July: Following Jesus’ models of life

July: Following Jesus’ models of life

Sunday 2 July Pentecost 5

Matthew 10:40-42

I wonder if we think seriously of the implication of following Jesus models of life. That those who receives us, receives Jesus and ultimately receives God in their life. This is an incredible and life changing formular. That your life and mine, when people meet with us, or if we relate to others around us, all they will find is Jesus in us in word and in deed. How awesome this would be as a church? That all members of the Uniting Church not only in our Synod but throughout the country, may be seen and experienced by others as reflection of God in Christ in their character and conduct. Interestingly, whoever we receive into our life and service, we become them to others.

If we receive Jesus into our life and service, it is Jesus we give away to others; as much as we receive prophet and we become prophetic in our life serving the church and community around us. In the same way, we receive righteous people because of their righteous, we give to other the righteousness we have received.

How we should daily receive God into our life by our devotion to prayer and reding of God’s word to us. The more we do that, the more we become what we do daily by sharing God’s story in our witness and service. We can do that personally, or with others who are willing to receive and give from each other in prayer groups or fellowship groups. It would be transforming if we invite others to receive what we have received and encourage them to do the same to others around them. Jesus model works if we practice with families, and it works when we practice it with our communities around us.

Sunday 9 July Pentecost 6/NAIDOC week

Matthew 11:16-19, 25-30

We are living in a world that more and more people don’t have a faith in the Christian God. When we talk to people about God, they often make excuses or use an analogy of people who claim to know God, but their lifestyle are too difficult to understand or comprehend and they say you are crazy. Others say that Christians are outrageous and too over the top, you are a boozer and friend of the misfit. But all this is a way to avoid talking about God. Thinking about this week, the National Aborigines and Islander Day Observance Committee (NAIDOC) week. How many people know about this? What excuses people have for not celebrating the history, culture, and achievements of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples? What about the voice of first people to parliament? What excuses people have in not supporting it? The best way to experience and appreciate our Aboriginal and Strait Islander friends is through relationship.

Making intentional decisions to sit and listen to their stories and learn about their culture and values. This was something Jesus notice in the people of his days, that they make knowing God very hard with too many rules and regulation and no wonder people make excuses. He then shares how getting to know God is as easy as living in God’s presence, listening and learning from him (Jesus). Like a child learn from a father, so is anyone learn from watching God in Jesus. He is our best picture of who God is and what God is like. He does not put yoke, extra rules or regulation. Rather, his yoke is only love, forgiveness and mercy. How can we continue to live and help the people in our community that does not want to know God? And also get to know our first people and celebrate who they truly are?

Sunday 16 July Pentecost 7

Matthew 13:1-9, 18-23

Our gospel text for this week is part of chapter 13 which stands at the middle of the five discourses that make up the Gospel according to Matthew (5-7, 10, 13, 18, 23-25). Preaching and teaching were important part of Jesus ministry. He did it in a way to catch people’s attention. Not only that but he put it in a way to make people think seriously about what to believe and what not to believe. Telling stories in parable was a way of connecting with the inner self of the listener, calling them for specific action. ‘Anyone with ears to hear should listen and understand.’ (9) Although Jesus knew in his heart, no matter how good his communication skills are, people will ultimately make their own choice whether to hear him or reject him both as a person and what he says.

Yet, he proclaims the word about God so creatively and intuitively to make sure that the point is clear and can be easily understood. He told the story of the Parable of the Sower extremely well. Any child can interpret it in their own way of understanding what Jesus was saying. He did not leave it there, he went back and explain what it means so that each person who hears it, not only listens but take it to heart. Opportunities to share the good news about God is rare these days. You and I cannot just hop on a train and preach or walk into a gala dinner and share what you believe. Instead, when we have the chance to share our Christian stories. How can we proclaim them in a way that 21st century Australians hear and understand? We might be surprised, people today are still receptive to hear good news.

Sunday 30 July Pentecost 8

Matthew 13:24-30, 36-43

Perhaps the question is as old as Christianity or religions itself: “Why doesn’t God intervene?” It becomes very personal for some of us when one face trauma or life-threatening illness. For some the tragedy that took a life of a loved one whether by someone’s misfit behaviour or through an abusive situation. And hundreds other reasons all of us wonder why God doesn’t do anything? One of the challenges post by this parable was that ‘life is about waiting.’

The farmer waits for the seed to grow, the parent waits for the children to grow up, the church expects to wait for all members to mature. Every person grows in different way and in their own pace. And we are to wait patiently. Even during that time of waiting, no one knows how the seeds will end up, nor our children or any of our church friends would be like. And we know it, things happen along the way that either it could make us or break us. Life experiences can sometimes shapes our faith or it can also shake our faith.

But the core remains, we either have to wait or God is in the business of waiting with us. Is this a fair assumption on what God is like or what we are required to be like? When we study Jesus public ministry, we learn that he acted in a caring, supportive and compassion manner. And he taught this concept about God. Would it be fair to say, Jesus is portraying what God is like, and wishes for each of us to be as patience as our Father in heaven is. May be if we learn to wait patiently as a farmer does, and as parents are, we could become the church of Jesus that this day and age is hoping for.

Be patient, for your God is patient upon you!

Rev. Alimoni Taumoepeau


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