Monday, 18 July 2016

Sermon 17th July: Awake O sleeper!

Ephesians 5:14  This is why it is said: “Wake up, sleeper, rise from the dead, and Christ will shine on you.”

Do you like to sleep? Or is it a begrudged necessity? Are you too busy? And what of prayer? Are you too busy for that as well?

Sleeping is necessary for us it is a good thing. It is getting apart from the normal. And so is prayer - take time to sleep, but also to be with God

Having to sleep reminds us of our limitations. There is an increased need when a person is young and when old. One value of age is then that there is more time to pray, which we should do when we realise our limitations.

Sleep is also good as it deadens pain. Prayer also helps us to cope with pain, suffering and difficult circumstances. Are we aware of our need?

Good to be regular in our sleep, and not just when bored or tired. Our bodies are made that way. Likewise it is good to have a fixed time to pray. Of course we may also take both quick naps and prayers as needed. Then just as napping is not always a good idea, some times are not appropriate for prayer - it is the time for doing! "A little sleep, a little slumber" (Prov 6:10), leads us to material and spiritual poverty. Especially be well awake in worship - do we need coffee BEFORE the service?

Why are we able to sleep? It is the same reason why we can pray. It is because God is not sleeping! (Ps 121:4, 1 Ki 18:27). That is a reassurance - or do we find it a problem that God always sees what we are doing?

The tragedy of today is those who are spiritually asleep - wake up those around! (1 Thess 5:6). But be slow to judge them, rather seek to increase awareness. Now is the time (Rom 13:11). Wake up your friend! Wake up society!

Maybe people just think that when they do die, they just fall asleep, so there is no problem. But there is a very real judgement.

Incidentally, just as there is no night in heaven, so there is no soul-sleep. People just look as if they are asleep (Matt 27:52, Jn 11:11, 1 Cor 15:18, etc). We will be immediately conscious. I want to see God immediately!

Prof David T Williams
Theology (retired)

Thursday, 14 July 2016

Earth School on Hogsback

On the 7th July Helen, one of our church councillors, invited members of the St Patrick’s congregation and some of her friends to the dedication of her Earth school. We were interested in how this dream came about and here is her story:

"My many tears are formed through the abuses and terrors we inflict on God’s most beautiful earth. A growing sense of my life’s purpose has been to create a space where people can come to be inspired and empowered to be a beneficial rather than destructive presence on the earth, thereby helping to realise our being made in the image of God’s love. This sense has grown into a dream of creating an Earth School here in Hogsback, to be built on Wild Fox Hill, the name of the land God has given me to look after. A wide range of people will be invited to attend the various programmes to be run here, with different programmes being developed to cater for the different groups of people. 

These groups include:
  • Young travellers who are looking for a memorable African experience and wish to learn valuable knowledge while contributing to society. A 6 month to year long accredited course will be offered for them. 
  • Christians who desire to learn about being effective stewards of God’s creation. A one week course, drawing from Biblical inspiration and practical action, will be offered with options to extend this into further courses. 
  • Underprivileged children who would benefit from feeling a sense of connection with the earth, growing hope and developing earth keeping and entrepreneurial skills. A one week course will be offered. 
  • Privileged children who would benefit from loving all creation, desiring to serve and gaining practical earth keeping skills. A three to five day course will be offered. 
  • Teachers who will be offered a one week SASS accredited course to support them in linking the curriculum to environmental knowledge. 
The focus will be on the participants’:
  • HEART (love for and connection with creation will be deepened); 
  • MIND (spiritual, philosophical, scientific and practical knowledge and understanding will be gained); 
  • HANDS (earth keeping skills will be developed: e.g. permaculture, green building, bee keeping etc).
The participants will also be encouraged to participate in activities that benefit the broader Hogsback community.

Very excitingly I express with much gratitude that my mum has given me an interest free loan to see this dream begin to be realised. The loan is to assist in the construction of the first building that will form the heart of the Earth School. It has been christened the Cabin Heart project and the photos show progress thus far :) On the 7th of July, what has become a very special day to me, a ceremony was held with friends to dedicate the land and Earth School to God’s purposes. I now look forward to God building the team of people who will help realise this dream."

The members of St Patrick’s who were present were very impressed with Helen’s passion and faith and enterprise. She is an idealist and will make the world a better place making people more sensitive to our responsibility with regard the earth, just as Betty Chew had a dream to give needy children a happy holiday in the Hogsback mountains 70 years later. An look what has happened!

Community Service

Last Sunday we had our first (hopefully of many) community services at St Patrick-on-the-Hill. The congregation from the New Voice of Bethlehem congregation from down the valley came to visit our little chapel to share communion during our Anglican service.

Simon, the visiting congregation's  pastor said that they wanted to experience our kind of service to learn from us as God is our shepherd, to which Trevor, our warden, replied that we want to learn from them too, and that is how it all came about!! God is working!!!!

The message fitted in nicely with where we are trying to be, namely the story of the good Samaritan. No matter where we come from, what the colour of our skin are and which "tribe" we represent, we are all God's children and should care for each other in love!

We really enjoyed the loving spirit of community and of course the lovely singing and drums!!

The photo album is here:  and the videos can be found here: