Rector’s Weekly News Article
Thai Boys in a Cave
The news story that captured the world’s attention this week was the amazing tale of the soccer team who became stranded in a cave in Thailand. It was an amazing story of survival, perseverance and people from around the world coming together to do something good. In one sense it’s a very simple story. Some people desperately needed help. Some other people risked their lives to save them. In that sense it is a wonderful picture of humanity at its best.
One could argue that there’s another way of looking at it. The boys and particularly the coach really should have known better than to enter the caves in the wet season. The divers who would be sent to rescue them should not have had to risk their lives. More than 100 experts from around the world travelled to Thailand to assist in the rescue. We could only speculate at the hundreds of thousands, if not millions of dollars that must have been spent to get these boys out.
More than all that, the most tragic part of the story was that one of the rescuers, Saman Kunam, died in the planning and preparation stages of the rescue. Was it really worth the life of an innocent man and untold amounts of money and resources that 13 people should be saved?
Our Lord Jesus said, ‘Greater love has no one than this,that he lay down his life for his friends’. He also spoke of a shepherd who had lost a sheep. Rather than do the logical thing and keep guard over the 99 that remained, that shepherd went after the one that was lost. God has always been in the business of irrational rescues. That the all powerful creator of the world was prepared to give His own life to save those who were His enemies is not very rational. Not until you understand why He did it.
He did it because he loves. He is a rescuer and a saviour. When people heard that those boys were in such desperate trouble many went to help and to rescue. That is a way in which humanity can reflect the very nature of God. It’s something that we should always celebrate. Those celebrations should of course be somewhat tempered by the reality of the world that we live in. There are many more than 13 who are in grave danger each day. Many for whom the world does not stop to offer help. We should remember the millions around the world who are starving, frightened and oppressed.
Whilst humanity fails constantly to save one another, we can still celebrate those rare moments when we do something good. We should also rejoice in the fact that in one man, Jesus Christ, humanity did finally achieve the ultimate act of sacrifice and rescue. One that is once and for all.
Yours in Christ, Tim
This past week Michelle and I, along with a thousand or so other Ministers and church workers from around Australia attended a conference at the Sydney showground in Homebush. The conference was called ‘Oxygen’, the point being that those who normally preach and teach in their churches were meant to come and be refreshed and encouraged by the word of God, as well as being trained and inspired through the teaching and experience of others.
Over the 4 days we heard from a great variety of speakers on a great variety of topics and passages. Over the next couple of weeks I’ll share a few thoughts and reflections on some the things we heard. If anything does arouse your curiosity, KCC (Katoomba Christian Convention) now upload all the talks from their conferences for free. You can access them via the KCC app, for those who are into that sort of thing.
The talks that I found most thought provoking and challenging were given by Kirk Patston. He gave three talks on three Old Testament characters and the books that tell their story. The three characters were all people who lived out their faith in God far from Israel’s home and under the rule and authority of those who did not believe. Joseph, who was sold as a slave by his brothers and ended up in Egypt. Esther, who lived in exile under the Persians. And Daniel who lived in exile under the Babylonians and the Medes and Persians.
All three stories were the about faith in adversity. Interestingly all three stories are told in very unique literary style. The story of Daniel for example is almost written as a comedy, with officials rushing about in large groups, clanging cymbals and serving a king who is easily outwitted. This style of writing seems to clash with the harsh reality of the content of the story. A King who throws people into a burning furnace if they will not bow down to him. A man thrown into a den of wild animals to be ripped apart all because he prayed. Not necessarily the best material for a comedy.
In all three stories the confusion between writing style and dark content seemed to reflect the attitude that Christians might have in dark days. There is a time to smile and laugh even when things are seemingly very dire. Equally, in all these stories, there is a strong sense that God is at work. With God, you never know what you are going to get, or how He might be working out His plans. It was an encouragement to trust and pray and laugh even when it is hard to imagine where hope lies.
Yours in Christ, Tim
Men’s Coffee Morning will be at Petalura Eatery on Friday 20th July from 10am, all men from across the Parish are welcome.
Ladies Coffee Morning will also be on Friday 20th July across the road from the men’s coffee morning in the V & A Cafe also starting at 10am.
St Aidan’s Prayer time will be on Saturday 21st July in the small meeting room starting at 9am for approximately 1 hour.
HELP NEEDED !! Playcentre is changing to Thursday 10 am and Jodie would love to hear from anyone who could help out then. Also the ladies Growth Group on Thursday is changing to Monday and again Jodie would love to hear from anyone who could help with the crèche.
Care & Share Support – if you or someone you know needs this service at any time please contact Judy Dyer, Judith Finney or Carol in the church office.