LECTIONARY COMMENTARY

Ponder upon these chapters for yourselves. And may you find, with Paul, that “faith, hope and love abide, these three; and the greatest of these is love.”

Year A, Pentecost

Acts 2:1-21 OR Numbers 11:24-30*
Psalm 104:24-34,35b
1 Corinthians 12:1-13 Or Acts 2:1-21*
John 20:19-23

Many years ago in Perth I attended a course in pastoral counselling led by a Baptist woman psychologist. There were ministers from several denominations in the group, and one day we each received a phone call from her asking if we could meet with her on a matter of some urgency. When we came together she explained: during her private devotions one morning she suddenly found herself speaking in tongues! So she called on us as ministers to see if we could give her some guidance. I doubt that we could give much, because back then very little was known in mainstream churches about “tongues” – that was the domain of the wierdo and whacko! (We did at least manage to reassure the lady that she was neither wierdo nor whacko!)

Since then there has been a great surge in our knowledge and understanding of these things through what has been called the Charismatic Movement in our churches. I myself have observed it in action in various ways, and believe it is a genuine psychic phenomenon, given by the Spirit to some though not all of Christ’s people. Beyond that it is hard to say just how it works. Because of this it is all too easily falsified or misunderstood and can in the wrong hands lead to serious mental disturbance. But for practical instruction in the use of this gift it is hard to go past Paul’s words to the church at Corinth (1 Cor. Chs.12-14), including the great chapter on Love, in which this and all gifts must operate. I shall try and summarise:

  • Any gift which runs counter to the nature and character of God is not of the Spirit.
  • Speaking in tongues benefits the speaker only. Those who have this gift testify to the sense of peace or joy or encouragement which often comes with the exercise of the gift, even though they do not understand the words they say.
  • For this reason Paul encourages the use of gifts such as prophecy, interpretation, etc.
  • The exercise of the gift is always under the control of the recipient. God will never bulldoze us against our will.
  • Therefore if tongues are spoken in a meeting, this does not mean a free-for-all. God is the God of order; confusion and disorder belong to the forces of evil.

Ponder upon these chapters for yourselves. And may you find, with Paul, that “faith, hope and love abide, these three; and the greatest of these is love.”

* During Eastertide a reading from Acts is often substituted for the lesson from the Hebrew Bible. On the Day of Pentecost, if the Old Testament passage from Numbers is chosen for the first reading, the passage from Acts is used as the second reading.

Public Event

2020 Wesley Day Seminar

“The Best of All Is, We are with God.”

Presenter: Rev Dr Jione Havea,
Trinity College

Sunday, May 24, 2020 – 6pm to 8pm

Link to Event recording now added.

 

Venue: Online

Recording made available courtesy Trinity Theological College – https://trinitycollege.ac.nz/

You will need the password below to gain access to the recording after clicking the button.

Zoom Password = 4Y??9@M4

Pope Francis invites us to celebrate Laudato Si’ Week

“interdependence obliges us to think of one world with a common plan.”

Laudato Si’, 164

An invitation to bring solidarity to our world in a shared moment of prayer at noon local time on 24 May. Catholics (and others) from all across the globe will be united in spirit because “everything is connected.

Be sure to register your participation here, and feel free to share your own prayers on social media using the hashtag #LaudatoSi5.

Bring your community into this time of shared reflection and preparation. Host an online prayer service on Sunday, 24 May at noon local time. More information about organizing a prayer service is here.

“The Spirit of life wells in every living creature and calls us to enter into relationship with him”

Laudato Si’, 88

Advance Notice – Save the Date

Auckland Ecumenical Lay Preachers network have a gathering coming up – subject to Covid-19 restrictions, of course.

Reading the Bible as Waters Rise

Ecological Interpretation of Scripture.

This Event has had to be postponed. Stay Tuned for new details when they are available.

Presenter: Dr Emily Colgan, Trinity College

 

Venue

St Johns College
210 St Johns Rd
St Johns, Auckland

RSVP

Linda Hall 09 521 5360
lindajeanhall00@gmail.com

by June 5, 2020

LECTIONARY COMMENTARY

“Oh, ‘tis love, ‘tis love that makes the world go round!” That is a quotation, believe it or not, from “Alice in Wonderland”!

Year A, Easter 6

Acts 17:22-31
Psalm 66:8-20
1 Peter 3:13-22
John 14:15-21

“Oh, ‘tis love, ‘tis love that makes the world go round!” That is a quotation, believe it or not, from “Alice in Wonderland”! When Alice falls down the rabbit hole, one of the many seriously odd-ball characters she meets is the Duchess, who in every second sentence says, “and the moral of that is…” The sentence about love is one such “moral.” In the context of “Alice”, of course, it is not to be taken seriously, for Lewis Carroll was a master of “nonsense” verse and satire, but in another context – the Bible, for instance – “Love” is to be taken very seriously indeed, for it is in very truth the great spiritual power which not only “makes the world go round”, but brings it into being in the first place, for it is the very essence of God Himself at work in creating and sustaining. As we approach the season of Pentecost, John refers us back to words of Jesus at the Last Supper, when He introduces possibly for the first time the concept of the Spirit as an entity in His own right, apart from and yet one with the Father (God the Creator and Sustainer), and the Son (Jesus the Saviour and Redeemer Who shares our life and death that we might share His Resurrection). And now, the Spirit, the “Other Helper”, Who brings into our life all the Love the Father and Son have made possible. But note, the Spirit is available in love to those who love God, manifested in keeping His commandments (vv.15,23), not in any sense of “reward for virtue” or “do this or else”, but in genuine expression of God’s love flowing through us, joining us in that eternal circle of renewed creation which is God’s eternal purpose.

Yes, this is heavy stuff, so we’ll leave it there for now, but we will be hearing more about it in the coming weeks. May we be open to the Spirit of truth as He comes.

Online Event

Discipleship in a Digital Age

How do we form disciples online as well as face to face? Can it be both? This online discussion will explore how people’s online lives can be important for their believing, belonging and behaving. We’ll be talking about discipleship as both communal and individual experience. Should churches plan to go back to normal or can they embrace new possibilities for 24/7 faith formation in people’s daily lives?

Dr Bex Lewis is a lecturer in communication at the Manchester Metropolitan University, and the author of “Raising Children in a Digital Age”. She speaks regularly to churches and to TV news about digital media. Bex has also been involved in churches’ digital media development and projects for a number of years.

The online session will be hosted by Craig Mitchell and Duncan MacLeod for Port Phillip Presbytery, Uniting Church of Australia.