month” of 1918 with the German signing of the Armistice. Unfortunately our young men and women are still called to fight on various hostile fronts. Peace on our home soil has always come at a cost… Lest We Forget!

A pastor from another Bayside church likes to send out words of encouragement to the clergy in the area. This is the message he sent last week. The words are actually those of one of my favorite Christian authors, Henri Nouwen. This message seems pertinent as we celebrate the richness of God’s blessings on our own lives – individually and corporately.

1 Corinthians 2:3 “I came to you in weakness – timid and trembling.”

Power over Power: Discovering the Power of Weakness. There is something very satisfying about enjoying the fruit of our labour. It is very satisfying to find ourselves at the top or in a prominent position of an organization after having started at the bottom. It is very satisfying to establish a reputation, whether that be as an executive, a problem solver, a speaker, a writer, or a community worker.

It is also very satisfying to have enough financial resources not only to be able to do what we must, but also to be able to do what we fancy from time to time. To have power, status, position, and money sits very well with us.

But there is a downside to all of this. These privileges can so captivate us that they become the controlling factors of our lives. As such, they prevent us from making the hard choices that involve our integrity, our need to continue to grow as persons, and the challenge of serving the wider community, even at the cost of our own securities. Henri Nouwen confides this to us: “Too often I look at being relevant, popular and powerful as ingredients for an effective ministry. The truth, however, is that these are not vocations but temptations.” (‘In the Name of Jesus’ p.71)

Not everyone makes this discovery. We are more inclined to think that our position, status, and reputation will enhance our effectiveness, whether that be in ‘secular” employment or “spiritual” ministry. For, by virtue of our successes, don’t we get opportunities that we would never get otherwise?

There clearly is some truth to this. But there are also powerful temptations. Ambition, self-adulation, and power can also corrupt us. These make us self-seeking more than God-centered and self-serving rather then other-concerned.

The key issue in all of this is to gain power over power. In other words, we need to gain control over our successes to the point of holding them in open hands and being prepared to relinquish them. We need to be prepared to journey beyond our securities and experience powerlessness in order to make the startling discovery that ministry can also come out of weakness, and not simply out of strength.

Reflection 82 from ‘Dare To Journey with Henri Nouwen’ Charles Ringma, Pinion Press 2000 ISBN 1-57683-226-0

Parish Outing – Thanksgiving & Postponed St Francis Day Celebration

On Sunday the 14th of November there are two changes to our regular patter of worship.

  1. One Service Only – At St Paul’sWe will have a combined service at 8:00 am to give thanks to God for his many blessings poured upon us in this place. This is also an opportunity to make a commitment with regard to our own thank offerings of time, talents and money.
  2. St Francis Day Celebrations – After morning tea we will set out (via bus and private transport) for Shan and Maurie’s home at Worongary. A mud map and directions will be provided on the day. We will enjoy the setting and conclude our time away with a St Francis Day Service.
  • Please BYO meat (if you wish to BBQ) and a folding chair…
  • salads and soft drinks will be provided.
  • There is a swimming Pool for those who would like to cool off.
  • The bus will cost $20 per head… seats are limited.
  • Please sign up for the bus and your attendance… for catering purposes.

7th November 2010 -Totally Immobilized

Totally Immobilized

I came across this story as I was preparing to speak to you about Zacchaeus, last week.

Mrs. Billie Cannon, was preparing to paint her back porch. In order to protect the floor, she very carefully placed around the edges a strip of Scotch tape-the kind with adhesive on both sides. It was her plan to place a drop cloth over the floor and secure it with the tape. Having succeeded in placing the tape around the entire surface, she went back inside the house to get a drop cloth. Returning to the porch sometime later, she found that all of her carefully placed tape was gone. She was completely mystified. Where could it be? Who would possibly have taken the time to pull up that tape and why? As she was surveying the situation and mulling over her puzzling predicament, she noticed something moving in her back yard. Looking closer she discovered that it was a snake. It was a rather large creature of its species, but it was no threat to her. It was hopelessly immobilized by being totally enmeshed in a large ball of Scotch tape. Evidently while Mrs. Cannon was in the house the snake had crawled up on the back porch and had eased itself onto that tape with the adhesive on both sides. Sensing that the tape was sticking to its skin, the snake obviously put up a terrible struggle. In doing so it pulled every bit of tape from the floor. The harder it fought, however, the more hopelessly it became entangled in its cellophane prison until now it was totally captive.

That poor snake reminds me of many people I have known. Somewhere along the way they have made a serious mistake, or stepped out on the wrong path in life. Then, rather than calmly analyzing their situation and correcting their course, they have reacted impulsively. Soon their lives are like that snake’s. The more they struggle, the more entangled they have become until eventually they are totally immobilized psychologically, emotionally and spiritually.

Jesus offers a way out of our earthly entanglements, and direction for the lost. As His followers we are called to offer that same hope to others.

This week, on All Saints Day, we celebrate the lives of those who have shared the light of Christ throughout the world, across the generations. We give thanks to God that, together with Christ, they have laid the foundations for our own faith.

Blessings

Reverend Shan