Monthly Archives: June 2019

The Trinity

An address for Trinity Sunday: Readings – Proverbs 8:1-4,22-31 John 16: 12-15

   One of the things our early Christian forebears struggled with was a paradox.  They agreed there was only one God, and their faith was a monotheistic faith, but the one-ness of God wasn’t as one dimensional or static as they had thought.  They had met Jesus, or heard stories of Jesus, human like us, and yet revealing God in a way unseen before.  And now there was a power and presence in their midst they called the breath of Jesus speaking into their lives in a new dramatic way. 

  God was not an unknown God, a vague mysterious being out there beyond the clouds but was known and experienced alongside, and even speaking from deep within.   One of the images from their culture that helped them make some sense of this was from the world of Roman theatre.  There one actor often played multiple parts in a play simply by wearing a different mask.  This phenomenon gave them an idea.  Maybe God could be thought of as an actor in the world wearing different masks.  The one-ness of God was upheld but within this one-ness they came to see there was a dynamic diversity.  In Christ and though the Spirit they claimed God was alive in the world in new ways.  And as they pondered and debated a radical new understanding and teaching about God emerged.  They had to create a whole new term to convey it …. and that term was the Trinity.

    I need to say we are embarking on an impossible journey today because books and books have been written about the Trinity and it still remains a mystery.   It is at best an idea that helps us draw closer to God, but at its worst it simply confuses and divides.  Our Muslim brothers and sisters shake their heads in horror saying we are making the one God three.

   I might say this term was particularly helpful for the Irish and for St Patrick because they quickly cottoned on to the shamrock as an image for this new understanding.  One shamrock leaf has three parts, and those of you who have looked into Celtic Christianity will recognise the motifs that originate from the image of the trinity.  The Celts were very familiar with the idea of interconnectedness and they quickly resonated with the idea that God was best seen in interconnectedness and community.  If God exists in community maybe we also find life in community. 

   There were other images that became popular including that of a spring of water which has an unseen underground source, a spring or fountain where it becomes visible, and a stream that flows from it.   In all three parts it is the same life giving water but it is experienced in different ways….. hidden, gushing, and journeying out into the world.  All three parts contain the same substance, water, but you see the water in different ways.  Images help us understand.

   The three parts to the Trinity picture of God were described by our forebears as Father, Son, and Holy Spirit.

   First through Jesus and his good news they had come to know and relate to God in a parental way.  Like a parent God was the source of all creation, the giver of life and existence.  They saw God’s parental love as source and wisdom that guides, corrects, surrounds, and watches over us in a manner that is seen in the very best of parenting.  It is a gracious, longing presence that gives freedom to choose, but which goes on seeking the best for the child.  They called God the Father, and there were reasons why they only rarely used motherhood to describe God back then.  Today if we were formulating the idea of the Trinity for the first time we would include both motherhood and fatherhood to speak of God’s creating and parental love.  It’s not an easy task to redefine our traditions in light of now.  It takes time.

   Secondly in Jesus they saw God in the life of a fellow human being who walked with them.  God was not some far off remote presence, or something that was unseen such as a hidden source of water, but God wanted to participate in the life of the world.  If you have seen me you have seen the Father Jesus says in John’s gospel.  God had broken into our human world as a visible spring of water, a human being born as one of us – Jesus.   Our forebears called the gift, the Son, partly as a reaction to the proclamation of the world around them that the son of God was the emperor of Rome.   No said the Christians the true light of God wasn’t the emperor but is seen in Jesus the crucified one.   He is the raised up by God from the power of death.  He is the true spring of life. 

   Through Jesus and his good news they also experienced a third reality.  Within them and around them they felt a presence that called them to reshape their lives and the communities of which they were part. A burning fire within, a rushing wind, a gentle breeze whispering.   There was a power alive within, around them building bridges across divides, reconciling, forgiving, boldly proclaiming a new way of life.  The water of eternal life was flowing like a river in their midst transforming lives, giving courage to be different.  They called this outpouring of God, the Holy Spirit.

