Date: Sunday 15th May
Location: All Saints Anglican Church,
2A Chapel Street, East St Kilda
Please bring a plate to share.
Holy Trinity, 175-177 Chapel St, Balaclava VIC 3183
email: firstname.lastname@example.org tel: (03) 9531 1562
The Annual Deanery Luncheon will be held on:
Date: Sunday 15th May
Location: All Saints Anglican Church,
2A Chapel Street, East St Kilda
Please bring a plate to share.
This year we are fundraising with the sale of the Entertainment Book. Our email address will be on the Entertainment Book website for people outside the church, and living in the area, to purchase books from us.
The Entertainment Book is a book of discounts and special offers covering many of the best restaurants, arts, attractions, hotels, travel, shopping and more!
The book can be purchased for $65.00 and consists of offers including:
- up to 50% off
- 2 for 1 offers
It's a great gift for ANY value-seeking family member.
Please contact the office for more details.
The next meeting of the Parish Council is to be held:
Date: Wednesday 4th May
Location: Church Vestry
In recent years a great deal of interest has been placed upon ANZAC Day celebrations. The Centenary celebration has helped that. However, it would seem broader than that for interest has been growing through the turn of the century and certainly into this century. It’s actually difficult to know why such renewed interest.
Many theories have been espoused, such as, with the ever-changing multi-cultured nature of our society and the less certainly about what it is to be an Australian, ANZAC day offers an opportunity to ask questions about who and what we are. There are many other ideas shared.
Another observation worth pondering is that with the passing of time we are getting to the end of that era when there remain very few returned soldiers alive. This is the time we must collect and collate the stories of the living witnesses. And there have been a lot of stories told over recent times, from personal family stories through to major movies etc.
How we tell these stories varies greatly. There is no one official account for the implication of the wars on history and the lives of the men, women and children are without number. There will be a time in a few years when a new set of writers will review the past century of ANZAC and write eloquently and imaginatively of its central message and long term implication.
I have shared this reflection because it brings to mind a similar happening 2000 years ago. After Jesus died and rose again the disciples gathered his followers, shared the stories and welcomed new members. The years past and a concern developed with the gradual dieing of eye witnesses to Jesus life. It was the motivation that led to the writing of the gospels. They realized the importance of the written record of their collective memories.
Marks gospel was the first probably about 70 AD. Matthew and Luke followed and finally the writing of John. The understanding of history has suggested that John lived to be an old man. He, in turn had his own disciples with whom he lived in a community. They naturally learnt from John particularly through his very close and affectionate friendship with Jesus. He proved to be one of the last eye witnesses of Jesus life.
The Book of Revelations is attributed to John. This is difficult to verify for it was a common practice of the times to attribute writings to notable people, more so to indicate that the writings reflected the thinking of the supposed author rather than actual proof of writing.
Revelations was written around the turn of the first century AD, give or take some time, but virtually when all those who knew Jesus personally had passed on.
As I was earlier postulating, a newer form of writing will possibly emerge with ANZAC to make sense of it and its impact upon our society. This would fit the understanding of the writing of the book of Revelations. Johns disciples now living with a similar approach to his faith as he did, collated and presented the essence of his teaching.
THE ESSENTIAL MESSAGE
At various points of past Jewish history a special type of writing known as apocryphal was used. It speaks in imaginative symbols and fanciful story lines to inspire its readers to emulate the message of hope. It was not necessarily regarded as factual history. This was the style of writing the writer of the book of Revelations employed.
The essential message was two fold. On the one hand seventy years after the life of Jesus his followers were totally convinced that he was the Lord of creation. On the other hand the implication was that his victory won at Easter would lead to the ultimate victory of God over all creation. It was symbolized in the declaration of a new heaven and a new earth, the new Jerusalem.
Revelation is a difficult book to read because people love the detail in the same way that people love the gossip. When you gossip you fall right away from the real truth. If you turn the writings into a history book you turn God into an Ogre, not the Lord of Love for his creation.
In the season of Easter we usually include readings from Revelations. It is the final book of the bible. We could say it has the final word. God is sovereign. His victorious Easter purposes will be fulfilled. In the face of challenging persecution it was written to convey a wonderful message of encouragement for the early Christians who had never personally met Jesus but had embraced his gospel. We can similarly welcome this message of assurance.
Who was the US president who made the point, ‘Read my lips.’? What was the implication? Was it not, something like, ‘I have a message you must take seriously.’ What I am saying is what I am seriously thinking.
Communication is fundamental to the shape of our life. The quality of expression and care in listening enhances that communication. It is the dynamic of life that connects us with one another at our most significant interior. As that quality of communication increases, we might find ourself beginning to talk of the relationship we experience as having the quality of something like soul friends.
Communication that expresses our thoughts clearly so that the listener understands exactly what we are seeking to communicate will empower both. From family, to work, to a social context, quality connection becomes the wellspring of the spirit of life.
Humanity is empowered. The ultimate model for a Christian is found in the words of Jesus, ‘Where two or three are gathered in my name, there am I in the midst’. Our connectivity takes us ever deeper into the spirit of Jesus.
RELIGION AS A NEGATIVE
When we think of religion many will immediately think of a list of rituals instructions or demands placed upon one’s life. As a result, it may even leave us feeling inadequate. It may be a dividing or diminishing experience.
