Category Archives: Forgiveness

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BEWILDERED PERPLEXED PUZZLED

By now you will be aware of the events in part of the CBD in Melbourne.

We as a part of the community have been involved in the community support.

There is nothing more to say, so I’ll leave you with our sign message….

JESUS
WEPT


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I will not stay silent so you can stay comfortable

Not long before I left for my holidays someone came up to me and said that the sermon I had preached had made them uncomfortable and I shouldn’t preach like that again.
I wasn’t quick enough at the time to say that that is what the Gospel does – make people uncomfortable. Christianity is not meant to make people feel like everything is ok – following Jesus is meant challenge us into action, revolutionise what we think, say and do.
It has always been like this, form the beginning – as a reminder of what sort of faith we have here are just a few (of many) sayings of Jesus that always make me squirm a little as I think about what they actually mean and how I can make them relevant in my life….


“Blessed are you when people insult you, persecute you and falsely say all kinds of evil against you because of me.” Matthew 5:11


“No one can serve two masters. Either you will hate the one and love the other, or you will be devoted to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve both God and money.” Matthew 6:24


“Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or drink; or about your body, what you will wear … “ Matthew 6:25


“Immediately Jesus reached out his hand and caught him. “You of little faith,’ he said, “Why did you doubt?” Matthew 14:31


“If your hand or your foot causes you to stumble, cut it off and throw it away. It is better for you to enter life maimed or crippled than to have two hands or two feet and be thrown into eternal fire.” Matthew 18:8


“Love your neighbour as yourself.” Matthew 22:39


These are just 6 quotes taken from Matthew’s Gospel. Think about these and if they don’t make you slightly uncomfortable then read them again as you may not have have completely understood them first time. And remember there are a lot more quotes in Matthew as well as another 3 Gospels.

Christianity certainly isn’t for those who want to be comfortable…


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You’re a muppet!

You’re special – You are reading this sign instead of looking at your phone – Thanks.
The number of accidents involving pedestrians in Australia’s cities has gone up quite significantly over the past 15 years and research has been conducted into why. One of the main reasons, the study concluded, is that many people are too busy looking at their phones and not at where they are going and just step out into traffic and get hit and injured. I’m sure most of us have had to move so that the oblivious phone staring muppets don’t walk into us. Maybe (like me) you have even been an oblivious phone staring muppet yourself. 
If so then this blog is for you, if not then it’s for you anyway because we’ve all been guilty of muppetry of some form or other.
Today we are updating that famous bit from Matthew’s Gospel Chapter 7 –
“Why do you look at the speck of sawdust in your brother’s eye and pay no attention to the plank in your own eye? How can you say to your brother, ‘Let me take the speck out of your eye,’ when all the time there is a plank in your own eye? You hypocrite, first take the plank out of your own eye, and then you will see clearly to remove the speck from your brother’s eye.
Q. How do you know if there is a vegan, an atheist or a politician in the room? 
A. They’ll tell you!
An old joke that makes a good point……
The world is full of people who think they know the answers to everything. They churn out their ideas if you want to hear them or not. We’re in the midst of a run up to an election and we’re hearing a lot of this stuff. America, apparently, is having an election too (who knew?). So we are being inundated with these people who have the answers to everything and really want to tell us all about the stuff we really don’t need to know about. Let’s be fair though (even to politicians) they are not the only ones afflicted by this problem. We all know people like this (being totally honest, on some subjects I am one of these people – if I ever am around you just tell me to stop will you?).
Most of the time it’s harmless; most of the time it’s just people wanting to share (too much) information. Sometimes, though, it can be dangerous, very dangerous.
Take the people who claim to know exactly who God hates. There are many of them and I seem to find it quite funny that God seems to hate exactly the same people as they do! 
There are those that claim that (and I kid you not on any of these) that women who don’t cover their heads in church will be punished by God; left handed ? – watch out you’re stuffed!; not as white as Jesus was (which gets me every time – as he was MIDDLE EASTERN) well if you’re not as white as the historically accurate (?????) paintings we have made of Jesus you are not welcome here; in a relationship with someone who has the same chromosomes as you, please don’t come here, neither we nor the God we’ve made up, want you, and the list goes on; there are churches that will exclude you if you don’t earn a certain amount of money every year because if you aren’t hitting the target then your faith in God isn’t strong enough and, therefore, God hasn’t blessed you enough. So unless you’re in a Porsche or above please stay away from church.
THIS STUFF IS REAL – you can’t make it up – let’s talk about planks in eyes shall we????!!!!!
Now before you all write in the comments section that I’m just as bad as all the rest and how do I know that my view of God is the right one? etc etc etc – I agree. All this stuff is my opinion. The plank in my eye is HUGE and I need all the help God can give me to get it out but I am not going to use my version of God to condemn people who don’t agree with me. 
I make fun of those who condemn others for not believing what they do – and I could, and probably should, place myself among them. What I say is my opinion of what I think the Scriptures say – the whole love your neighbour thing, the whole Jesus eating with the publicans and sinners stuff, the whole I come to serve not be served attitude, that judge lest ye be not judged bit. That’s where I’m coming from.
So yes. I’mm sure I have a plank in my eye but what I’m saying is so do a lot of other people and they should look for the plank first before they go searching for sawdust specks – look at the sign and not your phone.
As I have said before on this blog and I’m sure I’ll say again – I am bold to paraphrase the words of the great Aretha Franklin – THINK! 
Think about these things – thing if I’m right or wrong – think if there is another answer – read your Bible and see what you think it says – challenge me – challenge them – challenge everything.
I don’t think God wants mindless clones who have a list of people they hate (and therefore God does too). I think that God wants people who search for truths and when they find them hold on to them and share what they have learned with others –  not force their version of the truth on others but who show it by living it; being it; showing it in all they do. 
So stop staring at your phone, remember you have a plank in your eye – every bit as big as everyone else. 
You’re a muppet- but a muppet who can change the world around you by being the truth you have learnt. So do it! Be the change you want to see.

