Pilgrim Uniting Church

12 Flinders St, Adelaide, SA

SUN 18-AUG-2018 - 11.00 AM Sermon
Rev Dr Greg Elsdon   (Timing 25:11)
Pentecost 12 – The Christians in Ephesus were being assured that God is unconditionally gracious and inclusive in his love for all mankind – quite unlike the Greek gods which were traditionally unpredictable, vindictive and punishing. The Ephesians were being urged to live in a new social reality, a new household of God, treating each other with love, respect and honesty, imitators and mimics of God as revealed in the life and teachings of Christ. Michael Ramsey, a former Archbishop of Canterbury, once wrote that "God is Christ-like; in God there is no un-Christlikeness at all".
Ephesians 4:25 - 5:2

SUN 12-AUG-2018 - 9.30 AM Sermon
Rev Dean Eland   (Timing 20:58)
Pentecost 12 – "No longer strangers and aliens but citizens and members of one household" – The Uniting Church's Basis of Union document refers to five different statements of faith, dating from the Reformation and later, formulated for different people, at different times, and for different circumstances – and the church's ministers and instructors are urged to study them all and take notice of what they say. Although the New Testamant gospels and epistles were written for different audiences with different backgrounds and circumstances, the believers all had a common faith demonstrating peace, reconciliation, forgiveness, grace, hope, joy, and the abiding love of God.
Ephesians 4:25 - 5:2

SUN 05-AUG-2018 11.00 AM Sermon
Rev Sandy Boyce   (Timing 17:19)
Pentecost 11 – When Paul was a prisoner of the Roman Empire because of his teaching about Jesus, he was able to continue his ministry from inside the prison thanks to a sharpened understanding of the meaning of faith, gained during his suffering and exclusion. There have been more recent examples of people gaining insight and being emboldened while imprisoned for their beliefs; they have included Dr Martin Luther King Jnr, Dietrich Bonhoeffer, Nelson Mandela, and Ahed Tamimi, a Palestinian teenage girl imprisoned for slapping an Israeli soldier during a military raid.
Ephesians 4: 1-16

SUN 05-AUG-2018 - 9.30 AM Sermon
Pam Mitchell   (Timing 36:00)
Pentecost 11 – "Forgiveness, Spirituality and Wholeness" – In human experience forgiveness is important, and it is complex. It is not just about condoning hurtful behaviour, or surrendering a right to justice, or forgetting an offence. In her sermon, Pam, who is a very experienced counsellor, employed a set of Russian Babushka dolls, wooden dolls of decreasing sizes that fit inside each other, to illustrate layers of our being which she labeled as Physical, Mental, Emotional, Mask and Core; and she explained how the different layers need to be involved if we are to achieve the peace of true forgiveness.
Matthew 18: 21-22; Luke 6: 37-38; John 20: 21-22

SUN 29-JUL-2018 - 11.00 AM Sermon
Rev Dr Greg Elsdon   (Timing 18:11)
Pentecost 10 – The scripture passage shows Paul's realisation that God wishes us to live in freedom from divisions and strife, unhindered by racism, discrimination, hatred and fear. In the Australian media there is a current emphasis on the violence and lawlessness of some young people of African descent, often Sudanese, and it has led to the vilification of other young persons on the basis of their Sudanese appearance. That is not God's idea of hospitality and acceptance. If we have Christ dwelling within us and among us, we will find ourselves grounded and rooted in unconditional acceptance of God's love, with a liberating hope and an abundant grace offered to all.
Ephesians 3: 14-21

SUN 29-JUL-2018 - 9.30 AM Presentation
Dr Amanda Ruler   (Timing 19:47)
Pentecost 10 – "Finding hope in despair" – Dr Amanda Ruler spoke of her association with the Medical Association for the Prevention of War (Australia); the International Physicians for the Prevention of Nuclear War; and ICAN, the International Campaign to Abolish Nuclear Weapons, which won the Nobel Peace Prize in 2017 for its work towards the Treaty for the Abolition of Nuclear Weapons. Dr Ruler speaks of the utterly catastrophic consequences of any nuclear war; and many countries, including Australia, have yet to ratify the treaty. She also speaks of the extreme poverty in countries like Malawi, and the need for international aid.
Ephesians 3: 14-21