   The Trinity was an attempt to put into words the radical way the early Christians were rethinking and freshly experiencing God in the aftermath of their encounter with Jesus.  Through God’s parental love, through Christ’s revealing life, death, and resurrection, and through this unrelenting  wind blowing inside and outside the fences they felt they were caught up with a God who while beyond and over us, walked with us, and stirred fires within us.    The new teaching or doctrine about the Trinity helped them see God in a life giving way reminding us that the word doctrine and doctor share a common root.  Both doctor and doctrine are supposed to help us find health and wholeness.

   You may be shaking your head and saying this is all over the top and the doctoring power of the Trinity really is academic claptrap.   

   I don’t know how many times I’ve been challenged with the view that the God of our scriptures is a violent bloodthirsty God.  It is one of the main reasons people reject organised religion.  Look at the conquest of Canaan by Joshua as he led the Hebrew people into the Promised Land.   The first target was the city of Jericho where not only all the people were killed, with men women and children totally wiped out with the exception of Rahab and her family, but also all the animals…. Anything that was alive was brutally slaughtered – at the command of God we are told.   Joshua was leading an invasion of Canaan and wanted to terrorise the inhabitants into submission, but does this way really reveal the heart of God?  Our forebears in giving us the doctrine of the Trinity brought a healing picture of God.  Creation is sometimes brutally violent, but consider how such violence sits with Jesus, who instead of picking up a sword would rather be tortured and killed.  Imagine how this sits with the reconciling, connection building Spirit who descends upon us like a dove.  The Trinity invites us to see three faces of God and through seeing all those faces we come closer to the heart of God.    

  A  temptation of any religion is that it becomes frozen in time.  Seeing the Trinity like a spring of water that is flowing should alert us to the possibility that we have more to learn.  Jesus told us the Spirit would guide us into more truth when we were ready to bear it.  The Spirit dances within us, breathing the life of God, proclaiming the sanctity of all life.  It took nineteen centuries before we proclaimed slavery was evil, and even longer to proclaim the equality of women.  We are still struggling with the learning that human sexuality can take different forms.   The Spirit is now breathing of a new revolution in how we live in harmony with the gift of creation, how we use resources, and how we can no longer treat the earth as a giant garbage disposal unit that can deal with all our extravagant lifestyles.  There is a dynamic changing face of God in the Trinity.

    We are used to seeing ourselves as isolated individuals.  Our protestant faith has emphasised individual responsibility.   The Trinity sees God characterised by ‘living in relationship’.  God is characterised not by a single entity but by a community with different faces.  I wonder what that has to say to us in an individualistic world.  If God exists in creative tension I wonder if we can’t give witness to a community where we celebrate creative tension instead of hiding our differences.  If God exists as the melding of different faces, maybe we can see more clearly the value of the different faces in our community.  

    Let the mystery of Trinity speak to you.

Dugald Wilson 16 June 2019

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The Holy Spirit

An address for Pentecost Sunday, reading  Acts 2:1-13

       The wind is a mysterious force.  In Hebrew and Greek the two languages of the Bible the word for wind and breath is the same word.  In Hebrew, ruach, in Greek pneuma.  You cant see the wind but you can see its effects.  You cant see your breath but taking a breath has an effect.  (without it you die)

Participation activity: Blow up balloons and let them go   – cant see the breath in the balloon but it energizes and creates a new life in the room as balloons zip everywhere!