P.S. You can’t be Animal – he’s my muppet!

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My U2 GPS is broken…

It took me where the streets have no name and I still haven’t found what I’m looking for.”
My friend Graeme Dodds has a blog called Rock Goes the Gospel in which he talks of the Gospel message in rock songs. (Go to http://revgraeme.blogspot.com.au)
Graeme has more than his fair share of U2 songs on that blog – he has looked at both these songs.
U2 are not a ‘Christian’ band although Bono and the boys do claim to have faith. They are not overt about their beliefs but they are very open about their stand on social justice issues, bigotry and their stand for what is right. Both these songs touch on those issues.
In their song ‘Where the Streets have no name’ Graeme sees a correlation with one of the beatitudes – 
This U2 track is essentially about persecution, it’s about racial divides, it’s about the ghettos and does not just reflect Belfast during the 1980’s but across the world. It’s a global issue. People who are persecuted for the colour of their skin or where they are born, persecuted for their nationality, or their religion. Persecution runs deep. It’s this that Jesus is touching in this the eighth beatitude “Blessed are those who are persecuted for righteousness’ sake, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.” Jesus is giving hope to those who were enduring life at the hands of the oppression of the Roman state and the religious institution of Judaism.
My U2 GPS has taken me where the streets have no name – these could be the streets of Melbourne. Over the past few months the ministry team of the Melbourne Welsh Church has increasingly been coming across people for whom the streets are not nice places to be; homelessness, persecution, feeling cut off from family or friends to name but a few of the situations we’ve come across. These nameless streets can be lonely places especially when you cannot find what you are looking for (whatever that is).
The Church is supposed to be a place of help for these lost people – in another of his blogs (this one on ‘I still haven’t found what I’m looking for’) Rev. Dodds examines the idea that many have doubts in the value, not just of Jesus, but of organised religion.
You could not be blamed if you have second thoughts about organised religion or that you have doubts about faith. It is not wrong to question, It’s not wrong to doubt. On the contrary it would be very suspicious to many if they met someone who seemed to have it all sewn up. You know the kind, that perfect person that does not have any problems, no issues, no worries, no questions, no brokenness and answers to the name of perfect Peter. I’m not sure that they person really exists. I have encountered many people who have said they have no issues, but scratch the surface and there they are.
(Read the full blog here – http://revgraeme.blogspot.com.au/p/15.html)
The roadmap of life is not easy and wherever we get our guidance from, whatever GPS we use, there are some things that are universally right – the stand against injustice; working against prejudice; the value of all people – to name just a few.
If we wander where the streets have no name and spend time with those who still haven’t found what they are looking for we must be prepared to be the church and take the values of Jesus with us – those values that Jesus showed to those of his time that walked those same streets – let us take with us love, forgiveness and grace to name just a few. If we show people those gifts then maybe hey will be a step closer to finding what they are looking for.


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The Home of the Lost and Found

Easter Saturday Vigil

What happens when a few people,with no idea of what they are really doing, don’t seek notoriety or claim success,  are aware of their own ‘issues’  and failings, take risks, love people and seek to see where God is and join in??……….. well you get something like this…
children hiding chocolate eggs in the park for other children,whose  parents score their ‘stuff’ in this park, where dispossessed people meet, hot chocolate, hot x buns and conversation for those whose backyard this is, a meeting place during the day to converse as together we share life in the simple day to day stuff………….





