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
In 1937 German theologian Dietrich Bonhoeffer wrote what has become a Christian classic book, "The Cost of Discipleship." In it he draws inspiration from Jesus' sermon on the mount. One of the most quoted parts of the book deals with the distinction which Bonhoeffer makes between "cheap" and "costly" grace. According to Bonhoeffer, "cheap grace is the preaching of forgiveness without requiring repentance, baptism without church discipline. Communion without confession. Cheap grace is grace without discipleship, grace without the cross, ultimately - grace without Jesus Christ."
Cheap grace", Bonhoeffer says, is to hear the gospel preached as follows: "Of course you have sinned, but now everything is forgiven, so you can stay as you are and enjoy the consolations of forgiveness." The main defect of such a proclamation is that it contains no demand for discipleship. In contrast to cheap grace, "costly grace confronts us as a gracious call to follow Jesus, it comes as a word of forgiveness to the broken spirit and the contrite heart. It is costly because it compels a man to submit to the yoke of Christ and follow him; it is grace because Jesus says: 'My yoke is easy and my burden is light.'"
Bonhoeffer who was a supporter of an anti-Hitler conspiracy was executed at Flossenbürg on April 9, 1945, just 2 weeks before this Nazi concentration camp was liberated by the US Army. In resisting "cheap grace," Bonhoeffer died for his resistance to the Nazi cause and its leader.
St Hilda's Anglican have arranged discounted registrations for this 7 week journey from Easter to Pentecost. Participants will receive two emails each week and the opportunity to participate in a concluding day of refvlection at Wellington Cathedral on 3 June from 10am to 3pm. More information via the button below.
On the basis that at least 15 people from the Parish will register for this study the fee will be #30 per person. However, money should be no barrier to participation. Pay what you can. Maybe some can pay more and subsidise others.