Dear members and friends of St. Peter's,
“I begin by sharing with you a couple of contributions on the unfolding protests (and riots) in the US and elsewhere following the death of George Floyd. I do this following various conversations with members that I have been a part of and the obvious interest in this subject. The first is from Rev Matt Harrison, the President of the Lutheran Church Missouri Synod (LCMS) who a reasonable number of we Australian Lutheran Pastors know personally. It is pastoral in nature and I believe seeks to promote healing and humility. Rev Harrison is well qualified to speak on this subject as Lutheranism is the dominant denomination in the twin cities of Minnesota and St Paul and he is situated in St Louis which has also experienced its share of racial tensions and violence both recently and historically. He urges us all to practice personal repentance, oppose racism and to respect authority. Wise advice indeed! You can continue to read on here.
Secondly, I share this from Martyn Iles of the Australian Christian Lobby. I do not agree with Martyn on everything, but I do on many things, and what he writes here is something I believe we all need to be aware of and informed about, as there are cultural forces feeding lawlessness and destabilising society. An ideology that promotes tribalism, division and aggressive self-righteousness has been unleashed on and among us. If this is tribalism, then you may ask why are there many whites protesting and even rioting, looting and engaging in violence? Many such persons describe themselves as ‘woke’, meaning they view themselves as enlightened and alert to injustice. A ‘woke’ person is someone who identifies and empathises with an oppressed minority. In a sense, we should all be ‘woke’, but this is not to be at the expense of God’s ordering of creation, the respect for the life of all, for others property and welfare, for authority, the prohibition against covetousness, theft and whatever else is contrary to the 10 commandments which are summarised by Jesus’ call to wholeheartedly love God and neighbour! I am perplexed that such people, so angered at the killing of an innocent man are often pro-abortion (even to full term – a child in the womb is surely among the most powerless!) and how some are engaging in violence towards others, justifying it by stating they are attacking the oppressors. I encourage a careful reading of this and to keep in mind Rev Harrison’s article and his call for personal repentance while doing so. For those really interested in analysis you might also like to read this rather sanitised overview of Anarchism by an adherent as one can see some of the philosophies and fingerprints of Anarchists coming through on various websites behind the current destabilisation.
There are no doubt many angles to this. In last Sunday’s sermon, it was suggested this is also a ‘reaping of what we have sown’ for collectively largely pushing God and His Word out of the picture and pursing empty materialism and consumerism. We have an economic system's which, with accompanying technology, work far too well. However, we have failed to put the necessary checks, balances and limits in place, and have largely lost our soul and so much of value in the process. We have milked systems to the extreme, repeatedly kicked the proverbial can down the road, hardened our attitudes to others including future generations, while losing ourselves in the reckless ‘party times’. While God’s gifts are good, some of us, the privileged ones, may have also blinded ourselves to exploitation, neglect and oppression here and abroad. Rev Harrison’s call to personal reflection or introspection and repentance is timely indeed and requires us going way beyond many fake news narratives, propaganda and stereotyping of others which even our itching ears are so often eager to hear for our self-justification. Hurtful racial slurs, like smutty innuendo, are to have no place among us, for we are all made in the image of God!
Having said this we must always be wary of utopianism. There will never be a perfect system. Revolution is in the air and that does not always end well as the failed totalitarian experiments and regimes of last century remind us. We have a rich heritage in so many ways. Spiritual and social reform and revival could well bring us back to something solid, to ‘roots that refresh’! Regardless, Christ brings us life, now and forever, and we are called ‘to save ourselves from this corrupt generation’ (Acts 2:40) and through Christ to bring others with us! Violence was one aspect of the widespread corruption before the flood and Jesus repeatedly uses the image of the sudden flood as a picture of the end and a call to get ready for the coming judgment by embracing in repentance Christ crucified and risen for us and our forgiveness. You can watch last Sunday’s Sermon here.
TO THE POINT.
‘The Art of Ageing’ is the title for this Tuesday’s (9th of June, 7.30pm AEST) live streaming of ‘To the Point’. It will look at the challenges, opportunities, blessings and realities of ageing and caring for the aged.
The panellists are: Catherine Heidenreich; Registered nurse, aged care manager and worker. Alwin Schirmer; Retired Parish Pastor and Aged Care Pastor with a Graduate Diploma in Health studies specializing in loss and grief. Lorraine Semmler; Retired Registered nurse and aged care manager. Lance Steicke; Retired Pastor, Lutheran Radio and TV presenter and Bishop of the LCA with considerable experience of ageing and its challenges.
Be sure to tune in, promote and share the details of what promises to be another great broadcast! You can ask questions at: firstname.lastname@example.org. The sooner these are received the better!
Returning to worship.
Restriction's continue to be relaxed. We can now have 40 plus attendants at worship. We will keep monitoring the situation and keep you informed but we still plan to resume Sunday fortnight, 21st of June 10.00am as that enables us to get everything properly in place. Please ensure you register your intent to worship here or desire for home communion here. We are not allowed to admit people who have not registered their intent to worship and been allocated a confirmation advise. With community contagion seemingly almost non-existent at the current time and the sanitising, distancing and other protective measures we are putting in place we have every reason to believe that gathering for worship will be a safe experience. We will start to reply to those who have expressed interest next week once Parish leaders have further conversed.
Kim says ‘Smile we are getting there’
Dear Members of St Peters,
I imagine many of you would have greeted our Premiers announcement of the relaxing of restrictions earlier than we first thought with some excitement. Many of you no doubt smiled at the thought of a slightly freer life and things starting to relax.
Philippa’s thoughts this week have also been on smiling. There is a new puppy in their household Buzz an Australian Shepherd and he is turning their life upside down and bringing with it much joy during this time. Her words are below.
The new puppy smiled at me so sweetly as I was just emailing you. So it made me think of the power of a smile. Both to give and receive. It made me think that we are perhaps more equipped to find some joy in the simple things such as a smile because of our recent experience and especially now that our difficult time in isolation is ending and the future is looking brighter.
The comfort of a smile from a stranger when we were all quite frightened was really noticeable.
Philippa then suggested the following Bible verses.
"A glad heart makes a cheerful face, but by sorrow of heart the spirit is crushed. The heart of him who has understanding seeks knowledge, but the mouths of fools feed on folly."
- Proverbs 15:13-14 ESV
"A joyful heart is good medicine, but a crushed spirit dries up the bones."
- Proverbs 17:22 ESV
"Those who look to him are radiant, and their faces shall never be ashamed."
- Psalm 34:5 ESV
I really don’t think I need to do too much convincing that we all feel better if someone smiles at you. I also recall reading once that it takes more effort to frown than to smile.
A smile costs nothing and can lift our spirits and the spirits of those around us.
So for this week lets smile at the thought we have no new cases, that restrictions are lifting, that we are planning to resume services with communion, that protocols are settled and can be put up on the website and that we have been blessed by Gods protection throughout this time.
Have a safe week.
Chairperson, St. Peter's Lutheran Church, Hobart.
Thanks ever so much to all of you for your patience and ongoing support during this trying time and encouragement to be creative and use the opportunity positively with our various streams and other measures.
God bless you all richly and keep you safe in the palm of His hand.
St. Peter's Lutheran Church, Hobart.
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