~ Ideas shared in our Sunday morning messages ~
Have you ever suddenly come across a word or a phrase that makes an indelible imprint on your mind? One word which springs to mind is Spirituality – Spirit-uality. This means living each day by the power of God’s Holy Spirit, reading the Word, praying, listening for the still small voice of the Spirit or giving praise and thanks to God.
Something to think about…
Each week we have a small devotion to contemplate for the days following the service on Sunday. These are included in the BUC newsletter for the congregation but they are also provided for you below to read at your own leisure. You can click on the links to read the verses automatically.
For the week of Friday, 19th October 2018
When we think of greatness we don’t automatically think of service but Jesus says the way to greatness is through service. Sports stars are paid more than garbage collectors. Movie stars are paid more than nurses. But we would miss the garbage collectors and the nurses more than the sport and movie stars – they are very much needed in the world.
A pop quiz on greatness.
Who won the gold medal for the mens and womens 100 metre sprint at the 2004 Athens Olympic games? – Justin Gatlin from USA. The women’s winner was Yuliya Nestsiarenka from Belarus.
Who won the Academy award for best actor in 2013? – Daniel Day Lewis for Lincoln
Who looked after those who were dying on the streets of Calcutta? – Mother Teresa
Who studied medicine so he could serve the people of Africa? – Albert Schweitzer and David Livingstone.
Who became known for his work in restoring eyesight for countless thousands of people in Australia and many other countries? – Fred Hollows.
These are people whose names we remember. These people are great. They achieved greatness through service. Now maybe we wont be as well known as they are but acts of service – be they seemingly large or seemingly small are the way of Christ – the one who washed the feet of his disciples – the one who gave his life for us – and they are the way for us.
For the week of Friday, 12th October 2018
The Heavens Declare The Glory Of God
You ask me how I know it’s true that there is a living God.
A God who rules the universe, the sky, the sea, the sod.
A God who holds all creatures in the hollow of His hand.
A God who puts infinity in one tiny grain of sand.
A God who made the seasons – Winter, Summer, Autumn, Spring
And put His flawless rhythm into each created thing.
A God who hangs the sun out slowly with the break of day,
And gently takes the stars in and puts the night away.
A God whose mighty handiwork defies the skill of man
For no architect can alter God’s perfect master plan.
What better answers are there to prove His Holy being
Than the wonders all around us that are ours just for the seeing.
Rev Doug Hosking
For the week of Friday, 5th October 2018
In our reading from the Letter to the Hebrews we are told that God has made us little lower than the angels. We have been crowned with honour and glory and all things have been placed under our power (Hebrews 2:7,8 quoting Psalm 8) We rarely remember this power and focus instead on what we cannot do. I agree with Marianne Williamson when she says,
“Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate. Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure. It is our light, not our darkness that most frightens us. We ask ourselves, Who am I to be brilliant, gorgeous, talented, fabulous? Actually, who are you not to be? You are a child of God. Your playing small does not serve the world. There is nothing enlightened about shrinking so that other people won’t feel insecure around you. We are all meant to shine, as children do. We were born to make manifest the glory of God that is within us. It’s not just in some of us; it’s in everyone. And as we let our own light shine, we unconsciously give other people permission to do the same. As we are liberated from our own fear, our presence automatically liberates others.”
I pray that we will remember who we are, our place in God’s creation, the power God has entrusted to us, and that we will live as children of God – brothers and sisters of Christ.
For the week of Friday, 28th September 2018
The book of Esther contains all the elements of a popular romance novel: a young and beautiful heroine; a wicked scheming villain; a wise older father figure; and an inept and laughable ruler. In the story good triumphs over evil but beneath the lighthearted surface the book explores darker themes such as racism, the threat of genocide and excessive pride and vanity.
An unusual thing for a book in the Bible is that God is not explicitly mentioned but God is seen working in the background through human action. Throughout our world and throughout human history, there are entire populations who must trust that, though God can’t be named, God is at work to put things right, to deal justly with both the oppressor and the oppressed. There are people in this situation today taking risks for their faith and for the betterment of their communities.
