Endings & Beginnings

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Acknowledgement of Country

We acknowledge that we are on the land of the Kaurna people, the traditional custodians of the Adelaide Plains.
We are awed that they celebrate the religious significance of place, plant and all living creatures; and that care for the earth is implanted in their law.
We honour them and also delight in the sacred in our midst. We pray that in the power of the Holy Spirit we might work together for reconciliation and justice in this land.

Deuteronomy 34:1-12 NRSV

34Then Moses went up from the plains of Moab to Mount Nebo, to the top of Pisgah, which is opposite Jericho, and the Lord showed him the whole land: Gilead as far as Dan, 2all Naphtali, the land of Ephraim and Manasseh, all the land of Judah as far as the Western Sea, 3the Negeb, and the Plain—that is, the valley of Jericho, the city of palm trees—as far as Zoar. 4The Lord said to him, ‘This is the land of which I swore to Abraham, to Isaac, and to Jacob, saying, “I will give it to your descendants”; I have let you see it with your eyes, but you shall not cross over there.’ 5Then Moses, the servant of the Lord, died there in the land of Moab, at the Lord’s command. 6He was buried in a valley in the land of Moab, opposite Beth-peor, but no one knows his burial place to this day. 7Moses was one hundred and twenty years old when he died; his sight was unimpaired and his vigour had not abated. 8The Israelites wept for Moses in the plains of Moab for thirty days; then the period of mourning for Moses was ended.

Joshua son of Nun was full of the spirit of wisdom, because Moses had laid his hands on him; and the Israelites obeyed him, doing as the Lord had commanded Moses.

10 Never since has there arisen a prophet in Israel like Moses, whom the Lord knew face to face. 11He was unequalled for all the signs and wonders that the Lord sent him to perform in the land of Egypt, against Pharaoh and all his servants and his entire land, 12and for all the mighty deeds and all the terrifying displays of power that Moses performed in the sight of all Israel.

Reflection

Life is full to the brim with Endings & then Beginnings. Often multiple endings & beginnings all at once. It’s not just the cycle of life it’s the cycle of living. It’s the cycle of each and every day. Whether we like it or not things end and new things begin. Endings & beginnings are always with us, If we are honest with ourselves, Things never remain the same. A constant life of endings and beginnings.

I know you by name

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Acknowledgement of Country

We acknowledge that we are on the land of the Kaurna people, the traditional custodians of the Adelaide Plains. We are awed that they celebrate the religious significance of place, plant and all living creatures; and that care for the earth is implanted in their law. We honour them and also delight in the sacred in our midst. We pray that in the power of the Holy Spirit we might work together for reconciliation and justice in this land.

Exodus 33:12-23 NRSV

Moses said to the Lord, ‘See, you have said to me, “Bring up this people”; but you have not let me know whom you will send with me. Yet you have said, “I know you by name, and you have also found favour in my sight.” Now if I have found favour in your sight, show me your ways, so that I may know you and find favour in your sight. Consider too that this nation is your people.’ He [God] said, ‘My presence will go with you, and I will give you rest.’ And he said to him [Moses replied], ‘If your presence will not go, do not carry us up from here. For how shall it be known that I have found favour in your sight, I and your people, unless you go with us? In this way, we shall be distinct, I and your people, from every people on the face of the earth.’

The Lord said to Moses, ‘I will do the very thing that you have asked; for you have found favour in my sight, and I know you by name.’ Moses said, ‘Show me your glory, I pray.’ And he [God] said, ‘I will make all my goodness pass before you, and will proclaim before you the name, “The Lord”; and I will be gracious to whom I will be gracious, and will show mercy on whom I will show mercy. But’, he[God] said, ‘you cannot see my face; for no one shall see me and live.’ And the Lord continued, ‘See, there is a place by me where you shall stand on the rock; and while my glory passes by I will put you in a cleft of the rock, and I will cover you with my hand until I have passed by; then I will take away my hand, and you shall see my back; but my face shall not be seen.’

Reflection

I know you by name,” says God to Moses. These five simple words express the deepest desire of the human heart: to know that one is known by the Holy Mystery that resides at the heart of everything.

