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.