SUN 22-JUL-2018 - 11.00 AM Sermon
Rev Dr Greg Elsdon   (Timing 26:21)
Pentecost 9 – We construct and maintain walls as our symbols of division, privilege, fear, mistrust and hatred. There have been, and are, many physical walls to divide peoples, a few examples being the Great Wall of China, the Berlin Wall, Hadrian's Wall, and the wall between Israel and the Palestinian State. We divide and protect ourselves on the basis of ethnicity, gender, sexual orientation, religious practices, and much else besides. God is in the business of demolishing the walls that divide us, so that the whole of humanity, in all its diversity, might be included in his household.
Ephesians 2: 11-22

SUN 22-JUL-2018 - 9.30 AM Sermon
Geoff Boyce   (Timing 10:10)
Pentecost 9 – "Diversity in unity" – The core issue at Ephesus, and likely a significant issue elsewhere, was how to live as a Christian community that embraced both Jews and non-Jews at the same time. Christ has broken down the dividing wall between insiders and outsiders, rich and poor, the privileged and the exploited. It was not that the non-Jews had found the God of the Jews, but rather that God had brought the two parties together and they were now one people. May it be so for us today, in all our human diversity and brokeness.
Ephesians 2: 11-22

SUN 15-JUL-2018 - 11.00 AM Sermon
Rev Sandy Boyce   (Timing 16:43)
Pentecost 8 – "Abundant Grace, Liberating Hope" was the theme of the recent 15th National Assembly of the Uniting Church, and Sandy's sermon describes the compassion, integrity and wisdom with which many contentious issues were tackled. The Gospel calls us to address the world in the whole of reality. In the words of Dr Deidre Palmer, the new President of the UC, "Hope is believing despite the evidence, and watching the evidence change".

SUN 08-JUL-2018 - 11.00 AM Sermon
Rev Dr Greg Elsdon   (Timing 24:31)
Pentecost 7 – Paul was being attacked by arrogant sham apostles, who were pointing out the strife and disasters that accompanied his activities. Surely a real apostle would demonstrate a bit more power and influence? In a letter to the church in Corinth, Paul answered by writing not of his accomplishments, but of the weakness and vulnerability that had enabled him to demonstrate God's powerful transforming grace. It is when we recognise our own weakness that we are most likely to find that God is present. What really matters is not what we own and control – it is enough that we have God's grace, so that in our weakness God may give to us again and again out of his immeasurable grace and love.
2 Corinthians 12: 2-10

SUN 01-JUL-2018 - 11.00 AM Sermon
Rev Vikki Waller   (Timing 20:32)
Pentecost 6 – In the day's Gospel passage there is mention of people weeping and wailing over the death of a 12 year old girl; and in the Old Testament passage there is song of lament composed by King David, an unrestrained outpouring of grief over the deaths of Saul and Jonathan. Grief is focussed on our own experience of a world irrevocably altered by the loss, and the Bible honours the feeling of grief by including such laments in holy Scripture. It is significant that in the Eucharist, the central symbol of Christian practice, bread is broken and torn apart. It is God becoming one with us in our brokeness. The broken Christ offers himself to us, embracing us, wounds and all, and incorporates us into his wholeness that we might know ourselves beloved.
2 Samuel 1: 1, 17-27; Mark 5: 21-43

SUN 01-JUL-2018 - 9.30 AM Sermon
Rev Dr Greg Elsdon   (Timing 27:02)
Pentecost 6 – "An Audacious Faith" – In the set gospel story for the day there are two examples of audacious displays of faith in Jesus as a healer, serving as examples of what can happen when we open ourselves to the gracious touch of Jesus. The sermon begins with an account of a woman who was raped by a church minister when she was 14 years old. Few believed her or helped her, until, some 60 years later, she was able to report it officially, and investigations were undertaken. There were hearings in a secure location; her story was believed and accepted; and at last she has been healed of her own belief that she had been the one responsible. What lies and secrets need to be acknowleged, in order for us to be healed and made free to live as God intended?
Mark 5: 21-43

