Pilgrim Uniting Church

12 Flinders St, Adelaide, SA

SUN 17-FEB-2019 - 11.00 AM Sermon
Rev Sandy Boyce   (Timing 11:02)
Epiphany 6 – Shortly after selecting his twelve apostles, Jesus spoke to a crowd about future blessings for people at the bottom of the social scale, and future woes for people at the top of the social scale. He was speaking of the upside-down social system of the Kingdom of God – the inverse of the conventional system, with the wealthiest at the top of the heap caring little for the disadvantaged and destitute beneath them. Sydney's Kings Cross Wayside Chapel, and their Wayside Chapel café at Bondi Beach, are following the teaching of Jesus by providing a safe place for people from any walk of life. The Wayside Chapel focus is "love over hate", and their mission is "creating a community with no 'us' and 'them'".
Luke 6: 17-26

SUN 17-FEB-2019 - 9.30 AM Sermon
Rev Dr Greg Elsdon   (Timing 21:20)
Epiphany 6 – The Beatitudes – The Beatitudes of Jesus are confronting. How can you feel blessed when you're thoroughly miserable with poverty, hunger, disease, weeping, and more? And why should you be cursed with woe when everything is going your way? It sounds ludicrous. Let us sit with the texts from the Scriptures that irritate us, the sayings from Jesus that appear so confronting, and see in practical, earthly ways how they might lead us closer and closer to the heart of the God of Jesus, that our lives might be whole and free.
Jeremiah 17: 5-10; Luke 6: 17-26

SUN 10-FEB-2019 - 9.30 AM Sermon
Rev Dr Greg Elsdon   (Timing 23:26)
Epiphany 5 – Jesus' Call: Our Response – After a futile night's fishing in the Sea of Galilee, the three fisherman Simon, James and John accepted some unsolicited advice from Jesus to try again – and the result was an overwhelming catch. They could see that they were not dealing with an ordinary human being. Jesus assured them that there was no need to be afraid. He invited them to give up catching fish destined for the dinner plate, and instead to follow him and go fishing for people, that people might have life to the full. Peter protested that he was far from perfect – but God calls us just as we are and then shapes us into being his faithful servants. The three fishermen did follow Jesus, and they became his first disciples. (The 9.30 AM and 11 AM sermons were very similar, and the above summary could have been used for either of them.)
Isaiah 6: 1-8; Luke 5: 1-11

SUN 27-JAN-2019 - 11.00 AM Sermon
Rev Sandy Boyce   (Timing 20:30)
Epiphany 3 – A community of Christ's followers is described metaphorically in terms of different parts or members of a human body, such as ears, eyes, nose and feet, all important for the body's general welfare. In the Body of Christ, the comuunity of his followers, no part of that body is more important than any other; all have their functions, and are to be respected regardless of class, ethicity or gender. We need a radical culture shift towards more compassion, kindness, tolerance, generosity, forgiveness, and mutual respect. In Australia this could include issues such as a treaty with the First Peoples; a serious consideration of the Uluru Statement from the Heart; and changes to the unconscionable ways in which asylum seekers are treated.
1 Corinthians 12: 12-31a; Luke 4: 14-21

SUN 06-JAN-2019 - 11.00 AM Sermon
Rev Sandy Boyce   (Timing 17:07)
Epiphany – The kingdoms of Herod and Jesus had entirely different scripts. Herod's kingdom was based on scarcity and grasping for power – his efforts to protect things that he was afraid of losing had resulted in a reign of terror with frequent murders and assassinations. He was terrified when he met some magi enquiring about the precise location of a baby boy who might usurp him as king of the Jews. But the kingdom of God that Jesus would be preaching was based on the abundance of God's mercy, not on scarcity; and sharing God's abundance will result in trust, acceptance, openness, grace, forgiveness and mercy. We need a conversion from the illusion of scarcity, to a recognition of God's world of open-handed abundance.
Matthew 2: 1-12