I am noticed - I matter

I am somebody – not a no body

I know you by name.

Prayer

Ever gracious God,
When we are alone and feel no-one beside us,
Reveal to us that you know us by name,
And you consider us your family.

When we are uncertain of what to do,
Reveal to us your ways
So that we may know your wiser path.

When we ache for identity, as one of many,
Reveal to us your favour
So that we understand more of ourselves.

When we are over-burdened,
Reveal to us your cleft in the solid stable rock,
So that we are held firmly and protected.

Gracious God,
you cover us with your kindness.
Let us roll gently into the cleft of rest,
As you pass before us,
So that, refreshed in the moment,
we follow your light before us
on the path that we must tread.

Remind us, and whisper to us,
“My presence will go with you, and I will give you rest.”.
Amen, amen, amen.

Rev Anne Hewitt

River

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Acknowledgement of Country

We acknowledge that we are on the land of the Kaurna people, the traditional custodians of the Adelaide Plains. We are awed that they celebrate the religious significance of place, plant and all living creatures; and that care for the earth is implanted in their law. We honour them and also delight in the sacred in our midst. We pray that in the power of the Holy Spirit we might work together for reconciliation and justice in this land.

Revelation 22:1-5 NRSV

Then the angel showed me the river of the water of life, bright as crystal, flowing from the throne of God and of the Lamb through the middle of the street of the city. On either side of the river is the tree of life with its twelve kinds of fruit, producing its fruit each month; and the leaves of the tree are for the healing of the nations. Nothing accursed will be found there any more. But the throne of God and of the Lamb will be in it, and his servants will worship him; they will see his face, and his name will be on their foreheads. And there will be no more night; they need no light of lamp or sun, for the Lord God will be their light, and they will reign for ever and ever.

River

Reflection

The River of the water of Life and the leaves from the tree of Life are images of HOPE. That there is much more to life. God is here and will not abandon humanity. This knowledge brings HOPE to lift the Soul in the troubling times.

Prayer

Water of Life,
you are our source of renewal and strength.
Help us to become vessels carrying your life-giving water
to restore all of creation.
Grant us the courage to challenge forces that harm,
and joyfully spread your message of new life.
Amen.

Seasons of the Spirit

 

Wilderness – Outback

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Acknowledgement of Country

We acknowledge that we are on the land of the Kaurna people, the traditional custodians of the Adelaide Plains. We are awed that they celebrate the religious significance of place, plant and all living creatures; and that care for the earth is implanted in their law. We honour them and also delight in the sacred in our midst. We pray that in the power of the Holy Spirit we might work together for reconciliation and justice in this land.

Romans 8:18-27 CEV

I am sure that what we are suffering now cannot compare with the glory that will be shown to us. In fact, all creation is eagerly waiting for God to show who his children are. Meanwhile, creation is confused, but not because it wants to be confused. God made it this way in the hope that creation would be set free from decay and would share in the glorious freedom of his children. We know that all creation is still groaning and is in pain, like a woman about to give birth. The Spirit makes us sure about what we will be in the future. But now we groan silently, while we wait for God to show that we are his children. This means that our bodies will also be set free. And this hope is what saves us. But if we already have what we hope for, there is no need to keep on hoping. However, we hope for something we have not yet seen, and we patiently wait for it. In certain ways we are weak, but the Spirit is here to help us. For example, when we don’t know what to pray for, the Spirit prays for us in ways that cannot be put into words. All of our thoughts are known to God. He can understand what is in the mind of the Spirit, as the Spirit prays for God’s people.

Mark 1:9-13 CEV

About that time Jesus came from Nazareth in Galilee, and John baptized him in the Jordan River. As soon as Jesus came out of the water, he saw the sky open and the Holy Spirit coming down to him like a dove. A voice from heaven said, “You are my own dear Son, and I am pleased with you.” Right away God’s Spirit made Jesus go into the desert. He stayed there for forty days while Satan tested him. Jesus was with the wild animals, but angels took care of him.

