Dear church

Last Sunday it was the turn of those with A-H surnames to be in the church for the worship service. There were 32 of us, several below the maximum allowable under our COVID Safety Plan, so the overflow room wasn’t needed. The service was live-streamed via Zoom as usual (the new normal) with 83 people joining us on their devices for worship in that way.

While we followed the new health recommendations and had no congregational singing, at least in the church, we were well-served by Roz and the appropriately spaced choir. We continued with the lectionary readings in Genesis and I preached on the good news story of Joseph’s reconciliation with his brothers. “How Good it is!” was my title, referring not only to reconciliation but also echoing the start of the day’s Psalm – “How very good and pleasant it is when God’s people live together in unity.” (Ps 133:1 NIV)

Meanwhile, over in the Hall, Belinda and some of the young people were conducting the first of our monthly intergenerational family services. They were also looking at the story of Joseph but in a more interactive way, with craft, cooking and colourful coat making (see Abby’s below) as well as prayer and Bible reading. This new initiative was well-received, with 46 adults and children gathered around separate family tables.

On Sunday we played a short video from Micah Australia about a new campaign called #EndCOVIDForAll. This is about justice and support for vulnerable people and nations during the current epidemic. To tie in with this we have a get-together tonight from 7.30-9.00pm in the Greening Room to learn more, write letters to our local members, post to social media etc. More information is available in last weekend’s e-bulletin and at http://www.micahaustralia.org/end_covid_for_all

Kristine and I recently watched the 2017 movie Marshall on TV. It’s about Thurwood Marshall, an African American lawyer, who, in 1940, successfully defended Joseph Spell against a false accusation of rape by his white employer, Eleanor Strubing. Marshall went on to have an illustrative career as the American Civil Rights Movement’s principal legal strategist and the first African American Justice to the Supreme Court of the United States.

While I would certainly recommend the movie, it’s not so much the movie that I wanted to tell you about but one of the soundtrack songs that grabbed my attention. The song is “Stand up for Something”, written by Common (stage name of American rapper Lonnie Rashid Lynn) and Diane Warren and performed by the Common and Andra Day. Here are the 3 verses, with the refrain at the end.

 

You can have all the money in your hands 

All the possessions anyone can ever have 

But it’s all worthless treasure, true worth is only measured 

Not by what you got, but what you got in your heart 

You can have, you can have everything 

What does it, what does it mean? 

 

You do the best that, do the best that you can do 

Then you can look in the mirror 

Proud of who’s looking back at you 

Define the life you’re living 

Not by what you take or what you’re givin’ 

And if you bet on love there’s no way you’ll ever lose 

Take a stand, make a stand for what’s right 

It’s always worth, always worth the fight 

 

Rise up, love, lift your hands 

I stand with you ’cause I understand 

Ain’t here to judge, just to take a stand 

The greater plan’s the Creator’s plan 

Let’s all rise like the day began 

Reach out and touch with the Savior’s hand 

On rock, we stand like this native land 

Let the ways of love be the ways of man 

 

It all means nothing 

If you don’t stand up for something 

You can’t just talk the talk 

You got to walk that walk, yes you do 

It all means nothing 

If you don’t stand up for something 

And I stand up for you 

And I stand up for you, yes I will, yes I will 

 

All very challenging, I find. I think I’ll go to tonight’s letter-writing. That’s one thing I can do, at least.

This coming Sunday, Belinda will be preaching on Romans 12:1-8 but also linking in the sequel to the story of Joseph, the Hebrews in Egypt (Exodus 1:8-2:10).

Looking ahead just a little further, I also want to highlight another new initiative. This one has come from the recent Conversation nights (over Zoom) on “Innovatively emerging from COVID”. One of the groups worked on the idea of an alternative online worship service. As an outcome of that, “Sunday at 6” will commence on 6 September. On 1st and 3rd Sundays of the month we will follow the awareness Examen; we’ll have a current topic for discussion on 2nd Sundays; and we’ll share stories of texts that shaped my life on 4th Sundays. Each night will go for an hour, including catch-up time and prayer at the beginning and end. The first one on 6 September will include an introduction and explanation of what is planned. Thanks to Emily Stein, Lucy Blemings and Rebecca Hilton for co-ordinating this program. Please contact them with any queries or suggestions.

Having now written this Sunday to Sunday, I’m about to email it you all and then head off to the funeral service for Tony Turtle. Please continue to pray for Rita and the family in their loss and grief.

“May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing, so that by the power of the Holy Spirit you may abound in hope.” (Romans 15:13 NRSV)

 

John Morrison