SUN 06-JAN-2019 - 9.30 AM Sermon
Rev Dr Greg Elsdon   (Timing 33:38)
Epiphany – "... with love, joy and justice as our star" – Matthew tells a story of some officials from beyond the Roman Empire arriving in Jerusalem, and enquiring at the court of Herod, the region's despotic puppet king, for the exact location of the baby who would grow up to be king of the Jews – and Herod was terrified at the idea of a baby usurping him. Herod was in the big city using force, abusive power and wealth to maintain his kingdom and his personal privileges; while in the little unpretentious village of Bethlehem there was a baby destined to be king of a different sort of kingdom, the Kingdom of God. Matthew wants us to understand about God's grace, revealed to us through that baby.
Isaiah 61: 1-6; Matthew 2: 1-12

SUN 30-DEC-2018 - 11.00 AM Sermon
Rev Dr Greg Elsdon   (Timing 20:59)
Christmas 1 – When Jesus, as a 12 year old boy, disappeared from view for three days, he was found in deep discussion about the meaning of scriptures – and he did not see himself as lost, he was going about his Father's business. In Luke's gospel, images of lost and found are used frequently. When we think we've lost Jesus, it is we who are lost, not Jesus. When he calls us to follow him, it does not mean that he'll go along with us, whatever we're involved in; it is we who must follow him and go along with him in his mission to the world. If we think we've lost Jesus, we need to retrace our steps and do whatever we can to find him again.
Luke 2: 41-52

TUE 25-DEC-2018 - Christmas Sermon
Rev Sandy Boyce   (Timing 17:05)
Christmas Day - God is with us - How then might we give birth to Jesus in our time and place? Will we let the Christ child move us so we can see the divinity that lives, breathes in, with, through and beyond us? So that we can be the love that brings peace on Earth and good will to all?
Luke 2: 1-20

SUN 23-DEC-2018 - 11.00 AM Sermon
Rev Sandy Boyce   (Timing 14:19)
Advent 4 – The Magnificat, or Song of Mary, is simple, straightforward, and profound. It reverses the way things are, revealing a God of compassion and justice for the oppressed. And not only for the oppressed, but also for those who work alongside of the oppressed. It is a song, not an oration – and songs are powerful. Words are not always needed; St Francis of Assissi is supposed to have said, "Preach the gospel at all times, and if necessary use words." The Magnificat is a mixture of politics and religion, calling for a re-orientation of unjust systems. It gives confidence, and a courageous hope in God.
Luke 1: 39-55

SUN 23-DEC-2018 - 9.30 AM Sermon
Rev Dr Greg Elsdon   (Timing 23:12)
Advent 4 – My soul cries out – The account of the birth of Christ is more than the story about the arrival of a baby who was going to grow up to do wondeful things and arrange for our salvation. It was God coming among us and for us, to assure us that despite the messiness and uncertainty of the world, we are not alone and God loves and cares for us. The words of Song of Mary, the "Magnificat", are scarcely the words of a frightened 15 year old unmarried mother – they are like the words of a rebel talking about an unjust system. Dietrich Bonhoefer called it "the wildest, most passionate, most revolutionary hymn ever sung", and using the Magnificat in worship has often been forbidden in jurisdictions where it is regarded as dangerous and sedititious. How much does God care about our social, political and ecomomic realities? What is it about Jesus, that we want to be born in us?
Luke 1: 39-55

SUN 16-DEC-2018 - 11.00 AM Sermon
Rev Dr Greg Elsdon   (Timing 20:11)
Advent 3 – In his letter to the Philippians, Paul encourages his readers to "rejoice always". Rejoicing and happiness are not the same thing, because happiness is an immediate reaction to something while joy comes from gratefulness. When John the Baptist confronted his listeners with dire warnings about their lives and they were asking in despair, "What shall we do, then?", his answer was not to go away into the desert to contemplate; it was to go home, share what they had, be merciful to others, and do justice. And they would be free to inhabit the stuff of their lives, rejoicing in the realisation that all of life is pure gift.
Philippians 4: 4-7; Luke 3: 7-18