Reflection

Wilderness is a place we all need to experience a few times in our lives. Places to get things straight & true. Places where we can be close to God without the usual distractions. Those big wilderness areas may be somewhere we can only reach on holidays. Flinders, Central Aust. WA etc.
Bound by the urban environment we could get to a nearby national park. Belair, Mt Lofty, Hallett Cove. Or a local park like the Wetlands on Oaklands Road.

Find somewhere experience renewal somewhere to sit and stop. To then gaze around for a while before beginning your conversation with God. Your conversation may be one of joy as God, like ourselves, does like good news stories. Or else, your conversation may be of confusion or of struggle. No matter the need, remember to make Wilderness time.

Prayers of the people

God of the wilderness,
we pray that we can better aim to protect, live with, and defend the wildness at the core of our beings and around the world.
Hear our prayer.

We pray for the restoration of full and flourishing life across the world,
in places that have seen destruction from humans and natural disasters.
Hear our prayer.

Help us to remember our connection with all elements of creation,
and to embrace that connection with exuberance, joy, and our full energy.
Hear our prayer.

For what else do we pray today?

(Invite the people to offer individual prayers, either silently or aloud.)

Hear our prayer.
Amen

Seasons of the Spirit

Land

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Acknowledgement of Country

We acknowledge that we are on the land of the Kaurna people, the traditional custodians of the Adelaide Plains. We are awed that they celebrate the religious significance of place, plant and all living creatures; and that care for the earth is implanted in their law. We honour them and also delight in the sacred in our midst. We pray that in the power of the Holy Spirit we might work together for reconciliation and justice in this land.

Psalm 139:7-14 NRSV

7 Where can I go from your spirit?
Or where can I flee from your presence?
8 If I ascend to heaven, you are there;
if I make my bed in Sheol, you are there.
9 If I take the wings of the morning
and settle at the farthest limits of the sea,
10 even there your hand shall lead me,
and your right hand shall hold me fast.
11 If I say, ‘Surely the darkness shall cover me,
and the light around me become night’,
12 even the darkness is not dark to you;
the night is as bright as the day,
for darkness is as light to you.

13 For it was you who formed my inward parts;
you knit me together in my mother’s womb.
14 I praise you, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made.
Wonderful are your works;
that I know very well.

Land 13 Sept 2020

Reflection

The Psalm in a sentence. God knows me and is with me.

Let’s dig a little deeper, when we listen to the psalm with our minds on the land? What could we see.

Lets start with the first verse.“Where can I go from your presence?” A vision on our grounding in the land, Land is all around, our feet being firmly planted, Anchored in the Land, Land from where God as built all things.

Or Land like an ever present character in our story. A witness, friend, supporter, victim, protector, healer. Always there, never far away. Often with a different role to play BUT play it does.

In one of the last verses we hear it says of being knitted in a mother’s womb. We could recognize that Earth is a kind of womb, a place of birth - a place of nurture. This is an image of Land as Mother.

There is more to this. Last week we heard the second creation story from the bible, Genesis Chapter 2: 4 – 10, A human formed from the Soil in the garden of Eden. I was deliberate in not naming the creature Adam or man but as human. You may have noticed that. At the time I did not plan to travel that path of detail but I will now. Usually we have the Hebrew word translated to Adam rather than the correct Adham, which means human. The word Adham comes from the word Adamah, meaning Earth. The human comes from earth, from Land. This is an earth creature. Gender for the earth human did not arrive until the removal of the rib when male & female were created in one action.

This second creation story is understood to be an older story than the seven days of creation from chapter one. We are from the Land, the Land is understood as our mother. Now we arrive at an understanding of Land more akin to First peoples understanding of Land.

If we hold this understanding of Land as Mother rather than as a commodity it changes our relationship with the Land.

Prayer

God, our Creator, we celebrate your vibrant presence among us and our kin in creation,
especially in the soil, the fields and the land.
Help us to empathise with your creatures who are suffering.
Lift our spirits to rejoice with the land,
the flowers of the field and all the creatures of the countryside.
In the name of Christ,
who reconciles and renews all things in creation. Amen.

