Dear sisters and brothers in Christ,
“Watch and be ready, for you do not know on what day your Lord is coming” (Mtt 24:42,44).
Does this sentence strike fear in us or hope in our lives today?
Hopefully the latter is the case.
Apocalyptic passages and literature we find in Scripture are important, but we need to take care they don’t simply make us stargazers of the future rather than simply followers of the risen and present Christ. To listen and attend to what he is trying to speak through the gospels, whilst we amend our lives in ways we perceive Jesus calling us to do so.
One of the great differences between the writers of the New Testament and people of today is realizing that they expected Jesus return to be immanent and within or close to their lifetime. Today it is much healthier to have the view that it will be in God’s time. God’s time which does not necessarily corelate with our time.
What we are called to be though is people of hope and sometimes today hope is in short supply. However it is hope that needs to be a mindset for us. As we celebrate Eucharist we hope that Christ is among us, and indeed if we take Scripture seriously he is indeed among us. We hope for justice and peace and it is in hoping that gives the reason to strive and work for that in ways at our disposal. Hope and faith are interconnected and we should always hope that Jesus was, is, and is to come.
Along with this you might like to ask yourself the question today, what else do I hope for? Of course there are a myriad of possible answers to this. For me I think my greatest hope today is like what Paul writes in 1 Thessalonians: that as followers of Jesus we can stay awake live out our faith with care and consideration for all people and for all of life as we know it.
May your journey well in the presence of Christ this week.
Dear sisters and brothers in Christ,
It is wonderful to be able to begin welcoming a few more people back to worship, even though at 20 participants we still cannot all be together at the same time. So welcome to those who are gathered here this morning and those who are still quietly joining in parish life from home.
Today we celebrate the Feast of All Saints, that begins a series of four Sundays leading up to the end of the church year and new beginnings in Advent. What do we think of when we consider saints? Only the extremely pious and holy? Those who managed amazing feats through the strength of their faith and God’s working through their lives? There are many shining and well known examples, of course, but one of the reasons for All Saints is to be mindful also of the many we know so little about, who are often unsung, but still have played an amazing part in the life of the church and as followers of Christ. Saints include many ‘ordinary’ folk too.
The writer in ‘The Living Word’ this week writes about baptism as the beginning of the Christian and therefore a gift of calling also to be saints. Paul in his letters often addresses them to the saints in the community to whom he is writing. As the ‘Living Word’ states “For most people it is living out love in family life, in the everyday relationships of looking after children, loving one’s husband or wife and having time and care for ageing and elderly parents God’s call is always a call to go beyond ourselves in love.” It is about walking by faith and being led by the light of Christ and being such a light in the life of the world. It is about remembering past lives godly lived and also recognising how we can make a difference. It is seeking to live in the rhythm of life that God has given and calls us out to do so faithfully and practically in our lives.
May you 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.