Dear brothers and sisters in Christ,
Every few days of late there have been changes into how we need to co
-operate and do things. This is as it should be as it is imperative that we all keep ourselves at home as much as possible. We are facing the most signifi- cant health crisis since the Spanish Flu in 1918-19. We have not yet hit a peak number of infections in Victoria. Let us hope and pray that with more people doing the right things (social distancing, washing hands frequently and staying home) that we will all make it through. I hope to not take any parishioner’s funerals as a result of this pandemic. I want to see you again all alive and healthy!
That’s enough doom and gloom for now. What we do find in our Scripture passages for today is some hope. What is important in this time, as well as focusing on our physical well-being is to also focus on our spiritual nature too. As Paul wrote in today’s reading from the Letter to the Romans “To set the mind on the flesh is death, but to set the mind on the Spirit is life and peace.” Whilst Paul would never have envisaged the current context, can we though take this to mean, ‘Don’t feel too consumed by the COVID-19 crisis. Take it seriously! Yet by by also setting our mind on the spiritual life we share with God in Christ, we find a deeper and more meaningful life. As followers of Jesus he dwells in us as we share our lives by faith in him.
The Gospel passage too offers a sense of great hope as we like Mar- tha, Mary, the disciples and other eye-witnesses are confronted with the rais- ing of Lazarus. He has been dead in a tomb for four days. Yet as the Gospel account tells us Jesus calls “Lazarus, come out.” He raise to new life. It is a testament to a life beyond this life. An eternal life where there is no suffering, no crying, no pain. Thanks be to God who enables such a victory.
Stay safe and well this week. Fr Ian
Dear brothers and sisters in Christ,
Whilst we are living in strange and unprecedented times, well at least
for many decades, we do not need to live in fear, for we are a people of faith and hope.
It would be foolish to say and act as though life is about business as usual, but we can still practice our faith and live it out in the days and weeks ahead, even though there will be times that it feels very different. But that is okay. Please refer to my Pastoral letter to you all as we move forward in how we worship and operate together as a parish family and pray that we may do so in a way that still brings glory to God’s name and helps to maintain and build the Church that Christ began through his Passion and Resurrection.
In today’s Gospel we have an interesting encounter between Jesus, a blind man, his parents and the Jewish community. This is a story that needs to be consider on a number of levels. On the one hand there is physical blind- ness that is healed by the power of Christ. On the other is the spiritual blind- ness; first of his parents who don’t want to say too much in case they are os- tracized and then the Pharisees who are looking for an opportunity to con- demn Jesus. They failed to accept the blind man’s healing and continued to believe that his blindness was due to sin.
How easy it is to condemn someone. It is much easier to be critical of others and situations than to have to look for some good, some light that breaks forth, even in a fleeting moment. As it says in the reading from the Letter to the Ephesians today: “For once you were darkness, but now in the Lord you are light. Live as children of light.” May Christ’s light shine bright- ly, even in the midst of difficult times.
Rev Cannon Ian Howarth is the Rector of the Anglican Parish of St Paul's Kyneton and St John's Malmsbury and is the team leader of the Central Highlands Cluster.