SUN 24-JUN-2018 - 10.30 AM Sermon
Rev Phil Hoffmann   (Timing 24:21)
Uniting Church Anniversary, combined service - A review of the first 41 years of the Uniting Church in Australia, with a message based on the gospel account of Jesus calming a storm on the Sea of Galilee.
Mark 4: 35-41

SUN 17-JUN-2018 - 11.00 AM Sermon
Rev Dr Greg Elsdon   (Timing 20:45)
Pentecost 4 - Planting Seeds of Hope, Kindness, Hospitality, Forgiveness, Persistence, Patience . . . . The Kingdom or Reign of God is not dependent on us. It is God's work in and among us. We need to hear these stories as words of encouragement to us. We are not responsible for the outcome only planting the seeds. What seeds will we plant this week?
Mark 4: 26-34

SUN 17-JUN-2018 - 9.30 AM Sermon
Rev Ian Giles   (Timing 21:46)
Pentecost 4 - Passion for Justice and the Things of God and Burnout - We want to get things done but we can forget to take the trouble to care for ourselves. Jesus' story helps us understand that there are times when we can do nothing but rest and wait while God continues to build the Kingdom.
Mark 4: 26-34

SUN 10-JUN-2018 - 11.00 AM Sermon
Rev Christy Capper   (Timing 22:01)
Pentecost 3 - Differences - Christy reflects on her experience of differences. It's amazing what we learn when we sit and listen to people who do things differently. When we make differences divide us in and between our denominations we end up with problems. Jesus prayed that we might be one. May we continue our pilgrimage following Jesus, praying for unity and despite our differences focus on that which we have in common.
Mark 3: 20-35

SUN 10-JUN-2018 - 9.30 AM Sermon
Peter Russell   (Timing 23:10)
Pentecost 3 - What is Family? - Jesus proclaims a new kind of family. Those that align themselves with him and seek to follow God's agenda, bringing his reign and reality into the present are his family. This means engaging in liberation, our own as much as others, setting people free from oppression, whether from themselves or within their communities, from oppressive political regimes or self indulgent politics which only seeks to serve the rich. This is what God's life within us, through the Spirit, calls, inspires and enables us to become, a new kind of family, day by day.
Mark 3: 20-35

SUN 03-JUN-2018 - 11.00 AM Sermon
Rev Vikki Waller   (Timing 17:23)
Pentecost 2 - Sunday observed as Sabbath? What was the purpose of the Sabbath? What should our attitude be towards the Sabbath? What about the Lord's Day? Does our faith and practice serve to enhance life or stifle the enthusiasm of those around us?
Mark 2:23-3:6

SUN 03-JUN-2018 - 9.30 AM Sermon
Rev Dr Dean Eland   (Timing 24:43)
Pentecost 2 - 'The Social Ethic of Jesus and the Church of the Open Door' - Faith communities don't just live for themselves; for duty; for keeping the show on the road. Faith communities are there to help and serve; they aim to bring out the best in themselves and others; to enhance and build community life; to be communities of the open door.
Mark 2:23-3:6

SUN 27-MAY-2018 - 11.00 AM Sermon
Rev Mark Kickett   (Timing 24:38)
Trinity Sunday - also Reconciliation Sunday in the Uniting Church - Mark unpacks the word, "Reconciliation" and through scripture and story shows what a paradigm shift the understanding of that word causes from a Christian context. All our relationships have to be re-evaluated in that light, in the message of the cross and the transformation that brings.
2 Corinthians 5: 11-21

SUN 20-MAY-2018 - 11.00 AM Sermon
Rev Sandy Boyce   (Timing 15:50)
Pentecost - 'Looking for Signs of the Reign of God: reflecting on the nature and priorities of the church' - The Spirit gives us, the gathered community, the courage and gifts to be the scattered community. The Spirit is that special 'nudge in the back' to serve those that everyone talks about but do nothing to help. The 'signs' of the reign of God are already present here, where God's Spirit is already active and the signs are everywhere if we only look for them.
Acts 2: 1-21