It is God’s Spirit, or breath, who moves over the empty creation as a wind and life begins.   In the creation stories it is God’s Spirit, or breath, who breathes into the first creatures made of dust and human beings are brought to life.  It is the breath of life.  It is the breath that gives and enhances life.  All of us I think want to feel alive.  We want to do more than just exist, we want to live, really live.  We want to find eternal life as our scriptures call it, we want to walk tall, make a difference, and find deep peace.  When I think of the Holy Spirit I think of a power that is working in the world to bring this life we long for.  The Spirit is working in my life to lead me to this abundant life, the Spirit is working in our community to bring this life, and the Spirit is reshaping the world to bring this life.   So when economic systems work to benefit the powerful and forget the rest the Spirit blows the embers of discontent.   When people think the earth can be treated as a commodity for plunder and abuse the sacred gift of creation pumping carbon into the atmosphere and all sorts of nasties into our local waterways the Spirit will raise up people to lead a revolution.  When the church loses its saltiness and withers away the Spirit will stir a reformation.  When you and I are tempted to put our feet up and say this is as good as it gets the Spirit will nudge and whisper of another chapter in the journey of aliveness, the journey towards abundant life.   The Spirit is a breath of life…. Life in all its fullness in all creation.

There was a sound like rushing wind and the early disciples encountered the breath of life, the Spirit of aliveness.   A new community was born that was called to give witness to this life in all its fullness in individuals and in communities. 

Lets do something that illustrates this.  Take your balloon.  It’s limp and lifeless, but I invite you to blow it up.   It now invites you to a party, maybe to throw it to someone and have some fun.  You can let it go and it literally takes off.  The Holy Spirit is a power alive in our world like the breath in the balloon that brings life, and goes on whispering and blowing to bring a fullness of life that Jesus talked about.

The  tongues of fire – (Participation activity: light a flaming torch and giving out little flames to everyone and talk about fire and flames)    We recognize this with the decorating of the church with red, the colour of fire.  Our story tells us at Pentecost these bursts of fire-energy spread out and touched each one of them.  No-one was missed out.  I think that’s significant. The flame of fire is a symbol of God, and at Pentecost we witness the truth that each of us are empowered with a God given flame or burst of energy.   I wonder what this could symbolize?  The Holy Spirit is alive in me your little flame celebrates. 

I choose to give the flame another name and that is the passion of God.  Within each of us there is a God filled passion or energy to do or be something.  I believe that each of us comes into the world with a sacred purpose.  There is a dream of God in our being.  This may involve undertaking a particular task or tasks or it may be to live a certain way, or maybe most often a mixture of both.  Whatever each of us has a unique role to play in God’s ongoing plan for the life of earth.  One way of recognizing this is to see what we get passionate about. We each have unique gifts, and a calling to play a part in the ongoing journey of creation.  Some people are wonderful planners and administrators, some are great carers, while others teach brilliantly or work with their hands.  Some are great encouragers, or have a gift of healing, others are great prayers have great wisdom.  Some are musicians, while others are teachers, academics and researchers.  There is a God flame burning within each of us and one of my prayers this morning is that we will each know our God flame well. 

There was what appeared to be like tongues of fire dancing around the room where they were, and a flame came and rested on each one of them.    A new community was born that was called to discover their God given gifts and to use those gifts together to transform and heal the world.

Today we celebrate that the Spirit of God is alive within each of us.  I invite you to be still for a moment and consider your own gifts.  Remember each of us is gifted…. It’s often the case that we are not very good at recognizing our giftedness and that is largely because we are not good at reflecting back to each other and encouraging each other.  You are invited to write on your flame a word or words to describe your gift then peel off the double sided tape and stick it on you.  You may like to talk about your gifts over coffee after the service. 

Wenn ich anfangen Deutsch zu sprechen Sie wahrscheinlich nicht verstehen mich  (When I start speaking German you probaly wont understand me!)  Participation activity: See how many greetings we can recite in the congregation…

I start speaking in another language and you can no longer understand me –  our sense of connection is broken.  But if we speak the same language we can communicate, have a conversation, and hopefully connect.  Connecting is a wonderful thing.  The cross we have on our church is a connecting cross just like an addition sign.  And when we add and connect things happen.  One connected to one becomes two.  Two connected to one becomes three.  When we connect with another amazing things happen.   It’s a wonderful thing to have a common language that enables us to connect. There is a power released when you know you are not alone.  The Holy Spirit is a connecting power.  The Spirit of Jesus wants to build connections with god and with each other. 

