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  • Hallfold and Thrum Hall 28 may 2006

    Acts 1: 15-17; 21-26
    John 17:6-19

    What’s  wrong with the world?- 
    Hallfold said
    lack of respect
    too fast
    not willing to share
    tribal loyalties
    not caring for environment
    Thrum Hall said
    what’s right?
    false idol worship

    What’s  right with the world?
    Hallfold said -
    beauty of nature
    children born
    Thrum Hall said
    people who care
    world is alright - people are the problem
    beautiful place
    most people

    Church apart from the world

    I have given them your word, and the world has hated them because they do not belong to the world, just as I do not belong to the world.

    1 John 2:15-17 Do not love the world or the things in the world. The love of the Father is not in those who love the world; for all that is in the world—the desire of the flesh, the desire of the eyes, the pride in riches—comes not from the Father but from the world. And the world and its desire are passing away, but those who do the will of God live for ever.

    There have been many readings of these texts which have led to Isolation, separation, avoidance of contamination - a view has been expressed that the world is bad and Christians should have as little to do with it as possible otherwise they will be infected, contaminated, diseased.

    Church in the world

    There is an opposite view which Jesus expresses in the very next verse - that the church is sent to contaminate the world with truth.

    I am not asking you to take them out of the world, but I ask you to protect them from the evil one. They do not belong to the world, just as I do not belong to the world. Sanctify them in the truth; your word is truth. As you have sent me into the world, so I have sent them into the world. And for their sakes I sanctify myself, so that they also may be sanctified in truth. 

    The church has no walls, nor does it draw a circle around itself that separates it from the world. The community of faith forms an “open circle” around its center: the presence of Jesus Christ. the circle should be open enough for other people to see and join in the central Christ event (1 Cor.14:13-19). It should also be open enough for the congregation to move out of the center to see and join in the Christ event with others wherever it happens in the world. Those who have been called by Christ are only separate from the world in order to be prepared for this engagement with the world ... Thus the church is seen, not as a religious assembly temple synagogue, or sect which is closed or sacred, but as part of the world where it joins God’s action in becoming a pressure group for change. (Letty Russell Human Liberation in a Feminist Perspective - A Theology Philadelphia, Westminster Press, 1974)

    Kingdom people seek first the Kingdom of God and it’s justice; church people often put church work above concerns of justice, mercy and truth. 

    Church people think about how to get people into the church; Kingdom people think about how to get the church into the world.

     Church people worry that the world might change the church; Kingdom people work to see the church change the world.(Howard Snyder, Liberating the Church, Inter-Varsity Press, 1983)

    Are we church people or Kingdom people? Do we seek to build the church or the Kingdom? What do our agenda’s say about us, what do our priorities say about us.

    being “not of this world” is not about condemnation of the world, but about proclaiming that this place is where love can and ought to rule.  It points forward to the destiny of the world: the present rebellion has a limited life!  The earth’s destiny is to be reunited with heaven – with God.  This is the place where God wishes to dwell with us. disclosingnewworlds

    This is the world in which God dwells, this is the world in which heaven comes. We are sent to contaminate the world with goodness, with God’s love, let us go and worship in the world.

  • Hallfold 14 May 2006

    Acts 8:26-40
    1 John 4:7-21

    Is this the way you were welcomed this morning :- 
    Bouncers Windows Media
    Bouncers QuickTime

    and of course this sort of thing would never happen in our church or 
    Ejector Windows Media
    Ejector QuickTime

    Exclusion & Inclusion - remember your own experiences, how does it happen, how does it feel?

    As a Gentile with a physical deformity the Ethiopian eunach is excluded from the Temple

    He is seeking God in the temple and finds Christ in the desert
    The apostles and appointed to preach and teach but here is the Deacon telling the good news of Jesus.
    Philip is listening & acting - to God, to the Ethiopian,
    Ethiopian listens to Philip and hears God - they act upon it.

    This is an Inclusive Gospel - no barriers to God’s grace, for all people of every race, social class, background, lifestyle -
    Listening - to God, to one another, to our world
    Opening - ourselves to God, our community to God
    Verbing - being active, doing God’s work
    Encouraging - God’s potential in each person

    Bound together in love for  All the People - QuickTime  All the People Windows Media

  • St. Andrew's 7 may 2006

    Being a do-gooder

    why is “do-gooder” a term of abuse? 

    Acts 4:5-12  - Peter and John are accused for doing good - healing - yet challenging power - in the place of Peter’s denial  the name of Jesus is proclaimed. 

    by what right is good done?   - Who decided who does good? what is good? who is healed? who is not healed? - who is helped who is not helped? 

    Decisions are made everyday for instance in health care - treatment, drugs etc. or social care - who is deserving - do we feed failed asylum seekers - or deport all who commit a crime? 

    Be accused of being a do-gooder - it is the way we live out our faith and when we do good by those who much of society would cast aside then we are subverting those in power and releasing the power of God’s reign.

    1 john - “let us not love in word or speech but in deed and in truth”

    "The word, here, includes the notion of boldness, standing upon one's own feet, speaking freely and openly (literal etymology: saying anything, parrhesia). Love does not generate a subservience of dependent grovellers, but a group of people free and able to be themselves ... We get what we need when we engage in the life of God and are doing God's commandments. It is a way of affirming the sufficiency of God and God's love. http://wwwstaff.murdoch.edu.au/~loader/BEpEaster4.htm

    Ephesians 2:10 "For we are what God has made us, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand to be our way of life."

    - witnessing to the good news of Jesus Christ - do-gooders as a reflection of God’s love, as a witness to God’s love, as a response to God’s love

    Do not be afraid to be a do-gooder

    Do not be afraid to let it be known that your good deeds are done in the name of Jesus Christ - who brings salvation.