St. John's Uniting Church Wahroonga

Resurrection Faith

Luke 24:1-12 | Colossians 3:1-4

The whole of creation must have held its breath, waiting. Waiting through two long nights and a day, waiting for the answer to the question posed by Good Friday.

What would happen next?

What would happen when the political and military might of the greatest empire the world had ever seen was brought to bear on a man who spoke of the coming of another kingdom?

What would happen when the influence of a corrupted religious elite was turned against a man whose greatest crime was that he called people to reconciliation with God?

What would happen when the man who was God chose to die? Continue reading

How high’s the water, mama? Three feet high and risin’ …

A perfect record has been broken: until Saturday, 16th April it had never rained on a Cartophiles walk.

Despite heavy rain all morning (Wahroonga receiving 40mm of rain overnight) three Cartophiles decided to walk the section of the Great North Walk (GNW) from West Pymble to Thornleigh Oval.  The weather looked like it was clearing up as Ken, James and Kit drove to the start point in James’ car.  We should have taken the warning: just before we parked the car radio was playing Johnny Cash singing, “How high’s the water, mama?  Well, it’s five feet high and risin’.” Continue reading

Art group restarts

The St. John’s Art Group restarts this coming Wednesday 27th April, 9:30 – 12:00. The focus this term will be on still life drawing and watercolour. Everyone welcome, regardless of ability! For more information, please contact Margaret Harvey (9489 8874).

Holy Week Services

At St. John’s in Holy Week we will have a Tenebrae service on Maundy Thursday at 7:30pm, with communion, readings, and the extinguishing of candles. On Good Friday St. John’s Choir will lead us through the words of Jesus from the cross, in a blend of word and music starting at 9:30am (and finishing with hot cross buns). And then on Easter Sunday we will meet for a celebration of the resurrection, at 9:30am, and at ‘The Growing Place’ at 4pm.

Palm Sunday

Mark 11:1-11

The Passover festival was approaching, the high point of the Jewish year, the one time that every Jew who possibly could, would come into the city, and come to the Temple. Jerusalem was packed – every inn full to overflowing, every street packed with stalls, animals, and people, people, people. The air was full of the sounds and smells of life.

But Jerusalem, in the days of Jesus, did not belong to the Jewish people. As Jews came to the Temple they could not miss the watchtower, the Roman military building built to overlook the Temple, to watch over the holy places of the Jewish faith. As the faithful entered to worship, they could see Roman soldiers looking down upon them. Resentment against the Roman occupiers ran high, and the Jewish revolutionary zealots found in this resentment an ideal opportunity to recruit for their cause.

For Passover was a religious festival, but it was more than that. At Passover the Jews celebrated the event which had defined them as a people; God setting them freedom from slavery in Egypt. Passover was not just a celebration of the Jewish religion, but of being set free from oppression; set free by an unlikely leader and the hand of God. And there were many who longed for the same to happen again – for freedom, this time from Rome. Continue reading

Pipe Dreams II – 7:30 this Saturday

A reminder – 16th April 2011 marks the fiftieth anniversary of the installation of our large pipe organ, and to celebrate we’ll be having the second of our Pipe Dreams concerts. This concert will feature organists who have played the organ since its installation – Miriam Gaydon the first organist, Alan Cabrera, Peter Hamilton, Jill Forrest and Sarah Gentle our current organist. The music that will be performed will include Joseph Haydon, Alexandre Guilmant, J S Bach, G F Handel, Dietrich Buxtehude, Gershwin and others.

Tickets are available on the door for $20 ($15 concessions), including a light supper at the conclusion of the concert. For more information or to book call 9489 0355.

Serving

1 Peter 4:7-11 | Mark 10:35-45

There’s some part of everyone that want to be great. The desire to seek greatness, to seek to achieve something unachievable, to conquer the unconquered, to understand the incomprehensible; this desire has driven humanity in so many ways. It drives explorers to push the limits of themselves and their technology to go where no-one has gone – to the summit of Everest, around the world by boat, to the poles, to the moon. It drives musicians and artists and writers to find new ways to express deep human emotions. It drives the scientist in the pursuit of knowledge, the sportsman in the pursuit of excellence, the politician in pursuit of office.

