Who would have believed us?

These are prophetic words recorded 700 years before Christ fulfilled the prophetic expectation of God’s presence coming down among us to reclaim us, redeem us, and restore us (Isaiah 53: 1-12). The apostles didn’t even believe it, and they were taught by Christ for three years, seen miracles upon miracles, including the raising of Lazarus from the tomb. Jesus told them to expect this prophetic act to take place (‘this is what is written about me’ – Luke 24:44). Only after the risen Christ presented himself for their inspection, breaking bread and eating with them, even telling Thomas to put his finger into the wound where the nail was placed, did they eventually and reluctantly believe.

Upon seeing the risen Saviour, only then Thomas exclaimed: “my Lord and my God.” To this Jesus replied that the blessing is with those who have not seen, yet believe (John 20:29). But what is belief?

Is it, like I shared on Good Friday, being a consumer of faith products? – Christ came to save me from my sin and guilt (I’ll have that one and add it to my shopping cart); Christ came to bless and make me happy (another good one, into my shopping cart it goes); Christ came to open heaven’s door and give me eternal life (yes, that one as well)? But what about: Christ came to give himself and incorporate us into his body and being … that all who believe in him (therefore have a personal relationship, expressed in active worship, in regular service, and ongoing discipleship) have been made part of the family of God, joined together as one?

I guess we have more in common with Thomas in his doubts than we thought, and with Judas, in our subtle imposition on God as to what he should be doing and how it should be done. We are not the only ones who in our modern day practice of the ‘cut & paste’ art in making up our own version of religion to make us feel comfortable and cosy. Do you really think it was for that, that Christ came to die on the cross and rise from the grave? Think about it!

At the Holy Communion Table we are reminded ‘do this in remembrance of me.’ We remember Christ’s sacrifice in his body and blood, to transform us into a holy people, forgiven, and commissioned to live and spread the Good News of our New Creation. We are not saved to ‘go back to Egypt – the place of our slavery’ (remember the Exodus story), but are freed to become God’s new people. We remember that our freedom has come at a great cost, the Creator God coming among us to restore us to his new creation in Christ alone. All we as humanity have contributed to the cross and the nails to crucify Christ. If you don’t believe me, read 1.Peter 2:24 … “he bore our sins, that we might die to our sins.” Not, he took on our sins, so we can embellish our sins with selfishness.

So when we proclaim this morning: ‘Christ is Risen!’, we are saying that Christ is with us every day, and every day I’m learning to become more like him, growing in maturity and into the full stature of Christ – which is God’s plan for us on the other side of the cross and the empty tomb (Eph 4:13). Now that is true Christianity.

Rev. Dirk Willner

INVITATION TO COMMONWEALTH GAMES WORSHIP SERVICE

INVITATION TO COMMONWEALTH GAMES WORSHIP SERVICE NEXT SUNDAY, APRIL 1st 4-7pm GOLD COAST ARTS CENTRE

Please remember, on Easter Sunday afternoon (April 1st, 4-7pm) at the Gold Coast Arts Centre, (now HOTA) a combined churches event will host both tradi-
tional and contemporary contributions along with a blessing from
our Lord Mayor Tom Tate. Many of our own church members have
already signed up as volunteers for the Commonwealth games. This
is an invitation for everyone else to join us for this auspicious event.
At the beginning of the worship service, Pastor Dirk will be leading the intercessory prayers and will be joined by the Catholic, Anglican and Orthodox priests. Join in singing traditional Easter resurrection hymns followed on by celebration songs by our surrounding other churches. You MUST buy tickets to attend $5 each, children under 3 free. Go to: www.juice1073.com.au/easterunited to get your tickets.

Holy Week – Palm Sunday Service

 

This is a very blessed Palm Sunday Service wherein our members of the congregation share their engagement with ministry through the power of the Holy Spirit.