SUN 16-DEC-2018 - 9.30 AM Sermon
Rev Sandy Boyce   (Timing 17:43)
Advent 3 – "One human family / food for all" – Ahead of the reading and sermon there is an account from one of our members of the collapse and extinction of communities of bees who had lived for years in her suburban garden – a local climate change tragedy linked to our lack of care for God's creation. ---
When John the Baptist appeared out of the desert preaching a baptism of repentance, the advice he offered to questioners was to be merciful, to love justice, to look after one another, not to cheat, and not to assert power to the detriment of others because of religious heritage. And someone greater than John would be coming to bring it about. The sermon includes a plea for us to look after each other in relation to our planet, that we might achieve food security, improved nutrition, sustainable agriculture, and an end to hunger.
Luke 3: 7-18

SUN 09-DEC-2018 - 11.00 AM Sermon
Rev Sandy Boyce   (Timing 15:26)
Advent 2 – Churches and Christians have often been told to keep out of politics and stick to their job of saving souls. But during his time on earth Jesus often upset the religious and political authorities by pointing out their corruption and the lack of social justice. In Australia, groups of concerned Christians are persistently lobbying their politicians when they see situations of injustice, and one result has been the recent passing of the Modern Slavery Act by the Parliament of Australia. We are called to find the lost, heal the broken, feed the hungry, release the prisoners, rebuild the nation, bring peace among the people, and make music in the heart. This is the message of Christ.
Luke 3: 1-6

SUN 09-DEC-2018 - 9.30 AM Sermon
Rev Dr Brian Phillips   (Timing 21:53)
Advent 2 – "The Alchemy of Transformation" – Thousands of the world's eminent scientists, from numerous disciplines, have been publishing irrefutable evidence of global warming and its dire consequences. Yet there are many who dismiss the irrefutable facts as "fake news" because there is no place for the facts in the world as they see it – the only world held to be real is a world of measurable objects, and the spirit world of dreams, fantasies and imagination is disregarded. Alchemists in times past sought to change base materials into gold, and their endeavours were a spiritual process, a symbol of transformation of the soul, with unexpected discoveries, shrouded in mystery. Maybe, in the dross of our own many failures, we might find the transformation of the soul that will keep our world alive.
Malachi 3: 1-3; Luke 1: 68-79; Job 12: 7-10

SUN 02-DEC-2018 - 11.00 AM Sermon
Rev Dr Greg Elsden   (Timing 17:11)
Advent 1 – Advent is a time when we are encouraged to acknowledge life on earth as it really is, rather than seeing it in terms of what our religion says it ought to be. We are encouraged to live courageously in the truth of the present, not as pious escapists in denial of the terrible and frightening things happening around our world. And during this Christmas season, we look forward to celebrating something beautiful waiting to be born.
Luke 21: 25-36v

SUN 02-DEC-2018 - 9.30 AM Sermon
Rev Sandy Boyce   (Timing 12:00)
Advent 1 – "Embracing Earth and each other" – In the scripture reading, Jesus warns that before his return there will occur violent disturbances such as tossing, roaring seas, and people will be very afraid. Such things are happening right now, with extreme weather events brought on by man-made climate change. Jesus has warned us to be on guard, and not let this come on us unexpectedly – it is the season to be alert. We can organise ourselves to help our poorest and most vulnerable communities survive the effects of the climate crisis. Let us be led by peaceful, prayerful action, to overcome the forces that are undoing all of God's beautiful, diverse creation and with it the fabric of civilisation.
Luke 21: 25-36

SUN 25-NOV-2018 - 10 AM Sermon
Rev Professor Andrew Dutney   (Timing 16:55)
Reign of Christ / Christ the King – The crucifixion of Christ and the salvation of the world are historical events which can be dated. The four gospel writers give convincingly similar descriptions of the crucifixion, from their own viewpoints; and the classical historians Josephus and Tacitus both mention the crucifixion as a significant public event at the time. As for Pontius Pilate – he is described by Philo and Tacitus as a skilful, ruthless middle-ranked Roman official, and the gospel accounts of what happened when Jesus appeared before him are quite plausible. These things happened. God himself came into our world with all of its unloveliness and frightfulnes – into our world, not into a world of ideas or a Christian fairyland.
John 18: 33-37

