Rector’s Weekly News Article
Only a week to go until Easter and I am reminded once again of how distinct Jesus’ church is from the rest of Australian society. It is not a criticism of our unbelieving friends and family, simply an acknowledgement that it is no longer normal to take time out each year to remember the most extraordinary series of events in the history of the world. For many who enjoy the coming long weekend, the name of Jesus will not rate a mention, far less is the chance that He will be acknowledge as the risen Lord.
As we lament this sad reality, it is important that we respond to this sadness in the most helpful way. I’ll make a couple of points about the gradual shift Australian society has taken away from the Christian tradition.
First, I think it important that we acknowledge that people’s lack of understanding and interest in the real message of Easter (and for that matter Christmas) are not at the heart of the problem. We don’t want people to be simply better educated on Christian traditions. We also don’t particularly want people to just be more polite about the beliefs of others, though that’s always nice. We don’t want all of Sydney to come to the church twice over the Easter weekend with teeth gritted as they endure our gatherings!
The heart of the problem is not changing cultural habits. The heart of the problem is that people do not believe in Jesus. They don’t believe He rose from the dead. They don’t believe He has all power and authority. If I didn’t believe these things I would also spend my time and energy quite differently over the Easter long weekend. We should not spend too much energy being disappointed and wishing people would behave as though they believed, when they do not.
Rather, we should have compassion on those whose eyes have not been opened to the truth. What the people of Australia need more than anything else is the truth. To know what really happened two thousand years ago, to understand what that means for them, and to live accordingly.
We should be praying this Easter not that people would act more like Christians, but that people would know the truth about Jesus.
Our services (as always) will be open to all who want to hear the good news next Friday and Sunday. Invite people to join us that they might see and share our joy because of what Jesus has done.
Yours in Christ, Tim
There was a lot going on in the news this week. Nothing stood out as worthy of an article on its own. At the same time, it is easy to see a common thread in so many of the stories and headlines. The issue of corruption.
I read an article last week about corruption in an African nation. One of the main points of the article was that although Africa and the third world in general are famous for corruption at every level of government, corruption is far from simply a third world problem. In the papers this week you can read about plenty of it in the first world. World leaders using their power and authority for their own purposes. Australian public servants using their power and authority to help family members get jobs. The International Olympic Committee have been plagued with allegations of corruption and then you have FIFA.
Why can’t people just use the power they are given for the purposes for which it has been given?
The answer really lies in the heart of each person. More particularly, in what motivates a person. If the ultimate goal for a person is to further their own interests and the interests of the people they love, then it is not hard to understand the temptation that they face when there is an opportunity to do just that. In many cases, acting corruptly can seem very innocuous. Helping out a friend, directing some work or funds toward a family member seems to have no obvious victim. Once self interest is someone’s primary driving force there will always be casualties.
We Christians are meant to live differently. The Bible makes it very clear that since Adam and Eve left the garden, our hearts have been corrupted. If people live by simply following their hearts then it makes sense that corruption follows. Jesus showed us a way of living that was completely counter to the corrupt and now normal human way. He was not motivated by self interest. He didn’t make choices based on what would make His life and the lives of those He loved more comfortable or easy. Rather, He lived as though there was something more to come. He made choices that recognised the fact that He would one day return to His Father in heaven who sees all. He knew that living a righteous life was good even though it made His life harder.
It would be nice if this meant that His followers (us!) were immune to the temptations of corruption. Sadly we are not, and we must continue to battle with our own temptations and the desires of our less than pure hearts. Ultimately the good news is that by following Jesus’ example of selfless living, we all benefit. Corruption is not good for anyone, not the exposed and fired politician, nor the shrewd business man who lives his whole life without getting caught. In the end the only winners are those who have their hearts washed clean by the blood of Jesus who was never corrupted by temptation or selfish desire.
Yours in Christ, Tim
GOOD FRIDAY 30th March, 2018
St Peter’s Mt Victoria – 8.45am- Communion Service
St Aidan’s Blackheath – 10.30am – Communion Service
1st Reading – Isaiah 53:1-6
2nd Reading – John 19:16-30
Prayers – St Peters: Tim McIver. St Aidan’s: Stephen Williams.
March is BCA Box opening month – if you collect for BCA please bring your box to Judith Finney at Blackheath or Carol Crowther at Mt Victoria, if you’d like to have a box for your loose change and to help spread the gospel in the bush see either of these ladies.
A newsletter available at the back of the church from our BCA missionaries – Philip & Elke Knight in Port Hedland.
St Aidan’s Church Committee will meet on Thursday 29th March at 3pm.
Women’s Business will meet on Tuesday 3rd April in St Peter’s hall at Mt Victoria, starting at 7.30pm – bring along a favourite book that you would happily choose as a gift for both an adult and one for a child and share your story about them.
Hartley Morning Tea will be on the 2nd Monday in April because of Easter Monday holiday.