DO YOU WANT TO FAST THIS LENT?
In the words of Pope Francis:
- Fast from hurting words and say kind words.
- Fast from sadness and be filled with gratitude.
- Fast from anger and be filled with patience.
- Fast from pessimism and be filled with hope.
- Fast from worries and have trust in God.
- Fast from complaints and contemplate simplicity.
- Fast from pressures and be prayerful.
- Fast from bitterness and fill your hearts with joy.
- Fast from selfishness and be compassionate to others.
- Fast from grudges and be reconciled.
- Fast from words and be silent so you can listen.
Mark’s was the first of the Gospels to be written. These words are the first recorded words of Jesus in this Gospel. They are remarkable in that they link repentance with believing the Good News. It is like saying: You have to change the way you think and act if you are to be able to hear and believe the Good News.
Repentance or conversion is something to which we are all constantly called. Without it we run the risk of slipping back into routine and comfort. Lent comes and reminds us to take an honest look at ourselves and the stand we take to the message of Jesus. Whatever penance, acts of denial, extra prayer or good works we do, we do them not to win God’s love but to prod ourselves into deeper awareness of God’s kingdom among us and our responsibility to give witness to it.
This year we are holding our CAR BOOT SALES monthly with St Peters Wynnum.
The first one is Saturday 17th February from 8:00 – 11:30am at
St Peter’s Anglican Church, 84 Bride St, Wynnum
A car boot sale in the middle of Wynnum! Come along, browse, and pick up a bargain. Cakes and Sweets, Pickles and Jams, Books, Sausage Sizzle, Espresso Coffee and more!
Sites are only $10 each. Contact Chris 0413 936 138 or WynnumAnglicanCBS@gmail.com
Every human being has a need to be touched. Jesus touched he leper. He did not need to do so in order to heal him. By touching him, Jesus broke the law demanding separations (cf the first reading), and so made himself an outcast, having to ‘stay outside in places where nobody lived’.
Jesus often touched people. He understood that touch has its own power to communicate, and that some people need touch for reassurance of acceptance. Jesus put his fingers into the ears of a deaf man and touched his tongue with spittle (Mark 7:34). He took a blind man by the hand and put spittle on his eyes (Mark 8:32). People brought children ‘for him to touch them.’
Like others, Jesus himself appreciated being touched. In chapter 7 of Luke we have the story that gave scandal: Jesus allowed himself to be touched and
anointed by a woman who was a known sinner.
Reflections for Sundays
God is With Us
Michael Morwood MSC
Today’s Gospel is not just about physical healing; it brings the message of hope. Life can be burdensome at times, but it surely would be worse without the hope we have. The burden is not the end of, nor the whole of life. We cannot run from the burdens that come upon us at times, and it surely is a blessing (of the type Jesus mentions in the Beatitudes) to know and believe in a God who is present with us.
The heart of Jesus yearned to relieve people of the burdens they carried, all kinds of burdens. The relief Jesus offers us may not be the disappearance of the burden. It may be more the fact that we have a friend who understands, for he, too, carried great burdens.
Reflections for Sundays
God is With Us
Michael Morwood MSC
People experience a difference in the way Jesus taught. He did not speak down to them. He did not lay burdens on them, he practiced what he preached. It is easy to imagine the people thinking:
“Yes, this man knows our situation.
He speaks as one of us.”
Jesus knew what it was like to be poor and merciful, knew the struggle to be a peacemaker and to be pure in heart and to keep on trusting God when times were tough. His teaching was different also in that it encouraged people to believe in themselves. This is a feature of good authority.
Reflections for Sundays
God is With Us
Michael Morwood MSC
How blessed we are to have been given such a wonderful farewell! Thank you for the beautiful farewell gift, already hung in our living room, for the cards and messages and the very kind words spoken to Maurie and to me as we concluded our time at St Paul’s. We were deeply moved by your expressions of affirmation, and thanks, for our ministry amongst you and with you.
Now on to the next chapter for us all!
As I said when I returned to work after Long Service Leave in October, you all managed more than adequately in my absence – however I confess to concerns over the stress/burdens falling on the shoulders of wardens, nominators, parish councillors and Elizabeth, who are already working long hours and trying to keep themselves and their families afloat. Please be gentle with one another – and remember that everyone is working hard and doing their best to follow God’s word and move forward in Mission.
I know that you will be well cared for, during this interregnum, by a “locum team”. Please make all involved welcome. And when you have your own Parish Priest again make him/her and family feel supported and welcome. It is hard to break into a ready-made community and find your own place and way of being. Please remember also St Paul’s words in 1 Corinthians 3
“What then is Apollos? What is Paul? Servants through whom you came to believe, as the Lord assigned to each. I planted, Apollos watered, but God gave the growth. So neither the one who plants nor the one who waters is anything, but only God who gives the growth.The one who plants and the one who waters have a common purpose, and each will receive wages according to the labour of each. For we are God’s servants, working together; you are God’s field, God’s building.”
