I drove Aron to the airport very early this morning, and as I made my way back along Morshead Drive, the mist was rising from the Molongolo River, the trees were all the reds and yellows and golds of late autumn and the sky was pale gold with the sunrise. (Very like this image by ‘Kayakcameraman’ Paul Jurak)
It was so beautiful it was all I could do to tear my eyes away and keep the car on the road! And I decided, this must be why we have a special Thank Offering at this time of year. I am so thankful for how beautiful Canberra is in autumn!
Like all of us, I am also so thankful that we can gather for worship, meet with friends, work and go to school and go about our lives, without the fear of infecting others or being infected ourselves with Covid 19. And yet this also leaves me with a sense of guilt that there are so many who are living with this terrible fear, as well as the grief of losing family and friends, anxiety over whether there will be medical help available if they or family members become sick, and the question of whether they will survive this pandemic economically.
Which brings me back to the love of God which is both to be appreciated as it is – “As the Father has loved me, so I have loved you; abide in my love…” – enjoyed as it is – “I have said these things to you so that my joy may be in you, and that your joy may be complete…” – and embraced as a love that keeps giving and going and growing, “I appointed you to go and bear fruit, fruit that will last…” So we are able to be thankful for the gifts of God – this beautiful part of the world we live in, our friends around us, our own experiences of abiding in God’s love – and let these flow into generosity and justice and love for others. (I suspect that the converse is also true, that if we struggle to be thankful for what we have, we do not give in a spirit of love to others.)
This Sunday you are encouraged to give generously and thankfully to our thank offering (which is open until the 6th June) for the Bangladesh Association for Sustainable Development (BASD), a Baptist World Aid Australia (BWWA) project.
If you haven’t checked out the brochure, BASD are a non-government, non-profit organisation that work with people and communities to develop savings and income generating projects, permaculture, livelihood skills training, adult literacy, primary and preventative health care, water and sanitation programs, and climate change adaptation and mitigation. They have helped more than 40,000 people, the vast majority of whom are poor women. In early 2020 they had to suspend operations because of the COVID-19 pandemic. However, eased restrictions allowed work to recommence in late 2020 and 147 community leaders were trained on managing COVID-19 and the organisation has been able to mobilise food and personal protective equipment supplies.
Please give generously out of your thankfulness!
And please stay after church for our Thank Offering High Tea in the manse garden! But rug up!! We will have some space inside and we have an outdoor heater and Aron is firing up the BBQ for a sausage sizzle (slightly less fancy High Tea fare!) and the nine square is going up – which is a great way of staying warm – but it looks cold on Sunday! No donation is expected at the High Tea – just a smiling face – and, if you are able to do so, a plate of goodies to share. (Zach will be at the house in the morning to receive your plates if you want to drop them off before church.) We look forward to seeing you there!
I must give credit to Keith Knox for introducing me to the ‘old person’s verse’ for Jesus loves me this I know that we sang last Sunday, but, Keith, I have found a few more verses as well! So please enjoy those (below) and please note that attached to Sunday to Sunday is the proposed budget for the church for the 2021/2022 financial year for consideration at our church meeting – not this Sunday, but next – Sunday 23rd May – Pentecost Sunday!
Enjoy singing Jesus loves me again!
Jesus loves me, this I know,
Though my hair is white as snow.
Though my sight is growing dim,
Still He bids me trust in Him.
YES, JESUS LOVES ME
YES, JESUS LOVES ME
YES, JESUS LOVES ME
THE BIBLE TELLS ME SO
Though my steps are oh, so slow,
With my hand in His I’ll go
On through life, let come what may,
He’ll be there to lead the way.
Though I am no longer young,
I have much which He’s begun.
Let me serve Christ with a smile,
Go with others the extra mile.
When the nights are dark and long,
In my heart He puts a song.
Telling me in words so clear,
“Have no fear, for I am near.”
When my work on earth is done,
And life’s victories have been won.
He will take me home above,
Then I’ll understand His love
I love Jesus, does He know?
Have I ever told Him so?
Jesus loves to hear me say,
That I love Him every day.