Forest

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Acknowledgement of Country

We acknowledge that the site of this church is on the land of the Kaurna people, the traditional custodians of the Adelaide Plains. We are awed that they celebrate the religious significance of place plant and all living creatures; and that care for the earth is implanted in their law.

Bible reading: Genesis 2:4 – 10 NRSV adapted

In the day that the Lord God made the earth and the heavens, 5when no plant of the field was yet in the earth and no herb of the field had yet sprung up—for the Lord God had not caused it to rain upon the earth, and there was no one to till the ground; 6but a stream would rise from the earth, and water the whole face of the ground— 7then the Lord God formed a human from the dust of the ground, and breathed into its nostrils the breath of life; and the human became a living being. 8And the Lord God planted a garden in Eden, in the east; and there God put the human whom he had formed. 9Out of the ground the Lord God made to grow every tree that is pleasant to the sight and good for food, the tree of life also in the midst of the garden, and the tree of the knowledge of good and evil. A river flows out of Eden to water the garden, …

Reflection

In this creation story found in the second chapter of Genesis we hear that creation began in a garden but I don’t think it would be like any ordered manicured herbaceous border but somewhat chaotic and wild, more like a forest.  A special forest, God’s first garden where trees grew throughout and shaded other trees. Trees that were both pleasing to the eyes and good for food. Two trees stood apart from the others in this forest; the tree of life and the tree of the knowledge of good and evil. This is where humans learn of beauty, of greed, of thirst for knowledge, and limits. We have been learning from forests and trees ever since and are still learning. We are finding new species of plant and animal living in forests, New medicines are regularly being discovered from forests and new aspects of beauty.  But there are many pressures that trees and forests face today, changing climate, deforestation, and pollution. We have a responsibility to act, to take care of them, because of our special relationship. The forests, the communities of trees, plants, and fungi sustain our breath and make our lives livable. Our faith brings an even richer, deeper relationship, Genesis reminds us that Eden was, in a sense, our first forest home. The forests are how we can find God through the earth and we are reminded many times to think of the mysterious, unknown voice of God residing in the forest.

Prayers for the people

God of winds and leaves, of the spirit that moves through the primeval forests,
we are here to listen to the mysteries you speak.
We pray that you will lead us to your voice
in the tallest trees and smallest seedlings, in the forest floor,
in all that crawls and flies and makes a home in your first gardens.

Hear our prayer.

Bless us with wonder and gratitude every day.
Please help us to use our gratitude for good
and to protect the forests, our teachers.

Hear our prayer.

Teach us to learn and to remember
the beauty of your messengers
the plants,
who give us our breath.
Through your grace.

Hear our prayer.

For what else do we pray today?
You are invited to pause the video to add your own prayers

Amen.

Seasons of the spirit

Curiosity

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Acknowledgement of Country

We acknowledge that we are on land of the Kaurna people, the traditional custodians of the Adelaide Plains.We are awed that they celebrate the religious significance of place, plant and all living creatures; and that care for the earth is implanted in their law. We honour them and also delight in the sacred in our midst. We pray that in the power of the Holy Spirit we might work together for reconciliation and justice in this land

Exodus 3:1-15 NRSV

Moses was keeping the flock of his father-in-law Jethro, the priest of Midian; he led his flock beyond the wilderness, and came to Horeb, the mountain of God. There the angel of the Lord appeared to him in a flame of fire out of a bush; he looked, and the bush was blazing, yet it was not consumed. Then Moses said, ‘I must turn aside and look at this great sight, and see why the bush is not burned up.’ When the Lord saw that he had turned aside to see, God called to him out of the bush, ‘Moses, Moses!’ And he said, ‘Here I am.’ Then he said, ‘Come no closer! Remove the sandals from your feet, for the place on which you are standing is holy ground.’ He said further, ‘I am the God of your father, the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob.’ And Moses hid his face, for he was afraid to look at God.

