Please note – the Service of Thanksgiving for the life of Rod Lavender will be held at the church on Monday, 7th August, 2:30pm, followed by afternoon tea in the hall. If you would like to help with the afternoon tea, please contact Meryl Jackson.
On Sunday I told the story of a moment that impacted Archbishop Desmond Tutu’s life when he was 9 years old – a moment he describes as the defining moment of his life. (If you missed it, check out the service on YouTube – https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCYshW3wK7r8RVthfVhXTN_w)
Are there such moments in your life?
Moments that have defined who you are? Or moments that directed the work you do? Or moments when you decided to follow Jesus – to say ‘yes’ to the invitation to belong fully to God?
Perhaps, like me, there have been a series of such moments in your life – milestones – where you have responded to God’s invitation to belong to God. This is a significant part of our journey of faith – one that we should remember regularly and celebrate. I am reminded of the wonderful Psalm 136 (and other psalms as well) where the people of Israel retell their story of faith and God’s faithfulness to them.
It is he who remember us in our low estate,
for his steadfast love endures forever….
O give thanks to the God of heaven,
for his steadfast love endures forever.
There is another significant part of our journey of faith – especially for us in the Baptist tradition – when we are baptised! Baptism is a public declaration – made before others; friends, family, and most significantly, our Christian community of faith, of the steps of faith we have been taking. Theologian Stanley Grenz puts it this way, “Conversion is an intricate dynamic. At its heart is our personal response to the gospel as facilitated by the Spirit…This response encompasses our inward personal commitment (repentance and faith) and its outward testimony administered by the church (baptism).
This Sunday – straight after church – there is a group meeting at the manse over lunch, to find out more about baptism. Anyone is welcome to come along! As the Crossover Australia brochure explains (and I think it’s worth highlighting this!), “Baptism is an initiation, not a graduation. This means that baptism is not for those who have reached a certain level or proven themselves good enough…. You don’t need to know a certain amount about God – but be willing and ready to learn a lot and to live Jesus’ way. You don’t have to have your life in order – but be willing and ready for Jesus to begin reordering things as his Spirit works in and through you…. You don’t have to reach a certain level – just be wanting to make a start (or if you made a start with Jesus some time ago, its never too late to publicly affirm your faith in Jesus!)
There is a third significant part of our journey of faith. This is how – in small ways, in every-day ways – we live as a person of God; how we, to use the words above, allow “Jesus to begin reordering things as his Spirit works in and through [us]”. Thinking about that story about Archbishop Desmond Tutu… Yes, it is amazing that this moment was the defining moment of his life, shaping a life of passionate faith, of service to the church and to his country, of commitment to breaking down apartheid and to human rights, but for the Anglican priest, Trevor Huddleston, it was one small act on one ordinary day, something that flowed out how the Holy Spirit was working in his life and through his life.
To ensure that part continues we need to keep reading God’s word, keep praying, keep stepping out in faith and keep meeting together – allowing in all these ways “Jesus to begin reordering things as his Spirit works in and through [us]”.
Please join me in a prayer I have been praying today – based on the words of Robin Mann hymn we have often sung:
Let us daily die to sin,
let us daily rise with him,
walk in the love of Christ our Lord,
live in the peace of God.
Let us keep walking – and stepping down into the gutter when that’s called for – living daily with Jesus!
PS There are a lot of things happening this weekend – 5-6 August – that we hope you’ve noticed in the bulletin!
- On Saturday, 10am, there’s a Working Bee at the church – to spruce up the place a little – followed by a sausage sizzle at the Manse. This is going ahead – rain or shine!
- And on Sunday, 7-8pm, in the Lounge, everyone (who’s interested!) is invited to a special 1stSunday@7 to discuss the Barbie movie and the profound questions it deals with. Let’s talk about Barbie AND Ken!