SUN 18-NOV-2018 - 9.30 AM Sermon
Rev Sandy Boycev   (Timing 14:12)
Pentecost 26 – As Jesus and the disciples were leaving the temple, one of them mentioned how impressive it all was – and Jesus let him know that the temple would not last, it was going to be destroyed utterly. There were going to be chaotic times that would be seen as the birth pangs of something new. Jesus said not to be afraid, God is at work bringing new life. We all personally have times of upheaval and conflict when we are faced with new ideas and ways of thinking. In our discussions, let us all demonstrate respect and gentleness – not with bold, frank, hard-hittng public argument, but with mildness and fairness as we engage with others.
Mark 13: 1-8

SUN 11-NOV-2018 - 11.00 AM Sermon
Rev Sandy Boyce   (Timing 16:28)
Pentecost 25 – Jesus shows how we stand in judgement for our treatment of the poor and needy. Speaking with his disciples, he singled out Scribes in the vicinity of the Jerusalem temple, wealthy, self-important officials of the theocratic Jewish government with immense religious and political powers and a well-deserved reputation for corruption, especially in regard to widows. Then he pointed out an impoverished widow offering her very last two small coins to the temple treasury – a gift of far greater value to God than ostentatious donations from the wealthy. She knew she could say, "I matter to God". Jesus calls us to notice and embrace those whose bodies and lives are broken by injustice, by domestic or sexual violence – the homeless and hungry, those struggling to live on Newstart – to see in their faces the face of Christ.
Mark 12: 38-44

SUN 11-NOV-2018 - 9.30 AM Sermon
Rev Dr Greg Elsdon   (Timing 18:31)
Pentecost 25 – "... out of her poverty she has given everything" – The story of the "widow's mite" is more than a case study of the costly sacrificial giving of a widow donating her last few low-value coins to the temple – it also tells of Jeaus' condemnation of the corrupt religious system whose practicioners paraded themselves in pretentious robes, recited long prayers, donated impressive sums out of their considerable wealth, and at the same time exploited the poor and defenceless. The widow was a victim of an oppressive religious system – could it have been anger or despair that led her to put the last of her livelihood into the collection box? God has a desire and demand that justice be shown toward those who, for whatever reason, find themselves victims of need, poverty or exploitation. Thank God for the recent Australian Royal Commissions into banking and the institutional responses to childhood abuse.
Mark 12: 38-44

SUN 04-NOV-2018 - 11.00 AM Sermon
Rev Sue Ellis   (Timing 17:01)
Pentecost 24 – This sermon, with the theme "Grow, Nurture, Flourish", begins with a discussion of the home as a place of security, love and trust. In the first few books of the Old Testament there are so many rules and instructions governing personal and community life, that anyone trying to follow them conscientiously and religiously must inevitably fail. But in the passage from Mark's gospel, Jesus gives a different interpretation of the Law, emphasising that what was behind it all was God's unconditional love for all of creation. The Kingdom of God is spread by sharing God's love, in an atmosphere of trust and friendship such as might be found in a loving home. God has sent his Holy Spirit to befriend us; so let us grow our relationships, nurture our discipleship, and flourish in our ministry of love.
Mark 12: 28-34

SUN 28-OCT-2018 - 11.00 AM Sermon
Rev Dr Ian Price   (Timing 17:23)
Pentecost 23 – Seeing with eyes wide open – As Jesus was making his way toward Jerusalem for the last time, a blind beggar started yelling for his attention. The author of Mark's gospel has told us that the beggar's name was Bartimaeus, and it's a name with several layers of meaning. Apart from "son of Timaeus", it can also be interpreted in the Aramaic language as "son of filth", and in the Greek language as "son of honour". Jesus went over to this disgraceful person and asked him "What do you want me to do for you?" Through his faith, the beggar received his sight and the hope for a fulfilling life. Do we see rough-sleeping beggars as filthy no-hopers, or do we see their potential as people of honour?
Mark 10: 46-52