Jesus discovered there was too much of this in the lives of the people of his day. He criticized, the Jewish religious leaders for they placed heavy burdens upon people. Jesus declared, ‘They tie onto people’s backs, loads that are heavy and hard to carry, yet they aren’t willing even to lift a finger to help them carry those loads.’
RELIGION AS POSITIVE
Of course those of us who regularly come to church, have not found this to be the case. Yet it would appear that in our own time, there are so many people feeling the same negative way about religion as was the case in Jesus time.
AN ALTERNATE WAY
This was a primary concern of Jesus. He refocused peoples attention by calling them to reawaken to a new heart of religion. Love has many faces, such as care for those in need like the Good Samaritan or the work of healing and miracles like the feeding of the 5000. But today, our gospel highlights a further example. It is an awakening to the inner perception of a quality relationship. Jesus centres his teaching around the ability to hear his voice.
HEARING THE VOICE
He declares, ‘My sheep hear my voice and they follow me’. Listening is one of the lost arts of our human behaviour, even though it is so fundamental in so many ways, most particularly to a life as spirit. I’m not talking about a different or strange voice. I’m talking about the quality of listening in its many possibilities.
Jesus made a point of emphasizing the human capacity of listening throughout his ministry. Firstly the most obvious way was his healing of the deaf mute beggar…Any disability is a sadness and Jesus highlighted the importance of even our physical hearing.
One of the great scriptural teachings that Jesus shared, was the instruction, ‘That he who has ears to hear let him hear.’ It was the call to listen deeply to what is happening or being said. Don’t just take things at face value. So often, there is so much more to hear. Our words carry many levels of meaning. They are worth taking time to think more broadly about the full range of possibilities.
Occasionally we read of Jesus having an extraordinary experience in prayer. He proclaimed at Lazarus raising, ‘Father I thank you that you have heard me that they may believe.’ The people thought it had thundered. All that we can say is that the mind is infinite and therefore it’s potential is extraordinary.
The human hearing capacity is extraordinary, from the obvious sounds of our day to the unidentified mysterious depths.
Its importance is its capacity to unite us, with one another, with our environment, ultimately with the divine presence in all creation. The unity of all things is a vital sign of God’s reality.
HEAR JESUS VOICE
Jesus, the Christ is the divine revelation of the God who fills all and is in all. Jesus speaks of those who hear his voice as being his disciples. This is his call to people to hear in such a way that we enter into the unity of all life. This is to discover the reality of life as spirit. From physical hearing, to meaning behind the words of others, to the deep sounds of silence.
Enhanced hearing at whatever level is to know eternal life, and once awakened to it, it cannot be snatched away. To so value our hearing is a pathway to discovering Jesus as the universal Christ. It is vital in our call to follow him.
The excitement of the first few weeks after Easter Day gradually diminished. The appearances were not as prolific. Jesus had advised them to return to Galilee and wait. Wait they did…..and wait.
It sounds like boredom got the better of them. In time, they gradually drifted back to their usual work, fishing. Even that wasn’t so profitable. Not a fish in sight, until the voice of a stranger on the shoreline in the murky dark light of the morning called to try the other side. To their amazement, they caught a net full of fish. A hasty return to shore to greet the stranger they now knew was Jesus followed, with greetings and breakfast.
RESURRECTION AND DAILY LIFE
Up to this point all resurrection appearances had been unique and in the context of unexpected encounters - Mary’s personal encounter with Jesus, an example. The two followers returning to Emmaus, initially sense Jesus while recalling the story of scripture then, recognizing him in the breaking of bread at the meal table, then there was the appearance in the upper room.
Today’s appearance has a touch of difference. This is Jesus appearing in the context of one’s daily life and work. Resurrection awareness can impact all realms of our life. Most significantly that area that we spend most of our time engaged within, our work.
As the disciples discovered, the vision of Christ does impact the way we engage with work, even fishing. Resurrection challenges us to think that there are always possibilities that we haven’t considered. Sometimes, as simple as throwing the net out on the other side of the boat.
Setting goals is a natural part of our life. Education, career, family, money etc…They shape the roadway our life takes. But what is the quality of that road? The second half of the gospel story today, introduces a new and vital dimension to resurrection life. It is a different type of goal. It is the resurrection call to love.
PETER AND THE CALL TO LOVE
This message centres upon Peters failure on Good Friday with Jesus recalling Peter’s three denials of Jesus. Jesus displays an unexpected expression of love aimed at the point of Peter’s most debilitating pain. We imagine that once the group have completed breakfast, Jesus beckons Peter to wonder off down the beach with him for a personal talk. Jesus knows the story of the three denials. He perceives the pain Peter now carries, a pain Jesus determines to heal.
His healing comes in the form of a new purpose of life. It is the call to live in love.
On three occasions he gives him a chance to reaffirm his love of Jesus. With each one it carries the potential to distinguish the pain of his denial. With each one there is a specific mission of love. Feed my lambs. Tend my sheep. Feed my sheep.
To be human is to find a path way in life. A volunteer, a home maker, a work career. We are all different, yet all important for making a contribution on that pathway of our choice. But to be a disciple is to take us on a step beyond this natural path. It is to hear this call to love that Peter heard directly from Jesus.Whatever involvement we have in life is an opportunity to discover the divine love that Jesus displayed.
Life involves encounters with others. Resurrection attitude awakens our vision to see the opportunity of love in each of these encounters. This is the mission Peter was called to. It is the model for all disciples. It is Resurrection living.