LECTIONARY COMMENTARY

Year A, Lent 6 Palm Sunday

Isaiah 54:4-9a
Psalm 118:1-2,19-29
Philippians 2:5-11
Matthew 21:1-11

That’s yet another thing COVID 19 has to answer for! We at Indooroopilly will not be celebrating Palm Sunday with our usual choral service! And to think that the choir had already begun rehearsals! Not that we were aiming for any great new works; in fact, Wendy had decided to bring back some pieces that we have sung in previous years; and why not, since the message is still the same and will always be so, Corona or no Corona?

Music has always been integral to worship, having as it does the capacity to make real to the soul the deep things of God in ways that even the greatest oratory cannot, and in return express the wide range of feelings with which we respond to His Self-revelation in Christ.

Those pieces which we would have sung present a range of responses to the  Good News of Holy Week to which we may respond as it touches us each in our own situation. The first of them is “Hosanna, Hosanna!” published by Exaltation in Ohio – a bright and catchy tune with, as one part of the blurb says, “a distinctive Jewish flare.” Well, I wouldn’t know about that, but certainly, it echoes the sheer exuberance of that first Palm Sunday as Jews greeted their long-awaited Messiah. Yes, there is a place for that kind of worship – but it is only part of the story, as our next offering shows – “The Merchants Carol” by Frank Kendon, a fictional account of twelve Gentile merchants from a distant country who happen to arrive at Jerusalem at the moment of Jesus’ entry on a donkey. It is narrated in ballad form by one of the twelve, who in the midst of all the excitement alone perceives that the only silent one in all that crowd is the very one who is being hailed as king. The merchant catches his eye and somehow understands that, yes, he will be king, but not as people might expect. The story moves on, and finally ends at the foot of the Cross, with the merchant making the final comment, “He was most kingly dying.

“O Sacred Head, Now Wounded” is probably a quite well-known work because of its association with J.S. Bach who harmonised a German melody for a tune to words attributed to the medieval monk Bernard of Clairvaux. It is a most poignant reflection on the grief and suffering of Christ in contrast to His former “bright as morn.” And bitterest of all, the realisation that He has voluntarily accepted this state on our behalf: “Mine, mine was the transgression, but Thine the deadly pain.

Now the green blade rises” may or may not have been inspired by Jesus’ words in John 12:24 – “Unless a grain of wheat falls into the ground and dies, it remains just a single grain; but if it dies, it bears much fruit.” The theme of dying to bring forth new life is one of the most widely used metaphors of all, so it is hardly surprising that we should find it applied to the greatest dying and rising of all.

May the messages of this music be for us an encouragement to new life during an Easter which does not show many causes for celebrating new life at present.

First Day of Lockdown

Greetings All,

On this ‘unprecedented stressful day’ with the whole county closing down you probably haven’t taken time to read the MCNZ message from the Pope that invites all Christians all over the world to unite by saying the LORD’S PRAYER at MID-DAY TODAY. (That is actually mid-day in Rome, so you have until midnight, but the Pope made it quite clear that anywhere, anytime was quite ok.)

You are unlikely to have read this by then but it is a lovely idea. You may like to intentionally say the Lord’s Prayer every day at mid-day reminding yourself the world is in this together and no matter what we stand firm in our faith. ‘There is never a time to stop believing’ – may the radio pips prompt you to pray!

Terrible though this pandemic is, the reaction of the world is so much better than past terrible world crises when people have united to hate and harm each other.

Let’s not get ICE-OLATED let’s stay WARMLY-CONNECTED with faith messages and fun messages. Keep on acknowledging the Divine in everyone.

Namaste [‘nam-astay’],

Rosalie

LECTIONARY COMMENTARY

A group of Israelites are being “escorted” from their former homes in Jerusalem, now totally destroyed, to exile in distant Babylon.

Year A, Lent 5

Ezekiel 37:1-14
Psalm 130
Romans 8:6-11
John 11:1-45

A group of Israelites are being “escorted” from their former homes in Jerusalem, now totally destroyed, to exile in distant Babylon. They pass a field strewn with the whitened bones of those who had died vainly defending the city. To one of those captives, a young Ezekiel, these bones are a vivid symbol of Jerusalem; once strong and powerful but now dead, with no hope of ever living again. Suddenly, it seems that a voice speaks to him;

“Mortal man, can these dry bones live?”
“Come off it Lord! You know quite well they can’t! They’ve been too dead for too long.”
“Hmm, perhaps. But humour Me for a moment will you; prophesy to these bones.”
“Prophesy!?”
“Yes; say to them, bones be joined together as once you were, and let there be ligaments, muscle, and with skin over them.”
“Well, alright, but only because You say so.”

So he prophesies, there is a great rattling, “the knee bone joined to the thigh bone,” etc, etc, etc, etc, with flesh and skin as specified, until instead of dry bones the field is covered in bodies.

“Yes, Lord, very spectacular, but what use are a whole lot of cadavers?
This isn’t medical school, You know!”
“Patience, young man, I haven’t finished yet. Prophesy again, this time to the wind ( that’s “breath “ or “spirit “ in case you’ve forgotten your Hebrew – My breath, My Spirit) and say, “Breathe into these bodies that they might live.”

So the wind comes, the bodies stir and stand up and once again an army is ready to do battle for the Lord’s people.

“Mortal man, as I did for these dry bones, I will do for My people Israel:
not today nor tomorrow, and it will be a long hard slog, but it will be done; for I the Lord your God not only give life;
I am life, and I need no residual life in bones or anywhere else to act as a starter pack.”

