Welcome to one and all – members, friends and visitors as we gather on this last Sunday of July 2016 to worship God as two congregations joined as ONE in Christ. I often ask myself what is the most important purpose of our coming together every 5th Sunday. Some will rightly point out fellowship as important, and it is the only time we get together for a nice lunch and catch up with friends. Whilst they are all important – what stands us apart from any other social organisation’s monthly or quarterly get together, whether it be Probus, Rotary, Lions is that the Church’s purpose of coming together is not to serve our own interest but to point to the kingdom that is to come. The church becomes the sign and symbol or the foretaste of what is to expect in the fulfilment of God’s kingdom. Each time we meet should remind ourselves and the world that as people drawn together as ONE it points directly to what to expect in the kingdom, we become a symbol of unity, of being ONE in Jesus’ name.
Uniting Care Geelong
You might recall that for most of the combined services in the past 4 years we have invited Guest Speakers from the community as part of our gathering to remind us of that ONENESS is not for us to keep but to offer and modelled that to our community and the whole of God’s creation. That is why we have invited and welcome to our service this morning the Chief Executive Officer of the UnitingCare Geelong, Mr Des Younghusband, to share with us the important work his organisation is undertaking for the benefit of the people of the Greater Geelong Region. UnitingCare Geelong is an agency of the Uniting Church and a partner in mission with all Uniting Church congregations. Together we are called into this ministry of love, care and support of those who are in the margins of our community.
The Gospel of Luke is often called by various names – the Gospel of Women, the Gospel of Mercy and Forgiveness are but two. Luke presents Jesus as a friend and advocate of those whom society ignores or turns from in distaste: the poor, handicapped persons, homeless and all who found themselves relegated to the fringes of the community. The portrait of Jesus we see in Luke is of one whose life and message are closely linked to the “outsiders.” In his own life, in his teaching, in his interactions with people, he showed extraordinary love, patience and compassion to those in the fringes. Our call then is to be Church in that space because it is only where we are able to see who are the real ‘poor and crippled, the blind, the lame, and those along the roads and lanes.” (Luke 14:21-22) Have a blessed week. Ikani.