So perhaps its not surprising that Jesus doesn’t condemn James and John for wanting to be at his left and right hand in the kingdom. For it was not an unnatural – or even an unreasonable – request.

When we read this story, it’s natural for us to see their words “at your left and right hand in your glory” and to make it spiritual. We picture Jesus in heaven on some sort of glorious throne, and imagine that James and John were talking about being lords of heaven.

But that was, I’m sure, the last thing on their minds. Continue reading

God’s Dinner Party

This Sunday at The Growing Place is going to be something a bit special – a chance for us to get together over food and drink at God’s Dinner Party. Whether you’re a regular at The Growing Place, or have just been once or twice, it’ll be an opportunity to get to know one another better over a shared meal, and to explore the Christian tradition of bread and wine.

Please bring a plate of food for the kids to share as usual – something that can be eaten without cutlery – and we’ll provide food and drink for the adults!

If you can RSVP it would help with catering, but everyone is welcome to come even if they aren’t able to RSVP in time… And please do let us know if there are any food allergies or other dietary requirements.

Hope to see as many people there as possible – if you can only come along occasionally, this is the week to come! And to bring a friend and their family!

Easter Services

Easter marks the highpoint of the Christian year, and is marked with a range of celebrations at St. John’s. Sunday 17th April is Palm Sunday – those who are able, meet at the rotunda in the park at 9:15 to process across the park into St. John’s. The Growing Place won’t meet that Sunday after, so we can all come along to share a family friendly service of celebration.

Then in Holy Week we will have a Tenebrae service on Maundy Thursday at 7:30pm, with communion, readings, and the extinguishing of candles. On Good Friday St. John’s Choir will lead us through the words of Jesus from the cross, in a blend of word and music starting at 9:30am (and finishing with hot cross buns). And then, of course, on Easter Sunday morning we will meet for a celebration of the resurrection!

Nooma dinner

This tuesday (April 5) is the last Nooma of term, and as has become traditional, we’ll be marking the occasion with a meal at the Manse. Meet at the earlier time of 7pm, please bring a plate of food to share. Everyone is welcome!

Creation

Psalm 104:21-30 | Romans 8:18-25
Not long after I arrived in Australia, I was working at the University of Sydney, and each day I’d walk to Redfern station to get the train home. In those days the entrance was on the bridge, and when you’d gone through the ticket gates you found yourself on a sort of giant balcony over the many different railway lines, looking out westwards, with stairways leading down onto each of the platforms.

One early evening, as I was heading home, I found myself as usual amongst the crowds of people streaming through the gates and up and down the stairs, when my eye was caught. The sky in front of me was ablaze with the most astonishing sunset I’ve seen in Australia. The whole western sky was a mass of oranges and red and purples and colours I have no name for. I stepped out of the flow of people, and leant against the railing, and just drank it in.

Of course, I missed my train – but there’s always another train. And there isn’t always another sunset like that one. It was one of just a handful of times in my life that I’ve understood the psalmist, when he wrote: ‘the heavens declare the glory of God; the skies proclaim God’s handiwork’. Continue reading

Stations of the Cross

St. Ives Uniting Church’s annual Stations of the Cross art exhibition opens on Friday 15th April. Fifteen images by contemporary Australian visual artists, each interpreting in their own style one of the traditional stations of the cross. More info can be found on the St. Ives website.

Last Playjays of term

The last Playjays of this term turned out to be our biggest ever – 31 kids aged between ten days and four years, plus parents (and grandparents) came along for a morning of playing, talking, drinking coffee, playing some more, morning tea, and singing. We’ll take a three week break now for the Easter holidays, starting up again on April 29th.