I’m thinking of the great gulf between generations in our own society, or the gulf between races or religions, the huge gulf between those who live comfortably and those who struggle to pay the bills or to find a roof over their heads.  At Pentecost a new community formed where the fences were down, the connections were made across all sorts of boundaries – there were to be no insiders and outsiders.  This sense of connection was to be a key feature of the new community.   Slaves and free, young and old, Jew and gentile.  The Christian community was a community without fences.  The first Christians stirred by the Spirit were people who put effort into building bridges across divides, reaching out beyond the comfort zones to discover the stories of the strangers.  The Pentecost story isn’t just about speaking other languages it was about connecting across all the things that divide us and building team.  Maybe the Spirit is whispering to you today to do some connecting?

Dugald Wilson 9 June 2019

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Sunday 23rd June 2019

NOTICES:

A very warm welcome to you all this morning. After the service please come through to the Lounge for a cuppa and a time to talk. Many thanks to Rev Lyndsey McKay for leading today’s worship.

MenzShed at St Martins: meets again on Monday July 1st at 7.15pm to talk further.

Fireside:  Women are very welcome to join us at any meeting whether they come just occasionally or regularly.   Fireside is “the women’s group” of our church which meets on the last Tuesday evening of each month.   We plan to meet at 7.45pm on Tuesday 25th June in the Church Lounge at 43 St Martins Rd.  Please note this changed time.  Sandra Knight will tell us about her work at Hearing Excellence. Enquiries: ph Margaret 366 8936.

Wednesday Walkers 26th June: Meet 9.45am at South Library. Coffee at Novel. Sonya.

Crafty Crafters: Meets on Thursdays in the Church lounge 10am-12noon. $3 per session. Contact Lyndsey 388 1264 for more information.

Our next Parish Breakfast is on Sunday 7th July at 8.45am, hosted by members of Fireside. Gold coin koha appreciated.

South Brighton Voices present “From Bach to Boogie” TODAY 2pm HERE. Tickets $15. Come along and support the first concert in the church!

Movie Night Saturday July 6th screening “Green Book” (R18). Set in 1962 this film is inspired by the true story of a tour of deep south USA by African American classical and jazz pianist Don Shirley, and his driver. It is a moving story of the power of friendship. Gather at 5.45pm at church – BYO takeaway tea, drinks provided. Movie starts at 6.15pm and finishes at 8.30pm.

Meditation Group…. Meets on Tuesday evenings in the lounge (or church) at 7.00-7.45pm.  We touch base to encourage each other in our meditation practice.  Some are experienced and some are just starting.  We have a short simple teaching time before sitting in silence for 20 mins together in the practice of meditation.  Meditation is a prayer of transformation.  We are not asking God for things, just being still and in the silence God transforms us. Many people who practice meditation report better health and more authentic living.   New meditators are welcome.  Talk to Dugald if you are interested.

Managers’ Report

Finances…We have received our final account from Simon Construction for approx. $40,000 incl GST and can report that we have capital to pay this.  This will leave approx. $50,000 in our bank for ongoing expenses.  We also are expecting a GST refund of $20,000+.

We are now in a position to look at our financial operating in a ‘normal’ environment without construction costs.  It seems very clear that we will not be able to sustain full-time ministry going forward, and even our current 2/3rds position may not be sustainable without increases in income.    We will have a fuller report in two months’ time.  

Insurance…. Buildings have been re-valued by a registered valuer.  We have decided toinsure the church, the community room, and offices for Replacement Value: church $2.206mil, community room $350,000, offices $107,000.  We have however not insured these buildings for Natural Disaster ie earthquake and flooding, because our budget is so tight, and excesses for this insurance are high (approx $140,000).    We have insured the contents as follows: church $90,000 offices $12,000, with no cover for natural Disaster.  The manse is insured for replacement value in the event of Material Damage and Natural Disaster  with the following amounts: building $672,000, contents $30,000.

Compliance….  We are required to engage an Independent Qualified Person (IQP) to regularly monitor fire safety and other matters with our church complex.  This will cost us approx. $1000.00 per annum.    

