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23rd Sunday after Pentecost

Sunday, November 17th, 2019

Luke 21:18-19
But not a hair of your head will perish. Stand firm, and you will win your soul.

            Drought and fire, the worst I’ve ever seen. We don’t know when it will end or how many lives will be destroyed, but we know that it’s not over yet. More news updates everyday, fires here and fires over in the US, droughts and famines, civil conflicts and wars, this is the world we live in. We hear the words of Jesus, the letters of saints who have gone before and we wonder, what is this to me? How can this make sense of the world? Love and forgiveness don’t bring the rain, and even if they did, we don’t live in a forgiving world. We live in a world of sinners.

            This is why the world rejected Jesus and still does, He was not a sinner. His preaching of the truth in love lead to hatred of Him and his persecution, suffering and death. He knew the truth that sets free, the truth we confess with Him and all Christians in the Creed, the truth of God Almighty’s Word given to His people of old and preserved for us today. He was under no illusion to the true way of this world, not distracted by the amazing accomplishments achieved by humans, not seduced by the beauty even of this whole world. He stood firm in God’s way, of forgiveness, truth and love. His disciples as we heard today admired the great skill and beauty of the temple God had made in Jerusalem. This place dedicated to Almighty God of all, an image of where heaven and earth meet, of all creation, nations, sea, outer space and beyond the universe to the most holy place; this great wonder that pointed to the one true God. And Jesus responded, ‘this place will be destroyed.’

            Now it’s hard for you and me to really get our heads around this. Jesus is saying two things, one the temple will be destroyed similar to telling an American the white house would be nuked, and two this whole creation, what God’s temple was an image of, will be destroyed. Understandably the Jews wanted to know when. Jesus doesn’t really say, rather He tells them what life is going to be like before the end comes, wars and rumours of wars. Sounds familiar hey? And what does this life look like for those who follow and trust Father, Son, and Spirit? Persecution, arrest, and confrontation with those in power. And betrayal by those close to you, death and hatred. This is what Jesus promised your life before the end will be like. Not a very cheery image is it? How could we hope to survive this?

            Not a hair of your head will be destroyed, in enduring you will win your soul. You have been saved by Jesus, death is not the end, we wait for the resurrection of the dead in Christ to everlasting life in the new creation, the new temple is Jesus, the image of the new creation, sinless, joyful, glorified and untouchable by death or the devil. Here today He renews you in this new life in Him, forgiving you, teaching you and strengthening you; coming to be where He has promised to be for you, wherever two or three gather in His name, and in the bread and wine for your forgiveness. And He doesn’t abandon you when this time today ends, He has given you each other to support and encourage in this hard world. He has sent His Holy Spirit to be there for you, helping, guiding and supporting through your struggles. Even when you are asked, ‘why are you a Christian?’ He tells us not to worry about a script, but rather He will give you wisdom and the words. You have been placed in the kingdom of God, remain under His authority, hearing His word, receiving His forgiveness, and through all this He will stay with you and at the end we will together join the resurrection of Jesus to live together with God Almighty, our creator and Father, living with true peace, joy and love forever.

            We receive together God’s love and mercy now, we are not persecuted for Christ or in a famine, and more you are forgiven all your sins and helped through this life by God Himself. Yet still we wait for the world to come, just as we wait for the rain.

The peace of God which passes all understanding guard your hearts in Christ Jesus, now and into eternity. Amen.

Joseph Graham.

Through a Pastor’s eyes

Saturday, September 21st, 2013

panthersCongratulations to the Gilgandra Panthers players and supporters as you celebrate hearing that final whistle for the year blow while being on the right side of the ledger. It is a great and sometimes rare moment that can bring exhilaration, often relief, and always-fair and just celebrations.

Having lived most of my life in South Australian I can join in saying the words of a well know advertisement on the T.V. in that while “I don’t know how they take those big hits, but…”. But back in the day having played and coached the Aussie Rules senior footy team in a country town similar in size to Gilgandra I well remember the feeling of admiration I had, in win or loss for those sitting next to me in the sheds that had gone the distance during the year and that last game. A significant “one off” type of moment like finding the love of your life, the birth of your children and the many blessings we receive to rejoice in, celebrate and talk of in the years to come. Moments that we remember as so we do to the loss of loved ones, the hardships and the cruelty that life can dish up.

Our lives are ever changing and others opinions of us and indeed ours of ourselves can be very subjective as we lurch from enjoying a few drinks celebrating and remembering the highest of highs, to unfortunately looking to forget the lowest of lows through the bottom of the same glass.

Based on ourselves and our abilities alone we may occasionally fly high in success and happiness and if that’s where you are at the moment, graciously enjoy them because sooner or later we all hit a downdraft of varying magnitude.

Life can be as subjective as a seven tackle play and if I didn’t know otherwise I might line up with those whose rallying cry is to that of the “Christian hypocrites”. But I don’t because only after properly understanding Christianity later in life, I found it is the same collection of individuals as those of the many sporting clubs I have been a part of. Those of strength and those feeble. Those of courage and those fragile. Those who make right decision in the pressure of the game and those who don’t, and most certainly those who do not profess to be above anyone else in regards to worthiness or importance and that is why we don’t say look at us, but say look at Him who goes by the name of Jesus Christ. Because whether you are in the prime of your sporting years and taking all before you or tiring in age and speed over the paddock, you’re still a football player. Whether you are opening the batting or 12th man, you’re still a cricketer and whether I’m an O.K. preacher or not, I’m still a preacher.

As the years pass we deal with the cards dealt to us and be it a full house or a hand full of junk, Jesus Christ is not subjective and win, lose or draw, He will go the distance with you.

God bless you and if you like me were not as fortunate as the Panthers this year, take heart as its only 369 days until Port Power win next year’s AFL flag.

Pastor Steve Hibbard of the Gilgandra/Dubbo Lutheran Parish.

 

 

 

Ask Pastor

Saturday, December 1st, 2007

The purpose of this page is to give visitors to this website
the opportunity to ask the Pastor questions about the Lutheran Church in Dubbo, about family issues, relationships, your faith or anything else you think he may be able to help you with!

Simply ask a question in the comments below.

You can ask your question anonymously if you prefer.

Pastor will try to answer you question within a week.

If your question is urgent, you can contact Pastor on:
02 6884 0854
Email:
 joseph.graham@lca.org.au