Sharing Blessings
1 Corinthians 9:16-23

What I thought about doing today was to gather together a person from each of the programmes or ministries that are going on in our congregation and ask them to speak to you and tell you the impact that programme is having on their lives.  It seems that unless we are directly impacted by some form of ministry or other we may not even be aware that its going or what is involved in it.

At last year’s AGM and at Church Council on Thursday night I ran through a bit of a list of the ministries that are happening within our congregation in addition to a couple that are tied in with the school community that we are a part of.  When we stop and think about the areas that are covered it is actually quite staggering to see the impact that our congregation is having on the lives of those connected to it.

This morning we bless the Sunday School and Head to the Heart ministries because we as the adults in the congregation have an obligation to provide for the spiritual growth of the young ones that God has entrusted to us.  As it says in the rite St Paul urges us,”Parents, don’t be hard on your children.  Raise them properly.  Teach them and instruct them about the Lord.”

We also through the rite and the prayer included in it ask God to bless all of the other intergenerational ministries that happen here at OELC, like shedmen, treasured ladies, Ladies Morning Tea, the Bible Study groups, Wednesday Club, our worship teams, musicians, and the list goes on.  Not one of them achieves success without God’s help and blessing.

Over the years some things have come and gone, they had a time and a place and probably will again at some stage.  We do try like Paul to be all things to all people, because we have people in our community at all the different stages of the Christian journey.  Some are just dipping their toes in the water checking out this God stuff, others have been around for the best part of a century and are wise and maybe even weary, but they are still around.  We try to cater for the spiritual, emotional and physical needs of every generation in some way shape or form.

For the last few years our youth have felt a bit neglected but we haven’t really had anyone ready, willing and able to take the lead and run with it.  There is a time and season for everything.  It appears that the time and the season is right for us to get a bit more active and provide some more activities and events to engage all of our youth and especially those who are now post-confirmation age.  This is EXCITING.

For those of us who have lived through our youth and Luther League days and learnt and grown from them it’s our chance to take a look at what’s going on and get on board and lend a hand too.  Remember many hands make light work and there’s a chance to build relationships and friendships and take our journeys together.

It was fantastic to see an eclectic mix of families gather at Lysterfield Lake Park last Sunday in somewhat oppressive temperature conditions and simply enjoy being together.  There were some opportunities for parents to chat to each other while the kids got wet, I would have liked a few more of the parents to make the plunge, but maybe next time, I think they were too busy talking to make the trek down to the water’s edge.

Events like this are blessings shared!  As we gather again next Wednesday for Wednesday Club I can guarantee that there will be smiles and laughter and hearty singing of hymns and songs, there will be some fantastic food shared and stories of lives lived in the Lord.  Each and every one of us who takes the time out of our week to be there will come away blessed by the presence of God and of each other.

On Friday night at the youth bowling night there was laughter, cheering, joy and perhaps even disappointment, but where two are three are gathered in the name of the Lord he is there with us.  That is the case for any fellowship activity that we experience in the name of the Lord and of course in worship.

It’s fantastic that so much stuff is going on in our community, those organised through OELC and through the schools, there’s enough to keep busy almost every night of the week.  But what’s at the centre of it, the core of our going out and being in the world and sharing with others is the time where we gather on Sunday or Wednesday or Friday and we are fed through Word and Sacrament ministry.  We need to gather around God’s word and hear it proclaimed, to sing it through psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, and to receive the body and blood of Christ in the bread and wine of Holy Communion.  This activity should be the centre and core of our weekly calendar, not an add-on that we fit in whenever it doesn’t clash.  I know I’m preaching to the converted here, but unless we hope in the Lord to renew our strength, we will run and grow weary.

For those who hope in the Lord will renew their strength, they will soar on wings like eagles, they will run and not grow weary, they will walk and not be faint.

It is an almost impossible task to be ALL things to ALL people, we can but try, with God’s help we can reduce the odds.  Through prayer and through the guidance of God and his Word we will prevail over the darkness, there will be no place for the demons and idols that threaten to overpower us.  This congregation, this community and God’s kingdom will win the ultimate victory because Jesus Christ Son of God our Lord and saviour is God and is all powerful.  Remember his blessings for you and be encouraged on your journey, together, in his name.

Amen.