Farewell

Dear friends Last Sunday was my penultimate morning service with you and my final opportunity to preach. I chose to speak on discipleship from the day’s Gospel reading — John 1:43-51. I said that “discipleship is about following Jesus and learning from him. It is about laying open our prejudices before him and being willing to deal with them. It is about embracing the possibility of transformation as Nathanael did.” This week we have SMAD with a couple of dozen Read more…

Helpers

Dear Friends, I love the passages we looked at last Sunday – Genesis 1:1-5 and Mark 1:4-11 – the image of the Spirit of God moving on the waters, the dove hovering over Jesus at his baptism, bringing light and hope and life out of the darkness and hopelessness and chaos of our world. In other words – the promise that the Holy Spirit is our helper. I don’t want to make assumptions about you, but thinking about my life, Read more…

12 days of isolation

Dear CBC friends You all know the song The Twelve Days of Christmas, but do you know what the 12 days are? They are the 12 days from Christmas to 6 January, which is the twelfth day and known as Epiphany. Epiphany is one of the Christian church’s three principal and oldest festival days, the other two being Christmas and Easter. The term comes from the Greek word epiphanea, which means “manifestation”. In the Western church the festival primarily commemorates the Read more…

Joy!

This week spans the week of joy and I will be doing some joyful things; spending some time with my parents, celebrating an early Christmas with my family (its Aron’s year this year!), catching up with friends and having some time to rest after what has been a big year. But biblical faith gives another dimension to joy. It says that joy is possible, even when things are not going well, because – to respond to Paul’s rhetorical question in Read more…

Peace

Dear friends Have you heard the message of peace? Have you passed on the message of peace? Last Sunday we lit the peace candle in our service, marking the second Sunday of Advent and the commencement of a week focusing on peace. Jeanette Mathews preached on the topic “Messengers of Peace” from Isaiah 40, encouraging us all to be God’s messengers/angles in our generation, passing on the message of good news, comfort, and peace. Several inspiring stories of peace-making illustrated how we Read more…

Coming into advent

Dear friends, Last Sunday was the final one before Advent. It is celebrated as Christ the King Sunday by many churches and we followed that tradition in our service. I spoke on The Shepherd King, suggesting that Jesus was the Good Shepherd and also the Messiah King, albeit in temporary disguise. I thought the final verse of our concluding hymn by Delores Dufner summed it up very aptly. You chose a humble human form and shunned the world’s renown; You Read more…

Brother, sister, let me serve you.

Last Sunday John finished his message with one of my favourite songs, Brother, sister, let me serve you. It is a journeying song, which was appropriate as he was preaching on a journeying psalm, Psalm 123, a psalm the Israelites would have sung as they made their way to worship together in the temple in Jerusalem. In the same way, the words of that song have accompanied me throughout my life; from the heady days of beach mission where faith Read more…

NAIDOC Week

Dear friends  It’s NAIDOC Week, a time for all Australians to remember and celebrate the history, culture, and achievements of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples. Last Sunday, the start of NAIDOC Week, we welcomed Bianca Manning to our regular morning service in the Church (via Zoom from Brisbane where she is currently studying at a Bible College). Bianca, a Gomeroi woman who grew up in Newcastle on Awakakal country, was recently appointed as the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Read more…

Hands of peace

Walter Brueggemann speaks of the importance of arriving at praise through lament – rather than starting with praise. Over the last three Sundays, we have been looking at the psalms of lament and, as we come to end of that series, fully aware that there is still suffering in our world and in our lives, that there are still questions that haven’t been answered and, perhaps, will never be answered; we have arrived at praise, at being thankful that even Read more…

Get up God!

Get up, God! Are you going to sleep all day? Wake up! Don’t you care what happens to us? Why do you bury your face in the pillow? Why pretend that things are just fine with us? And here we are — flat out on our faces in the dirt, held down with a boot on our necks. Get up and come to our rescue. If you love us so much, Help us!   That seems like a petulant and Read more…