About AshmoreUC

Ashmore Uniting Church (Kath Hilber)

Who is my Neighbour?

Who is my neighbour?

 

The Parable of the Good Samaritan has all the makings of a good story: conflict, bandits, plot twists, an unlikely central figure (the Samaritan as the hero), and a call to action. It draws its audience in and invites us to be a part of the action of the story, beginning when we first encounter the man who had been robbed beaten up and stripped.

However, why was the Samaritan used as the loving neighbour in the parable? The “hated” Samaritans were considered enemies and the Jews believed that to offer friendship and love to people of different faith was to affirm their false beliefs.

How do you really love your neighbour? The answer is in the sermon today. Showing this unconditional love, as demonstrated by Jesus, isn’t always easy. We first need to understand who our neighbour is and then ask the question: “If you were in their situation how would you want to be treated?”

Once you’ve identified your preferred treatment, then go and do the same for others, especially those that we personally find difficult to love. When we do this, Jesus says, we are not far from the Kingdom and heart of God. (Mark 12:34).

Yours in Christ

Debra

Jesus Stills the Storm

JESUS STILLS THE STORM

Jesus proposed a journey to his disciples: “Let us go across to the other side of the sea.” He was ready to leave the crowd behind and venture into new territory.

Jesus asked experienced fishermen to take him there. Fishing, after all, was what they did for their living. Surely, they knew what they were doing and where they were heading. Their grandfathers and fathers most likely fished that sea.

Jesus Stills the Storm
Jesus rose up and said “Peace! Be Still”
Jesus’ words caused a great calm. He said to them, “Why are you afraid? Have you still no faith?” They were filled with great awe and said to one another, “Who then is this, that even the wind and the sea obey him?”

The peace of Jesus is always available through faith, hope and prayer He dampens fear and helps people to have the courage and resilience to endure life’s storms.
How should the followers of Jesus live their lives?

The Teaching of Jesus
“Have faith” “I am always with you”
Do not be afraid
Live through forgiveness
Love your neighbour
Reach out to others

The raging storms in our lives call on us to draw on our reserves of faith. When the storms of life are raging, we pray for calm, we pray for stillness. We pray for God’s hand to put out fires and to calm the turbulence. The peace of the Lord be with you.

Yours in Christ

Debra

The Trinity

Today is Trinity Sunday, which falls on the Sunday following Pentecost each year. This day is dedicated to the Christian belief in the Trinity, God The Father, God The Son and God The Holy Spirit. Throughout the sermons on Sundays, I have consistently spoken of looking through the eyes of love, as Jesus taught us through his example. Love is foundational to the Trinity. The Trinity has radical consequences for Christian life. It is the specifically Christian way of speaking about God, [and] what it means to participate in the life of God through Jesus Christ in the Spirit.”

The belief in the Three-in-One God arose from how God was revealed to us. The Old Testament clearly teaches that there is only one God. Yet the New Testament has shown us that Jesus Christ is God and that the Holy Spirit is God. In seeking to teach clearly what we have been shown about God, the church has formulated the doctrine of the Trinity – one God in three Persons.

The Holy Trinity is about relationship. It is about collaboration and God communicating the nature of God, about our invitation into relationship with God by Jesus in the power of the Holy Spirit. It is also about our relationship and mutuality with each other, guiding, speaking, and declaring to one another the glory of God, Father/Creator, Jesus/Son, and Holy Spirit.

The beautiful painting on the front of this booklet represents The Trinity in a way that engenders an emotion in the viewer. How does it make you feel? What is it saying to you?

 

Yours in Christ

Debra

Do you look like your father?

Do You Look Like Your Father?

Do you look like your father?

