How do we as a church community support our own? Last week I wrote about our attitude towards mission & charity to those outside of our fellowship. This week let’s think about ministry to ourselves. I have been aware recently that there are a number of (mostly elderly) people who are finding it hard to get to church. For a variety of reasons they are not easily able to join with us on a Sunday morning at the BSB.It has been suggested that people might offer lifts – someone might volunteer to co-ordinate this ministry. That could be a helpful solution, though I am aware that some of the people affected do live quite a distance from Tervuren. Anyway, if you feel that this is something you’d like to see us involved with, please could you have a word with me about it. It feels good and godly – is it a ministry we at St Pauls are able to offer?On SUNDAY 24th FEBRUARY we are holding a Bring & Share lunch after the 10:30 service in the BSB canteen. If you’ve not taken part in one before, the intention is that we all bring food which can be offered for anyone to eat. It will all appear on the table at the back and, so far, our experience is that it is always a great occasion – not just for the food but even more so for the fellowship and time to get to know one another. I am looking forward to it and hope you can stay for it too! (PS please bring your own crockery & cutlery.)
Matthew records Jesus’ Great Commission to his followers in these words... ‘All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptising them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.’ Matthew 28:18-20
This lies at the heart of what we as a church are here on earth (& in Tervuren) to do; making Jesus known & calling folk to follow Him (the Way, the Truth & the Life).
Saint Francis of Assisi is quoted as saying ‘Preach the gospel at all times and when necessary use words.’ In other words our whole lives should be missional. Given this, the Anglican Communion has opened up to us 5 Marks of Mission. www.anglicancommunion.org/mission/marks-of-mission.aspx The intention is that we understand our role in mission of sharing the Good News to be multifaceted.
So, not only do we Proclaim the Good News but we also are to then Teach & Nurture those we have shared Jesus with. As Christ’s people we are to Respond to human need by acts of loving service; we seek to Transform unjust situations and to Safeguard the integrity of God’s creation. It all makes good sense to me and I am glad that the MIG use these criteria as we decide mission work we support as a church community.
This week’s service has the theme of WHAT ARE YOU WAITING FOR? Not in the sense of pausing before you do something; ie what are you waiting for, why don’t you buy that….? Or why don’t you ask that….? Or why don’t you book that….? With the idea of NOW – ie Just Do It, as Nike would say!!!
Our theme comes from the biblical account of Simeon & Anna, Luke 2:22-40. As the baby Jesus is brought to be Presented before God in the Temple, two saintly & elderly people recognise that he is the one they have been waiting for. All their years of yearning, longing, hoping & waiting are now being fulfilled as they see the Lord’s Christ, the long awaited Messiah! Jesus is the answer to all their praying and expectation that God would act in their lifetime. It must have been an amazing experience; truly wonderful.
It leads me to ask myself what it is that I am waiting for? What am I hoping for in my life? What yearning do I have to know God better and to live in line with his will? In truth (if I am being very honest with myself) do I have any real expectation of God at work in my life and in this world? Is it making a difference?
This is what we will be looking at this week in our Guest Service. Please come along and invite those you know to join us for this special service exploring this vital theme……What is important to me and what motivates my life (& lifestyle)?
This week we are looking at the theme of Jesus’ baptism in the Jordan River at the hands of John the Baptist. We are reading Luke 3:15-23. Luke has already told us that John’s was a ‘baptism of repentance for the forgiveness of sins’ 3:3.
Jesus, sinless Son of God, clearly did not need to take part in this rite. He had no need to be forgiven for his sins; as the Messiah, he had no need to get ready for the coming of God’s anointed to the earth. After all, he was (and still is) that One!
We will consider this passage in our sermon and then I will try to ask ‘What does this mean for us today?’
I think we should BE EXPECTANT that Messiah will return to his earth. I see our need to BE OPEN to receive (more of) the Holy Spirit in our lives. For me this passage challenges me to BE HONEST about the paradox of Jesus being both the vulnerable baby in the manger and yet also our judge.
But in that light we can BE CONFIDENT because heaven is open and we have full access to our Heavenly Father. But also, in this passage, I read Luke’s subtle challenge that I need to BE PREPARED to acknowledge just who Jesus is.
As Peter puts it…Always be prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks you to give the reason for the hope that you have. But do this with gentleness and respect. 1 Peter 3:15
Last Sunday afternoon I attended a concert in Vossem. It was a lovely, lively occasion of brass music played by the Koninklijke Harmonie Vossem's Voerezonen; a band started in 1872!
At the end of the concert, Tervuren’s mayor Jan Spooren made a presentation to a trombone player who has played in every winter concert for the past 80 years! He is 92 and has not missed one! His first concert was in January 1939! Imagine that! Before the start of WW2! I found it truly amazing that someone could be so rooted (in the village & in the band) for a life time.
It is not my experience – nor that of many in our church! But St Paul reminds us how we are to be rooted…..in our faith in Jesus Christ….So then, just as you received Christ Jesus as Lord, continue to live your lives in him, rooted and built up in him, strengthened in the faith as you were taught, and overflowing with thankfulness. Colossians 2:6-7
During last Sunday’s sermon I posed these questions…. Do you believe in angels – God’s messengers? How do you respond to dreams? And (how) does God speak to you? There is no easy answer – I am still mulling them over!
And finally, as we prepare for our Guest Service on Sunday 3rd February, can I encourage you to think about who to invite? Pray for them and then please give them an invitation card!