Third week after the Epiphany – 27 January 2013
Breaking up Fallow Ground
It was wonderful to come back from holidays last Sunday to find that some things had changed around here at Ashmore Uniting Church!! I’m usually the person who moves things around in the Church and when I walked in last Sunday to find that all the Christmas Decorations had been packed away and the pews had been changed around and the drums, keyboard and grand Piano were in different places I had a reaction. In fact, I had several reactions, mostly good ones, but I also found that the changing of the landscape of our Church interior presented a beautiful metaphor, which fitted into the theme of last Sunday that centered on Jesus changing the water into wine at a wedding he attended in Cana in Galilee (John 2:1-11). I decided to add my bit of change as well. We upset our Uniting Church ‘tradition’ by sharing communion on a Sunday other than the ‘first Sunday of the month’. Can we use this as a symbol of the hope that our congregation is ready for change?
It seems that the Gospel of Jesus Christ is all about transformation of our interior lives so that the landscape of the world can also be changed. The process that we engage in as those changes take place is different for all of us and is and should be a varied experience for every one of us. It seems to me that the journey of discipleship is one of change and continual transformation for us as individuals who are baptised into a community that is called ‘the body of Christ’ or the church.
Our Gospel reading from Luke 4:14-21 is again introducing us to a changing landscape. Jesus reads the scriptures in his home church/synagogue and proclaims the good news of a changing landscape. It seems to be Jesus’ own mission statement:-
“The Spirit of the Lord is upon me, for he has appointed me to preach Good News to the poor. He has sent me to proclaim that captives will be released, that the blind will see, that the downtrodden will be freed from their oppressors, and that the time of the Lord’s favour has come.” (Luke 4:18,19)
These are key words that seem to emerge from Jesus’s personal mission statement. If we as the church are called to be the good news in the example of Jesus’ teaching and acts of ministry, how does our own church mission statement reflect and compare to the mission statement of Jesus?
This question should assist us as we meet this Wednesday night (30th January) from 7-9pm to finalise our Vision and Values journey with Jill Gray. The Church Council and I extend an invitation to everyone who worships at Ashmore Uniting Church to come and be a part of Changing the Landscape of Ashmore Uniting Church and the world in which we live. We will share in a time of supper afterwards.
On a personal note, Cheryl and I would like to thank everyone for your expressions of sympathy and love as we’ve experienced the death of Cheryl’s dad, Travis, this week. The funeral will be held on Tuesday in Ipswich. Please continue to pray for Cheryl and her extended family at this time.
May you let God transform your landscape, this week. Rev Brad Foote