Bold witness: Thomas, Apostle

7 July, 2024 Rev Joyce Graue (guest lay preacher)

Christmas. Easter. Pentecost. These are the 3 Principal Festivals on our Christian Church Calendar. We know all about these. We celebrate these every year. Do you know that Christian Church Calendar also includes Lesser Festivals and Commemorations? Last Wednesday, 3 July, was one of the Lesser Festivals. It was the day designated for Thomas, Apostle. What do you know about Thomas? Can you list 3 things? What can we learn from Thomas?


What is this going to mean for me?

30 June, 2024 Pastor Geoff Burger

There are many ways to suffer and none of them are pleasant. We do all we can to avoid them. Eat well, exercise, get vaccinated, attend classes on how to make sure we are in a safe place. And yet suffering happens because we are human. Plans fail, people let us down, our bodies attack us. And we are the fortunate ones who don’t live in Gaza, Israel or the Sudan. Jeremiah’s cry is terrible. Why?

“God drove me deeper and deeper into darkness and beat me again and again with merciless blows The thought of my pain, my hopelessness is bitter poison” (Lamentations 3)

Our instinct is to block suffering because we don’t know what to do with it. Jeremiah faced it and lamented with a no holds barred outpouring of his pain and sorrow. Instead of being paralysed by asking “Why?” he moved on. "Now that this has happened what is it going to mean for me ?” And he learned

"Hope returns when I remember one thing, The Lord's unfailing love and mercy still continue, Fresh as the morning, as sure as the sunrise, The Lord is all I have and so I put my trust in him"


Where were you when creation was created?

23 June, 2024 Kathryn Schulze (Lay Reader)

The sermon is based on the passage from Job 3:1-11. What’s your best source of comfort when you suffer loss? For many people there’s no book of the Bible that speaks more helpfully to them in their loss than the Book of Job.


God's mustard seeds

16 June, 2024 Pam Martin (Lay Reader)

We know stories of how important people and big businesses are able to accomplish big things. But it also happens that small and insignificant people are able to do great things too. Today’s bible message speaks of the Kingdom of God being like a tiny insignificant mustard seed, which will germinate, grow and grow and become a large bush. In this week’s sermon we see how God looks at things differently than we do. Jesus in this parable is inviting us to look at the Kingdom of God with new eyes. The small and insignificant can bring great results. With God all things are possible.


Who are my mother and my brothers?

9 June, 2024 Pastor Geoff Burger

There is a lot of deep feeling when we talk family. Family is belonging, security, acceptance, safety. My family is where I can most fully be me. Family is deep longing for where I belong, I will never be rejected because family will stand by me no matter what. So what is wrong with Jesus? Is he stupid, crazy, demonic? “A crowd was sitting around Jesus, and they told him, “Your mother and brothers are outside looking for you.” “Who are my mother and my brothers?” he asked. Jesus as always was totally honest, ripping away delusions and illusions, confronting us with reality. Families are not totally good news all the time. The greatest pains and tragedies of life happen in families. Jesus strips away our blinkers and gives us the reality we were created for, and which we belong for. Looks in the eye and says, “Here are my mother and my brothers! Whoever does God’s will is my brother and sister and mother.”


God calls ordinary people

2 June, 2024 Pastor Rob Schubert

The story of God calling Samuel in the Temple leaves us with something to think about in terms of God’s call on our lives. God may call you when you least expect it. God is a God of surprises. God may have to call you more than once to get your attention. He called Samuel three times. God calls you by name. There is no formula. God doesn’t call everyone in the same way. Nobody is too small or insignificant or unimportant to be used by God for significant work. Judging from some of the people God used in the Bible to do some big stuff, it’s like he seems to enjoy using ordinary people to do extraordinary things. Think of the “treasures in jars of clay” that we hear about in today’s Epistle reading. The clay pots are us – ordinary, everyday, fragile people. The treasure is the grace of God. God calls ordinary people to carry his extraordinary treasure into the world.

