17 January 2021

> Faithbuilders service
> The Way of the World
> 8 November
> All Saints Day Pentecost 22
> Looking to a Future
> Pentecost 21
> Pentecost 19 No Mask for the wedding guest?
> Relying on your Own Record
> Empy Promises A Tale of Two Sons
> Pentecost 16 Peace Sunday
> Mt Roskill Cluster and The Power of Forgiving
> When there is a Fault
> Let Your Love be Real
> The Mutinous Midwives
> Crumbs
> Then the Wind Stopped
> Feeding the 5000
> Do We Understand?
> Living in an Imperfect World
> Gardening
> Out of Lockdown Celebration of Communion
> Fanatical or Faithful?
> Why do we Destroy Each Other
> Innocence Facing Evil
> Trinity Where we Begin Makes the Difference
> Celebration of Pentecost
> On the Ground
> Having it Both Ways
> Plenty of Space
> Queuing at Maccas
> On the Journey ANZAC
> Palm Sunday 2020

> Have You Not heard? Commissioning and Baptism
> Papatoetoe district 150 years opening service

> Pentecost - The Genesis Experiment
> Freedom and human trafficking
> The Corinthian Puzzle - Resurrection Body
> [Waitangi Weekend]. Hope for a Future
> Being a Healing Community
> Turbans and Prophets in Manurewa
> Light to the Nations -O Surely Not the Samaritans!
> Jesus the real human - not Avatar

> Prophet at Copenhagen Needed
> CLIMATE CHANGE - Revisiting the Creation stories
> Love Lived
> Questions of God
> Tsunami.and Job, God in disaster
> Reconciling Cultures
> John the Baptist - A reminder of reality
> Do not follow the advice of the wicked

> If only You would sort it God!
> Invited and rejected - Texts of terror
> Saying Yes! but its really No!
> Thanksgiving
> Claiming God is on our side - Dangerous and Unwise
> Let your Love be genuine
> Bible and Qu'ran Ishmael and Isaac
> Fruitpickers wanted
> Faith Changing Culture
> Easter greeting - Peace be with you
> Freed For Seeing
> Temptations of Leadership - Dedication of leaders
> Let There be no Divisions Among You

> How many husbands in Heaven?
> The Dishonest Manager
> The Prayer which Changes the World
> What are we getting them into? Succession planning
> Faith there is a future
> Forgiven - the one who loves much
> Temptation
> Free flowing wine, Free flowing grace

> The Birth Stories of Jesus - whom do we serve
> Sexuality Working out our Faith
> What is Wisdom?
> Stilling the Voices of the Storm
> Pentcost - Facing the Darkness
> Moving on from Betrayal
> Friends my Mother Warned me About
> Ethiopian Eunchs Are In - Good News For theChurch
> St Patrick and Mission today, Potatoes and Rice
> Family is a Cultural word

> Christmas Day Reflection - Power of Hope
> Subverting the System - The Talents Revisited
> Living God! Joshua Leadership with Wet Feet
> Futurechurch conference and the Presence of God
> The Golden Calf is not the Name of a Pub
> Who?
> Induction Sermon - Pukekohe Who Is Your Neighbour
> What is Fair and What is Just?
> Confrontation at Hunters Corner
> Food in the Wilderness
> Bombers in London, Weeds among the Wheat
> The Gospel is already Sowen for us to Find
> Human sacrifice. God's Demand or Our Desire
> Marriage - From Contract to Promise
> Who is he?
> Seeing the Light
> The Man at the Well
> East of Eden- Our Story
> Dingwall 75th - Charity or Justice
> Doing Justice - An Induction Sermon
> Light in the world
> Tsunami - World in Turmoil

> Promises Kept
> Christ The King - We don't have Kings anymore!
> What is Our Mission : Connecting with Other Faiths
> The Word of God is not Chained
> Descent into Hell
> What does the Lord Require - Assembly report
> 150th service Rev Sharon Ensor's sermon
> The neighbour who comes from God..
> Driving out Demons - Fears Of Mental Illness
> Flowing Waters 2 Spirit of Peace
> Flowing Waters 1 - Reflections in Japan
> Putting it On The Line
> Go Fishing- Youth Leaders Dedication
> Waitangi Day Celebration
> God's Love is Wider than We Want
> The Best Wine
> Dancing Stars - Science and Theology

> First Sunday of Christmas
> Church culture to Mission Culture
> Be Wise
> Trinity - Beyond Miracles
> Sir Ed Hilary- Ascension Sunday
> Culture challenged by Love
> On the Road to Gaza
> Whose Voice? - Mother's Day
> Rows of White Crosses. [Anzac]
> Easter Day - Go , Jesus is Waiting for You.

Sermon - 27 April 2003
Bible Verses: Acts 4: 32 - 35, & John 20: 19 - 31
(click the verses above to read the passages online)

Rows of White Crosses. [Anzac]

Anzac day is a day of sadness and remembering. We honour those who gave their lives and their courage and bravery. It is also a day of peace. We need reminding that peace is an active process, never to be taken for granted - just look at Iraq today- and that all of us are capable of terrible deeds. It is not a time for glorifying war - those days are long past
We see the picture of the war graves in faroff lands. Rows of white crosses, marking the graves of those who died, orderly in death after the chaos of war. Friend and enemy both with those white crosses. Some tended by those who were our enemies.
I wonder how many see those crosses? Really see? For some they say death - the end - no future. But if Easter is real, if resurrection is real it changes our perspective on life. There is more, there is a future. There is also a possibility of peace which is real and lasting.