The Saturday of Light
or
The In Between Days Liturgy 
for 
Easter Saturday
Father forgive us, for we know not what we do.
In the Eastern Orthodox Churches, today is known as the Saturday of Light, it is the first celebration of Easter and the first time the “Hallelujah” is used since the beginning of Lent. The sadness of Friday has passed and the faithful wait for the Light to shine in the darkness once more, renewed for the beginning of the liturgical year. 
We give thanks for the traditions of the faithful in other places.
The Church has a history of making solemn the celebrations of it’s seasons. We, called to live in hope and joy, more often than not live in the struggle of fear, of doubt and in ignorance. It is only what is appropriate, for on this night long passed, those followers of the Light sat in mourning, in disbelief and in terrible fear. For the Light that shined around them had gone out and they knew not where to find Him. The land had turned to darkness, the veil was rent, the women wept at the foot the cross, His disciples had fled in mortal terror. Only John stayed, to keep comfort His mother and to hear that sinner’s great prayer “truly, this man was the Son of God”. 
LORD we are scattered like sheep with no shepherd
Lifeless He hung there, bruised for our transgressions, heavy with the weight of the world. The Jesus of the miracles, of the parables, of the teachings, the Jesus of the highways and the byways, somehow, had become the Jesus of the garden, the Jesus of the trial, the Jesus of the cross. Where should they turn now? He had the words of eternal life, and now, that life was over. Were they condemned because the light had come into the world and that light was the light of men? What now when there was darkness? Where is light in the darkness, where is faith, hope, joy, love? The darkness of this Saturday was darker than any before.
Between dark and light
Between death and life
LORD grant us Faith
and strength to keep searching for the Light
Scripture is filled with stories of darkness, from the creation in Genesis, the barren womb of Sarah, the slavery of Egypt, the time before the Torah, poor Jonah in the belly of the great fish, that time when there were no prophets in Israel and God had taken the light of revelation from the people who would declare His truth. Beside the rivers of Babylon, exile, genocide, the darkness prevailed. Hope was lost, doubt was everything, and in the hearts of men and women, terrible fear. 
LORD in your mercy, HEAR OUR PRAYER
Yet…..God in the darkness is still the God of light, even the darkness of a new tomb, sealed by rock, and guarded by enemies. He clothes Himself in light as a garment, He made two lights in the heavens, He made the stars also. He is the God of Life we are never to forget, those stars are meant to remind us of the glory of the creator of all light.
LORD we seek you in the glory of your creation, light our path we pray
We too are in darkness, sometimes, in despair, loneliness, loss, uncertainty, in the fear that things will never be bright again. We stumble in the darkness of our own faithlessness and arrogance, in the dark night of legalism without grace, judgement without justice, crown without cross, in the darkness of plenty in a land barren of salt and light.
You LORD, only you, be our light in the darkness
For the Jews, the new day starts at the sunset of the old, a new beginning in the darkness of the day before. Night before light, blackness before the morning, the waning moon before the rising sun. The Rising Son. 
LORD the Son rises.
Life must overcome, the life that is the light of women and men, of girls and boys, of lost and found, is rising. This is the story of tomorrow, and the story of tonight. For what went on in that tomb was life besting death, which now will have no sting. Mourning has been soothed with the oil of joy. Beauty for the ashes of despair. This is the Good News of the light and of life. The Son is rising anew, for the first time, forever.
LORD we pray
for those trapped in darkness, LORD we pray
for those who prefer the darkness, LORD we pray
for those in the darkness of addiction, LORD we pray
for those who suffer abuse, LORD we pray
for those who abuse, LORD we pray
for the wealthy, LORD we pray
for the poor, LORD we pray
for those in war, LORD we pray
for the soldier, LORD we pray
for the child soldier, LORD we pray
for those without a safe home, LORD we pray
CBD
for those seeking refuge, LORD we pray
AltarInTheWastelandfor those without clean water, LORD we pray
for those stricken with illness, LORD we pray
for those who minister to them, LORD we pray
for those without power or voice, LORD we pray
for those in power, LORD we pray
for us, LORD we pray
for the weak, the weary, the sad, the broken, the fearful, the despairing, the grieving, the hungry, the ignorant, the doubting
LORD hear our prayer.
It is the custom of Christians to wait until the new night of tomorrow, to kindle the candles that brighten the new year. We of faith, gathered here now, in faith, knowing that tomorrow is already history, light these candles, because for us, tomorrow is here, tomorrow has already come. Life and light are ours, the new light of tomorrows miracle shines in our hearts, darkness is no more. The life is the light of women, and men, and we prefer the light.
Let us light these candles, and go forward, bearing the light into the all our tomorrows.

