9 August 2015

They say to stop and smell the roses.Mr Lincoln Rose

Last year, I asked my Mum to smell a Mr Lincoln red rose in our front garden. She declined, since her sense of smell had been disappearing; one of the symptoms of Parkinson’s Disease, with which she’d been diagnosed.

But it was strong and sweet, and Dad insisted. And for the first time in a long time, she surprised herself by smelling something – one of the most beautiful perfumes of all God’s creation!

And there are many beautiful things in human life, especially among the community redeemed by Christ’s gracious sacrifice for us on the cross. But I’m so busy that I don’t always stop to smell those roses.

Colossians 2:6-7 says,

“So then, just as you received Christ Jesus as Lord, continue to live your lives in him, rooted and built up in him, strengthened in the faith as you were taught, and overflowing with thankfulness.”

The gospel of Jesus is so good, you should stick closely to him, exactly the same way you started. But it’s the last phrase I’m thinking of: overflowing with thankfulness. Does that describe you? I’d like it to describe me more often.

So part way through the year, let me share some encouragements.

As you may know, the pastoral staff pray our way through the church address list in alphabetical order. It takes a while. But I’m thrilled when we hear your adventures in trying to share your faith. Recently I heard one of our members has begun Christianity Explored with a friend who does a bit of work in their house. Joy! She asked for a copy of Mark’s Gospel to read with her friend.

I’ve been so thrilled to see our new disabled ramp access at work, meaning an elderly member could start coming to church again, and this time easily bring his adult son, who is wheelchair-bound, along with his carer, to the Friendship Service. Tears welled up as I saw that son smiling broadly as he sung the old hymns.

Did you know that two new growth groups have begun this year? And in each case, there are people who have either never been in such small prayer and Bible groups before, or at least not for a long time. How good is that!

I was encouraged to hear reports of the hospitality received from by not one but two separate sets of parishioners from St Michael’s who were travelling to Moree and went to the Anglican Church. And then I realised that the minister there was the son of church members here. Small world, the Christian world! Loving world too, when we manage to get it together. And often we manage to, even with a bit of muddling along.

And my heart lifts every time I drop in at a nursing home and hear ‘shut in’ parishioners enthuse about regular and encouraging visits they receive from church members.

And now interviewing for a pastoral staff replacement for Jim, with a special focus on the evangelism portfolio Jim also filled, I am so impressed with the quality of applicants, and more generally with the godliness of graduates coming out of Moore College.

There are many roses to smell. Many reasons to overflow with thankfulness. Jesus is alive and working among us. Jesus makes such a difference.

Warmly in Christ

Sandy Grant