Rector’s Weekly News Article
Last week we began a new sermon series in the Gospel of Matthew. It’s my normal practice to select a book from the books of the Bible for us to read through in our second readings without it needing to deliberately tie in with the sermon passage. It’s not surprising at all however that the readings do often complement each other in very obvious ways. This happens not by amazing chance and coincidence or even by God working in mysterious ways. Rather, because the Bible is one long story, each book makes sense. Each book also makes sense of all the others.
As I preach through Matthew we will be reading through the book of Exodus in our Old Testament readings. This time I am being a little bit more deliberate. Matthew knows the Exodus story well. As he writes his gospel he eludes to it constantly, sometimes explicitly, though more often than not, subtly in the background. I hope that reading these two book alongside one another will bring that to light.
Since I’m not preaching Exodus, I thought I would take this opportunity to offer a couple of thoughts. The book of Exodus is the great rescue story of the Old Testament. In the New Testament, everything in the gospels points forward to the cross while everything written after points back to it. It is the same with the Exodus story. It is referred too constantly for the rest of the scriptures.
The Exodus is where God rescues His people. That however is not the whole story. Before the Exodus they were not really a people and though God had made promises to Abraham and his descendants, the Israelite slaves did not know their God. Not only was the Exodus the rescue of God’s people, it was the establishment of God’s people. The birth of a nation.
The events of the Exodus define Israel from then on. They are the people that God rescued. Their identity is completely tied up in that fact. Apart from their God, they would not be a nation.
And so it is for Christians. Our identity is completely tied up in the cross. It is easy for us to forget this sometimes, but in the end, we were created and have our being, only because of Jesus. On the cross He gives us a new identity and a new hope.
I look forward very much to preaching on Matthew and reading through Exodus with you all in the coming months.
Yours in Christ, Tim
While Tim is on paternity leave, I have the opportunity to fill you in a bit about our Youth and Children's Ministry. Today there will be a prayer sheet available for you to take home. This will have a little more information. Thank you for your many prayers. At a glance, our Youth and Children’s Ministries include Play Centre, Scripture, Lunch time group at the Christian School in Blackheath, our 2 kids clubs, Youth group, Kid’s Church, the teens Sunday Bible study group and YUM. YUM stands for “Youth in the Upper Mountains”.
YUM is a combined youth group event that has been happening every school term since term 1 last year. It began with 4 youth groups and has grown to 7 groups with an 8th due to join us at our next event on the 31st Aug. The youth groups travel as far as Lithgow and soon from Lawson. Our last YUM saw 75 youth and 25 leaders attend at the Blue Mountains Christian School in Blackheath. The aim of YUM is to encourage our teens in their faith and to help them see they are not alone. Many, who say they are Christian, often speak about the difficulty in identifying with Jesus in the classroom, with friends and with other classmates. Back when I was a teenager, and I identified as Christian, you were often thought of as ‘a bit weird’, whereas these days, if you say you are a Christian, the response is very different. The response is one of offence and disgust. Please pray for strength for our young people, as many are new to their faith or are on the brink of deciding to follow Jesus. Over the last 12 months we were able to start a new kids club in Blackheath. Our main contacts have come from Blackheath Public and the Christian School. We have a lovely core group of girls; however, we need to gain some boys. At the beginning of last year, Carol and I decided to change the time of our Mount Victoria kids club, from Friday night to Thursday afternoon. This was a positive change. We saw many more kids come to join us. We now have about 13 kids who come along for some fun and to hear from the Bible.
Imprint youth has a lovely group of teens who regularly attend. We have a core group of around 13, ranging from year 7-11. For KYCK (youth conference in April) we had 7 come along with 2 teens deciding to recommit their lives to Jesus. What a joy they are! It is a real privilege to be working in our Parish as the youth worker. Thankyou for your ongoing Prayers.
St Aidan’s Day will be celebrated next Sunday 26th August at Blackheath, come and join in this special day – see enclosed flyer.
Challenging Conversations!! St Hilda’s church in Katoomba is hosting a program on Saturday 1st September from 9am to 1pm with speaker Tim Dyer covering “a biblical reflection on conflict, the building blocks of challenging conversations.” Cost is $5 including morning tea.
HELP NEEDED !! Playcentre has changed to Thursday 10 am and Jodie would love to hear from anyone who could help out then. Also the ladies Growth Group on Thursday has changed to Monday and again Jodie would love to hear from anyone who could help with the crèche.
BCA Boxes – September is box opening month; bring your box in to either Carol Crowther at St Peter’s or Judith Finney at St Aidan’s. This is the money we send to support the Knights in Port Hedland, if you don’t have a box for your loose change and would like one, don’t hesitate to speak to either of these ladies or talk to Tim about how we support Phil & Elke Knight.
St Aidan’s congregation will meet for prayer on Saturday 18th August in the small meeting room starting at 9am for about 1 hour. All welcome.