SUN 20-MAY-2018 - 9.30 AM Sermon
Rev Dr Greg Elsdon   (Timing 22:02)
Pentecost - 'The Breath of God' - Today we are celebrating the mystery of the loving presence of God in the whole of life. This Spirit energy inspired and energised Israel's prophets and affirmed and commissioned Jesus' ministry and continued to be present with him. Can we put aside preconceived and inherited notions of God and allow our lives and communities to be reformed, refurbished and rebuilt around the presence of a God of grace, compassion and justice? May we have the courage and grace to respond, receive and share this life affirming, life transforming 'Breath of God'.
Ezekiel 37: 1-14, Romans 8: 22-27

SUN 13-MAY-2018 - 11.00 AM Sermon
Rev Dr Greg Elsdon   (Timing 23:38)
Easter 7 - Where do I belong? To whom do I belong? Where do I find meaning in this life that can be so buffeted by storms? The composer of Psalm 1 sets out two divergent ways of living. But this cannot reflect the complexity of life in the world. Are these ways mutually exclusive? We can be wandering across both. Human lives flourish when they grow towards the grace and love that God intends for us. Where are we grounding ourselves?
Psalm 1 (sung), John 17: 6-19

SUN 06-MAY-2018 - 11.00 AM Sermon
Rev Liellie McLaughlin   (Timing 26:03)
Easter 6 - "Bridging the Chasm" - How very intentional is God to bridge the gap between us and the forcefield we know as God. Are we yearning to come closer to God - a deeper sense of God? In Acts the Holy Spirit cascaded over those present. Who is the Spirit cascading over today - inside the church and outside the church? Who can you picture today receiving the Spirit - when you allow God to bridge the chasm?
Acts 10: 44-48, John 15: 9-17

SUN 06-MAY-2018 - 9.30 AM Witness
Ben Clarke - TEAR Australia   (Timing 22:17)
Easter 6 - Ben talks about 'conciliation'. He reminds us that Aboriginal people make up 3% of Australians and that the rest of us, the 97%, are therefore responsible for 97% of the work of Conciliation! Using, with permission, a traditional story from the Ngarrindjeri people, Ben challenges us to share in the work of unity that Jesus calls us to do.
Micah 6: 6-8, John 15: 9-17

SUN 29-APR-2018 - 11.00 AM Sermon
Rev Dr Greg Elsdon   (Timing 19:32)
Easter 5 – One of the fundamental strategies in a consumer economy is to encourage a culture of "What's In It For Me?", with more emphasis on individualism, personal satisfaction and self-absorption, than on living with others in community. But Jesus taught that it can be otherwise. In a parable he described himself in terms of a vine planted by God, with us, his followers as the vine's branches – a messy, crowded, tangled, wildly fertile, gorgeous richness of coexistence. In this picture, everyone is a part of the same vine, a large, diverse community, continuing the work of Jesus to bring God's kin-dom to the world. The "What's In It For Me" culture needs to be acknowledged, and rejected.
John 15: 1-8

WED 25-APR-2018 - ANZAC DAY EVENSONG - Sermon
Rev Dr Greg Elson   (Timing 19:42)
Lest we forget is a call, among other things, to mourn and lament the horrors of war and to pay respect and to commit ourselves to reject the violence and romanticism of all war. What will we do with our remembering? Jesus calls us to follow the ways of peace and justice.
Micah 4: 1-4, John 15: 9-17

SUN 22-APR-2018 - 11.00 AM Sermon
Dr Liz Boase   (Timing 19:29)
Easter 4 – When asked to think of an image of "Jesus the Good Shepherd", many of us will remember classical paintings and stained glass windows that show Jesus in an immaculate, freshly laundered white robe, cuddling a freshly shampooed white lamb. It depicts safety and comfort, but it hardly represents a shepherd at work in the world. Think, rather, of a countryman accompanying his flock out into the dirty, dangerous, unruly real world, intimately acquainted with the flock, living among them, and prepared to protect them to the bitter end. We are the flock. We cannot spend all our time at home, resting in our shepherd's arms – we need to be following him out into the world, helping make the world the place that God meant it to be.
Psalm 23; John 10: 11-18

