Tonight at Community Hour we are sharing small scale ‘show and tell’. I am torn between showing the knitting project I relocated over the weekend (and worked out again which line I was up to!) or a photograph of the drawer under the kitchen sink that I finally got around to cleaning on Monday! So please don’t be put off! This is an opportunity just to share one thing which you have accomplished over the last couple of weeks which has given you quiet satisfaction. No project or achievement is too small! That is the point. And if kids would like to show us some of the things that they have been up to – we would love that!
Community Hour is at 5:30pm (and usually done by 6:15). Here is the link for the Community Hour Zoom.
We are tempted to think that small acts of kindness and care and welcome and generosity and justice are not as important as the big, spectacular, ‘news worthy’ acts (Aron was just filling me in on Peter Singer’s giving away the $1 million Berggruen Prize for Philosophy and Culture he has been given), and so we become reluctant to use our gifts and to share our resources.
But we serve a God who tells us (Luke 16:10) “Whoever is faithful in a very little is faithful also in much; and whoever is dishonest in a very little is dishonest also in much.” Everything – no matter the size or the scale – matters to God.
So can I encourage you again to sign the petition church groups around Australia are sending to the Federal Government asking that we welcome a special intake of an additional 20,000 Afghan refugees, and support the ongoing well-being of all Afghan refugees and their families. Click here to sign the petition. It is just a small act – to sign a petition – and yet it will have a big impact.
Can I also encourage you to give – whatever you can – to Baptist World Aid Click here to give to the appeal. whose partner agency is working with displaced Afghans refugees in the region, and to Canberra Refugee Support working with refugees – https://canberrarefugee.org.au.
Luke 16:10 also reminds us that when we fail to be faithful in the smaller ways, we fail to be faithful in much larger ways too.
In Sunday’s sermon I spoke about the issue on entrenched female disadvantage; how it affects women across Australian society, especially more marginalised women, and how it affects women in the church. The ‘Stop it at the Start’ campaign, the Council of Australian Governments (COAG) campaign to contribute to a reduction in violence against women and their children, points out that small acts of disrespect potentially grow into violence against women. In my sermon, I drew on studies that show that, although the Baptist Churches of NSW and ACT voted in 1999 to allow women to be accredited for pastoral ministry, church congregations, leadership teams and pastoral colleagues continue to devalue and disrespect women and their gifting for ministry and leadership. The result is that over the last twenty years, out of 246 people accredited for ministry, only 28 were women. We need to be faithful (and constructive) in little things. We need to stop being dishonest (and destructive) in little things too. We need to do much better than this.
(Here is the graph that those of you on Zoom only caught a glimpse of on Sunday. As I said then Rev Dr Jeanette Mathews is represented by the orange bar for 1999 and I am represented by the orange bar for 2003.)
There’s a wonderful hymn which comes from the Iona Community, The Greatness of the Small, and so as we commit ourselves again to being faithful people – in small and large ways – and celebrate all our small scale ‘show and tell’ this evening, I’ll finish with the words of the hymn.
He knew the greatness of the small, who spied two pennies in the plate,
and felt the trust young hands relate, and blessed them all:
he said what mattered was not large when God’s in charge.
He knew the beauty in the small, who saw the sparrow in the sky,
and crushed the corn which seemed to die, when left to fall:
he sensed a wonder in each seed which God decreed.
And so the Kingdom comes, he said, in hidden ferment of the yeast,
in vagrants summoned to a feast, in broken bread:
what’s undervalued in its place is charged with grace.
When we defer to sight or size, believing big is always best,
and falling for the tempter’s test, God, open our eyes
to see how Christ, the Lord of all, smiles from the small.
Words and music ©1989 The Iona Community
Grace and peace to you all from our God who smiles from the small!
Rev Belinda Groves
Team Leader, Canberra Baptist Church
Office Hours: Tuesday to Friday (9am-5pm)
11 Currie Crescent, Kingston ACT 2604
Ph: 02 6295 9470