The church has two stories to tell today, both are about the risen Jesus.
Thomas and that frightened group of disciples were in hiding. Jesus came to them, this embryo church, and Thomas asks the question. Maybe they all had wondered. Thomas didn't say they hadn't seen anything, he didn't even spell out what he didn't believe. What he wanted to know is this the real Jesus? He wasn't interested in a sanitised shiny clean God Jesus. He wanted to know if he was scarred. If this appearance had any connection with the blood and sweat of the real world.
He was met with the greeting, "Peace be with you," This peace was alive and breathing, the wounds were there which showed the journey through violence and Thomas was overcome, "My Lord and my God"
The reality of a brand new happening was slowly realised in stunned silence, in slow recognition and ecstatic joy. There is more than we know.

There is power in this story. In the week before Easter I had the great privilege of telling the Easter story to the group of young people on a course in this church during the week. Most had never heard the story before and as I told it I could sense the silence as they stopped moving round and became drawn into it. They listened intently. We often take for granted that people know about the risen Christ - most around us know nothing and it is our task to tell that story. How? Listen to the response in Acts

Here we find the Peace was not merely an absence of war, but a new way of living. The new community, Scripture says:
Now the whole group of those who believed were of one heart and soul, and no one claimed private ownership of any possessions, but everything they owned was held in common. With great power the apostles gave their testimony to the resurrection of the Lord Jesus, and great grace was upon them all. There was not a needy person among them, for as many as owned lands or houses sold them and brought the proceeds of what was sold. They laid it at the apostles' feet, and it was distributed to each as any had need.

Barbara Bundick [and I use a big chunk of her thoughts] writes the following
"A lot of thought has gone into understanding the picture of the early church that the author of Acts portrays. Often arguments about economic theory as to the merits of socialism, communism or captialism are brought up as a result of this.
The key does not lie in economic theory, but in the simple words, "great grace was upon them all." The early church was a community where everyone lived in the light of resurrection, the risen Christ was in their midst, in a world of fellowship and great grace.
The proof of our salvation does not lie in our own personal piety, but in the holiness of our fellowship, our community. This goes against our individualist understanding of our salvation. If people look at our church and say, "Great grace is upon them," we'll know we're on the right track.

Let's get rid of the idea that the early church was perfect because the people who were in it were perfect. Don't think that we human beings can somehow repent ourselves free of sin. We do far more damage to ourselves and others through perfectionism than through any other form of holy terrorism. We are flawed people. It comes with the territory.. We gossip about each other. We worry about things.

We can either humbly live with ourselves, fallible as we are, or we can lie to ourselves about it. The greatest spiritual temptation is to lie, and the more we lie, the more we trip over the reality of our lies. Every so often someone goes to start a new church - the one which is perfect as the others are not. Its people are going to avoid all the sins of whatever they are leaving. They are in fact assuming that their people are somehow less sinful than everyone else. The fallibility of human beings has been the downfall of every utopian community ever founded. The communities that survive the longest are the ones that expect people to be fallible. The ones that fail most quickly are the ones that assume humans can make themselves perfect.
In a world of imperfect human beings, we are asked to do the best with what we've got faults and all. And the good news is that Jesus takes us on as we are. Yes we are changed slowly but our perfection lies in Christ and not in ourselves.

Jesus did not come urging us to think about him or feel deeply about him, when he called disciples he didn't come seeking our disembodied spirits but asked us to join his way, a concrete reality of living with and among other people.
If all of us in this congregation live in complete confidence of resurrection light, then all of us in this parish will enjoy each other more, warts and all. We would love each other, sacrifice for each other, enjoy each other -- which, to a certain extent we already do. We may not be as obviously grace-filled as the early church, but as congregations go, we do show God's love in some measure.

Today and during the following weeks we will be talking about who we are as church and seeking what God is calling us to do and be in this city.
If we are a community of the resurrection we will be passionate in our caring and have tensions and stresses. We can risk honesty and find resolution. Closeness itself gives the opportunity to have the rough spots knocked off and true unity to happen. [peace]. This is a picture of peace not just for the church but for the world.
The church is a community which demonstrates by its actions and living what the risen Christ means to the world. If we walk in the light of resurrection, great grace will surely be upon us. and we see each other with fresh and loving eyes, and it is enough. "

That is real life, and real unity and it is only by God's grace, not by our own goodness, that we are the living breathing evidence that God has not abandoned the world. We are a people being remade to share God's love.

the reading from Acts goes on
And so it was that Joseph whom the apostles called Barnabas, the encourager, sold a field he owned brought the money and handed it over to the apostles - now why should he do that?
Its been done for 2000 years, its been done ever since and is being done here today. The opposite of war - open communities, gathered by Christ who worship together, who share with one another, who respect and trust one another and where no one is in need.

When we see the white crosses and remember the pain, the deaths we also see with new eyes that those crosses are empty. For Jesus still goes before us and lives and there is a new beginning an active peace, which overcomes even death. And we, the church are the sign of that newness

Remind us O God that "Church isn't our hard work, or earnest effort, our long range planning or heavy duty giving. Church is your gift, a visitation, an intrusion of the Living Christ standing among us.
May the risen Christ break into our locked rooms, that we can receive peace, the Holy Spirit, mission and forgiveness and continue to make us his church." Willemon
Breath on us breath of God and fill us with new life.

Sermonshop Note #3892 from BARBARA BUNDICK
William Willemon

Rev. Margaret Anne Low


The Bible Gateway
Home - Who are We - Worship - Sermons - Minister's Minutes - Youth & Children's Ministry - Community Centre - Contact Us
Copyright © St Johns and St Philips Presbyterian Church 2000-2021. All rights reserved.