SUN 21-OCT-2018 - 11.00 AM Sermon
Rev Vikki Waller   (Timing 16:01)
Pentecost 18 – When the two disciples asked for positions close to Jesus in his kingdom, they probably knew they were signing up for a dangerous mission. As Christians we have power from the Holy Spirit; it is a power that can be used to bless others, but it should not be something to boast about. Being a servant in the Kingdom of God means humble service, performing menial tasks, sometimes very unpleasant tasks, that others may not want to do but that have to be done. Strive to serve others, to enable others to shine and discover their gifts. But – do not set out to be noticed for your serving by trying to do everything for everyone.
Mark 10: 35-45

SUN 21-OCT-2018 - 9.30 AM Sermon
Rev Dr Greg Elsdon   (Timing 20:57)
Pentecost 18 – "... but it is not so among you" – The disciples were simply not understanding what Jesus was on about, when he taught about servanthood and serving others in God's kingdom. He had to remind them, again, that greatness in God's kingdom is characterised by a radical form of service to the poorest and least privileged, not by the acquisition of power and authority over others. Sadly, in the centuries since the church's beginning, institutional churches have often brushed that teaching aside as irrelevant in the real world. As a current example, witness the spotlight of public scrutiny that has brought into the open the abuse of children left in church care. Jesus has taught us that such things ought not to take place in our midst.
Mark 10: 35-45

SUN 14-OCT-2018 - 11.00 AM Sermon
Rev Dr Greg Elsdon   (Timing 16:05)
Pentecost 18 – When a rich young man begged Jesus to tell him how to get eternal life, he was very disappointed when Jesus, in a sign of his love for the man, told him to start by disposing of his wealth and giving the proceeds to the poor. There is more to life than accumulating wealth in order to convince ourselves that we have achieved a good life by our own effort. Get rid of that excess stuff, follow Jesus, and discover what it means to live in the grace of God's kingdom. Let's reflect on what beliefs, practices, fears, hopes, attitudes or dispositions might be keeping us from our deepest longing for a fulfilment that can come only from God.
Mark 10: 17-31

SUN 07-OCT-2018 - 11.00 AM Sermon
Rev Sandy Boyce   (Timing 13:47)
Pentecost 20 – If God is on our side, how do we make sense of life's disappointments and hardships? How can a God who is good collaborate with what we experience and see as evil? How bad must things get before people lose faith? With our high-tech lifestyle there is disaster lurking at every corner – but we are God's beloved, and our worth is not in what we have or do, but in our inherent human dignity. Hardship can be reformative rather than destructive, and it's not the amount of darkness you find in the world, but how you stand in the darkness.
Job 1: 1, 2: 1-10

SUN 07-OCT-2018 - 9.30 AM Sermon
Rev Dr Greg Elsdon   (Timing 15:45)
Pentecost 20 – Renewing all creation – Jesus was asked by some influential men whether it was permissible for a man to arbitrarily divorce his wife; and in his reply, he pointed out that it was because of hard-hearted people like themselves that Moses had been obliged to write laws dealing with divorce. After that encounter, Jesus spoke with his disciples of a woman divorcing her husband, as well as a husband divorcing his wife. At the time it was unthinkable, and Jesus was saying that women, too, ought to have a say in marriage and divorce. And children, the most vulnerable of people and the lowest in status, can teach us a lot about the loving presence of God.
Mark 10: 2-16

SUN 30-SEP-2018 - 11.00 AM Sermon
Rev Dr Greg Elsdon   (Timing 18:25)
Pentecost 19 – A reign of God is characterised by humility, service and inclusiveness – qualities that people of power can find offensive and challenging. The main concern of Jesus was that people should be set free from the power of evil and welcomed into the reign of God. Powerful actions against evil should be welcomed wherever they occur – the church does not have an exclusive franchise over the practice of justice and compassion. What if we were to focus not on our differences, but to focus on learning to work with people who are not like us, as we build communities of compassion and justice?
Mark 9: 38-50