Then the Lord said, ‘I have observed the misery of my people who are in Egypt; I have heard their cry on account of their taskmasters. Indeed, I know their sufferings, and I have come down to deliver them from the Egyptians, and to bring them up out of that land to a good and broad land, a land flowing with milk and honey, to the country of the Canaanites, the Hittites, the Amorites, the Perizzites, the Hivites, and the Jebusites. The cry of the Israelites has now come to me; I have also seen how the Egyptians oppress them. So come, I will send you to Pharaoh to bring my people, the Israelites, out of Egypt.’ But Moses said to God, ‘Who am I that I should go to Pharaoh, and bring the Israelites out of Egypt?’ He said, ‘I will be with you; and this shall be the sign for you that it is I who sent you: when you have brought the people out of Egypt, you shall worship God on this mountain.’

But Moses said to God, ‘If I come to the Israelites and say to them, “The God of your ancestors has sent me to you”, and they ask me, “What is his name?” what shall I say to them?’ God said to Moses, ‘I am who I am.’ He said further, ‘Thus you shall say to the Israelites, “I am has sent me to you.” ’ God also said to Moses, ‘Thus you shall say to the Israelites, “The Lord, the God of your ancestors, the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob, has sent me to you”:
This is my name for ever,
and this my title for all generations.

Reflection

I encourage you to be curious and ask questions even though you may have had past experiences of resistance to your curiosity, or that you yourself were resistant to the questioning or curiosity of others.
Having the freedom to be curious and ask questions is important part of a faith life.
A process of that also involves a lot of listening. Listening for the voice of God that is often small and still. That too will not be when or where expected.
Curiosity leads to asking questions.
Raising questions can lead to some new awareness or been drawn closer to the experience of the holy.

For the sorrowing

We hold to our hearts
The ones who have lost so much
The person
Their smile and laughter
Their wisdom and insight
Their knowing and understanding
of family and friends
Their shoulder to cry on
And their hand of welcome.
Their unconditional love
And their shared history
Where nothing needs explaining
When gathering together.

We hold to our hearts
The lost one
We offer thanks for all who they were
All that they gave
Their light of life
Snuffed and no longer bright;
Their laughter and delight
Their wisdom and understanding
Their kindness and their care.
Their sadness at leaving
their family and friends
And their loss of the stories,
shared experiences
And lovingly enjoyed time when gathering

We remember
Their isolation
from the beginning of
their lonely journey
to the end.

We hold to our hearts
The medical teams
Who are professionals and new friends
all at the same time,
Representing themselves and society
Carrying both facets of care
for the person ‘before me’
and ‘loving your neighbour’
A gift and a burden
Giving out
And holding close
The one whom they,
In their daily work,
Hold close to their heart.

We remember the sorrowing....

Rev Anne Hewitt

Courageous compassion

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Acknowledgement of Country

We acknowledge that we are on land of the Kaurna people, the traditional custodians of the Adelaide Plains.We are awed that they celebrate the religious significance of place, plant and all living creatures; and that care for the earth is implanted in their law. We honour them and also delight in the sacred in our midst. We pray that in the power of the Holy Spirit we might work together for reconciliation and justice in this land

Exodus 1:8-2:10 NRSV

8 Now a new king arose over Egypt, who did not know Joseph. 9He said to his people, ‘Look, the Israelite people are more numerous and more powerful than we. 10Come, let us deal shrewdly with them, or they will increase and, in the event of war, join our enemies and fight against us and escape from the land.’ 11Therefore they set taskmasters over them to oppress them with forced labour. They built supply cities, Pithom and Rameses, for Pharaoh. 12But the more they were oppressed, the more they multiplied and spread, so that the Egyptians came to dread the Israelites. 13The Egyptians became ruthless in imposing tasks on the Israelites, 14and made their lives bitter with hard service in mortar and brick and in every kind of field labour. They were ruthless in all the tasks that they imposed on them.

