Thursday, July 19, 2007

District Study Day

In lieu of a District Convention (held only in even years) and General Convention of Synod (three-yearly, last held in 2006), this year a District Gathering has been organised by offering micro-subjects from Lutheran School of Theology.

Our whole family is looking forward to going, because it is only those that want to be at events like these that go, so we can be sure of meeting plenty of folk from around Victoria who want to meet with others in the church, worship together, eat together, and study together.

I'm not sure how well enrolments have been going ... it strikes me that attendance may be fairly low. Ballarat, in the middle of winter, with snow reported there at the beginning of this week - it doesn't sound very inviting!

I reckon it'll be great, even if we manage only 40 or 50 participants all up.

Wednesday, July 11, 2007

The Good Samaritan ... where are we?

The Gospel for this Sunday, Luke 10:25-37, is a rich place to mine.  Even before we get to the familiar parable, the exchange between the expert in the law and the young upstart Rabbi Jesus is full of tension.  For Jesus to turn the question back on the law expert, "What is written in the Law? How do you read it?" is both a chance for the expert to show off, and a trap.  Jesus responds to him (how condescendlingly!) "You have answered correctly. Do this and you will live."

The whole idea of the expert in the law wanting to justify himself is another sermon in itself.  We are not justified by our works, but the expert didn't get it.  He wanted to show off his knowledge about different Rabbinical traditions as to what constituted a neighbour.  And Jesus actually doesn't answer his question.  Instead of an opinion on who would have status of neighbour (factual information), Jesus asks who acted as neighbour (action).

Again, "Go and do likewise" would have had the law expert spluttering with indignation!  To be thus humiliated in front of other people!

It's helpful, too, with every parable, to ask, "Where are we?"  We'd like to think that we're not like the priest or Levite, and rather like the Good Samaritan.  Of course, first and foremost we are the poor wretch who is left half-dead on the road.  It is only when we understand this Law message that we can appreciate the gospel, and the gospel imperative to bear fruit in doing good - by going and doing likewise.


Thursday, July 05, 2007

Adrelanalin, dark chocolate , coffee, or ?

Is it these three or the power of God's Word "when I am weak, then I am strong" that keeps me go, go, going from when someone dies until when the funeral and the wake are over?

In my 7 and then some years of ministry, I have never failed to have the strength - emotionally, physically, or spiritually - to be there for family, compassionately listening, or organising the myriad of details, or preparing myself for the task of preaching to the congregation at the funeral, many of whom are seldom seen at other times. Feedback I get tells me that I have always been a helpful presence - in persona Christi.

However, inevitably, I pay the price afterwards, and my body needs lots of recovery. Now, with a funeral in just under half an hour, I find myself in some trepidation of the bottom of the rollercoaster.

Do any other clergy who read this have similar experiences?