SUN 30-SEP-2018- 9.30 AM Sermon
Nell Potter   (Timing 26:20)
Pentecost 19 – Social Justice Sunday: Witnessing life in Palestine – Nell Potter, Executive Director of Palestine Ecumenical Network, gives us a first-hand, factual account of a few of the gross injustices and violations of basic human rights aganst Palestinian Arabs, that she and her companions observed during a recent three month visit to Israel, Palestine, and the Occupied Territories of the West Bank.
Esther 7: 1-6, 9-10; 9: 20-22

SUN 23-SEP-2018 11.00 AM Sermon
Rev Sandy Boyce   (Timing 17:23)
Pentecost 18 – The final section of Proverbs chapter 31 describes the activities and accomplishments of an extremely capable, over-achieving woman – successsful in everything she does as entrepreneur, business woman, wife and mother. But what can be the effect of this example on women in today's increasingly frantic world? It would leave no time for things like recreation, or pregnancy and childbirth. You would be left with the feeling that you've never done enough, leading to depression, sleep disorder and other health issues. This section of Proverbs should not be taken as a job description for women. It is about character, which transcends gender and circumstance. Could it be applied to the collective endeavours of a community, men and women working together?
Proverbs 31: 10-31

SUN 23-SEP-2018 - 9.30 AM Sermon
Rev Dr Greg Elsdon   (Timing 19:33)
Pentecost 18 – "Then he took a little child ..." – The twelve disciples had been arguing about who was the greatest among them. Jesus had to tell them that in God's kingdom, the greatest was not the person with the most power and authority over others, but the person acting as a servant to the lowest and most vulnerable; and in his lesson he drew their attention to a little child. Children are utterly dependant on others, they are vulnerable to all manner of abuse, they often get into trouble, and they can be unwelcome nuisances. It's much the same for any of us when we find ourselves on the edges of society. Jesus assures us that when we welcome people like these in his name, we are also welcoming them in God's name and on God's behalf.
James 3: 13 - 4: 8a; Mark 9: 30-37

SUN 16-SEP-2018 - 11.00 AM Sermon
Rev Dr Greg Elsdon   (Timing 26:09)
Pentecost 17 – The disciples misunderstood Jesus when he was telling them how he was heading towards trouble, and that they had to be prepared for trouble if they were to follow him. The service that Jesus spoke about and demonstrated is about servanthood and humility, not privilege, power and authority. The disciples didn't get it – they misudertood, and resisted the ideas that Jesus presented. There is an arrogance in knowing all the answers, when we don't even know the questions. Live the questions now, the deep questions of life, not the shallowness of correct creeds and liturgies. Perhaps, one day, you may live into the answer. Who do we think Jesus was? What do we think of the question of living with God?
Mark 8: 27-38

SUN 16-SEP-2018 - 9.30 AM Sermon
Peter Russell   (Timing 21:46)
Pentecost 17 – Words of Wisdom?! – We all make mistakes when we speak without thinking, and what we say can be remembered for a long time and play havoc with the lives of others. The same goes for what we post on Facebook or tweet on Twitter. Who do we honour in our lives by our words, actions and inactions? What wisdom do we bring to bear? Despite electronic social networking, it is essential for us to have live interaction with friends and loved ones. If we seek just the wisdom of the world for attaining our own happiness and fulfilment, our life, in the end, will be hollow and empty; but if we go against worldly wisdom, forgetting our own selfish desires and seeking good and justice for others as we would wish for ourselves, we will find ourselves living and enjoying life to the full.
James 3: 1-12; Mark 8: 27-38; Proverbs 1: 20-33

SUN 09-SEP-2018 - 11.00 AM Sermon
Rev Sandy Boyce   (Timing 14:04)
Pentecost 16 – Jesus was trying to have some time out in someone's house when he was tracked down by a desperately worried woman whose daughter was critically ill. As far as Jewish people were concerned, the woman was from a despised minority and didn't deserve too much consideration. When Jesus refused her plea for help because she wasn't Jewish, she reminded him that even outcast dogs like herself were sometimes thrown a few scraps. As a result of the woman's faith and persistence, her daughter was cured. And the encounter taught Jesus a lesson, bringing him to a new understanding of who he was and what he had been called to do. Regardless of who we are, or where we have come from, there is always room for more at God's table,
Mark 7: 24-37

