Last Sunday’s service included reflection on Psalm 116, especially the opening verse – “I love the Lord, because he has heard my voice and my supplications.” Our mini-choir presented two related songs – “I love you Lord, and I lift my voice” and “I love the Lord, he heard my cries”. I’m not sure how well they came across on your Zoom, but I had the privilege of being in the church and it was absolutely beautiful. Thanks James and singers for leading us in our worship that way.
Thanks too to Ava Hovenden for her contribution. She read Jim Taylor’s moving and thought-provoking “paraphrase” of the day’s verses as published in his book “Everyday Psalms”. In case you didn’t hear it well enough, here it is for further reflection.
The little girl’s eyes suddenly lit up. “Nana!” she said, pointing, “Nana!” And she climbed down from her chair and ran to her grandmother, who had just come in.
1 Granny listens to me. I tell her my stories, and she believes me.
2 When others blame me, Granny doesn’t jump to conclusions. She doesn’t get upset; she doesn’t always support someone else. She really listens to me.
12 How do I thank her?
13 By running to her with my arms stretched out whenever I see her.
14 No matter who is there, I run to her.
15 Granny says I’m precious.
16 Everyone else expects me to do things their way. But Granny doesn’t expect me to be anyone but myself. I would do anything to make my granny happy.
17 I help her set the table, without being asked. I help her crack eggs for the pan; I like making beds with her.
18 Even when she has company visiting, I fling my arms around her neck and hug her.
19 I love going to Granny’s house. I hope God is like Granny.
My sermon wasn’t on the Psalm, however, but on Matthew 9:35-10:8. I titled it “See the Crowds” (9:36) and suggested 5 mission principles to keep in mind as we move forward as a Church. Our mission needs to be an extension of Jesus’ mission and be characterised by compassion, urgency, prayer and going.
(Photos from ABC News 6/6/20 & 19/5/20)
Last Sunday was the beginning of Refugee Week and it was great to have Nagaraj Kouindaraj and Doug Hynd sharing in the service (via Zoom). The theme this year is “Year of Welcome”. Each day this week Common Grace has been emailing a related verse and reflection along with a suggested action.
On Tuesday, Brooke Prentis (CEO) wrote:
For me I would like to see:
A year of welcome to policies that stands with everyone and not to leave anyone behind.
A year of welcome to end years of dilemma for people seeking asylum.
A year of welcome to introduce a new Community Refugee Sponsorship Initiative (CRSI).
A year of welcome to make a bigger global impact in the global refugee crisis.
A year of welcome to influence the mainstream media to explore positive refugee narratives.
On Wednesday Rachel Saravanamuthu wrote:
In these times of isolation, we have been reminded of the importance of human connection. Imagine if the only means to speak to your loved ones was taken away. The government is trying to pass a law that threatens people seeking asylum’s access to mobile phones. For those who are in detention, their phones are a lifeline to hope. My client in detention told me that “it will break us if they take our phones away. The phone is the only good thing that we have. I can talk to my son on video and feel like I’m there with him even though I’m not”.
The suggested actions for the day were to sign a petition ( click on petition ) to stop the government from confiscating mobile phones from people seeking asylum in detention. Many of you have contributed funds for mobile phone top-ups and know how important that was for recipients. I signed the petition and you might like to as well.
We had an unwelcome visitor that necessitated closure of the office over the last few days, just as we were planning to reopen it. A possum became trapped in the heater ducting. We only became aware of that when we turned on the heater, resulting in a pervading foul stench. It’s a long story but it happily ends with freedom for the possum. The disruptions over those days reminded me how fragile my routine and plans are and how important it is to discern God’s plans and timing. As the proverbs say: “The best laid plans of mice and men” (even though it was a possum) and “Man proposes; God disposes.”
June is birthday month in our family – Kristine’s yesterday, her mum’s today, her grandmother’s on Saturday and one of our son’s on Monday. So we will be in Sydney over the weekend, celebrating. We’ll be joining in Sunday’s service by Zoom though. I’m the welcomer this Sunday and am looking forward to seeing you as you log on. I’m also looking forward to Belinda’s sermon on the story of Hagar (Genesis 21:8-21). Very appropriate at the end of Refugee Week with it’s theme “Year of welcome”.
Just as Psalm 116 reminded us last Sunday that God hears our cries, this story also tells us that “God hears…”. Remember this week that God also hears you. Have a good one.