Friday, 4 January 2019

Sunday Service Marsden Road Uniting Church 30 December 2018

Kaye and Andrew visited Marsden Road Uniting Church this week where they are always very welcome as they bring with them their message of hope.

Today Kaye delivered the sermon and introduced it by placing the readings for today, from which she preached, in the context of the UC lectionaries for 2018. This is important for us to understand its place in our teachings.

Then Kaye showed us how Luke had deliberately used key words to stress the significance of the account in Luke, (chapter 2) of Jesus in the Temple. Again, these choices are not random and point our attention to the main ideas.

Jerusalem”, where this account takes place is central to Jesus’ life story and many crucial events take place there.

The “Passover” is central to Jewish practice and the time when the very important stages of Jesus life take place.

Jesus was “twelve”, a number significant in many ways for Jews.

Jesus was missing for three days, another significant length of time for the Christians who followed the teachings of the ones who first responded to Jesus and the “Temple” which was central to both the Jewish and a Christian stories in both a concrete and representative way.

Kaye also raised the use of “your father” in reference to Joseph and My Father’s house in reference to Jesus relationship with God.

By pointing out and explaining these and other references, Kaye set the scene and its significance within the Jesus Story.

Using this foundation Kaye was able to use the parallel between how we move off from our Christmas celebrations back to our everyday routines with how we move off from our contemplation of Jesus’ birth too quickly.

Not only do we move off from our special Christian celebrations but we do this each Sunday as well. When we arrive home on Sunday after church, often lunch becomes the focus of our attention, rather than contemplating the service of worship we have just shared. Like any important experience, it would do us all a service if we sat and thought through that experience later.

She reminded us that after the trauma of losing the 12-year-old Jesus and then finding him speaking with confidence to much older men in the Temple, Mary  “pondered all these things in her heart”

The implication is to stay with the account of Jesus’ birth and childhood and consider their importance to us.

Kaye took this time to ponder the story in the reading.

Friends and family travelled together to Jerusalem for the Passover, in one way, an exciting time to catch up with everyone. But once the festival was over, the people headed home, as we do after Christmas.

But something happened to break the festive mood, Jesus was missing. Most parents have experienced the panic, even only for a short time, of not knowing where their child has gone.

Finally, after a long search, they found him, sitting in the Temple, nonplussed as to why they wouldn't know where he would be. But his answer, including the words “My Father’s house”, stopped Mary in her tracks. And she continued to ponder those words.

What does it mean for us to be in “my Father’s house”? What is the significance of the events of the first Christmas and of the youthful Jesus to us.

And what does it mean each Sunday as we gather to worship together? These gatherings aren't just habits but have deep meaning which can only be appreciated when we think through them later.

We were thankful that Kaye brought our attention to the need to sit with these thoughts, and to ponder them, to find their deeper significance to our lives.

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