Dear members and friends of St Peter’s Lutheran Church, Hobart.
Christmas is just about upon us. We celebrate, rejoice and are reminded that God is for us and with us. He entered this troubled world and took upon himself its curses, to lift from us the curse for all of eternity. The holy family experienced exceptional trials and challenges. Yet God steered them through. He does not abandon us despite the rebellion, brokenness and evils of this current fallen age. Indeed, our Lord ‘is making all things new’ (Rev 21:5).
Our festive season service times are:
Christmas Eve - 7pm, 24 December
Christmas Day - 9.30am 25 December
Boxing Day - 10am 26 December
New Years Eve - 7pm 31 December
More information on our Christmas services, including streaming, at splchobart.org/Christmas
Some St Peter’s leaders met after service last Sunday to review our COVID protocols now that border restrictions have been further relaxed. We were reminded by one Pastoral Assistant of the relevance of Luther’s influential and often cited (longish) tract or article ‘Whether one may flee from a deadly plague’. Its relevance and sound advice is incredible considering it was written around 500 years ago. To summarise, Luther reminds us to take appropriate, well-recognised steps to reduce transmission so that we do not place others or ourselves unnecessarily in harm's way, to have a robust faith in God’s protection (Psalm 91), and to lovingly and appropriately care for our hurting, vulnerable, isolated and sick neighbours, as this is the will of God who commands us to ‘love our neighbour as ourselves'. The article can be read here.
Harrison shares the following dot points based on information communicated to him from that meeting as well as Church and Government directives.
"Face masks are now needed when indoors at Saint Peter’s. While this won’t change worship, the following advice is intended to help keep you, your family and others at worship safe from the Coronavirus.
I, Pastor Mike, am grateful that the Mercury has invited me once again to submit a Christmas message that they will publish. It can be read below, or here on our Pastor’s Page (if you would like to leave a comment).
Behind our fine-tuned universe
Tiny changes to the universe would mean that it wouldn’t exist. Hence physicists have increasingly talked of a fine-tuned universe which makes the existence of the universe by chance all but impossible. Such intricacy points to some sort of great cosmic intelligence. But who or what is this incredible, mysterious mind? Can we know?
Logos is a Greek word with a broad range of meanings. Philosophers and religious writers in antiquity used it to describe ultimate or cosmic reason, truth, wisdom and the utterance or speech of God. St John, a disciple of Jesus and the writer of the fourth Gospel found in the Bible, uses this word logos, translated into English as Word, to describe Jesus. He begins his Gospel with these words ‘In the beginning was the Word (logos), and the Word (logos) was with God, and the Word (logos) was God…Through Him all things were created…. The Word (logos) became flesh and dwelt among us…full of grace and truth’ (John 1:1-3,14).
Incredible. The One of whom another Biblical writer, St Paul, says ‘Through him and for him (Jesus) all things were created’ and ‘in him all things hold together’ (Colossians 1:16,17), lovingly entered our history, became one of us, makes God known, died, was resurrected and soon will return in glory to raise and deliver from sin, death, and the powers of darkness those who put their trust in him. He will put everything right and rule benevolently over his people forever.
Later St John states that he and the other first disciples who were with Jesus, have seen the Word (logos) of life with their own eyes. They have heard him and touched him (1 John 1:1-3). We humans don’t find God or become enlightened by our intelligence or technological explorations, but through the gift from God of the Word (logos) who becomes flesh and is revealed in the Bible.
A Christmas Greeting
Finally, from Pastor Mike, Leanne and Harrison, may you all have a merry and blessed Christmas and Happy New Year. If it does not live up to the often unrealistic high expectations created by the marketers, entertainment industry and others, remember our Lord, far away from his home in heaven; the holy family, far away from their home in Nazareth. Remember he who is at the centre, who brings God and heaven down to earth and near to each one of us. Remember how deeply loved we are, and the great destiny that is ours because of this Christ who is at the heart of Christmas and who truly is the reason for the season.
Warmest regards and blessings,
Pastor Mike Steicke.
Saint Peter's Lutheran Church, Hobart.
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