Digby Wilkinson, Vicar of Tawa offers a very helpful message in the video below as he reminds us that God calls us by name and that makes a difference in how we respond thereafter. Like the potato digger's daughter (*see video message) who responded differently after she was told who she really is, we too are changed when we get it that God cares and loves us enough to call us by name.
Interestingly the Gospel reading on the Sunday when we heard and viewed this video, tells us how Jesus responded when he was called by name (Messiah) by Peter for the first time - see Mark 8: 29
29 He asked them, ‘But who do you say that I am?’ Peter answered him, ‘You are the Messiah.’
Jesus took that recognition as the right time to start talking about his journey to the cross and resurrection,
31 Then he began to teach them that the Son of Man must undergo great suffering, and be rejected by the elders, the chief priests, and the scribes, and be killed, and after three days rise again. 32 He said all this quite openly.
It seems that Jesus could only begin talking like this and more fully enter into His mission because he had been recognised by one of His disciples and called by name. Jesus like us was human and here He models the very point that Reverend Digby makes in his second Lenten sermon.
What a wonderful thought; that when we realise that we are called by name, by God, we too are empowered to walk by the Spirit and enter more fully into our ministry, which is Jesus ministry!
The theme of our first Lenten devotional study this year has been, "A Sent God." This picks up the profound thought that God sent the Son to earth on a mission to save it. This first devotional study helped us to unpack that thought a little in word, discussion and song.
Bishop Ellie reinforced the theme in her video sermon, "God is Sent" (below) some of us viewed and heard on 18 February. Jesus' mission included spending 40 days in a desert place experiencing temptations to abandon the mission and in so doing he experienced much of our temptation with yielding to it. Ellie helps us to better understand the place temptation has in our lives.
Michael Card's song below (part of our 1st study) helpfully reinforces Jesus' identification with humanity. You can view the words on YouTube here:
If you would like direct access to the Lenten Study booklet and all the Lenten sermons please visit:
Well, January is nearly done; the heatwave continues and Ash Wednesday followed by Lent is just around the corner. Welcome back to St Hilda's as we resume normal operations this week with the first Thursday communion (yesterday) and the 10:30am service resuming this Sunday 28th January.
I want to thank the Wardens Lyn and Dave, Parish Chaplain Judy and the others who have taken extra responsibility to allow me an enjoyable and refreshing January break. I return to ministry amongst you feeling refreshed and encouraged. The more so as a number of new people have been worshiping with us since Christmas. Welcome Lynette, Jamie, Kieran, Terry & Christine and others. We pray and yearn that your time with St Hilda's community is spiritually refreshing and edifying. Please introduce yourself to these folk and any others you have not previously met at St Hilda's.
Since returning from holiday I have been speaking in services a little about "change". The theme was there in a reading from Jonah 3 where the people of Nineveh and their King repented of their sin covering themselves with sackcloth and ashes, after which God had a change of heart and did not visit judgment on them. The 'change' theme was there as we read about the beginning of Jesus' Galileean ministry as he succeeded John by proclaiming repentance and belief in (new) Good News and in the process began calling disciples around him who were ordinary people like you and me. People who were excited to follow a guy full of integrity, truth and the love of God.
I have been suggesting that we need to be early adopters of any Spirit-led call and movement of God. Sometimes we can be accused of proclaiming and following an inflexible Gospel and Lord. Jesus regularly chastised religious people who were like that. He by contrast was always willing to meet people where they were and lead them from there into a more mature and faithful understanding of God and God's ways. For instance, He cautioned people who would judgementally stone a perceived immoral person to look at themselves carefully. Having done that, and if they consider themselves guiltless of sin, then go ahead, otherwise do some personal business with God!
Radical Christians follow Jesus in matters like this. May we at St Hilda's be a group of radical Christians who are true disciples of Jesus? Shortly we will form two groups who will meet on Thursdays for a series of 6 Lenten Studies entitled, "A Sent People". We'd love to have you join us either at 1:30pm or 7:30pm to follow this theme beginning Thursday 15th February. The afternoon group will meet in St Hilda's Lounge; the evening group venue is to be advised. The study material is available now and can be collected from Church or by giving me a call - $5 donation invited.
Terry Alve, Priest
027 600 1926
Lent Studies – Transformation
I had decided to commit to lent this year and so with that intention I signed up for a Lent study course, 'Transformation' was the theme. Did that mean I was going to be transformed to a beautiful butterfly? Was there hope for me? The expectation was high. And so it was that found myself once a week with other church members huddled together at the church hall for a couple of hours a week for six weeks.
Lent is a very powerful time, where we are asked to take the time to consider what Jesus means in our lives. Although this can be somewhat hard as we deal with today’s extremely busy world full of constant distractions. And I am easily distracted, however I did my best to be focused.
Each week we walked Jesus’s journey towards the cross as recorded in the book of John. We stopped off at various points and delved deeper into passages. As the members shared their interpretations and meanings of the various verses, the bible became more alive for me and gave me a greater understanding and fuller appreciation of those written words than I had before.
As the group began to trust one another, some shared their life experiences that related to the passages we studied. I considered they knew that they were being protected by the holy spirit. Still I considered this honesty an honour that they felt they could share their feelings within the group. It helped me to understand them in a way that I hadn’t before, they had become three dimensional instead of just the one I saw each Sunday morning.
At the end of it all, did I turn into a beautiful butterfly? Well, my outside remained the same, but I know that there was something different stirring inside. The caterpillar inside was wanting to eat more. I learn’t that Lent is about an internal journey regardless of whether it was taken alongside others. That the ability to tune into God at deeper level is truly what lent is about, the enhancing of a personal relationship with God is biggest gift that Lent could give, and sharing this journey with other special people was just a delightful bonus.
Diane - April 2017
N.B. Thank you Diane. We are always looking for feedback about how the life of St Hilda's Church, and walking the Christian Way, has impacted you. Your contribution (with permission) may be published in this Church Blog.
Terry - Interim PIC