LORD, in your goodness, hear our prayer

POPUP

broken people in a broken world
working on mending together
offering hope where it would appear 
there is none to be found
light where often there is only darkness
love where love is often lost


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heaven don’t miss it for the world


heaven don’t miss it for the world….
so said the sign on the road side…..

It appears like we think Heaven is somehow going to be better than The World????

When we pray for God’s will to be done on Earth as it is in Heaven, what are we asking or expecting??

Its seems  we are just biding time, or waiting for ‘pie in the sky in the sweet bye and bye rather than steak on the plate while we wait’?

Don’t get me wrong, I’m eager for things to be ‘put right’, whatever that looks like.

All new things or all things renewed??

Its Easter, perhaps its time to get on with God’s will being done on earth, rather that waiting for your insurance policy to be invoked.

Don’t hide Jesus this Easter, get out there where its happening and be part of things being renewed…….if your looking for Jesus this is where Jesus will be…..





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no words

The following song lyrics by Derek Lind, come from a place of loss, grief and pain, after the death of his wife.

I dedicate this to those who have lost a son, grandson,nephew, uncle, friend and work mate .

R.I.P Leigh Harrington

there are no word; D Lind (SOLO)
When a heart is broken
And love is lost
There are no word
And you can’t buy it back
Not at any cost
When you lie alone
And there is no sound
There are no words
Dark was the night
Cold was the ground
There are no words
In the dark night of the soul
In the cold light of day
There are no words
When the one you love
Has been taken away
There are no words


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IMAGE IS EVERYTHING.

A business in the building next to my office declares ‘Image is everything’, it is also the subject for my ‘sermon’ on Sunday.

Im finding it a tad confronting?

I’ll let you know how it goes.

Meanwhile i may take the advice my 3 year old grandson gave to his mum recently………….

Jed – “Mummy why do you do brush your hair every day? “
Me – “To stop it getting knotty and to make me feel pretty”.
Jed – “but your not pretty”.
Me – “well…. maybe not today, because I’m just in trakkie daks, but when I get dressed up I look pretty, dont I? “

Jed – “um, not really, even then, you should look in the mirror more Mummy”.

Time for a look in the mirror me thinks??

PS: welcome to 2016.


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everything is broken

Broken lines broken strings
Broken threads broken springs
Broken idols broken heads
People sleeping in broken beds
Ain’t no use jiving
Ain’t no use joking
Everything is broken.

Broken bottles broken plates
Broken switches broken gates
Broken dishes broken parts
Streets are filled with broken hearts
Broken words never meant to be spoken
Everything is broken.

Seem like every time you stop and turn around
Something else just hit the ground
Broken cutters broken saws
Broken buckles broken laws
Broken bodies broken bones
Broken voices on broken phones
Take a deep breath feel like you’re chokin’
Everything is broken.

Everytime you leave and go off someplace
Things fall to pieces in my face
Broken hands on broken ploughs
Broken treaties broken vows
Broken pipes broken tools
People bending broken rules
Hound dog howling bullfrog croaking
Everything is broken.

Bob Dylan


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Music to my ears

as I write this I am with my partners siblings and partners in NZ.

Last Sunday I was honoured to hear a local musician and artist as he played two new songs.
One was a conversation with his wife who died two years ago, the other called Come to me…..

Come to me you poor
With nothing to your name
And the poor who just have money
You can do the same
Walk with me I love you

Much like indifference being the opposite of love and hate, being poor is about what you have and what you don’t have?

As I loiter on the streets of Melbourne I go to the  ‘top end’ of town’ to watch the faces on the street, and I wonder what stories I would hear, and what story they would like to hear?

I think it’s a mistake to make assumptions about people,’rich’ or ‘poor’.


Upcoming Events

Dec
23
Sun
11:00 am NATIVITY SERVICE
NATIVITY SERVICE
Dec 23 @ 11:00 am – 12:15 pm
FOLLOWED BY A VISIT FROM SANTA AND A CHRISTMAS LUNCH
Jan
27
Sun
10:00 am CHURCH PICNIC
CHURCH PICNIC
Jan 27 @ 10:00 am – 3:30 pm
 
Mar
3
Sun
3:00 pm 2019 St. David’s Day Gymanfa Ganu
2019 St. David’s Day Gymanfa Ganu
Mar 3 @ 3:00 pm – 5:30 pm
A wonderful afternoon of traditional hymns and music held at St. Michael’s U.C. on the corner of Collins and Russell Streets. Features the Blue Ribbon winner from the 2018 National Eisteddfod of Wales, Andrew P.