“Speak Lord, your servant is listening.”


We live as part of the loving circle of Father, Son and Holy Spirit

26 May, 2024 Pastor Mike Pietsch

In this multifaith world there is a wide range of colours and views of religion, worship, prayer and lifestyles. Therefore when we start to speak about faith, and the “God” in whom billions of people place their trust, we need to at least have some idea about who this ‘God’ is. Being honest, we know that there is no human being who has ever fully understood who God is. If this person existed, then the God they explained would inevitably be less than God, because God would be limited to the mind of that one person, who is only a creation of God. We are all learning more and more about whom God is as we step into each new day. As Christians, we can joyfully and confidently share that God has certainly revealed himself to us in three distinct people as the Father, Son and Holy Spirit. These three form a loving circle of friendship and service of one another. The amazing thing is that all three come into our world and into our lives and even into our bodies to reveal themselves and show to who God is . As they do this, they incorporate us into their loving community each day and forever. It is in their community that we can truly live and move and have our being. With them we share with our family, friends and neighbours the loving and sacrificial community of the Holy Trinity. Come and worship this God.


The Non-fluffy Holy Spirit for the 21st century

19 May, 2024 Pastor Mike Pietsch

What is your experience or view of the Holy Spirit? How does the Holy Spirit unite his people by calling us to face our unity as fellow sinners? How are we also united by the Spirit in our baptism? As God’s brand-new people, how and where does the Holy Spirit lead and shape us in our congregation at St John’s? Where will the Spirit lead us in our AGM today? How are we to discern the calling of the Spirit in our daily lives? It has been said that “when Christian communities insist upon homogeneity, dressing or voting in the same ways, be worried. We are not called to sameness. We are called to be our own unique selves. Through the provocative power of the fiery Spirit, it is our biases and divisions that are burnt away (the actual chaff perhaps) so that we can live more boldly into Christ’s love for us and all things.” (Sally Douglas) What is your unique self that the Holy Spirit is shaping for ministry in the body of Christ? How concrete and real is that for you in your everyday life?


Is the ascended, crowned, cosmic, crucified and communal Christ for me?

12 May, 2024 Pastor Mike Pietsch

Have you been looking up at our bright blue skies during these sunny autumn days? What do you see beyond the blue? Can you imagine Jesus standing around with his eleven disciples and then with his parting words, all of a sudden, his body starts to fly upwards, right up through the troposphere, the stratosphere, the mesosphere and then the thermosphere, out, out into space and out beyond the universe itself to wherever ‘God’s right hand is in the heavenly realms’ (Ephesians 1:20)? Jesus’ ascension is not only geographical. Through Jesus’ death on the cross, and through our baptism which ties us into Jesus’ death and resurrection, we are now intimately connected with Jesus in these higher realms. The Bible in a number of places talks about the sky being ripped apart. Heaven is truly open to all now. To you, and me, and to all whom we know and love, family, friends and enemies.

We are very privileged to live so close to the sea in Adelaide with views from the hills and suburbs over the ocean. In this last week it has struck me yet again how when we look at the sea, we see the sky and the sea meeting on the horizon. We know scientifically and geographically that they do not meet, and yet we perceive that they do. This reminds us of the way in which heaven comes down so close to the earth in Jesus. There is now an even smaller gap between heaven and earth because of Jesus’ ascension. Mark’s Gospel begins with the sky being torn open when Jesus is baptised. This breaking open of the division between heaven and earth is completed in the ascension of Jesus to be both at the righthand side of God, as well as present in all of the universe. The only Jesus that we know is the one who still has his human body with which he fulfilled all of the Father’s will by breaking open the barrier between heaven and earth through his death on the cross. His scarred, physical body throughout the universe is an eternal reminder of God’s sacrificial love for us, for all time, and for all eternity. There is still more as St Paul describes how we are ALREADY seated on the throne with Jesus in heaven. This is the greatest panorama of the big picture we will see this side of heaven. Are you taking it in, and are you living in it?