We too may be called to take a risk – to take a stand against violence, to befriend a homeless person, to give sacrificially to a cause or something else. These risks may be to our social standing, our intimacy with our peers and so on. These things may seem to be a small risk compared to that of Esther and people living under oppression, but small does not mean that it is not important. Decisions we take and actions we do can have a ripple effect changing people, changing communities and changing the world.
When people of God face challenging times such as we do today we are called to season our actions with faith in God who works in and through us and others.
For the week of Friday, 21st September 2018
August 1985. First day of semester at Duke Divinity School in North Carolina. After the opening Chapel service, we lined up for the weekly ritual of coffee and chocolate-covered donuts. Such is preparation for ministry! I was a newcomer AND a foreigner. We were in a strange land, feeling well out of place (including the BBQ meal where a guy in the queue turned to my wife and said “Hi, I’m Randy!”).
Waiting for my donut and coffee, I spotted someone sitting in the corner by himself, looking as lonely as I felt. Looking closer, I realised that one of his eyes was artificial. Despite having a disabled brother, I immediately thought of him as a battler, needy, a bit lost. I felt moved to go over and sit down and say my Aussie “G’day” to break the ice.
As it turned out, Bill and Betsy became best friends. Bill was smart, funny, and full of virtue and faith in ways that were a constant gift to me. Betsy and Yvonne hit it off the first time they met. My first impression of him was completely wrong. I thought I was some kind of rescuer, but I became the one being rescued from my delusion of reaching down to someone in need.
We’ve all had this experience – discovering to our chagrin that the outsider whom we welcomed was a blessing to us. It is not only humbling, it reminds us that God sees the world-upside down. Seek out the lost. Make room for the least. You’ll find richness and beauty and also come to know yourself.
For the week of Friday, 14th September 2018
“Let’s try this way!” I have been known for taking the “road less travelled” – taking a short cut that turns out to be a long cut. Finding a “scenic route” which turns out to be more route than scenic. Three hours and half a tank of petrol later…
On one occasion we were staying in Burra. We drove north out of town to see some sights and I decided that we’d take the long way back to town. Yes, we had a map. The journey started out fine, then, as you are suspecting, the road surface turned to dirt and became narrower and more rugged. We had left any signs of civilisation behind. “Just around the next corner” became a deep dip through a dry creek bed. We got to the point where there was no phone reception and we wondered how long the petrol would last. The family’s trust in my initiative ran completely dry.
Jesus’ called his followers on a journey. It turned out that their ideas about where he might be heading were wrong. Jesus kept turning left instead of right. Disciples were getting worried. Hard questions were asked. Then Jesus began talking about not getting out of this alive. That’s when things really went downhill.
This week in worship we’re looking at that turning point in the Gospel of Mark, when the disciples realised that it was not a picnic holiday, when we discover that Jesus isn’t who we thought he was.
PS. By the way, my family made it out alive.
For the week of Friday, 7th September 2018
I commence on a personal note. In the week I began preparing for this Sunday’s services we received the distressing news that our 47 year old niece had died in a Canberra hospital.
She had been fighting several aggressive cancers, and a stroke, over the previous 18 months or so. The medical profession had carried out numerous procedures seeking to prolong K’s life, but, sadly, her earthly life has come to an end – in peace.
What do I say to K’s husband and sons, to her parents, other family members? Continue to love and support each other as you are able. God does care for you.
In today’s Gospel, Jesus is confronted by a foreign woman seeking healing for her daughter. At first Jesus attempted to put her off, but she persisted. Jesus acknowledged this and that his ministry was to ALL people.
“God of the least, help me to walk where Jesus walked – among the least and the outcast – so that I may be Jesus’ healing hands”. (With Love to the World 8.9.18)
Rev Doug Hosking