This week at Light in the Hills we mark a wonderful milestone in the life of our parish as we celebrate 75 years of worship at St Michael and All Angels Church Kalorama. As a congregation St Michael's goes back even further and probably began as a house church in about 1903 which is the same year as our other church St Matthew's Olinda opened.
As we celebrate we give thanks for the many many faithful people who over so many years have given witness to the power, presence and love of God in our mountain community. In Psalm 25 the psalmist writes...
"You will show the right path to all who worship you. "
My prayer for us as a Parish is that we would continue to follow that pathway as we bear witness to the light and love of God in this place.
Many people have been overwhelmed by the events of the past week that were triggered by the terrorist attack on Paris last week but Jesus reminds us that in the face of events like this that we should be encouraged as our redemption draws ever nearer.
"Now when these things begin to take place, stand up and raise your heads, because your redemption is drawing near.” (Luke 21.28)
Built in the height of the second world war, 1940 too was a time when many people must have despaired and wondered what was to become of the world. The image from the book of Revelation, of St Michael and All the Angels, from which this church gets it's name was chosen as a sign of hope and a reminder to the local community that God has already defeated evil and that his love will always prevail.
Today also marks the beginning of Advent and our Gospel reading reminds us to be watchful and ready for Christ to come again. Advent is about so much more than just preparing for Christmas. In Advent we are reminded that ultimately we are waiting for Christ to come again and of our need to be faithful, to keep our hearts open and ready to meet our coming King.
As we wait for Christ to come again may we as a church continue to shine out as a beacon of God's hope and love that others may come to worship him and find the path to eternal life.
“For God so loved the world that he gave his only Son, so that everyone who believes in him may not perish but may have eternal life. Indeed, God did not send the Son into the world to condemn the world, but in order that the world might be saved through him." (John 3.16-17)
Till next time... Andrew
All of us have at one point met someone who thought that they were the “be all and end all of everything”. The truth however is that they seldom are. The lectionary readings for this week celebrate the feast of Christ the King. It marks the end of the church year and heralds the season of Advent which begins next week.
The fact that Jesus is the King of Kings is good news. because it means that in a world where all sorts of people claim to be the “be all and end all of everything”, we can say that we know the one who truly is. In our reading from the book of Revelation we are reminded that Jesus is the Alpha and the Omega, the beginning and the end.
Jesus is the “be all and end all of everything”. He is our King and our friend and when we put our trust in him he will never let us down.
Till next time.... Andrew
Ever since our Bible study on Thursday morning this week I have had a song from my Sunday school days stuck in my head.
Hopefully i can get it stuck in yours too!
Jesus loves me! This I know,
For the Bible tells me so;
Little ones to Him belong;
They are weak, but He is strong.
Refrain: Yes, Jesus loves me!
Yes, Jesus loves me!
Yes, Jesus loves me!
The Bible tells me so.
Jesus loves me! This I know,
As He loved so long ago,
Taking children on His knee,
Saying, “Let them come to Me.” Refrain:
Jesus loves me still today,
Walking with me on my way,
Wanting as a friend to give
Light and love to all who live. Refrain:
Jesus loves me!
He will stay
Close beside me all the way;
Thou hast bled and died for me,
I will henceforth live for Thee. Refrain:
Anna Bartlett Warner 1820 –1915
The terrifying attacks that took place in Paris over the weekend along with all of the other awful things that feature regularly in our evening news resonate strongly with our Gospel reading this morning.
Jesus says to the disciples "When you hear of wars and rumors of wars, do not be alarmed; this must take place, but the end is still to come. For nation will rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom; there will be earthquakes in various places; there will be famines. This is but the beginning of the birth pangs." Mark 13.8-9
It can be easy to be overwhelmed by the horror of such events but as Christian's our response to such horrors should always be one of prayer. Prayer for all those caught up in the terrible circumstances of our world. Prayer for the innocent victims of war and conflict. Prayer for all those who work to bring peace and safety to our world, for peace keepers and peace makers. And following Jesus own example, prayer for all those we would call the enemies of peace.
It can be easy to be overwhelmed by such events but Anna Bartlett Warner's simple song reminds us of a much greater and more powerful truth.
"Jesus loves me this I know!"
God's peace till next time. Andrew
This week in Mark’s gospel our reading is about the Poor Widow’s offering, and the message to us is clear.
Jesus loves it when we hold nothing back and give him our all.
In contrast to the wealthy temple goers, who were only willing to give to God out of their excess, Jesus draws the disciples attention to the offering of a poor woman who quietly and discretely gave everything she had. In spite of her apparent poverty the woman lovingly places two small coins, all the money she has in the world into the temple coffers. Such is her love, gratitude and devotion to God, that she is unwilling to hold anything back and gives Him all that she has. This is an act of pure faith and trust in the God whom she knows will provide all her needs.
Following her example the question we need to ask ourselves then is this. How much are we prepared to give to God? Do we trust him enough to give him our everything or are we keeping something back and missing out on some of the blessings of God? God has given us everything. How much are you willing to give him in return?
Till next time. Andrew
With the help of the Herodians, the Pharisees are at it again. This time they hope to trap Jesus out with a clever question about paying tax to Caesar. The answer, they hope, will either get Jesus into trouble for treason or for heresy. Add a good dash of flattery and Jesus should be ready to take the bait.
“Teacher, we know that you are sincere, and show deference to no one; for you do not regard people with partiality, but teach the way of God in accordance with truth. Is it lawful to pay taxes to the emperor, or not? (Mark 12:14)
Jesus is quick to spot their hypocrisy and as he always does he turns their question on it's head.
“Give to the emperor the things that are the emperor’s, and to God the things that are God’s.” (Mark 12:17)
It may be the Emperor's image on the coins but as children of God we are the bearers of an even greater image. "God created humankind in his image, in the image of God he created them" (Genesis 1:26,27) How then do we give to God the things that belong to God? The answer is found in the second part of our Gospel reading for today and is not as taxing as you might think.
“Hear, O Israel: the Lord our God, the Lord is one; you shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your mind, and with all your strength.’ The second is this, ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself.’ There is no other commandment greater than these.” (Mark 12:29)
Till next time... Andrew
Rev. Andrew Smith
Vicar of Light in the Hills