Concreting and Landscaping around church…constructing a path with a fence to the community room is underway.  A deck will be built outside the lounge.

The grassed area behind the church has been levelled.  We will now obtain more soil to fill low areas.

Shelving in foyer store… Cubby hole units (floor to ceiling) approx. 400hx600wx 600d to be installed in the lockable storeroom in the foyer.  These can be used by groups using the facility. 

Community Rooms… The proposal to house a menzshed is still under investigation but with huge interest this space is probably too small.  It may be useful for an electronics workshop.  

Container….  The container has been shifted (free of charge) by Simons. 

Security fencing…. Will be sold on TradeMe

Heater in foyer… a heater has been installed in the foyer.  It is controlled by a one hour time switch labelled ‘heater’ located to the left as you enter from outside.   Please leave switches next to the heater in the ‘on’ position.

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Sunday 16 June 2019

Sunday 16th June 2019

The Trinity

    Christianity adopted this complicated idea of God to attempt to understand the deep mystery of God in the context of the events and teaching of the Bible.   As the early Christians reflected on their experience of God they found light in the idea of the Trinity expressed as –

God the Father: revealed by the Old Testament to be Creator, Lord, Father and Judge.

God the Son: who had lived on earth amongst human beings revealing God in human life.

God the Holy Spirit: who spoke into their lives and filled them with new life and power. 

    The doctrine of the Trinity is not clearly and overtly expressed in scripture.  Jesus refers to the Father and to the Holy Spirit but Paul does not express a strong central theme of Trinity.  However it became central doctrine of the church.  The greatest row in the church centered on the Trinity.  In 1054 the great schism occurred between what was then the Roman Catholic Church and the Eastern orthodox churches over a Latin word filoque which had been inserted by the Catholic Church into the Nicene Creed.  Up until that time the creed stated that the Holy Spirit proceeds from the Father alone, and the Roman Catholic Church inserted the word filoque which means and from the Son.  This row has never been resolved!

    In recent times Trinitarian language has been criticized because it is sexist.  Other formulations of the Trinity have been expressed such as God: Creator, Redeemer, and Spirit, or God: Source, Christ, Friend, or God: Womb, Child, Mother.   However none of these metaphors have gained popular usage.  You might like to think of Trinitarian metaphors that explain your experience of God…..






NOTICES:

A very warm welcome to you all this morning. After the service please come through to the Lounge for a cuppa and a time to talk.  

Foot Clinic TOMORROW 1-4pm in the Lounge.

Board of Managers meeting Wednesday 19th June 7.30pm in the foyer.

Wednesday Walkers 19th June: Meet Sue at the Bus Exchange at 9.30am (note time) for a town walk. Coffee at The Pantry at Ara. All welcome. Sonya 027 2533397.

Crafty Crafters: Meets on Thursdays in the Church lounge 10am-12noon. New faces are always welcome. $3 per session. Contact Lyndsey 388 1264 for more information.

Latest Preserves for Sale from Sue: Feijoas in rose wine $5; Walnuts $5; Quince Chutney $4; Quince Jelly $4. IOUs welcome!

Next Movie Night is Saturday July 6th  (when we’ll show the adult movie “Green Book”), & then August 4th 5.45pm at church – bring your takeaway tea (eg fish and chips) drinks provided. Movie starts at 6.15pm and finishes at 8pm.

Help fill the Pantry at Waltham Cottage: With the colder weather and the need for warm nourishing food, Adrienne suggests the following: Baked beans, breakfast cereal, tinned stews, tinned tuna, soups, jams, biscuits, pasta and noodles along with chickpeas and tinned tomatoes.

Everything you contribute is so gratefully received. Please keep it coming. Many thanks. Irene Gray, Session Clerk.

Court Theatre trip Thursday 19th September 6.30pm to see “The Pink Hammer”, a Kiwi comedy. Money in a NAMED envelope to Sue Saunders please on or before Sunday 4th August. Cost will be $49 & $37 for Community Services Card holders (please include a copy of each person’s card in in the envelope with the money). Names onto the clipboard in the foyer please.

