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