Dear brothers and sisters in Christ,
Welcome to worship as we celebrate the Tenth Sunday after Pentecost.
As I sat contemplating the Scripture Readings for this Sunday, I couldn't but be taken by the thought of how God’s grace is experienced so often, even in difficult. Difficulties that seem hopeless or even irredeemable.
In the Old Testament Reading, despite David’s foolish mistakes and in this case sinful and evil action, God ultimately goes on to work through the worst of this situation to bring about salvation.
The Psalmist likewise recognises the frailty of the human condition and of the confusion that often exists between good and evil, right and wrong. The best of humanity, now matter how good, is still imperfect. But God doesn’t ask us to be perfect. The best we can do is to seek God in our lives, to encourage others to do so and share our experiences.
Today’s reading from the Letter to the Ephesians can help to realize that God really is present in people’s lives. There is a prayer here that our inner being be strengthened and that Christ come to live in our hearts. How good and important it is to recognise the love of God that is in us. As God’s people we can be filled with all the fullness of God.” An important reminder always and especially when the going gets tough!
Then there is the Gospel reading and a feeding miracle results out of such little provision. Like how the disciples doubt that Jesus could really do anything with five barley loaves and two fish to feed such a large crowd. How often might we fail to trust God to provide what we need? Likewise our celebrating Eucharist together is a reminder each week, that even a small piece of bread and a sip of wine is all that is necessary for nourishing our spirits to the point that we can continue to live and share the wonder of God’s mercy and grace that is available and open to all. Jesus is truly present to us in both the Sacrament and in our lives.
Can Christ who is alive in us, live this week through our hearts and hands?
May we journey well with Christ this week.
Dear brothers and sisters in Christ,
Welcome to worship as we celebrate the Ninth Sunday after Pentecost.
How grateful are we for what we receive and for the bountiful we can experience in this country and our community. Twenty first century Australia for many of us (not all) is a vastly different proposition than life in the time of Jesus. A time where food could be scarce, there was little opportunity for treatment of serious diseases. Life hung in the balance more often than not. They lived under the occupying force of the Romans and prospects for any advancement in well- being were few and far between. No wonder Jesus had compassion for the crowds and the Gospel writer commenting that they were like sheep without a shepherd.
Yet whilst life for many of us is so much better, there are still countless numbers of people who lives in what we would describe as appalling conditions, with little to no hope of anything better; whether this be war-ravaged countries, places of famine, or simply places of extreme poverty. Why should people be living without shelter, food, much in the way of clothing or simple healthcare.
With the world’s richest 1% controlling 40% of the world’s wealth it is no won- der there is such an imbalance. And amongst the world’s richest countries Aus- tralia fairs considerably well, yet we also have people in our own country still sleeping on streets, under bridges, couch surfing etc. There are families with lit- tle to no food on the table and/ or little to no money left after putting over their heads if they can. We as a country with relatively strong communities should be able to do better. But it is only through recognising where and when we can be generous and being more open, that real change can happen.
The compassion of Christ should beckon us to do something about it. It can begin with as little as bringing food to send on for Emergency Relief. It is about keeping our eyes and ears open to respond to needs and to be mindful and prayerful for the increasing numbers of people financially stretched and stressed. It can be with consuming less as a people and giving more, so that those who have nothing can have something. There is so much that needs to change, it al- most seems overwhelming. Yet it can begin with you and with me as we live our lives in Christ, who is alive in us and can lived through our hearts and hands.
May we journey well with Christ this week,
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.