Reflecting on Life    

(Published in News First, October 2007 - monthly church newsletter of the Warragul Uniting Church)

from Rev Chris Cohen

Dear friends,

As I write this I am aware of a number of new folk attending worship and becoming involved in the life of the congregation. We welcome you and pray that you will find a home for your spiritual life among us. It is also pleasing to meet folk that have returned after some time away; we celebrate your presence.

Holidays are over (for the Cohen’s). school’s back, the Spring Fair is over, guest speakers have shared with us, and now we look forward. Already we are planning the children’s Christmas Club. This will take place on the Thursdays after school on the 22nd and 29th of November. This is a time to share the Christmas story with the children in our area in ways that children can understand. I will be approaching people to help in a variety of ways like craft, games, snacks, music, worship etc. This year we will repeat the structure of last year which worked very well. Last year also saw the introduction of Carols on the Lawn and this will be repeated on the early evening of the 16th of December.

The “Bible Study in Depth” has resumed on Sunday nights. As we learn together, from our ancestors in the faith, we are constantly challenged to apply our learning in faith to our lives. To take the Bible seriously, to let it speak for itself and then allow it to address our lives today. Many of us find this a rewarding experience. Some would say, life giving. One example of this is seeking understanding about God in the face of suffering and evil (in its multitude of forms). People are sick, dying, abused, oppressed, broken hearted, depressed, agonising over family or friends and this list goes on and on.

The ancient Hebrew people reflected on life from concrete experience, the ancient Greeks developed a more abstract philosophy that we have inherited in our culture. Today we look for reasons; Why? How? Etc.?

Both the Old Testament (Hebrew) and the New Testament (influenced by Greek thinking) come to the one conclusion in the face of human suffering and oppression. Trust in the faithfulness of God. That might sound too simplistic and make the sufferer angry. To trust in God is to be engaged by the qualities and values of God and therefore to practice these. To live for love and justice, to value people, to help each other in the journey of living. To be inspired by a particular life (Jesus) and desire to live that way to the best of our ability. In this we may find meaning and reason, I know we will find fulfilment.

Yours in Christ,