MenzShed at St Martins: meets again on Monday July 1st at 7.15pm to talk further.

South Brighton Voices present “From Bach to Boogie” NEXT Sunday 23 June 2pm HERE. Tickets $15 available from Lyndsey McKay. Come along and support the first concert in the church!



Christian Meditation

      a new group to promote good health and well being has started….

   Jesus often withdrew to places of stillness and solitude to re-orientate his life in God.  Early Christians practiced meditation.  Today this practice has often been ignored, yet passages like  “be still and know that I am God” attract us.  Spiritual teacher of our time Fr Thomas Keating said “silence is God’s language”.  A new group is starting with the aim of learning and practicing the art of Christian Meditation.  

 Christian Meditation is based on: stillness, silence and simplicity. The aim is to move closer to spiritual union with God by sitting quietly. To aid us in being still we are invited to repeat in silence the word “Maranatha” which means “come Lord”.  We come not asking for anything, or seeking to tell God anything, just wanting to be open to God. We are leaving busyness and self-consciousness aside to let God transform us deep to deep. Those who persevere will inevitably see the results in their lives in “the fruits of the spirit” (Galatians 5): love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, generosity, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control.   Christian meditation will promote good health and well being.

 Meditation does need to be regular, and it does require discipline.

The new group is meeting here at St Martins Presbyterian Church, 43 St Martins Road, on Tuesday evenings at 7pm.  If you are interested come and see.  The group is not for experts, but for people interested in exploring a form of prayer that is much needed in our time.  Our aim is to meet weekly for those who can make it, but to also encourage a daily personal practice of mediation.

   For more information see  www.christianmeditationnz.org.nz &/or www.wccm.org

An Invitation from Cashmere Presbyterian to a Midwinter Feast … a ‘feast’ of music and a scrumptious Christmas dinner on Saturday 22nd  June. Cost $25 per person.

Kids, friends and families most welcome to our fundraiser!

5.00pm pre-dinner drinks,

5.30pm carols in the church

6.30pm dinner, finishing about 8pm

For tickets please email the church office: cashmere.church@xtra.co.nz or ph 332 7129

“Christmas in New Zealand is such a summery busy thing, crowded with school break-ups and shopping and end-of-year rushing. We want to share with you a quieter, older moment, of carols by candlelight on a chilly night, warm drinks and relaxed fellowship. So many of our carols sing of winter cold, and light in the darkness. Come and experience a taste of tradition, jingle bells in the snow, and an echo of the original silent night.”

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Sunday 9th June 2019

NOTICES:

A very warm welcome to you all this morning. After the service please come through to the Lounge for a cuppa and a time to talk.  

Christian Meditation – a new group

 Jesus often withdrew to places of stillness and solitude to re-orientate his life in God.  Early Christians practiced mediation.  Today this practice has often been ignored, yet passages like  “be still and know that I am God” attract us.  Spiritual teacher of our time Fr Thomas Keating said “silence is God’s language”.  A new group is starting with the aim of learning and practicing the art of Christian Meditation.  

   Christian Meditation is based on: stillness, silence and simplicity. The aim is to move closer to union with God by sitting quietly. To aid us in being still we are invited to repeat in silence the word “Maranatha” which means “come Lord”.  We come in simplicity, not asking for anything, or seeking to tell God anything, just wanting to be open to God. We are leaving busyness and self-consciousness aside to let God transform us deep to deep. We’re not thinking about anything, spiritual or otherwise, just seeking to be in the presence of God and to be wholly present to God.  Those who persevere will inevitably see the results in their lives, “the fruits of the spirit” (Galatians 5): love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, generosity, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control.

   Meditation does need to be regular, and it does require discipline.

The new group will meet for the first time at St Martins Presbyterian Church, 43 St Martins Road, THIS Tuesday June 11th at 7pm.  If you are interested come and see.  The group is not for experts, but for people interested in exploring a form of prayer that is much needed in our time.  Our aim is to meet weekly for those who can make it, but to also encourage a daily personal practice of mediation.