SUN 02-SEP-2018 - 11.00 AM Sermon v
Rev Sandy Boyce   (Timing 12:25)
Pentecost 15 – The Song of Solomon is a series of love poems, of two young people in an idealised spring time. It is a passionate description of physical love and romantic longing, with body and soul united in love – flesh and blood are one. In the Hebrew text it is part of the wisdom lierature, placed right in the middle to emphasis its central importance. Human intimacy is a window into a deeper understanding of God's love for us. We need to hear this Song of Songs – the horrors of human perversion of love must be continually challenged by its true expression as a part of God-given humanity.
Song of Solomon 2: 8-13

SUN 02-SEP-2018 - 9.30 AM Sermon
Rev Dr Dean Eland   (Timing 28:21)
Pentecost 15 –
For 2000 years the church has been changing and adapting, to minister in many changing contexts and settings. This sermon tells of some outstanding churches and congregations, from around the world, that have gone through very hard times and have become an inspiration and a hope for the future. The particular churches are St Nicholas Church, Leipzig, Germany; Pitt St Uniting Church, Sydney; Australia; the Wayside Chapel, Kings Cross, Sydney, Australia; and St George's Tron Church, Glasgow, Scotland. Do we see changes in our world as a time of regret? As a problem? Or are they a moment of opportunity and promise?
James 1: 17-27; Mark 7: 1-6, 14-15, 21-23

SUN 26-AUG-2018 - 11.00 AM Sermon
Rev Dr Greg Elsdon   (Timing 12:45)
Pentecost 14 – In this reflection on the parable of the Good Samaritan, it is pointed out that the parables of Jesus, if listened to, will comfort the afflicted and also afflict the comfortable. The way to full, eternal life in abundance is to allow oneself to become an active instrument and a channel of boundary-breaking hospitality – a neighbour who scandalises you with compassion, who crosses the ancient bloodied line that separates 'us' from 'them', who teaches the real meaning of 'good' and shocks you with a new face of God.
Luke 10: 25-37

SUN 26-AUG-2018 - 9.30 AM Messages
Members of the Congregation   (Timing 24:45)
Pentecost 14 – "Refugee and Migrant Sunday" – This recording includes (1) the reading of a statement from the President of the Uniitng Church, Dr Deidre Palmer, dealing with 'A Christian response to racism', in view of the intolerance being shown in public discourse towards migrants and refugees; (2) a message from Geoff Boyce on 'A Christian exploration of hospitality and welcome', with a message that makes Hospitality the greatest of the three virtues of Faith, Hope and Love; and (3) a message from Margaret Chittleborough concerning practical support for vulnerable people, through a Circle of Friends.
Ephesians 6: 10-20

SUN 19-AUG-2018 - 11.00 AM Sermon
Rev Sandy Boyce   (Timing 10:34)
Pentecost 13 – Across the world there is division, hatred, hostility, despair and vilification – and the only way to overcome them is a focus of wise and thoughtful living, recognising that which we can love and respect in each other even when we do not hold the same values. It is not to say that differences are of no importance, and at times we must set limits and stand in opposition to values and forces that threaten what we hold dear. We need places of belonging, peace and kindness; we need to mirror God's non-discriminatory embrace.
Ephesians 5: 15-20

SUN 19-AUG-2018 - 9.30 AM Sermon
Rev Dr Greg Elsdon   (Timing 22:51)
Pentecost 13 – "Living Wisely" – Wisdom is not the same as knowledge or cleverness; rather, it is a willingness to recognise and know one's own self in success and failure, nobility and disgrace, faithfulness and failing. Solomon was granted wisdom by God – yet he was far from the ideal super-hero depicted in many sermons and Sunday School stories. He was a deeply flawed, hedonistic, violent and despotic king, but loved by God for all that. Coming to realise that you are loved by God, just as you are, is the beginning of wisdom.
1 Kings 2: 10-12, 3: 3-14; Ephesians 5: 15-20

SUN 12-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

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