5th Sunday after Pentecost B

Edited from ‘Preaching the Word’ by Tom Clancy

When the state of origin football game gets very one-sided, the sports commentator often remarks that it would now take nothing short of a miracle to save the losing side.  Occasionally, that kind of miracle happens.  Some undaunted hero produces unsuspected reserves of skill and endurance and so turns the game around unexpectedly.

Something similar, and something more, happened in the life of Christ as we read the alternative gospel for  today, taken from Mark 5, 21-43.  The daughter of Jairus was sick, indeed, dying.  Only a miracle could save her.  The father pleaded with Christ to turn back the tide of illness. It looked as if Christ came too late.  The girl had died.

Undaunted, Christ prayed over the girl and through the hidden power of God living in him, he performed his miracle and restored the girl to life.  Even though it benefited only one little girl, God used this miracle as a sign that Christ was truly his Son.

In our time, the game of life seems very one-sided – selfishness and evil look all set to triumph, or so it seems as we read and listen to our daily news. It will take a miracle to turn things around. Each of us is called to work our own miracle, a little miracle of love and service.  It may only benefit one lonely person, one member of my family, one invalid, one traveller, one neighbour or one famine victim, but it will be a sign that Christ still lives in us who are his followers.  Each of us is called to produce reserves of compassionate care so that hope and trust in God and in each other may be restored to life.

In today’s reading from St John’s Gospel, we see that Jesus wants us to become children of light. He himself has come so that we may not live in darkness but in the light. This means that we ought to do those things that we know are good and will bring us closer to the One who is Light itself. Like Jesus, may we blaze with light and love till the very end of our earthly lives.

Today’s question: How can I shine God’s light on to the dark situations of our world – people trafficking, sex tourism, child soldiers, corruption, and so on?

•    Let us pray today for all who bring the light of Christ to the places of our world where darkness tries to screen out the light

•    Give thanks for the first missionaries to the Torres Strait, and for the believers there today who are their legacy.

Text:  Robert McLean, Church to Church Missioner
© Anglican Board of Mission, 2012

4th Sunday after Pentecost B

News of further job losses evokes deep anxiety in many hearts. Those with jobs fear that they may lose them. The unemployed see every other job loss as lessening their own chances of being reemployed. For the young school- leavers and their parents, this anxiety becomes a cancer that erodes confidence and self- respect. It is a frightening situation. Many fear that we will be engulfed by the crisis. Followers of Christ could be forgiven for making their own of the anguished cry of the disciples in today’s gospel. ‘Master, do you not care? We are going down!’

It seems strange that the disciples should turn to Jesus for help during a storm on the Sea of Galilee. After all, they were the fishermen. They knew the angry waters and the gusting winds. Jesus was a landlubber, a tradesman from Nazareth with no touch of the sea in his veins. How could he help? Somehow, they had a glimpse of him as Lord of the wind and the sea, as Lord of all.

Today’s tempest is one of powerful greed on one side with hopeless helplessness on the other. Who will calm this tempest? God will. He is not just a landlubber in the sea of economics. He is Lord of all. He challenges us to call on him, to have faith in him, to live by that faith with boundless confidence in him because he is our Father.

3rd Sunday after Pentecost B

Reflection

(from ‘Preaching the Word’ by Tom Clancy)

The arrival of a new season’s strawberries always interests me. As a young lad I earned pocket money picking strawberries so I had a vested interest in the health of the crop. Unlike the sturdy apple tree, the strawberry plants look fragile and yet, year after year, they produce a precious and delicate fruit. More fascinating still, they propagate themselves so simply.
Young flimsy runners shoot out from the plant. While still nurtured by the older plant, these runners take root and in a year or two, they are producing an excellent crop themselves.

Christians are like strawberry plants. The fruit of our lives must be forgiveness, peace, care and love: precious and fragile qualities in our society. Our faith must inspire such a crop each and every day. Nurtured by an adult faith-filled life-style, the young must be enabled to put down roots in their own world and then to produce their harvest of Christ-like-living.

The bible often uses the images of seeds and crops to illustrate the nature of the faith growing within us.

2nd Sunday After Pentecost B – 10th June 2012

This week many of us watched with certain awe as the celebrations got underway for the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee. During the Diamond Jubilee Concert in London on June 4, Prince Charles said that this was the nation’s opportunity to thank his mother, and father, for inspiring the nation with their selfless duty and service and for making the people proud to be British.

In 1 Samuel 8:4–20, (11:14–15) we hear the moral failings of Samuel’s sons cause the elders of Israel to seek a new style of leadership.

What would cause you to seek a different style of leadership?

What persuades you to submit to the leadership and the vision of another?

In 2008, as Nelson Mandela prepared to celebrate his 90th birthday, Richard Stengel, author of Long Walk to Freedom, “cobbled together, from conversations old and new and from observing him up close and from afar,” Mandela’s 8 lessons of leadership. They are listed below, but examples of how Mandela embodied these leadership qualities are described in the article “Mandela: His 8 Lessons of Leadership” from Time Magazine.

1.Courage is not the absence of fear – it’s inspiring others to move beyond it

  1. Lead from the front – but don’t leave your base behind
  2. Lead from the back – and let others believe they are in front
  3. Know your enemy – and learn about his favourite sport
  4. Keep your friends close – and your rivals even closer
  5. Appearances matter – and remember to smile
  6. Nothing is black or white
  7. Quitting is leading too

What might be your 8 lessons of leadership? Believe it or not, as a Christian you are a leader… in your home/ family, amongst your friends, in your place of work and community groups.

(With thanks to Seasons FUSION Tip – Woodlake Publishing)

Love and Blessings

Reverend Shan

Trinity Sunday B – 3rd June 2012

I have given up trying to understand everything! I did learn a bit about television and telephones etc. as a high school student but technology has changed so dramatically so I have decided that it isn’t important to understand how all these things work… but to enjoy the benefits without getting too worked up about the “how”!

At school I learnt about the earths rotation on its axis… and about it spinning round the sun. I understand about the seasons and how we have day and night but I used to wonder why we didn’t just fall off or why, if we in Australia, are in the southern hemisphere, I didn’t feel as though I was dangling upside down from the earths surface. I know scientific explanations but I would rather enjoy the mystery, trusting that this is the way things are meant to be and enjoying the wonders of life on this earth.

Some “mysteries” I simply put in my “Too hard Basket”

God is a mystery. Nicodemus is wondering how the things he glimpses and hears in the words of Jesus can be true. Jesus assures him of a God who so loves the world that he would give everything for its salvation, including himself.  This God is not some judgmental being who despairs of the people as we make so many mistakes or ignore the teachings, which are offered to us. This God is one who invites new possibilities in us through a love, which is faithful unto death. We are given the Holy Spirit to be our guide as we walk through the challenges of life. On Trinity Sunday, we celebrate a mystery; God is one, yet God is three. Understand the mystery … or not… we celebrate each of the persons of God who together make our God alive for us all.

Many Blessings

Reverend Shan