It was so refreshing to have Janette, Joanne and “Emma” from Blueprint Ministries join us in worship last week at our Palm Sunday service. As a result I sensed a desire from some to find new ways to reach our children and youth to enhance their faith-life in meaningful ways. How challenging it is for us to find the ways in which God would direct us to make this happen.
Pastor Greg’s sermon last week also highlighted the ultimate commitment of Jesus to serve both His Father and humanity – even death on the cross. It had been a while since I had heard the “Kenosis” referred to – the self emptying of Jesus, from Philippians 2:7. I always reflect on this when we sing the hymn And Can It Be and come to the line where we sing, “Emptied Himself of ALL – BUT LOVE!” This also reminds me of the LCA theme “Where Love Comes To Life!” May St Peter’s Lutheran Elizabeth be the place where the self-emptying Love of Jesus does indeed come to life – especially over Easter.
And how different Easter is from this time last year. Despite certain restrictions still in place, we can at least physically meet to worship and celebrate the Life, Suffering, Death and Resurrection of our Lord Jesus Christ. Thank you once again to all who last Easter worked to keep contact with everyone and have on line and printed services provided to remain in touch.
I was recently touched by the lyrics of the beautiful song “I’ve Just Seen Jesus” written by Gloria Gaither that speaks of the encounter Mary Magdalene and Peter had with Jesus on that resurrection morning and I share them with you:
“We knew He was dead, it is finished, He said. We watched as his life ebbed away. Then we all stood around till the guards took Him down. Joseph begged for His body that day.
It was late afternoon when we got to the tomb. Wrapped His body and sealed up the grave. So I know how you feel, His death was so real. But please listen and hear what I say...
I’ve just seen Jesus, I tell you He’s alive. I’ve just seen Jesus, our precious Lord alive. And I knew He really saw me too as if till now I’d never lived. All that I’d done before won’t matter anymore. I’ve just seen Jesus and I’ll never be the same again...”
At our last couple of Church Council meetings I have opened with the collect of the day from The Book of Common Prayer, so I close this “Chatter” on this Easter Resurrection Day with this prayer, also from The Book of Common Prayer:
“Almighty God, who through thine only-begotten Son Jesus Christ hast overcome death, and opened unto us the gate of everlasting life; We humbly beseech thee, that, as by thy special grace preventing us thou dost put into our minds good desires, so by thy continual help bring the same to good effect; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who liveth and reigneth with thee and the Holy Ghost, ever one God, world without end. Amen”
Have a happy and blessed Easter, as you experience and share the life giving Grace and Peace of our resurrected Lord Jesus Christ.
Yes as we approach Holy Week leading up to Good Friday, we can join the thousands of angels, living creatures and the elders and every creature in heaven and on earth and under the earth and on the sea who sing, “Worthy is the Lamb, who was slain, to receive power and wealth and wisdom and strength and glory and praise!...for ever and ever!” AMEN!
(Revelation 5:12-13 - NIV)
What a privilege we have to worship our crucified and risen saviour, Jesus Christ again this Easter and proclaim the saving Grace of our Lord to all the world. The service times for Maundy Thursday, Good Friday and Easter Sunday have been in the weekly bulletin over the past few weeks of Lent. Thank you to Janine for the fine job you are doing in keeping us up with everything.
Church Council met a couple of weeks ago. We welcomed our assigned 4th year Seminary student Joel Grieger as he attended for the first time with our council. Our treasurer Eric Turnwald continues to report that our finances are holding up better than expected, for which we praise God.
A few dates to remember are our Spring Plant Sale in September and the 65th Church Anniversary/Reunion planned for Sunday November 21st, with one 10 am service. Details will follow.
Also coming up, is the church Annual General Meeting on May 30th at 1:30pm. What we have known as our Half Yearly Meeting and Election of Officers is now referred to in the constitution (11.2) as the Budget and Elections General Meeting. This must take place prior to the end of the financial year (December 31), which will probably be in November.
I announced to the Church Council that (primarily on medical advice), I will not be standing for re-election as Church Chairperson. Now is a good time to begin praying and exploring who would be a suitable candidate to be elected to the position.
You may have heard that we recently had to say farewell to our beautiful collie dog Sidney. It was very upsetting to lose my best buddy and I miss him very much. However, during his last days I would drive him to Fremont Park for walks (staggers). On Saturday mornings I discovered a group called “Cos We Care.” This group of volunteers turn up from 7:30 to 9am every Saturday in the first car park, distributing food and other items to the homeless and needy in the area. They are not church based in any way, but we can show the love of Christ by referring anyone that we know in need to them. I commend them to you and to make any donations. They often set up a barbeque outside of ALDI at Munno Para on Fridays and they simply ask customers to pick up something extra in their grocery shopping to contribute to the cause.
May the love, grace and blessings of our Lord be with you all during this coming Easter season.
Pastor Greg Bensted
Pastor is here, most weekday mornings from 9:00am