Front and Centre
During Term 2 I had the opportunity to work with the Worship Leaders and discuss prayer. One of the exercises we worked through and shared together was the paraphrasing of the Lord’s Prayer. I find intentional paraphrasing to be a helpful and fruitful exercise of comprehension and, in the case of the Lord’s Prayer, an excellent opportunity to reflect and meditate on the words that Jesus gave his disciples in response to the request “Lord, Teach us how to pray” (Luke 11).
A quick deconstruction of the prayer (as found in Matthew 6: 9 - 13) shows that we begin with the glorification of the name of God (as Jesse highlighted to us the other week). This is followed by the verse which reflects the heart’s desire for God’s will to be done. This, to me, is an incredibly important distinction in the prayer as it shows that as Christians we should strive to be in alignment with God as opposed to the other way around. Verse 11 shows the trust we place in God to provide our earthly needs and Verse 12 connects with our relational needs (specifically the repairing of relationships through forgiveness). Finally, verse 13 contains our need for God to rescue us from spiritual harm.
As we shared and listened to one another’s paraphrase of the Lord’s prayer I was encouraged by the different expressions of the same prayer. Through this exercise I was reminded that God gifts us in different ways and I was thankful that the gift that is the Lord’s Prayer was a means through which this truth was highlighted. Over the next few weeks I intend to share the paraphrases with the congregation (whether in the services or in the newsletter). I would encourage anyone who would like to contribute their own paraphrase to email me a copy at firstname.lastname@example.org Below is my paraphrase
God, who is above all creation.
Whose name is holy and sacred.
May the earth reflect heaven in its serving of you.
We pray that today we would have all we need to live,
That the brokenness of our relationships would be repaired
Both with you and those in our lives.
May we be protected from evil, and be your disciples for all eternity.
All the heavens and the earth are yours.
The one whose power and glory are above all else.
From the very beginning and throughout the ages.
Grace and Peace
Front and Centre
In each of the three synoptic gospels (Mathew, Mark and Luke) a key turning point is when Jesus asks his disciples the question ‘who do you say that I am? It is a key question for the disciples but its also a key question for us today? Who is Jesus to you? Your relationship with Jesus is the key relationship in your life. How you live and respond in that space is just so important. How is your relationship with Jesus is a key life question? We are called to model our lives on Jesus. Another church says it this way, ‘more people more like Jesus’. As we look at Jesus life and ministry we see him building relationships in 3 ways ‘His relationship with the Father (up), his relationship with his disciples (in) and his relationship with those from the world (out). As we focus on our relationships we too should consider our up, in and out and how we keep that balance. How is your relationship with God? Are you investing into that with daily time of prayer and reading scripture? Then there is the in, spending time with other Christians. And then there are your relationships with people who are not Christian. As disciples and followers of Jesus we should have healthy relationships both within the church and Christian community and outside the Christian community. As i have indicated before one of the challenges I have experienced due to COVID is the effect it has on relationships. How are you continuing to build healthy relationships? We certainly want to encourage that as a church. How do we help and encourage people build stronger relationships with each other. But also as individuals we need to continue to strengthen and build relationships, up with God, in within our Christian community and out with those outside our church community.
Front and Centre
Today marks the end of our season of thanksgiving and the time that we need you to seriously consider what your thanksgiving gift to Emmanuel will be. Over the past four weeks we have reflected on how God, as our good shepherd guides and protects us in all circumstances and provides us with all that we need, that provides a feast or banquet for us. But now it's over to you.
If you have not done so already please consider as a family what your thanksgiving offering will be. I have been amazed at the generousity of the people at Emmanuel. Not just at their regular weekly giving but at the value people put into their thanksgiving offering. I am sure this season will be no different.
Today’s reading as we conclude the 23rd Psalm speaks of God’s cup of blessing in the presence of adversity. How true is that in this season where many are afflicted by the COVID-19 and the social and financial implications. As I look around the church on a Sunday I am aware of how blessed we are. Even in this season we have much to be thankful for. St Paul reminds us in 1Thessalonians 5:18 to Rejoice always, pray without ceasing, give thanks in all circumstances; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you. As we reflect on how God continues to bless us it is good to rejoice and respond.
Rev Brian Hoole
Front and Centre
This week I had the privilege in sharing and celebrate the life of Claudia Hargreaves. As someone who has only known Claudia in the twilight of her life it was amazing to hear more of her story and to be reminded as people reflected on Claudia, not just of Claudia, but also of others who are the saints of the past. Those who are the mothers, fathers or grandparents of our faith. Those who shared and discipled us, who shared their faith with us so that we would believe and know the truth that Jesus Christ is the Son of God. When I think back on my own life, as someone who grew up and was sent to Sunday School by parents who were not regular church-goers I see those who encouraged and discipled me as I grew into teenage and then adult-hood. I can see God’s hand on me and the faces of those who shared time and faith with me. What about you?
In this season of thanksgiving lets give thanks for our Spiritual parents. As it co-incides with fathers day this year, who would you identify as your father in the faith. Or your mother in the faith. This Fathers Day please, please take the time to give thanks to them. In prayer if they are no longer with us, or in person if they are. Ring them up or visit them, or email them and let them know that you are thankful for them. And while you are at it think of who you are sharing faith with, who are you encouraging, who are you discipling. It is up to all of us to play our part. I am so thankful that we are here and are able to give thanks and encourage each other on this journey.
Rev Brian Hoole