First reading: Genesis 1:1 – 2:4a
Psalm: Psalm 8
Second reading: 2 Corinthians 13:11-13
Gospel: Matthew 28:16-20
The Commissioning of the Disciples
Now the eleven disciples went to Galilee, to the mountain to which Jesus had directed them. When they saw him, they worshiped him; but some doubted. And Jesus came and said to them,
“All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of
the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything that I have commanded you.
And remember, I am with you always, to the end of the age.”
We pray for a calming of the USA protests against racial violence and police brutality following the murder of George Floyd - that peace and order will be restored without further bloodshed. We pray also for healing, that the nation’s mindset will be changed for the better.
Last week in Australia was Reconciliation Week and regrettably we have seen an Indigenous teenager mistreated by police during an arrest this week. We recognise that negative racial attitudes are present in Australia towards our Indigenous people and pray for widespread mindset change. We pray that there be political will to implement all the recommendations made in 1991 by the Royal Commission into Aboriginal Deaths in Custody. There have been at least 432 Aboriginal deaths in custody since the Royal Commission in 1991.
National Reconciliation Week 2020 - 27 May to 3 June
from Wontulp Bi-Buya Indigenous Theology Working Group, 13 March 1997
Holy Father, God of Love,
You are the Creator of all things.
We acknowledge the pain and shame of our history and the sufferings of our peoples,
We ask for your forgiveness.
We thank you for the survival of Indigenous cultures
Our hope is in you because you gave your Son Jesus to reconcile the world to you.
We pray for your strength and grace to forgive, accept and love one another, as you love us and forgive and accept us in the sacrifice of your Son.
Give us the courage to accept the realities of our history so that we may build a better future for our Nation.
Teach us to respect all cultures.
Teach us to care for our land and waters.
Help us to share justly the resources of this land.
Help us to bring about spiritual and social change to improve the quality of life for all groups in our communities,
Especially the disadvantaged.
Help young people to find true dignity and self-esteem by your Spirit.
May your power and love be the foundations on which we build
and our Nation.
Through Jesus Christ our Lord.
Uncle Vince Ross
May the God of creation warm your heart like the campfires of old
Bring wisdom and peace as shown to the first peoples of this land
Shake off the dust from the desert plains by the refreshing rains
Followed by the glow and warmth of the sun
Let the light of God show us the right path and stand tall like the big
River gums drawing life from the ever flowing waters.
Pastoral Letter from Rev Andrew Smith, Presbytery Minister: Congregation Futures
“What if” – What it might look like to live out the Five Habits of Highly Missional People
This series of articles is focusing on Mike Frost’s handy little book “Surprise the World – The Five Habits of Highly Missional People”. It might be hard to picture how adopting Frost’s five habits could transform a congregation. So let’s imagine together. Let’s imagine a series of “What ifs”.
What if there was a congregation, small in size and made up of mostly elderly people? The congregation has church buildings that they meet in for weekly Sunday worship services (when it is safe to do so!!). For the rest of the week the buildings and grounds are used by community groups for running their own activities. It is a busy site with groups coming and going, however there is little that each of these community groups know about each other (including the congregation).
What if congregation folk had read Frost’s book and felt called to bless these community groups that come to the buildings week by week? What if the congregation felt urged on by the community nature of God to help build community among these community groups? Knowing that these groups struggle to afford any promotional material on their own, the congregation offers to coordinate a combined advertising campaign for all the groups in which each group pays an equal proportion. Through the campaign the groups begin to be more aware of each other and begin to refer group members to other groups when there seems to be a fit.
What if the congregation wants to bless these community groups further? What if the congregation realises that on their own they don’t have the energy or resources to run community programs, but they do have the energy to further support the community groups that are already using the church property? The form of the support could be becoming a member of a group or offering to volunteer for a group in whatever way would be useful and manageable. Through participating with the groups in these ways the congregation folk are deliberate about living “questionable lives”. They find more little ways to bless the groups and their members.
What if over time authentic relationships begin to form between the members of groups and the congregation folk? What if they begin to share more life with each other, including eating together? What if moments begin to happen in which they share life deeply with each other, and begin to wonder what makes each other tick? What if these conversations begin to touch on the place of faith in each other’s lives?
What if at this point the congregation folk don’t do what congregation folk might normally do at this point? What if they don’t suggest coming along to the regular Sunday worship gathering? Rather, what if the congregation folk continue in their habits of blessing and eating with members of the groups, and begin to do this more regularly with those who express some interest in faith, slowly drawing together a small group of people who together are interested in learning more of Christ and listening more to the Spirit?
What if over time this small group grows in being intentional about discipling, nurturing and keeping each other accountable? What if the group grows in how together they live out the five habits of highly missional people, and they bless and eat with others in those community groups and beyond? Wouldn’t the congregation have been transformed? Wouldn’t they have become a fresh and vibrant transformed expression of church?