SUN 15-APR-2018 - 11.00 AM Sermon
Rev Dr Greg Elsdon   (Timing 20:21)
Easter 3 – Merely accepting the resurrection as historical fact is not the same as allowing the risen Jesus to shape our lives. The life that Jesus had led was life as God had meant it to be, and when God raised Jesus from the dead he was saying "Yes! This is my beloved son, and I am very, very pleased with him!". After his resurrection, Jesus instructed the disciples to continue the work of proclaiming the message of God's unrelenting mercy, compassion and justice – and when they did so their lives were transformed. We too, as followers of Jesus, are called to be bearers of the good news, in the ways we live and the choices we make. We are called to be a continuing Easter community.
Luke 24: 36b-48

SUN 08-APR-2018 - 11.00 AM Sermon
Rev Sandy Boyce   (Timing 14:55)
Easter 2 – The resurrection of Jesus had changed everything, and the Spirit of Jesus had given the disciples a fresh insight into what it was all about. Those early Christians were a community enlivened by God's spirit. How do we look at this story? We are not being told to sell everything we own to support the poor, just because it was where God's spirit had led that particular community. Christianity is not a single ethical system with rules that tell you what to do in any circumstance. We are God's beloved, and his Spirit will lead us to which mandate from Scripture it would be best to follow for a particular circumstance. There are plenty to choose from. And, are we trying to do the "right thing" for those we serve, which can be a sign of self-centredness; or are we serving selflessly, with self-forgetfulness, in order to fully serve others and cooperate with God to change this old world into a new world?
Acts 4: 32-35

SUN 08-APR-2018 - 9.30 AM Sermon
Rev Dr Greg Elsdon   (Timing 21:53)
Easter 2 – "Living as an Easter Community" – Two days after Jesus had been betrayed by a friend, dragged before a rigged trial and brutally executed, his corpse went missing and his followers were running all over the place, confused, frightened, disillusioned and jumpy. That evening they were in a room where they had locked themselves in for security, when they were joined by Jesus, a flesh and blood human carrying the scars from the brutality to which he had recently been subjected, and he was greeted with rejoicing. A week later Jesus again appeared to them in a locked room, and Thomas, who had been absent for the first appearance, was now fully convinced that Jesus was indeed God embodied in flesh. Jesus then commissioned his disciples (who then became "apostles") to go out in the power of the Spirit, who would walk alongside them while they continued his work of proclaiming the Easter message, of God's kingdom with its fulness and abundance of life, the way God meant it to be. At the heart of the message are love, forgiveness and reconciliation.
John 20: 19-31

SUN 01-APR-2018 - 11.00 AM Sermon
Rev Dr Greg Elsdon   (Timing 17:44)
Easter Day – When you tell a story, its beginning and ending are critical; and Mark's story of Jesus finishes suddenly, with three distraught women running away from an empty tomb, taking with them a story so overwhelming that they couldn't share it yet. In Mark's gospel, Jesus told his disciples three times over that his death would not be the end of the story but a beginning, that he would rise from death on the third day – and they kept misunderstanding him. He didn't want to be served, but to give his life in service to others. Mark's story finished the way it did so that its readers and listeners might experience the resurrection themselves, to write the story of Jesus' resurrection with their own lives, and to share their lives with others as Jesus did.
Mark 16: 1-8

SUN 01-APR-2018 - 9.30 AM Sermon
Rev Sandy Boyce   (Timing 14:40)
Easter Day – The beginning of Mark's version of the good news tells of Jesus being baptised in the River Jordan, and it continues at a rattling pace to describe event after event in the life and ministry of Jesus. The earliest versions of the manuscript end abruptly at Chapter 16 verse 8, with three women running away from an empty tomb, too frightened to pass on the message that Jesus had risen from the dead and would be seen again in Galilee. Why did he stop right there? It is the writer's invitation to us, to take up the story where he left off and share the good news announced by the messenger at the empty tomb. We are redirected back to thinking about the beginning of Jesus' ministry in Galilee, and the new social reality called the reign of God.
Mark 16: 1-8

FRI 30-MAR-2018 - Good Friday Homily
Rev Dr Greg Elsdon   (Timing 16:31)
Good Friday – What sort of God is it, that would allow, or demand, that the man Jesus should be treated so badly? Crucifixion was a horrifyingly cruel way to end a person's life. So how is God involved in Jesus' death? Many "atonement theories" have been devised to explain how crucifixion expressed God's love, and they are full of contradictions. For example, they can tell of an angry God arranging for his son to be punished for what everyone else has done, and they can tell of a God who demands satisfaction for attacks on his honour. But what if God is not like that, but is just as Jesus taught – a gracious God, desiring intimacy with human beings and seeking relationship with us? What if God simply loves us, without having to punish someone else for what we ourselves have done? God wants to love, accept, restore, and love to the end - as Jesus himself demonstrated.