   For more information make contact with Dugald at dugaldwil@gmail.com or go to www.christianmeditationnz.org.nz &/or www.wccm.org






A big thank you to everyone who participated in the Bacon Fundraiser. $598.61 was raised (this includes $56 of donations). Joan Macdonald.

Wednesday Walkers 12th June: Meet 9.45am at South Library carpark. Coffee at Novel Café. All welcome. Sonya 027 2533397.

Crafty Crafters: Meets on Thursdays in the Church lounge 10am-12noon. New faces are always welcome. $3 per session. Contact Lyndsey 388 1264 for more information.

Latest Preserves for Sale from Sue: Feijoas in rose wine $5; Walnuts $5; Quince Chutney $4; Quince Jelly $4. IOUs welcome!

Next Movie Night is Saturday July 6th  (when we’ll show the adult movie “Green Book”), & then August 4th 5.45pm at church – bring your takeaway tea (eg fish and chips) drinks provided. Movie starts at 6.15pm and finishes at 8pm.

Help fill the Pantry at Waltham Cottage: With the colder weather and the need for warm nourishing food, Adrienne suggests the following:

Baked beans, breakfast cereal, tinned stews, tinned tuna, soups, jams, biscuits, pasta and noodles along with chickpeas and tinned tomatoes.

Everything you contribute is so gratefully received. Please keep it coming. Many thanks. Irene Gray, Session Clerk.

Court Theatre trip Thursday 19th September 6.30pm to see “The Pink Hammer”, a Kiwi comedy. Money in a NAMED envelope to Sue Saunders please on or before Sunday 4th August. Cost will be $49 & $37 for Community Services Card holders (please include a copy of each person’s card in in the envelope with the money). Names onto the clipboard in the foyer please.

South Brighton Voices present “From Bach to Boogie” Sunday 23 June 2pm HERE. Tickets $15 available from Lyndsey McKay. Come along and support the first concert in the church!

Ordination/Appointment:
We are invited to come along next Tuesday evening at 7pm for a special service of ordination and appointment of Rev Jonathan Barb as Minister at Linwood Avenue Union Church, corner of Linwood Ave & Tilford St.

MenzShed at St Martins is underway.

A small steering team has been formed.  We’ll meet again on Monday July 1st at 7.15pm to talk further.

Pentecost

For a first-century Jew, Pentecost was the fiftieth day after Passover. It was an agricultural festival. It was the day when farmers brought the first sheaf of wheat from the crop, and offered it to God, partly as a sign of gratitude and partly as a prayer that all the rest of the crop, too, would be safely gathered in. But, for the Jew, neither Passover nor Pentecost were simply agricultural festivals. These festivals awakened echoes of the great story which dominated the long memories of the Jewish people, the story of the Exodus from Egypt, when God fulfilled his promises to Abraham by rescuing his people. Passover was the time when the lambs were sacrificed, and the Israelites were saved from the avenging angel who slew the firstborn of the Egyptians. Off went the Israelites that very night, and passed through the Red Sea into the Sinai desert. Then, 50 days after Passover, they came to Mount Sinai, where Moses received the law. Pentecost, the fiftieth day, isn’t just about the ‘first fruits’, the sheaf which says the harvest has begun. It’s about God giving to his redeemed people the way of life by which they must now carry out his purposes.

Christians understand that at the Pentecost described in Acts 2 God is beginning a new journey as God’s people. Jesus has gone up into heaven in the ascension, and – so Luke wants us to understand – he is now coming down again, not with a written law carved on tablets of stone, but with the dynamic energy of the law, designed to be written on human hearts.

The wind and the fire are wild, untameable forces, and the experience of the wind rushing through the house with a great roar, and the fire coming to rest on each person present, must have been both terrifying and exhilarating. Of course, there are many times later in this book, as there are many times in the life of the church, when the spirit works softly and secretly, quietly transforming people’s lives and situations without any big noise or fuss.

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