St. John's Uniting Church Wahroonga

There is enough

Isaiah 55:1-5 | Matthew 14:13-21
I’m guessing that most of you have heard our gospel reading before. It’s a well known story, a Sunday school favourite, and, along with walking on the water, one of the miracle stories about Jesus well known enough to have a place in popular culture.

You’ve probably heard various sermons on this story as well. And some of them have probably revolved around the question of what the miracle actually was. Did Jesus miraculously make this small serving of food expand to be enough to feed everyone (and leave twelve basket of leftovers), or was it the miracle of generosity – that when set an example of faith, the people gathered were willing to share what they had?

I don’t have a dog in that fight. The gospels don’t tell us the mechanism by which Jesus managed to feed everyone, so I guess the gospel writers either didn’t know, or didn’t think it was very important. And it tends to obscure what, for me at least, is the most interesting part of the story, the part that really has something to say to us, the part that has the power to shape how we live as people of faith, how we live as a community walking in the footsteps of the disciples, learning, as they did, what it means to follow Jesus. Continue reading

The Waiting Place

Dayan McLeod, with thanks to Jeanne Mayo, Johannus Facius and the prophet Isaiah

We live in an instant age. And in this instant age, children in particular are simply not great at waiting. They expect food on the table, sources of amusement, parental assistance – instant gratification when they want it. My son, Jahan, is especially bad at waiting for anything. He often gets fixated on something, and I find it almost impossible to engage him with alternatives. So much so, that I’ve taken to just making him wait whenever he asks me for anything at all – just to “build his character”. ☺ I figure, it can only be a good thing to teach our kids to wait… Continue reading

From little things…

Matthew 13:31-35 | Romans 8:31-39

The most annoying song of all time – for it’s irritating tune, cloying lyrics, and frustrating ability to get stuck in your head – is… well, your opinion might differ, but I’d vote for “It’s a small world after all”. A song which has absolutely nothing to do with the theme of our service today.
But if “small world” wears the yellow jersey in the Tour de France of irritating songs, it’s closest rival is surely “From little things, big things grow”.

And that is very appropriate for today. For in Rebecca’s baptism we have celebrated a little thing, from which a big thing will grow. We’ve celebrated a life which is physically small – a baby, who will grow into a big girl, and into a woman. And this is a life that will not just grow physically, but in so many other ways; as Rebecca grows she will make new friends in wider and wider circles, she will know more and do more and have ever increasing impact on the world around her. She will touch the lives of those around her in ways that we can only guess at.

And in saying this, I’m not predicting some spectacular future for Rebecca – though she might be the first president of Australia, or the first human to set foot on Mars, or the discoverer of an incredible medical breakthrough – but that’s not what I’m talking about. Just by virtue of being a baby, we know that Rebecca has inside her the miracle of growth, the miracle of a future unknown to us.

From this little thing, a big thing will grow. Continue reading

Faith

John 14:1-7 | 1 Chronicles 16:8-22

Jeyanth from time to time suffers from bad dreams – or rather, from scary imaginings when he’s trying to fall asleep. I guess it’s a phase most kids go through – I certainly remember some years of entirely unidentifiable fears haunting me as I struggled to sleep as a kid. But Jeyanth, being a minister’s kid, and being the sort of budding experimental scientist he is, has rapidly made this, not a psychological issue, but a theological one. An hour after bedtime he’ll call out, and I’ll go in, and he’ll tell me “I ask Jesus to stop the scary dreams coming, but it doesn’t work”.

A central dilemma of faith, as seen through the eyes of a child. I prayed, I asked for something good, something reasonable, something surely God would want, and it doesn’t work.

Or, as a grown up might put it – I’m a follower of Jesus, a member of God’s family. I’m working as hard as I can to live the life God has called me to, to care for others, to be loving and generous with my life. I pray, I ask God for help and guidance, I come to Church, I read the Bible and try to understand what following Jesus means. I do it all. Continue reading

Recent developments at The Dish

Over the past term those who we serve meals to, as well as the preparers and servers, have been delighted with the great variety and inspirational meals prepared by the parents of Year 3 Knox Preparatory students. This is an innovation inspired by the teachers of the students, as part of their Social Justice Program, which extends throughout the school. We, at The Dish, have been most thankful for the variety provided and generosity of the families – it has been heart warming to see the keen and eager faces of the boys as they bring their food to the Van.

Special preview and champagne supper

The Fair will be officially opened by Dr Ric Porter, one of the founders of IVFAustralia, at a special preview and champagne supper on Friday evening, July 15th. Tickets are $30 per person, which includes weekend entry to the Fair. Popular local jazz duet, Don and Robyn Reid, will also entertain guests as they browse and secure special purchases before the Fair opens to the general public on Saturday morning. All are welcome, but bookings for the preview are essential: call 9489 0860.

15th Annual Wahroonga Antiques Fair: Information

Nineteen leading antique dealers and specialist retailers from Queensland, New South Wales and Victoria will bring together fine furniture, jewellery and collectables for sale over one weekend in July.  Now in its fifteenth year, the Wahroonga Antiques Fair is one of Sydney’s leading antiques events.  It will run on July 16th and 17th at St John’s Uniting Church, Wahroonga.

An excellent collection of English, French, and Australian furniture, prints, silver, porcelain and pottery, antique jewellery and other collectables will be on display and for sale. The Wahroonga Antiques fair brings together major Sydney dealers, country NSW dealers and Victorian dealers.  For the first time this year the Fair will feature a genealogy and archiving specialist from Queensland.

The Fair is open from 10 am until 5 pm on Saturday 16th and 11 am to 4 pm on Sunday 17th July. Visitors can enjoy cappuccino, morning or afternoon tea, or a light lunch at the Gallery Tea Rooms while browsing the displays.

Entrance to the Fair is $5 and all proceeds go to the restoration fund for the historic St John’s church and buildings and to the Exodus Foundation to assist homeless and abandoned youth and other people in need.

St John’s Uniting Church is on the corner of Coonanbarra Road and Stuart Street — just across the park from the Wahroonga station.  The heritage-listed church will be open to visitors during the Wahroonga Antiques Fair.

In the mirror

Mark 7:14-23 | James 1:19-27
While I was training for the ministry at UTC, for a while there was a sign up outside chapel reading “if you can’t listen quickly, speak slowly”. It seemed a most appropriate paraphrase of our reading from James, especially in a place dedicated to training Ministers of the Word, people who are, amongst other things, professional speakers.

Be quick to listen, slow to speak.

It’s advice that seems so unarguably wise, self-evidently helpful. I’m certain that everyone here can think of times when they have spoken too quickly, said words that, the moment they were out of your mouth you wanted to call back, wished you could undo. And perhaps you’ve also been fortunate enough to have known someone who was truly quick to listen, someone who was always ready to lend a sympathetic ear, to give you time to talk without interruption. Continue reading