Saturday, June 27, 2015

Blessed to be a Blessing

Sundays after Pentecost Proper 8 [13] Year B

When I graduated from Bible College, I think I really thought that they had taught me all I needed to know to be a Christian Minister.  I mean, the College Principal told us at our graduation that we were embarking then on a lifetime of learning, but I’m afraid I didn’t really believe him.

But, what do you know?  Just a couple of years later someone showed me something that I had never noticed before, something that we didn’t learn in our Old Testament studies.

In Genesis 12, we have the story of God calling Abram to leave his home and family to travel to a country God “would show him”.  And right up front God says to Abram:

“I will bless you … so that you will be a blessing,
And through you I will bless all the nations.”

This has stayed with me since then as a motivation about my work – if God has blessed me, I must be looking for ways in which I can be a blessing to others.

In our reading from 2 Corinthians 8 this morning we have Paul saying much the same thing:

“You are so rich in all you have: in faith, speech, and knowledge, in your eagerness to help and in your love for us.

Then he asks them to give to his little appeal …

“… our Lord Jesus Christ; rich as he was, he made himself poor for your sake, in order to make you rich by means of his poverty.” 

Paul is on a mission here.  He is giving his best pitch here to persuade them all to help.

In “my opinion,” he says, “it is better for you to finish now what you began last year.  You were the first, not only to act, but also to be willing to act.  On with it, then, and finish the job!”  

So, what is it that we, here at Holy Cross, have begun, and now have to finish?

As you all know I have become involved in recent times with the affairs of the wider Sudanese Communities and I have been surprised at how different things are for those other communities compared to here.  I thought that what we had here was normal for those other places.

But, frankly, I think we are miles ahead of them on that settlement process.

We have a great mix of Anglo-Aussies and Afro-Aussies, worshipping together and support each other.

We have a great ministry partnership with Galal and me – both learning from each other.

And we are blessed with this wonderful property that others had the vision to build over 30 years ago and now it is paid for.

But last year we embarked on a mission to take up responsibility for all this – and the ministry costs – so that we could lead the way for the other Sundanese Communities.

The Archbishop was very kind to us when Galal was ordained as a priest by paying his stipend from the Archbishop’s Curacy Fund.  BUT that will end in December.  After that we will be responsible for his stipend.  No-one else will pay for it.  We have to.

This means that we really need to excel in our generosity to meet this responsibility we have taken on. 

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