6th Sunday After Epiphany – 16th February 2014

When writing my reflections I strive to be positive, while offering a challenge. Following last Sundays A.G.M. I admit to finding it increasingly difficult to remain upbeat.

There are 74 separate families listed in our Parish Directory, and many of those listed are couples and families. There are even more on our Parish Roll, yet we had only 54 people at worship on Sunday. Some of these were visitors! Only 25 stayed for our A.G.M.! And most of those who stayed have served faithfully, in many capacities, well into their retirement. Even fewer were willing to accept nomination for any position. If you weren’t here with us, we missed you.

I don’t know what you believe of God but imagine, if you will, God sitting on the heavenly throne, looking upon St Paul’s and thinking, “hmmm, I’m a bit sick of organ music, and the singing at St Paul’s wasn’t the best last week… I don’t think I’ll join them for worship today.”

Or “They keep going over the same stuff at their meetings. Its boring and I have other things I want to do… so Ill give the A.G.M. a miss.”

Or, “Every week, these people confess the same sins – then go out and continue the same behavior. They are hypocrites! I’m not listening or forgiving anymore.”

If you are anything like me such images don’t ring true. My God is faithful and forgiving, and never gives up on us! So, why are we not faithful to God and Gods calling on our lives?

The church is not an empty building. It is made up of the people of God, carrying on the mission of Christ. But this parish can not continue to operate if it is totally dependent on the efforts of a small group of retirees and an even smaller group of under 70’s.

May the grace of God remain with us all as we look for a way forward in this community.

Blessings

Reverend Shan

9th February 2014 – 5th Sunday After Epiphany

Somewhere in my swag of stories and anecdotes is the story of a wealthy man who wanted to build something wonderful for the people of the township in which he lived. He was a man of deep faith so this was to be a gift pointing to God.

His gift was to be a church, built on a hill for all to see. Architects were called, builders and artisans were gathered – and the building grew, upon that hill. Though they could see the walls and roof the townspeople were not allowed to see inside the building until it was finally completed.

When the day came, all gathered and were ushered in to view the beautiful windows, the finely crafted furnishings and the clean clear lines of arches soaring high above. All were in awe and remarked on the generosity of their benefactor.

Each family was settled into a pew for the dedication service, but it was late in the day and, as the sun set low on the horizon some folk began to search for the light switches. Then someone commented, “Do you know, I’m sure I have not seen a single light!”

Some began to grumble and criticize the rich man, for this rather sad lack in an, otherwise beautiful building. Then, as each family was presented with a lantern to be placed in the bracket on the wall by their pew, the pastor explained, “You are the light of the world. A city built on a hill cannot be hid. 15 No one after lighting a lamp puts it under the bushel basket, but on the lampstand, and it gives light to all in the house”.

He continued, “At it service of worship, at each gathering, you are responsible for lighting your pew. When all are present the church is beautifully lit and all can see, but, when you are absent, your part of the church is not lit. There are places of darkness and some of the beauty of this place is hidden.”

You are the light of the world … when our church family gathers together it is a place of light shining with the light of Christ. When you are absent, there are places of darkness. You are missed and we are not whole!

You are the light of the world “let your light shine before others, so that they may see your good works and give glory to your Father in heaven.”

Many Blessings
Reverend Shan