4th Sunday After Easter B – 29th April 2012

Dear Friends,

I received the following in an email this week and was reminded of Jesus’ words to the disciples  “2He called a child, whom he put among them, 3and said, ‘Truly I tell you, unless you change and become like children, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven.4Whoever becomes humble like this child is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven. 5Whoever welcomes one such child in my name welcomes me.” (Matthew 18)

I wanted to share this with you because, sometimes in our worldly wisdom we forget the simple truths of our childhood.

Everything I need to know about life, I learned from Noah’s Ark

One: Don’t miss the boat.

Two: Remember that we are all in the same boat.

Three: Plan ahead. It wasn’t raining when Noah built the Ark.

Four: Stay fit When you’re 600 years old, someone may ask you to do something really big.

Five: Don’t listen to critics; just get on with the job that needs to be done.

Six: Build your future on high ground.

Seven: For safety’s sake, travel in pairs.

Eight: Speed isn’t always an advantage. The snails were on board with the cheetahs.

Nine: When you’re stressed, float a while.

Ten: Remember, the Ark was built by amateurs; the Titanic by professionals.

Eleven: No matter the storm, when you are with God, there’s always a rainbow waiting…

Many Blessings

Reverend Shan

3rd Sunday of Easter B – 22nd April 2012

I have recently caught a glimpse of the first few episodes of a program called The Voice. I don’t usually follow these reality shows/competitions but I saw a couple of ads, heard some of the voices and was intrigued by the concept of the show. The judges have their backs to the performers as each one sings before a studio audience. The audience sees the whole package but the performers are judged purely on their voice!

This got me thinking about just how visual we are… and how much our opinions and judgments can be swayed by the appearance of people and things. In other talent shows this is very definitely the case. So much so that the Susan Boyle’s of the world are rarely “successful”, in a material sense, and, quite often the appearance of an artist who doesn’t fit our conventional views of visual perfection becomes the subject of ridicule. I have also sometimes been surprised when I have met, or seen images of, radio announcers, because their appearance doesn’t seem to match the image I had formed of them.

In our day to day world people are constantly in the process of making decisions based on the evidence gleaned via one or more of their senses. The way we appear may result in an upgraded seat on a plane – or convince a shop assistant that we might be worth serving. We, ourselves, may avoid people who look, sound or smell “unsavory” according to our particular standards.

The reality is, in the wisdom of God our Creator; we have been given the 5 senses of sight, hearing, touch, taste and smell – with which to explore creation. Furthermore, we have been given the gifts of wisdom, reason, discernment, empathy, intuition, faith and love… empowered by the Holy Spirit.

In the Body of Christ, we also have the wisdom, creativity and understanding that each person brings to share, for the good of all. And, just as we need to use all of our senses and gifts, to make the most of our individual lives, so we need to share the giftedness of the whole community in order to become more Christ like and to spread the “good news”. I was reminded of this at Parish Council on Monday night.

For anyone who is despondent about the future of faith and the church… do not despair! When we “look” at the whole picture, using all the senses and gifts at our disposal, we have many reasons to sing God’s praises, and celebrate our community of faith!

Blessings

Reverend Shan

2nd Sunday of Easter B – 15th April 2012

Last Monday a few of our parishioners watched (and were disappointed by) Q & A on the ABC. The program was to be a discussion between renowned Atheist – Richard Dawkins, and George Pell -Catholic Archbishop of Sydney. Fortunately I didn’t see the program when it first aired because; from all reports it was anything but compelling. I have since watched it so that I could comment, and would have to agree with those who said it was boring television … and disappointing. In fact I was embarrassed by the responses of Archbishop Pell. Both men were considered to be very “wishy washy” in their opinions. Unlike the archbishop of Canterbury who I quote below…

Speaking about Easter and the Resurrection he says “Easter raises an extra question, uncomfortable and unavoidable: perhaps ‘religion’ is more useful than the passing generation of gurus’ thought; but is it true?”

Oh, if only Pell had the eloquence and faith of Rowan Williams … for whom the answer was found, not in instant scientific analysis but in a longer measure of the effect of belief in the lives of believers: “How do we know that it is true? Not by some final knock-down would-be scientific proof, but by the way it works in us through the long story of a whole life and the longer story of the life of the community that believes it. We learn and assimilate its truth by the risk of living it; to those on the edge of it, looking respectfully and wistfully at what it might offer, we can only say, ‘you’ll learn nothing more by looking; at some point you have to decide whether you want to try to live with it and in it.'”

“And what’s the difference it makes? If God exists and is active, if his will and action truly raised Jesus from the dead, then what we think and do and achieve as human beings is not the only thing that the world’s future depends on. ”

Wow! The future of the world doesn’t depend on us!  Hope rests not on our shoulders… but on the shoulders of he who has already carried the weight of the world… And that one man has already proved himself trustworthy and capable of bearing the weight. Alleluia!

Christ is risen, Alleluia! He is risen Indeed, Alleluia!

Many Blessings

Reverend Shan