Centuries later, Jesus gets word that His dear friend Lazarus is mortally ill, but strangely, seems in no hurry to get to his side. Indeed He positively dawdles until He is certain that Lazarus is dead. When He does get there, He finds that Lazarus has been dead and buried four days. Now it was a common belief of the time that the spirit of a dead person hung around for three days, during which time they might, just might, be somehow revived, but after that – no way! So Jesus walks into a scene of grieving and is greeted characteristically by Martha: “Lord if You had been here…” (Ie, “Where the dickens were you when we needed you?”) Jesus asks to be taken to the tomb, then causes further consternation by asking that it be opened. Again, Martha-the-Mouth expresses the concern of all – in the delightfully earthy rendition of the King James Version: “Lord, by this time he stinketh!” But Jesus calls aloud, “Lazarus, get out here!” And Lazarus gets out here, grave clothes and all, to the crash, no doubt, of many jaws dropping at once! “Get those off him,” says Jesus. “He doesn’t need grave clothes now!

Jesus the Son of God is Life, and shortly will give that Life – give Himself – so that we all might live.

(Cancelled) – People at Prayer II

This seminar has been cancelled for March 21st 2020 due to CoVid-19 concerns.
We want you to stay well.
We will reschedule this session at a future date.

People at Prayer II
Mar 21 2020 0930 to 1230 21st March in Remuera. St Paul's Methodist Church lounge.

Dear Friends, 

We’re now in March and looking forward to the first Lay Preachers’ Gathering 2020 on Saturday 21st March in Remuera. St Paul’s Methodist Church lounge around the back of the church.9.30-12.30. Please bring a plate to ensure a great morning tea and a koha of $10. 

Rev Dr Mary Caygill will be leading us through Part 2 of People at Prayer. If you missed part one last year you’ll soon catch up with what went before. Please see the attachment

Parking can be challenging in St Vincent Avenue. You’ll need to park down the Avenue to avoid timed parking or around the back of the church if walking is a challenge. 

Places are being taken quickly. We can only fit in 30. 

RSVP to me now to avoid disappointment!

See you there!

Linda Hall 09 521 5360
lindajeanhall00@gmail.com

LECTIONARY COMMENTARY

In the days before radio, cinema and TV, people, especially in rural communities, had to rely for entertainment on travelling musicians, actors and other artists.

Year A, Lent 4

1 Samuel 16:1-13
Psalm 23
Ephesians 5:8-14
John 9:1-41

In the days before radio, cinema and TV, people, especially in rural communities, had to rely for entertainment on travelling musicians, actors and other artists. A popular figure, particularly in the USA, was the elocutionist, whose forte was the declamation of poetry, famous speeches, passages from the Bible and other such. One such person came to a country town and before a packed audience recited passage after passage to thunderous applause. Finally, he concluded with a rendition of Psalm 23 which nearly brought the house down. But a little old man near the front raised his hand and asked, “Do you mind if I say that psalm now?” “Not at all my friend, go right ahead.”
This time there was no applause, only a reverent hush broken only occasionally by what could have been a stifled sob. At the end the elocutionist, with tears in his own eyes, walked over to the old man and shook his hand, saying, “My friend, I may know the Shepherd Psalm, but you know the Shepherd!”

Yes, one of those sickly sweet stories so beloved of a certain kind of evangelical Christian – not a kind of story I myself would normally set much store by; but in this case, it does emphasise the fact that anyone who truly knows Jesus Christ in a living, personal relationship has about them an air, a power and a serenity hard to mistake. Such a relationship is open to all of us, because Jesus offers it to all, but most of us, while knowing Him to some degree, have not yet gone all the way with Him because to do so requires discipline sacrifice: putting ourselves on the line. Today’s OT reading is our first introduction to David, youngest son of Jesse the Sheepman, whose family held him in so little regard that until Samuel insisted they hadn’t even bothered to call him in to share in the family feast which the arrival of the Prophet had occasioned. And even Samuel seems to have been a little surprised that it was David and not one of his brothers whom God had put His finger on for the next king. But God knew that it was out there among the sheep that David had come to know and trust God, when he had to face lions and bears in defence of his father’s sheep, and later in that same trust faced the Philistine giant (17:34-37).

To this same relationship of trust, we are invited as we proceed through Lent.

ONE YEAR LATER – REMEMBERING MARCH 15th

A prayer for worship March 15th 2020

Praying with and for each other.
From "Earthly Mission" website


Like the assassination of President Kennedy,
the first landing on the Moon,
9-11,
or the death of Princess Diana
we will always remember where we were when we heard
those first reports a gunman,
a mosque,
two mosques,
we will always remember that dark afternoon,
that fearful evening
as the death toll mounted.
How often had we heard of such events
in other places and felt just a little smug?
It could never happen here,
but it did, and there is no shred of comfort
that the gunman was a foreigner,
he could not have done this
without a network, support,
one year ago today 51 people died, 49 were injured
and almost 5 million people lost the illusion of our innocence.

Let us sit with our thoughts, feelings and memories

(Two minutes silence is observed)

To those who mourn, grant consolation,
to those who are fearful, bring peace,
to those who challenge hatred and intolerance grant courage and resilience,
may their cause be ours
Amen

Rev. David Poultney
Used with permission

Today in Christchurch

Join us for an introduction to some new hymns by Norman Brookes and Norman Goreham to familiar tunes -and a few new ones.

Hymnbook Launch: With A Song in Our Heart

Today, Wednesday 11 March, 7.00pm at Christchurch North Methodist Church, corner Chapel Street and Harewood Road.

Join us for an introduction to some new words by Norman Brookes and Norman Goreham to familiar tunes -and a few new ones.

Hymnbooks are available for $20.

All welcome