We love to tell travel tales. There’s something about the idea of journey that touches us deeply. Perhaps it is the experience of putting ourselves to the test. It might be a sense of adventure. Journey is also a well-used metaphor for life itself. Today we hear about the journey Jesus is on. It will culminate on the cross in Jerusalem. Jesus walks this road alone, but through his perseverance and sacrifice, he changes the direction of our life journey. He walks alongside of us as our Saviour and Guide. His resurrection has filled us with new life and hope, and we now bear the fruits of the Holy Spirit as we share Jesus’ life and hope with others on the road of life.
In the Lord’s Prayer we pray, “We pray to God: “Deliver us from evil. We also pray, “Your kingdom come.” Jesus’ life mission was to confront evil and bring God’s life and hope. Jesus heals a man whose life has become a living hell through evil spirits who have taken over his life. In love, Jesus releases him from evil and rehumanizes him. He has a new story to tell; how much Jesus has done for him. This is our story too. Through Jesus’ cross and resurrection, evil has been defeated. We live as citizens of God’s kingdom, announcing his victory and sharing the good news of Jesus’ healing, power and protection.
The word 'Trinity' was the early church's solution to a significant problem. Jesus revealed something new about the God the believers had come to know. And it took some time for them to get their heads around this new revelation. Finally they used 'Trinity' to describe their revised picture of God. Of course, we have no trouble accepting God as being Triune. But are we really aware of the unique - perhaps we can also say, ungodlike - picture that this term gives us about God?
Do you know these words? “We are one, but we are many, and from all the lands on earth we come…I am, you are, we are Australian.” We are blessed to live in this country but more blessed by far that God has called us by his Spirit to trust in Jesus through his reconciling love. Each, every and all Christian have received this gift. But God doesn’t want to stop there. Pentecost isn’t just good news for the church. God’s love is for each person, every nation, all people. We are witnesses of this good news, that everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved.
Today as we reflect on the history of our congregation, we do so with thanksgiving for God’s continuing care and guidance. This is also an encouragement for our day and our generation to continue God’s work in this place—confident that he is with us and he will not let us down. The take home message in all this is that we can have faith in God because he is always faithful and we can trust in God because he has proven himself to be trustworthy time and time again! Let us never forget that God’s mercies never come to an end. And know that God will never forget us! We can be confident of his help and his saving love for the next 80 years (and beyond!)
Those of us who are working sometimes describe ourselves as wage slaves. We are just small cogs in the machinery of the large economy. What difference do we make? We may ask ourselves the same question about the church. What good can we do in the world? Today we see the church in action today in the town of Philippi-one day, and night, for Paul and Silas. A day full of the most extraordinary work of God-bringing freedom and life. God is doing the same work today, through us.
We so readily make distinctions between people, those who are in and those who are out. The same was also true also of the world of the early church-There were Jews and Gentiles; people like us, and people we didn’t like. God has mind and heart expanding to do. Through a dream and the work of the Holy Spirit, Peter comes to realise that God’s love is universal. Jesus lived and died for all people. God’s inclusive love begins among us, and through us, into a divided world. We have good news to share, the “repentance which leads to life,” the gift God wants to give to all people.
The Book of Acts is full of the names of the first Christians. Each one of them is a person known by God, and called to serve him and love others. Today we meet Tabitha. Her good works have shown God’s love. Now that she has died, God shows his love for her and the church by raising her from the dead through Peter. She is restored to her community, and the good news spreads even further. Tabitha’s life is a template for all disciples. We are known personally by God. We are called to do good, help the poor and love one another.
This week we see God in action in two ways. One is dramatic-God pulls up Saul short of Damascus and changes his life completely. The other is less spectacular but just as important. God speaks to Ananias and uses him to prepare Paul for his mission to the Gentiles. The story of God in our lives may be like Paul’s or Ananias’, or something in between. And God allows us to be his chosen instruments to share the good news of his love. That his mission to our world, through each one of us.