Saturday, 22 July 2017

Sunday Service Marsden Road Uniting Church 16 July 2017

Guest blog by Emma Halgren

But as for what was sown on good soil, this is the one who hears the word and understands it, who indeed bears fruit and yields, in one case a hundredfold, in another sixty, and in another thirty.

From small things, wonderful things can grow. This year, Matthew and I welcomed our little baby Charlie into our lives, and we — and those around us — are delighting in watching him grow and change and learn each day.

Charlie will be baptised at Sophia’s Spring, the Uniting Church community in Melbourne that Matt, Charlie and I are part of, in September. But today’s service was an opportunity to have him blessed and named within the Marsden Road community which has been such an important part of my life (and the lives of my parents and siblings), nourishing and instructing me in the Christian faith, and nurturing in me a commitment to social justice which has guided many of the jobs and activities I’ve been involved in so far in my life.

Kaye and Andrew Crook, who worship at Blacktown Uniting Church, led the service and the blessing of Charlie. In their sermon, they reflected on the Parable of the Sower (Matthew 13:1-9, 18-23) and what we can learn from it about mission today — about “extravagant generosity” in our sharing of the Gospel with others, about being “a doer of the word and not only a hearer”.
They explained that the actions of the sower in this parable — scattering expensive seed recklessly, some of it on poor soil — would have shocked Jesus’ listeners, and most farmers in our own time, as wasteful behaviour. But Jesus is challenging our tendency to “play it safe” and hold on too tightly to our resources, stifling creativity and energy.

“God has always been prepared to risk wasting love on those whom the world judges to be hopeless cases, in the hope that a few souls in the most unfortunate circumstances might nurture a seed and bring it to harvest,” said Kaye and Andrew.

“If there is any hope for the unproductive soil, it is that the sower keeps sowing generously, extravagantly, even in the least promising places.”

We look forward to having Charlie baptised into the community of people of faith who are doing this generous work. The Basis of Union, the foundational document of the Uniting Church in Australia, says that Baptism “initiates people into Christ's life and mission in the world so that they are united in one fellowship of love, service and joy…”.

As a first step, it meant a lot to have Charlie welcomed into the Marsden Road community, and to have Kaye share words of blessing that captured both the day-to-day reality of parenting, and the unfathomable mystery and miracle that is the birth of a baby. Here is the blessing she shared:

Dear Father God, we pray that you might bless Charlie and may he always walk in the light of your love.

We give thanks for the safe birth of healthy children.
We wonder at tiny hands and smiles and gurgles.
We delight in all the firsts that come with a new child  -

first breath, first bath, first sleep through the night, first steps, first words…

We ask that you bless his mum and dad. Give them strength and wisdom as they lead Charlie through life being a part of your family. May these parents gently nurture their precious son Charlie.
May they enjoy the growth of deep relationships.
May they give thanks every day for the gift of Life

We pray too for the godparents. Help them to support Charlie’s mum and dad, and also show Charlie good ways of living. May they have time to spend with Charlie, playing, learning, sharing their lives and the love of God with him.

We pray for all of us here today Lord. Help us to support this family in whatever way we can, especially in prayer.

So bless this family Lord. Shower them with love and wisdom. In the hard times may they know your presence, in the good times may they rejoice in your grace.


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