SUN 18-MAR-2018 - 11.00 AM Sermon
Rev Dr Greg Elsdon   (Timing 18:12)
Lent 5 – When Jesus was told that, for some reason or other, some Greeks would like to see him, he went into a discussion about a seed of wheat dying in the ground, in order that many more seeds might be produced in an expression of new life. He was predicting his own death; and he was also teaching about learning to die to the false life of a selfish, idolised self, and finding instead a true, eternal life of connection, love, intimacy, family and community – a life of compassion, justice, forgiveness and reconciliation. Many people have expressed an interest in Jesus himself, despite a lack of interest in "church".
Jeremiah 31: 31-34; John 12: 20-33

SUN 18-MAR-2018 - 9.30 AM Sermon
Rev Dean Eland   (Timing 23:39)
Lent 5 – The sermon addresses the way churches and their congregations can view themselves, and react, when conditions change. Formerly prosperous neighbourhoods can become disadvantaged and marginalised for a variety of reasons; and it is important for a church to face reality, not keep harking back to a glorious, successful past. It takes effort to adapt to a changing landscape – to discern what can be done and what cannot be done, and find the wisdom to know the difference. In John's gospel we are taught that a grain of wheat, in dying, can produce much more; and the seed in the ground is our self-giving, in the place to which we've been called.
Jeremiah 31: 31-34; John 12: 20-33

SUN 11-MAR-2018 - 11.00 AM Sermon
Rev Sandy Boyce   (Timing 15:56)
Lent 4 – The brokeness in our world is not a part of God's vision for us, and in his expansive love for humanity, God sent his son Jesus to show us the way to healing and wholeness. John has assured us that whoever believes in Jesus will have eternal life, 'belief' being an intellectual assent to various propositions and creeds. But which particular creed should we follow? Different churches have different rules; but for Jesus, people were more important than rules, and following Jesus is a journey full of questions. We live in a vibrant, multicultural, multifaith world, and we must be open to learning, with integrity, from people with expressions other than our own. After all, God does love the whole world.
John 3: 14-21

SUN 11-MAR-2018 - 9.30 AM Sermon
Rev Dr Greg Elsdon   (Timing 24:06)
Lent 4 – John 3:16 – "For God so loved the world ..." etc., has been a memory verse for many a Sunday School lesson, and the subject of many a sermon. Messages based on this text have often referred to a powerful, judgemental and punishing God, and the "good news" of the Gospel has been presented as a means of escaping from God's punishment – a belief that can bring not comfort, but a toxic mixture of fear, guilt, anger and deep regret. Have you, or have you not, satisfied God's demands? But the overwhelming message in the Christian scriptures is of a God whose love for the world is unconditional; it is a message of love, grace and life; it is a message of God's overwhelming, self-giving love, even to the point of suffering and death.
John 3: 14-21

SUN 04-MAR-2018 - 11.00 AM Sermon
Rev Dr Greg Elsdon   (Timing 15:21)
Lent 3 – When Jesus cleared livelstock and currency traders out of the Jeruselem temple precinct, he was not only protesting about corruption and exploitation – he was also actively questioning the legitimacy of believing that God could only be found, experienced and contained in formal religious practices. Jesus is the communication of the very essence of God, in the whole of life, secular as well as sacred. As well as meeting God in beautiful buildings and liturgies, we can also find God in rivers, trees, mountain tops, factories, offices and coffee shops. God is present among us, everywhere.
John 2: 13-22

