It’s always a challenge trying to decide what to speak about on Easter Sunday – it shines a light into so many dark places. Should we focus on the light or the dark places? I think we have to think about both.
The first reading, from John’s gospel, shows the dark places that fear, hatred and a love of power create when they compromise and collude with each other. Dark places allow evil to go unchallenged, and innocent people are sacrificed for wicked purposes.
Sometimes gullible or vulnerable people are sacrificed too, pulled into the plotting and scheming, used and manipulated by the more dominant voices or forces. Vulnerable does not always mean innocent or weak – it just means that somebody else holds some kind of power over you, and uses it like a lever to push you into a certain position.
Continue reading Easter Sunday 2018 Message by Morag Thorne
Palm Sunday is also known as Passion Sunday – it’s one of those strange days when you can’t help being aware of two conflicting events, one joyful and one sad, and feeling torn between the two. (Hold up two scarves, one colourful, one black, to suggest these). You know, it might be that you have a family wedding in the same week as the anniversary of a family death, and there’s a clash of memories and emotions, happy and sad. That’s Palm Sunday / Passion Sunday: celebration and suffering held in tension.
On the joyful side, (put on colourful scarf) we think of the mood of the people cheering Jesus into Jerusalem, because he was, or was becoming, a hero to many of them. There were people there he had healed from disease and disability, people whose family lives had been renewed because of this. He was a rabbi, and he could argue the scriptures with the Pharisees in ways that were much more positive and uplifting to ordinary people than the endless academic discussions the Pharisees engaged in. Jesus didn’t talk down to ordinary people. And here he was making a formal, ritual kind of entry into the city at Passover festival time, in a way that was loaded with symbolism for those who recognised it. The day was full of excitement, energy and anticipation that something really important was going to happen. And I always feel that it’s the kind of day, the kind of public acclamation that Jesus deserved – to be honoured by people who saw him as a focus of hope.
Continue reading 2018 Palm & Passion Sunday Address by Morag Thorne
Hi, you have got me today, but Morag has used a different Gospel reading to the one set out in the Revised Common Lectionary for the start of Epiphany for this year. Both however relate in some way to the Baptism of Jesus. So I intend to speak on Baptism.
Last week Morag spoke of the genealogy of Jesus through both Mary the blood line and Joseph her husband, tracing back to King David, the branch of Jesse. Another of the ways where Jesus is the fulfilment of prophesies of old. Today we read how God the Father brought the deity of Jesus into focus through His baptism.
I want to start with a question:
how often do you think about your baptism?
Continue reading Message 7th January 2018 by Bill Hearn
Today is Pentecost, the church’s birthday – so, ‘Happy birthday’ everyone! I think we are going to have a celebration at morning tea, so I’d better not take too long with today’s message.
Now when Morag was arranging for speakers for the Sundays she would be away, she asked me which ones I would be here to do. I looked at my diary and said “well one could be the 4th June”. She then said; “You sure, that’s Pentecost”? I thought, ‘well so what, after all it’s not like Christmas Day or Easter or any of those type of popular celebrations, is it’?
In preparing for the message, I think I started to understand why Morag second checked with me.
Continue reading Pentecost Message – Sunday 4th June 2017
Summary from CCVT Summit May 4-6, 2017
The following items provide a brief summary of the CCVT 2017 summit, which was attended by our delegates Bill & Glynnis Hearn and our Minister Morag Thorne.
Continue reading Animate Summit | Resources, Recordings, and More!
The Acts reading (Acts 7:55-60) is very dramatic; the stoning of Stephen. It is also the first we read about Saul who later experienced a very miraculous change and became the Apostle Paul the servant of Christ.
But today we focus on Stephen. This tragic event follows on from Stephen giving a most articulate history of God’s involvement in the lives of men and women throughout the ages and simply includes Jesus as the natural continuation of that Godly presence in our lives. This was a very faithful and brave thing for him to do at this time, speaking as he did before people with strong alternate views.
The reaction of the people was violence towards the messenger. Continue reading The way, the truth and the life – By Bill Hearn
The readings today, from Ezekiel 37 and John 11, are magnificent but very dramatic.
I have been inspired by the writings of a Uniting Church Minister, a lady named Moira Laidlaw in preparing this message.
Nowadays, if you go to the movies or often even on Television, we get snippets or trailers of an upcoming film or TV Show. It gives you an idea of what is coming but refrains from giving you the whole story or what the critical climax might be.
Today’s readings are a bit like that. We are tracking towards Easter and the inevitability of Good Friday. We are on a journey with Jesus.
Continue reading Death & Resurrection – By Bill Hearn
The Readings today (Isaiah 58:1-12 and Matthew 5:13-20) are uncomfortable. Both Isaiah and Jesus are bringing us the Word of God which often is challenging to us. Both messages are strong, blunt, uncompromising. Jesus tells us something we should be, and usually aren’t; and Isaiah tells us something we should do, and usually don’t.
Continue reading A Challenge Isaiah and Jesus – Bill Hearn
There was a clear theme in the readings from Habbakuk (1:1-4, 2:1-4) and Luke 15: 5-10 today, and that was – keep on keeping on. Keep on doing what we know of God’s will and ways, even when it seems like the world is headed for hell on the fast-track. Keep on when all you can do seems so little in the face of so much wrong and nastiness. Keep on because that’s what loyal friends do. When the Western Bulldogs won the AFL Grand Final yesterday for the second time, 60 years after its first GF win, the coach made a point of acknowledging the loyalty of club supporters, who kept on believing, hoping and helping the team for 60 years without reward.
People are capable of great loyalty, to loved ones, ideals, organisations like clubs, churches, schools, etc. We remain loyal through good times and bad not because of rewards, but because we want to be in that relationship, whatever happens.
God has remained loyal to us through some terrible, heartbreaking times. And even in terrible times, people are loyal to God because that’s what life, and being human, are all about.