Fifth Sunday after the Epiphany – 10 February 2013
Last Sunday at Ashmore Uniting Church a new era began as three different congregations worshipped in three different languages, English, Korean and Spanish. From 8am to 8pm there were people preparing and participating in worship all day in our church. I had the pleasure of attending all three services. To God be the Glory.
For those who may not already know, a Korean congregation (Blue Wave Church) led by Pastor Joseph Kim had their service at 12.30 followed by lunch in the Atrium. At 5pm Pastor Alberto Marroquin led his Spanish congregation. Both Pastors made significant efforts to include English translation for the benefit of ‘mono-linguists’ like myself. I would like to encourage everyone to take the opportunity to welcome the members of the other congregations as we share this journey of faith, worship and discovery together. Sharing our building like this on a Sunday reminds me of the vision that is at the heart of The Uniting Church in Australia.
The Uniting Church enjoys a rich heritage where three denominations – Methodist, Congregational and Presbyterian courageously came together in 1977 to form a uniquely Australian Christian expression. From that start it was envisioned that this new Uniting Church in Australia would be a movement, not an institution. This vision was captured in the foundational document of the Uniting Church, the Basis of Union, which states in Paragraph 3:
“The Church lives between the time of Christ’s death and resurrection and the final consummation of all things which Christ will bring; the Church is a pilgrim people, always on the way towards a promised goal; here the Church does not have a continuing city but seeks one to come.”
The Korean and Spanish congregations have no formal links or ties to The Uniting Church in Australia, which for some people within our institutionalized world might cause a level of dis-ease. I came across this thought provoking reflection this week from Richard Rhor, a highly respected Catholic theologian.
In a recent meditation, Ideology can Never be Humble (3/2/13), Rhor said, “a great disappointment in our time is that organized religion itself has become more ideological than transformative.’
I’d like to take all three of those strands of thought above:-
- Three different languages groups worshipping on the one day in the same building @ COGS
- The Uniting Church being a movement not an institution, being a pilgrim people
- Organized religion has become more ideological than transformative
and set them against the backdrop of our Transfiguration theme and readings for today.
The lectionary readings for today are, Luke 9:28-36, Exodus 34:29-35, 2 Corinthians 3:12-4:2 and Psalm 99. Each reading has a beautiful synergy as they link this important historical and theological aspect of our Christian faith. Remembering Jesus’ Transfiguration and our calling to be reflections of Christ is the climax of the Season after Epiphany. We pause today to celebrate and hold within us the presence of Something More, which will empower us for the journey into Lent.
Please join me on Wednesday afternoon at 5.30pm at Mary Immaculate Church in Edmund Rice Drive, Ashmore for the Ash Wednesday Service with our local Catholic Church. Then next Sunday from 2-4pm I’ll be leading a six-week series of Lent Studies from 2-4pm here at the Church. Please put your name down on the list in the Atrium if you want to participate in those studies.
May you find yourself Wholly Holy…as you radiate Christ….this week. Rev. Brad Foote