SUN 25-FEB-2018 - 11.00 AM Sermon
Rev Sandy Boyce   (Timing 20:58)
Lent 2 – Abraham had received a promise from God that he would become the father of a nation; but Abraham and Sarah just couldn't make it happen, despite some of their questionable strategies. The biblical narrative presents Abraham warts and all. But they had faith in God's promise, and the impossible happened – Sarah was 90 years old and Abraham 100, when they had a baby; and Abraham's faith was reckoned as rightesousness. God makes a way, where we see no way forward; and real, lasting life can rise even when death seems to have the upper hand. Jesus has shown that new life will rise from the dead; what has been torn down will be raised up.
Genesis 17: 1-7, 15-16; Romans 4: 13-25; Mark 8: 31-38

SUN 25-FEB-2018 - 9.30 AM Witness
Members of the congregation   (Timing 30:02)
Lent 2 – Life's liminal experiences are "between-times" experiences, where one finds oneself betwixt and between stages of life as though having crossed the door-sill from one room to the next, but without reaching the second room. It must have been like that for Jesus' disciples when he told them about his coming arrest and crucifixion; and Peter was roundly scolded for trying to convince Jesus that it could be otherwise. During this church service, some of our number spoke of their own liminal experiences, with stories that were different, inspiring and moving. With permission from the speakers, three of their accounts have been included in this recording.
Mark 8: 31-38

SUN 18-FEB-2018 11.00 AM Sermon
Rev Dr Greg Elsdon   (Timing 18:25)
Lent 1 – Lent ought to be more than a morbid and miserable time of fasting, and voluntary abstinence from almost anything associated with pleasure or comfort. It is a time to take stock of our lives, to consider how hectic and cluttered our lives have become, and to think about clearing away some of that rubbish cluttering our lives. Immediately after being affirmed as God's beloved son, Jesus was driven by God's spirit into a desert to experience doubt, isolation and temptation; and he emerged from the experience proclaiming the good news of a new reign of God. May it be so for us.
Mark 1: 9-15

SUN 11-FEB-2018 - 11.00 AM Sermon
Dr Tanya Wittwer   (Timing 16:45)
Transfiguration – The passage from Mark's gospel is an account of mystery, as three of Jesus' disciples see a marvellous vision, and hear the voice of God telling them to listen to Jesus, his beloved son, who appears before them in dazzling robes, in the company of three of the great prophets from Israel's past. The message of Jesus was and is for us to repent, to change the course of our lives, and be bearers of the good news of God's justice, compassion, healing and hope in our world. The transfiguration on a mountain was a glimpse of what is to be through hard times, and we are invited to enter into its mystery.
Mark 9: 2-9

SUN 11-FEB-2018 - 9.30 AM Sermon
Dr Tanya Wittwer   (Timing 13:39)
Transfiguration – The scripture reading involves a mountain, and an encounter with the human and the divine. Some suggest that such a place is a "thin place", where the veil between this world and the eternal world is thin. The disciples had panicked when Jesus told them of his approaching death; and six days later he led three of them to a "thin" place, a mountain, where they received a revelation of who he really was. Out of the mystery of Christ, our imaginations are inspired to imagine a different world where God reigns – we see God's grace fully expressed in the life, death and resurrection of Jesus Christ. We can come out of that dark cloud and see it's Jesus standing there.
Mark 9: 2-9

SUN 04-FEB-2018 - 11.00 AM Sermon
Rev Vikki Waller   (Timing 15:04)
Epiphany 5 – In his gospel, Mark has many stories of Jesus healing sick people and ridding them of demons. What Mark described back then as "demon possession" would more likely be described today as "addiction". The people whom Jesus cured of their controlling demons were able to step out and minister to others, and spread the good news of the coming of God's kingdom. We are all affected by the illnesses of our society; but when listened to and written on the heart, the teachings of Jesus bring about healing. If demons, or addictions, have a hold on you, turn to Christ that he might drive them away.
Mark 1: 29-39

SUN 04-FEB-2018 - 9.30 AM Sermon
Peter Russell   (Timing 19:52)
Epiphany 5 – Focussed on the Mission –
It is reported in Mark's gospel that Jesus was a very successful healer, with many sick people cured and many released from demon possession. In the scientific and rationalist society to which we belong, it can be hard to come to terms with the idea of demons. However, in today's Western society there are plenty of demons around us and among us – they are likely to involve drug addiction, gambling, sex, food, slavery, racism, corruption, and more. People possessed by such demons are in immense need, as are their victims. As followers of Jesus, we need to follow his example by quietly spending some time with God, to seek out what needs to be done as we go about God's business of loving and healing.
Mark 1: 29-39; 1 Corinthians 9: 16-23

