3rd Sunday in Lent – 23rd March 2014

The readings this week centre on God’s faithfulness as the source of life, and our human need to trust God’s provision. The theme of life-giving water runs through three of the readings.

The gospel reading for this week, telling the story of the woman at the well, speaks to me more profoundly than any other bible anecdote from Jesus life. It rates, for me, as one of those most important readings of my Christian journey – along with the story of Nicodemus drawn to a late night discussion with our Lord (Jn 3), and Jesus recognition of Nathanael (Jn 1: 45-470).

Each of these stories moves me because I see in the woman, Nicodemus and Nathanael, echoes of my own thirst for God and my need to be accepted and known. Jesus looks at each one, seeing deeply into hearts and souls! He recognises the beauty amidst the harsh reality of sin and the struggle to believe.

The story of the Woman spoke most strongly to me as a young divorced mother of two small children. Feeling rejected and unloved, ashamed and unlovable, I encountered Jesus through the ministry of a bible study group made up of older women. In the love and acceptance of those women (and the parish priest) who came to know me, “warts and all,” I felt the unconditional love of Jesus. I felt I was “known” by God and was filled with a longing to share that sense of belonging, homecoming and deep love, with others.

Just like that woman I felt the need to run and shout out what I had discovered.

In what ways are you challenged to rely on the faithful love and provision of God to supply you with the “living water?”

Blessings

Reverend Shan

Lent 2A – 16th March 2014

Dear friends, I know you were expecting a visit from Bishop Doug Stephens, in my absence, this weekend but the best-laid plans can go astray and Doug is unable to be with you. Instead, we welcome into our midst The Reverend Stephen Hooper, Assistant Priest at Mt Gravatt. I know you will make him feel welcome.

Reflection

As Christians, we are called to follow in the footsteps of Jesus. We are called to love … deeply, sacrificially, unconditionally! We are called to love, not only those who do good to us but also, those who we see as enemies. Love, in the Christian sense, is always a verb. To be called to love is to be called into action.

By way of reflection this week let me share with you the Stewardship Thought from Words for Worship (Mediacom)

“What is the starting point of our willingness to be a blessing to others? Is it fear, that somehow we must work for God’s love or sacrifice in order to receive grace? Is it “hedging our bets” so that, just in case God calls in our debts, we may have stored up enough righteousness to cover ourselves? Or is it a deep and abiding trust that God is looking out for us and all creation, weaving all living things into a web of abundance that cannot be broken or dissolved. What difference might it make to our generosity and hope if we let the truth that God is our keeper, in the words of the psalmist, filter down to our inmost parts so that trust is the sole basis of our giving.”

And from one of my favorite poets, Rabindranath Tagore,

“I slept and dreamt that life was joy. I awoke and saw that life was service. I acted and behold, service was joy.”

On Tuesday evening (at 7:30) we will be visited by the Reverend Doctor Ralph Bowles who will be guiding us through our Natural Church Development (NCD) debrief. As the season of Lent is a time to examine ourselves and return from our wanderings, back to God, so the NCD process is an opportunity to take an honest look at ourselves as a Christian Community – to celebrate our strengths and to heal our infirmity – in order that we might continue to fulfil our mission in this area. Please join us.

Many Blessings

Reverend Shan