15 The king of Egypt said to the Hebrew midwives, one of whom was named Shiphrah and the other Puah, 16‘When you act as midwives to the Hebrew women, and see them on the birthstool, if it is a boy, kill him; but if it is a girl, she shall live.’ 17But the midwives feared God; they did not do as the king of Egypt commanded them, but they let the boys live. 18So the king of Egypt summoned the midwives and said to them, ‘Why have you done this, and allowed the boys to live?’ 19The midwives said to Pharaoh, ‘Because the Hebrew women are not like the Egyptian women; for they are vigorous and give birth before the midwife comes to them.’ 20So God dealt well with the midwives; and the people multiplied and became very strong. 21And because the midwives feared God, he gave them families. 22Then Pharaoh commanded all his people, ‘Every boy that is born to the Hebrews you shall throw into the Nile, but you shall let every girl live.’

2Now a man from the house of Levi went and married a Levite woman. 2The woman conceived and bore a son; and when she saw that he was a fine baby, she hid him for three months. 3When she could hide him no longer she got a papyrus basket for him, and plastered it with bitumen and pitch; she put the child in it and placed it among the reeds on the bank of the river. 4His sister stood at a distance, to see what would happen to him.

5 The daughter of Pharaoh came down to bathe at the river, while her attendants walked beside the river. She saw the basket among the reeds and sent her maid to bring it. 6When she opened it, she saw the child. He was crying, and she took pity on him. ‘This must be one of the Hebrews’ children,’ she said. 7Then his sister said to Pharaoh’s daughter, ‘Shall I go and get you a nurse from the Hebrew women to nurse the child for you?’ 8Pharaoh’s daughter said to her, ‘Yes.’ So the girl went and called the child’s mother. 9Pharaoh’s daughter said to her, ‘Take this child and nurse it for me, and I will give you your wages.’ So the woman took the child and nursed it. 10When the child grew up, she brought him to Pharaoh’s daughter, and she took him as her son. She named him Moses, ‘because’, she said, ‘I drew him out of the water.’

Reflection

In the story we have met several strong, influential women. Driven by compassion for those in their care. The role of these bold women, from very different backgrounds is striking. We see the courage and creativity of midwives Shiphrah and Puah when they disobey the Pharaoh’s orders and let the babies live;we see the courage of Miriam who watches over her brother, regardless of the danger; we see the courage of the pharaoh’s daughter when she acts against her father; and we see the courage of Moses’ mother to do what is best for her son, even if it means giving him away twice – when she sets him in the river and after she weans him and he is adopted by the pharaoh’s daughter.

In this story we hear of a baby being protected, A Baby in basket – an image of God protecting the vulnerable. Scripture tells us truths universal. The truth of this passage of scripture is of God’s intent & desire that the vulnerable are protected.

At this time when a pandemic sweeps our world the vulnerable have never been more at risk. The vulnerable are protected by courageous compassionate people like the women in our story. Take courage from their example Courage to face the everyday. Courage as we too at some time may be called upon to do something brave!

Prayer for the people

Healing Spirit,
Fill our hearts with love for those who are unloved, forgotten, disposed, alone.
Let your flame of fiery presence melt the hearts chilled with fear and distrust.
Sprout new seeds of hope in the desert places of dusty souls.
Cool the fierce hate that scars thoughts of the powerful.
Fill empty vessels of self-worth with purpose to serve victims and vulnerable.
Voice the silent cries of those who are spent, and can no longer manage alone.

 Silence prayer for your local community migrants and refugees, their needs and support

 Healing Spirit, hear our prayers.
Healing Spirit, we lift them up to you.

]Silence prayer for the state-wide communities of migrants and refugees, to be alert and responsive to the critical care and need, for the emotional, mental, spiritual and physical  wellbeing of those who come with such practical  need and who are often emotionally spent.

Healing Spirit, hear our prayers.
Healing Spirit, we lift them up to you.

Silence prayer for the national bodies assisting migrants and refugees, Government programs and decisions that are life changing for people who have already suffered much

Healing Spirit, hear our prayers.
Healing Spirit, we lift them up to you.

Silence prayer for our country’s public voice and action for migrants and refugees across the world.

Healing Spirit, hear our prayers.
Healing Spirit, we lift them up to you.

Inflame our hearts with your unconditional love, That our active presence makes a difference in changing values, Approach, decisions and the living reality for these, our sisters and brothers. Amen

Rev Anne Hewitt