At our Parish Council Meeting on Tuesday evening the subject of Evangelism was raised. Now, according to the Etymology Dictionary, “Evangelism is the practice of trying
to persuade people to become Christians or revive their commitments to
Christianity. The word stems from the 12th century, with the term “evangelists” used
to describe the Bible’s New Testament apostles spreading the “good word” about
Christianity.” My own understanding is that it is more about sharing the good news
about Jesus Christ.
Anyway – one councillor (who shall remain nameless but who spoke as many were probably thinking) said something like “Evangelism is a great idea, as long as someone else does it!” Which begs the question, “Why do so many of us hesitate to share our faith with other people?”
If we believe the gospel is good news why don’t we share it with others? Or, if we believe Jesus is the greatest treasure the heart and soul can possess, why don’t we share our faith with others.
Our bible readings for this week are all about people sharing faith – sharing what they understand of God. And what is their motive? It is not about getting people into church to help raise funds – their motive is their desire to share something of what makes life meaningful, with others. Each has caught a glimpse of God and is so changed or moved by the experience that they want to share with others… “Come and see!” invites Phillip …
And we can do the same! Come and see the hungry and poor who receive help from Nils. Come and see the Rosie’s van distributing love, hope and hot food and drinks to the homeless. Come and see the welcome and fun offered by SAILS to refugees, youth at risk and so many others who may never enter into a church. Come and see the warm welcome and inclusion of all through baptism and in our various services at St Paul’s. And for each of us there is something intrinsically good, and wonderfully life giving, that keeps us coming back – not to a building but – to God in Christ
If you are asked why you bother with church and God is it so very hard to simply respond with an invitation to “Come and See?” There is love and hope and good news to share – so come and see!
I found this gem on Elizabeth Dolan’s face book post – It reminded me that words are simply symbols and sometimes they seem ridiculous if we don’t understand the background. Sometimes words are used as codes as Liz found out this week. Think about some of the nursery rhymes you grew up with – many, if not all, were coded references to events of the times. It would have been far too dangerous to speak openly of some of these events so codes were used.
“There is one Christmas Carol that has always baffled me. What in the world do leaping lords, French hens, swimming swans, and especially the partridge who won’t come out of the pear tree have to do with Christmas? This week, I found out. From 1558 until 1829, Roman Catholics in England were not permitted to practice their faith openly. Someone during that era wrote this carol as a catechism song for young Catholics. It has two levels of meaning: the surface meaning plus a hidden meaning known only to members of their church. Each element in the carol has a code word for a religious reality which the children could remember.
- The partridge in a pear tree was Jesus Christ.
- Two turtle doves were the Old and New Testaments.
- Three French hens stood for faith, hope and love.
- The four calling birds were the four gospels of Matthew, Mark, Luke & John.
- The five golden rings recalled the Torah or Law, the first five books of the Old Testament.
- The six geese a-laying stood for the six days of creation.
- Seven swans a-swimming represented the sevenfold gifts of the Holy Spirit –Prophesy, Serving, Teaching, Exhortation, Contribution, Leadership, and Mercy.
- The eight maids a-milking were the eight beatitudes.
- Nine ladies dancing were the nine fruits of the Holy Spirit — Love, Joy, Peace, Patience, Kindness, Goodness, Faithfulness, Gentleness, and Self Control.
- The ten lords a-leaping were the ten commandments.
- The eleven pipers piping stood for the eleven faithful disciples.
- The twelve drummers drumming symbolized the twelve points of belief in the Apostles’ Creed.
So there is your history for today. This knowledge was shared with me and I found it interesting and enlightening and now I know how that strange song became a Christmas Carol.”
Today we celebrate the Feast of Epiphany – a little early I know but Easter is early in 2018 – Hence next Sunday we celebrate the Baptism of Our Lord.
Anyway, along with Epiphany being the celebration of the gift bearers from the East recognising the Messiah there are many stories or legends around Christmas, the arrival of the Christ child, and gift givers who missed the opportunity to worship at His birth.
Part of Italy’s traditional celebration is the story of a witch known as La Befana who arrives on her broomstick during the night of January 5 and fills the stockings with toys and sweets for the good children and lumps of coal for the bad ones.
According to the legend, the night before the Wise Men arrived at the manger they stopped at the shack of an old woman to ask directions. They invited her to come along but she replied that she was too busy. Then a shepherd asked her to join him but again she refused. Later that night, she saw a great light in the sky and decided to join the Wise Men and the shepherd bearing gifts that had belonged to her child who had died. She got lost and never found the manger.
Now La Befana flies around on her broomstick each year on the 11th night, bringing gifts to children in hopes that she might find the Baby Jesus. So in Italy, children hang their stockings on the evening of January 5 awaiting the visit of La Befana.
Legend or not, the story is a salutary reminder to us not to allow ourselves to get so caught up in the “busyness” of life and preparations for Christmas, that we miss the Christ child himself.
For me this means making a conscious effort to look for the Christ in the face of each person I meet… May you find Him in unexpected places and know the true joy of Christmas!
And as we close the door on 2017 and ring in 2018 may our eyes be ever open to see the unexpected manifestations of Christ who continues to journey with us.