5th Sunday of Easter B – 6th May 2011

I read a reflection in our Wednesday night service which really got me thinking. I am descended from a number of people who came to Australia on the first fleet. I understand that 2 were convicts and the 3rd was an officer.

The situation of the convicts was very similar to our place in Gods family. The convicts had been guilty of large and small misdemeanors. As such they had no rights or privileges when they were transported to Australia. They lived and worked according to the dictates of the governor, serving and laboring on land which belonged to others.

Some were pardoned. It may have been as recognition of loyalty or good service, or simply as expedience when it was necessary to explore and open up new areas for agriculture. Regardless, it was always by the grace and favor of the governor.

Questions were raised about the extent of the pardon. Should former convicts have a right to own land or share in the decision making process in this new settlement? From very early on it was agreed that the pardon was complete… that the wrongs of the past were completely wiped away so the pardon meant a fresh start… a new beginning.

Governor Macquarie illustrated the extent of the pardon by inviting pardoned convicts to share in meals at his table. Those who had served him and been at his beck and call, subject to his discipline, were now counted as worthy to sit at his table as an equal!

Thus it is with God’s children. We are given complete pardons, not because we are particularly good, not because we have earned it, but by God’s grace and love! And we are invited to sit at his table, to share communion as a foretaste of the Heavenly banquet.

May you delight in the freedom of God’s pardon.

Love and Blessings

Reverend Shan