Dear members and friends of St Peters Lutheran Church, Hobart.
So much to be thankful for! We at times question and ask ‘Why does this or that happen’? Yet given that we live in a fallen world which so often and in so many ways is in rebellion against God we should be asking ‘why does this or that so often NOT happen’? Not why problems, but why so much provision and blessing? Not why death, but why the undeserved offer of free forgiveness and eternal life in Christ Jesus’? Not war, but peace? Not just hell, but heaven?
What has prompted me to communicate this is our prayer group. We have a small number of confidential praying members who respond to prayer requests by members and I have seen so many wonderful answers to prayer as a result of these prayer requests. I have seen such incredible things so often throughout my 30 plus years of ministry! If you have a payer request please contact Lorraine for distribution.
Of course in addition we have our ongoing prayer and care list which includes people we pray for often during worship. I recently recalled another person I need to add to this. Please overlook any oversights as so many tasks to attend to and let Harrison or I know so we can add. Again so many wonderful answers to prayer here also.
However, despite so many incredible answers to prayer, challenges remain and questions are asked. Some of these were addressed in last night very much appreciated ‘To the Point’ episode. We really are getting incredible teaching! If anyone has not tuned into these you just do not know hat you are missing. I wrote this to further promote that episode elsewhere next week:
The Plague: Then and now: Big issues relating to COVID-19, the thinking behind some government actions and infectious diseases or what has so often been called ‘the plague’ throughout Church history are addressed here and your questions responded to. These are wide ranging from why certain things were closed down to why a vaccination is unlikely, is this God’s judgement and how to die well. St Peter's member Dr Jodi Johnson-Glading is a medical doctor with multiple degrees. Her current role is Deputy Chief Medical Officer, Tasmania, which involves her in advising government medical bodies on COVID-19. Joining her was ALC lecturer and Church historian Pastor Thomas Pietsch who gives many excellent insights. Ultimately a hope filled broadcast with broad appreciation expressed from across the generations including from millennial’s and Gen Z. The feedback has been incredibly positive describing the conversation as very natural, informative and insightful. You can watch it here.
Thanks again to Kim and Philippa for their wonderful contribution. It further explains the process as we work towards our variegated resumption of worship and contains much important information. Please do read carefully! Again, thank you to our Chair Kim for such devoted leadership!
Dear members of St Peters Hobart,
This week Philippa has provided us with some very thoughtful Bible verses that were inspired by her thinking of loneliness and how to avoid it. In her own words she wrote “I was thinking of loneliness and trying to avoid it. As restrictions ease I was thinking the time is now to make sure people don’t fall into isolation as a habit. So my verses are below.”
A father to the fatherless, a defender of widows, is God in his holy dwelling. God sets the lonely in families, he leads out the prisoners with singing; but the rebellious live in a sun-scorched land.
- Psalm 68: 5-6
A friend loves at all times, and a brother is born for adversity.
- Proverbs 17:17
The obvious one as well-
Do to others as you would have them do to you.
- Luke 6:31
Therefore, as God’s chosen people, holy and dearly loved, clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience. Bear with each other and forgive one another if any of you has a grievance against someone. Forgive as the Lord forgave you. And over all these virtues put on love, which binds them all together in perfect unity.
- Colossians 3:12-14
I found the verses very interesting to read in combination, when reflecting upon the times we are currently living through. The first reminds us who God is and his continuing presence no matter what. It also reminds us of what happens if we forget about God in our lives. I too look forward to the time when God leads us out of isolation with singing, just as he does the prisoners on release, as in many respects we have been prisoners in our own homes of late.
The second reading I found the most poignant and was also reminded of The Hollies song “He Ain’t Heavy He’s My Brother.” Friends are there but when adversity strikes we really need the selfless love of a brother that the song is talking about. Brothers don’t get a choice in the role they are given, and though friends can come and go a brother is for life. We are all brothers in Christ and especially in times such as these it is so important for us not to forget that we are each other’s brothers and we need to be there for each other.
The last 2 verses as Philippa says are obvious. We do need to think about what we are doing and put ourselves in each other’s footsteps and think how our actions will effect others. We also need to bear with each other and forgive each other. We need to remember to love one another so that we can be bound together as one.
Unity and oneness has been at the forefront of my mind in the last weeks.
We are working towards the commencement of services. This has involved looking at many things to ensure that safety measures are in place. Facts Sheets have been drafted and the register is up and running. Church Council is in the process of finalising the Fact Sheets, and as I indicated last week once they are settled they will be on the website for everyone to familiarise themselves with them. It is vital that anyone who is planning to attend a service has read the Facts Sheets and is aware of what they are required to do on attendance and what restrictions are in place. I need to thank Wendy and ELC, who have agreed that they will take care of the cleaning as part of their cleaning regime. This is a huge saving for us and removes the burden from us of needing to organise and clean the St Peters Centre before and after services, and I am truly grateful to the school for agreeing to do this. We have complied with all obligations that exist in creating the Fact Sheets. Though we have ensured that we are meeting all requirements that currently exist, we will need to constantly revisit matters as restrictions ease. The Facts Sheets explain what we require, this does not mean that as an individual you can’t or shouldn’t take your own precautions. For instance we are not requiring the wearing of masks but if you feel you need to wear one that does not mean that you can’t. Please also be aware that we can only do so much and that what is in place might not be sufficient for our most vulnerable. In those circumstances please consider whether you are able to attend, or whether it would be better to avail yourselves of home communion or watching the live stream services and not obtaining communion for the moment. Each individual needs to think about their own circumstances and make a decision on where they sit in terms of risk and then decide what they will do after considering all the matters I have talked about. These are unprecedented times and essentially there is no right or wrong in how any one person responds to them. This message has been made very clear by the National Office and also the District. In all of this please remember that Church Council is trying to do its best for all members, and going back to Philippa’s selection I am taking great comfort in Colossians 3:13.
We will continue to update the congregation as the 21st of June draws closer. In the mean time please pray for no new cases or fare ups of the Virus.
Thanks to all involved in To the Point last night. It was again a great episode that was well thought out and put together. All To the Points are available on our website as are all live streaming services. Thank you to Pastor for all the work he is doing putting them together and organising speakers.
Please pray for Pastor and all in leadership. We are all having to deal with issues that we had never envisaged we would have to deal with at the moment and in many ways work load has increased not decreased because of the situation we find ourselves in.
Thank you to all who are assisting in keeping us together and I hope everyone has a good week ahead.
Chairperson of St. Peter's Lutheran Church, Hobart.
Warmest regards and blessings,
St. Peter's Lutheran Church, Hobart.
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