Romans 8:16 tells us “The Spirit himself testifies with our spirit that we are God’s children.” Since we are God’s children, we need to grow to become more like him – to “look like Him”. Here’s how:

 

Galatians 5:22-23 tells us “The fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, humility and self-control.” This is a perfect check-list and spiritual exercise program for us to become more like our Father. Each day and each week, (i) chose one of the “fruit” to focus on, (ii) pray for understanding, (iii) research the nature of the fruit, (iv) list times and ways that you can display that fruit in your own life, (v) by faith, allow the Spirit to produce that fruit in you in those situations. Review, pray and practice again J

Love: Luke 10:25-37, John 3:16, John 15:9-17, 1Corinthians 13:1-13, 1 John 4:8

Joy: Philippians 4:4, 1 Thessalonians 5:16, Psalm 16:11, 19:8, 28:7, Matt 13:44

Peace: Numbers 6:26, Romans 12:18, John 14:27, Psalm 34:14, Heb 12:11

Patience: Proverbs 19:11, Romans 8:25, James 1:19, James 5:10

Kindness: Ephesians 4:32, 1 Peter 3:9, Matthew 9:12-13, Ruth 3:10

Goodness: Psalm 23:6, Psalm 27:13, Psalm 116:12, Romans 15:14, 2Peter 1:5

Faithfulness: Luke 16:10, 2 Corinthians 5:7, Psalm 57:10, Romans 3:3

Humility: Proverbs 11:2, Ephesians 4:2, 1 Peter 5:6, James 3:13, Philippians 2:3

Self-Control: Proverbs 25:28, 1 Corinthians 7:5, Titus 1:8, Galatians 5:13-17

Tale of Three Sons

A tale of 3 sons

This is a story loosely related to the parable of the prodigal son that we read in Luke 15. It goes like this: ‘In the beginning Father God had three sons – two of them were sons of the earth – children of his creation – the third was begotten from God’s eternal nature – very much God!! The younger son on earth forgot about his true home and through the pride and selfishness sank into shame….and the older son of the earth – although aware of something eternal in his nature, began to despise his brother, and so he grew hard and judgmental in his heart because of his self-righteous pride…

Then there was the son in heaven – who had spent eternity in his father’s joy – but they were saddened when they thought of the children of earth. One day the father said, “I will send my eternal son to seek them”, and the son said, “I will go to find my brothers and bring them home…so my father will no longer be grieving over them.” So, the eternal son became a human and walked the roads of earth – eventually he found the younger prodigal, ate his husks, and shared his shame; but the prodigal was deaf. “You’re no brother of mine”, he said, and “God is only a name!” So, God’s eternal son went and searched out the elder brother. He had become a prominent person in the church; but he was also hard hearted. “Why are you looking for my younger brother?” He demanded bitterly. “He always wastes everything he’s given – and you aren’t any better!”

Then something terrible happened… The two prodigals – although conflicting – took God’s eternal son and killed him – for his life and light caused them pain. In the hate that a hunger and desire for something better can sometimes bring, the two prodigal brothers killed the son of eternity on a cross. But even as they tortured their brother, he forgave them and prayed for them as he died.

The younger prodigal was touched by what he had seen, and said, “I would have returned to Father God if I had not killed his eternal son…what will I do now?” In a similar way the older prodigal said, “I never knew how special I really was until I saw how much he loved…but now I have killed him…what will I do?” But as they pondered their guilt…and the depths to which they had fallen…something stirred – something deep beyond their understanding – for God’s eternal son broke the shackles of sin and death and rose from the dead. The grave could not imprison his great love – and both of his brothers knew that no matter what life would bring, he was with them.’

This story echoes Jesus’ words and reminds us that the parable of the prodigal has two responses:

  1. The repentant sinner, who left behind self-will and self-loathing and remembered the way back home. He found forgiveness, restoration and hope.
  2. The older son, whose choices never lead him physically away from God. But responded in self-pity, self-righteousness, legalism and judgment.

Pride is death, and the older prodigal was a prodigal in his heart, yet still the father gently offers him love, value and community. But what the son does with it remains a mystery. Both sons acted badly towards the father and needed to repent. But the parable of the prodigal sons in not a full theology – because it doesn’t contain an understanding of sacrifice or the atoning act of Jesus death to restore the prodigals back to relationship with God. But by inserting the cross – and the role that the sons of the earth had in putting Christ to death…the story takes a different perspective – because neither prodigal is innocent in this story…their sin is to reject such a great love that God offers through Jesus…

But death could not onto hold Jesus, justice had been served. But because of his innocence; his love: his light and life – death was rendered impotent. It was powerless to hold him and he burst free and disarmed the enemy! By doing this he gives us back all that we have lost – our identity as sons and daughters of God; our hope – both now and for ever…our purpose…but what we do with that gift is our choice…it’s part of the story that is yet to be written…

God bless,

Tim Winslade