THE PAST BEHIND”
address delivered in Warragul Uniting Church, by the Rev Rosalind Terry
Sunday, 26 October 2003
reading: Job 42: 1-17.
HAD TO LEAVE THE SADNESS OF HIS PAST BEHIND.
had a personal encounter with God, and that made all the difference.
We should be satisfied with nothing less!
was asked to forgive and pray for his friends, the ones who had hurt him by
their ignorant chatter and too easy answers.
we been guilty of such ignorant chatter and too easy answers, for ourselves or
there people we are still carrying malice towards because of past hurts?
us our sins, as we forgive those who sin against us”, you taught us Lord to
present blessings heal past wounds?
did indeed change because of all of this. His
three daughters are now the ones who are named, and they receive an inheritance
along with their brothers! Is grief
and sorrow the great leveller. Could
this possibly be true on an international scale?
Could the insecurity we now feel in the wake of September 11 and October
12 possibly bring us closer to the insecurity felt by the vast magority of the
world’s people because of their poverty?
is “Peace Remembrance Sunday”, when the Justice and International Mission
Unit of the Synod of Victoria and Tasmania invites us to reflect on peace and
non-violent peace-making in our services. This
Sunday falls within the United Nations Disarmament Week.
How much our world needs such a message today.
believe peace can flow when we have the courage to face our pain and brokenness,
in the presence of God, as Job was forced to do.
From that will flow the forgiveness that can alone heal the destructive
and broken nations.
- - - - - - - - - - - - - - -
was on the way to Jerusalem. Do you
remember the early part of Mark 10, in which Jesus teaches his disciples the way
to enter the kingdom of God was in the total dependency on God’s grace that
comes naturally to a child, the lowest of the low in the society of Jesus’
day. When a rich man asked how to
inherit eternal life, he was told by Jesus to sell everything and give his
wealth to the poor and come and follow Jesus.
the disciples didn’t get it, and James and John begged for the places of
political honour and power in the future kingdom. And the other disciples were no better. What
pain that must have caused our Lord, as he was on the way to his cross.
His three years of teaching had achieved nothing, it seemed.
He must have felt he was still alone on the servant road.
comes this wonderful story: Mark
10: 46 – 52
follow Jesus we have to come with empty hands, and hearts open to receive grace.
Nothing we can do will buy God’s love.
Anything we own may act as a barrier to the acceptance of this gift.
children could come and receive blessing, because they knew they had nothing to
rich man turned away sad, because he could not let go of his many possessions.
disciples were still bickering about who was the greatest!
this blind beggar, this despised blind man, whose handicap caused people of his
day to wonder who had sinned, himself or his parents, THIS man could throw away
the only thing of value he possessed, his warm outer coat, and follow in the
his faith saved and healed him!
I find this passage forcing me to ask myself, does God encounter me in my
suffering, as God encountered Job and Bartimaeus? Can I empty my hands and my heart to receive the grace to be
healed and to follow? Have you
received this grace?
from friends is painful. “Parting
is to die a little”, as a Vietnamese proverb tells us.
to die is to enter more fully into God’s presence.
I use the coming lonely months as a chance to rest more fully in God’s love?
you these months will be busy and full of questions. You will be wrestling with decisions about a possible move to
the Sutton Street property, the future structure of ministry in the region from
Garfield to Thorpdale, and who to call to ministry here in Warragul.
Will these months of hard work and careful prayer and listening for
God'’ guidance be for you a blessing, a time when God draws especially close
to you as you leave the past behind and move into the new future?
felt the pain of loss, and the pain of being misunderstood by friends, but came
through the experience more mature and loving and life giving.
suffered the life of an outcast on the edge of society all his life, until that
wonderful day when his determination stopped Jesus on his way to Jerusalem, and
Jesus made all the difference.
we the determination to claim such healing for ourselves as individuals,
for our congregation,
for the Uniting Church in Australia,
and ultimately for our world?