 

 

 

READINGS FOR HOLY WEEK 2018
25 March – Palm/Passion Sunday
Palm Sunday:

Mark 11:1-11 or John 12:12-16 The Triumphal Entry; Psalm 118:1, 2, 19-29

 

Resources mentioned in the service:

New Life New Love

https://www.lca.org.au/services-resources-training/study-guides/new-life-new-love/new-life-new-love-videos/

Welcome to Qld Institute of Clinical Pastoral Education

 

Passion: Isaiah 50:4-9a The Servant’s obedience; Psalm 31:9-16; Philippians 2:5-11 Imitating Christ’s Humility; Mark 14:1 – 15:47 or Mark 15:1-39 (40-47) The passion week of Christ
26 March Monday—Isaiah 42:1-9 The servant of the Lord; Psalm 36:5-11; Hebrews 9:11-15 The blood of Christ; John 12:1-11 Jesus anointed at Bethany
27 March Tuesday – But as for me, I will always have hope; I will praise you more and more. Psalm 71:14; Isaiah 49:1-7 The servant of the Lord ; Psalm 71:1-14; 1 Corinthians 1:18-31 Christ the Wisdom and Power of God; John 12:20-36 Jesus predicts his death
28 March Wednesday Hasten, O God, to save me; O Lord, come quickly to help me. Psalm 70:1 Isaiah 50:4-9a The servant’s obedience; Psalm 70; He-brews 12:1-3 God disciplines His sons; John 13:21-32 Jesus predicts his be-trayal
29 MarchMaundy Thursday – I will lift up the cup of salvation and call on the name of the Lord. Psalm 116:13; Exodus 12:1-4 (5-10) 11-14 The Passo-ver; Psalm 116:1, 2, 12-19; 1 Corinthians 11:23-26 The Lord’s Supper; John 13:1-17, 31b-35 Jesus washes his disciples’ feet
30 MarchGood Friday ‘My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?’ Psalm 22:1a;Isaiah 52:13 – 53:12 The suffering and glory of the servant;Psalm 22;Hebrews 10:16-25 or Hebrews 4:14-16; 5:7-9 Jesus the great high
31 March – Easter Saturday—Let your face shine on your servant; save me in your unfailing love. Psalm 31:16; Job 14:1-14 or Lamentations 3:1-9, 19-24 The suffering of Man; Psalm 31:1-4, 15, 16

Commencement service

 

This Sunday is the Commencement Service and we are all coming together to start the year around God’s Word. Celebrating that we are all loved and forgiven in Christ Jesus.

See you at Trinity Lutheran Church Ashmore at 9am on Sunday.

A CHRISTMAS MESSAGE

A recent Current Affair program featured the results of what young people are longing and looking for this Christmas. The surprising message from the reporter was that in this day and age of digital connection and connectedness through our smart phones, topping the wish list was … spending time with family and friends.

You cannot beat the personal qualities of face-to-face relationships. In our fast-paced social treadmill of tweets and Facebook messages of a few words or emoji, coupled with being busier than ever, we hear the comment made by many during this silly season: ‘don’t know where this year has gone.’

What kind of a year has it been for you? Was there tragedy and loss? Was there breakdown and separation? Was there anger and accusation? Was there despair and disappointment? We have all endured it and had our fair shared, dare I say. But I hope there was also the joy of blessings, perhaps travel and new friends in different places, or perhaps a new opening for a career or retirement. I hope your ‘cup was overflowing’ with God’s goodness as the psalmist prayed.

I thank God that Christmas comes around every year. I don’t even mind that its basically the same message each year. We have all heard it for most of our life and could probably recite the whole nativity story of Christ’s birth in a manger. I say that I thank God for this repetitive festival, because each year most people make an effort to reconnect with their faith, with Church, and with family. Let’s face it, we are all scattered around the countryside and enthralled with what we are doing. So, Christmas is like ‘taking a short break.’ That fits because its also the long summer holidays.

But what is this Christmas message all about, beyond the story with the angels and shepherds? In essence its about God’s willingness to be involved in our life. Involved, not from a distance, but personal, relational, close up. It is basically about God’s willingness to share of himself with us. Something we call ‘grace’ to describe God’s generosity, even when undeserved, unwarranted or even asked for by us. The Bible makes this claim that “while we were still sinners, Christ came and died for us.” It is a sacrificial love that seeks to save us from our brokenness and slow walk to the grave. Christ proclaimed that the reason for his coming into our world was to “give us life; life in all its fullness and to overflowing.” It is the kind of love that accepts us, forgives us, and wipes away every tear from our eyes, healing us in soul and spirit. It is God’s message to say: you matter, you count, you are the one I did all this for so you may have this life and eternal life with joy in your heart as God walks with you through it all. Never forget that! But even more, share it with someone who needs to hear it, believe it, and experience the truth of it for themselves. That way Christmas can become a 365 day present that keeps on giving and blessing us 24/7. Amen.

Rev. Dirk Willner