SUN 21-JAN-2018 - 11.00 AM Sermon
Rev Dr Greg Elsdon   (Timing 26:16)
Epiphany 3 – The book of Jonah is not an historical narrative, and it is more than a children's story. It is a work of religious folklore, a fable, a legend, describing deep mysteries and meanings that cannot be expressed analytically. In the legend of Jonah we are taught that nobody can claim privileged access to God's grace. It is available to everybody, however unpalatable it might seem, and however much it might make us want to escape in the opposite direction to avoid the fact that God loves "them" as much as he loves "us".
Jonah 3: 1-5, 10; Mark 1: 14-20

SUN 14-JAN-2018 - 11.00 AM Sermon
Rev Dr Greg Elsdon   (Timing 21:41)
Epiphany 2 – While most Australians are familiar with the name "Jesus", only a minority know about him; and it is hard to give an answer to "What would Jesus do?", if you don't know what Jesus actually did. What did he teach? What sort of leadership did he provide? How much do our own lives, actions and attitudes relate to the life, actions and attitudes of Jesus, towards others and towards his Father? What made him tick, and what made him tick people off? – Here is an invitation for you to "come and see".
John 1: 43-51

SUN 07-JAN-2018 - 11.00 AM Sermon
Rev Sandy Boyce   (Timing 18:01)
Baptism of Jesus – The Hebrew scriptures assure us that in the beginning God declared the whole of his creation to be good – and that includes mankind. We have been blessed with original goodness, not cursed with original sin. Evil and sin are a rejection by us of the original mission that God had for his creation; and God longs for us to repent, to rethink and question the way we've been going. Christian baptism should not be seen as a way of escapng condemnation, but as an invitation into God's community, to be blessed by God so we can be a blessing to others. How do you live out your baptism as a follower of Jesus?
Mark 1: 4-11

SUN 07-JAN-2018 - 9.30 AM Sermon
Rev Dr Greg Elsdon   (Timing 24:32)
Baptism of Jesus – Christian baptism is about a transformation that God initiates in our life – it is a celebration of belonging to a community of inclusive grace. A question concerning one's baptism ought not to be, "Have I been baptised, and was it done correctly?", but rather, "Am I living as a baptised person, in the knowledge of God's embrace?" Baptism does not use magic water to turn you into the person you want to be; but rather, it is a recognition that you are part of a community of flawed and failing people, blessed by God, looking after each other, and seeking to walk the pilgrim way.
Mark 1: 4-11

SUN 19-NOV-2017 - 9.30 AM Sermon
Rev Dr Greg Elsdon   (Timing 21:57)
Pentecost 24 – "The Parable of the Talents" – The parables of Jesus are intentionally disturbing. In this one, a master gives three of his slaves, or servants, some money before he goes away on a journey; and on his return he commends them of chastises them according to what they had done with the money, given to them to be used, celebrated and multiplied. But the master in this story is very different from the God revealed in the life of Jesus. The third servant's downfall came from his complete misunderstanding of his master – the servant was terrified of the man. How do we see God? God is revealed in the life of Jesus, and our perception of God has a significant impact on the way we see ourselves.
Matther 25: 14-30

SUN 20-AUG-2017 - 11.00 AM Sermon
Geoff Boyce   (Timing 18:19)
Pentecost 11 – Karma and Grace – The account in Genesis of the meeting of Joseph, then Prime Minister of Egypt, with his eleven brothers who had sold him into slavery, is examined in terms of "Karma" and "Grace". Karma is the principle of getting payback for your misdeeds – tit for tat, you reap what you sew, an eye for an eye and a tooth for a tooth. Grace is the principle of free, unwarranted, unmerited gift-giving. After the way they had treated Joseph, the brothers expected karma; instead, what they received from him was grace. Law closes doors to protect us from harm, and punishes the wrong-doer; but grace opens doors to life and love, which is the good news in the heart and mind of God.
Genesis 45: 1-15

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