Christ is Risen. He is Risen Indeed.

Christ is Risen! He is Risen indeed!

With the joy of Resurrection still glowing brightly, we enter into the sacred Easter time which leads us all the way to Pentecost.

During this time, we will focus on “Practising Resurrection”, a series of sermons that invites us to recognise Jesus and respond with trust and commitment.

For this series, we follow the lead of an old joyous German tradition that allocates themes to the Sundays of Easter. Each Sunday has its own (Latin) name:

2nd Sunday of Easter: quasimodo geniti “Like the newborn children” (1 Peter 2:2)

3rd Sunday of Easter: misericordia domini “The earth is filled with the lovingkindness of God”

4th Sunday of Easter: jubilate “Rejoice!” (Psalm 89:2)

5th Sunday of Easter: cantate “Sing!” (Psalm 98)

6th Sunday of Easter: rogate “Pray!” (Psalm 66:20)

7th Sunday of Easter: exaudi ”Hear me, Lord!” (Psalm 27)

Many churches use the colours white or gold in decorations or clothing to symbolise Joy, glory and light. A beautiful way for us, as people of faith, to witness to Jesus’ Resurrection!

How do you want to practise resurrection?

May this time of celebration be filled with goodness, trust, creativity and renewed commitment to God.

Ellen Grabner | Minister


Lord, Let me be a Mary

Lord, let me be a Mary.

Not Martha’s sister, who sat at your feet, although I find most days I’d much rather be there than in the kitchen.

Mary has chosen the best part; it will not be taken away from her. (Luke 10:42)

Not the mother of our Lord, whose greatest honour brought forth her greatest suffering.

A sword pierced her own soul just as Simeon prophesied. (Luke 2:35)

Let me be a Mary Magdalene, forever and always the first eyewitness to see an empty tomb.

Early on Sunday morning, while it was still dark, Mary Magdalene came to the tomb and found that the stone had been rolled away from the entrance. (John 20:1)

Let this news move my feet. Every Resurrection Sunday, from sunrise to sunset let me proclaim your holy name to those who deny you and those whom you call beloved.

He isn't here! He is risen from the dead, just as he said would happen. (Matthew 28:6)

And in our private moments of intimacy, let me recognize your voice the instant you say my name.

“Mary!” Jesus said. She turned to him and cried out, “Rabboni!” (which is Hebrew for “Teacher”). (John 20:16)

Let me remember the desperate times in my past only so much as they show me my very real need for you.

For only in our great need do we come to appreciate a Resurrection Sunday.

After Jesus rose from the dead early on Sunday morning, the first person who saw him was Mary Magdalene, the woman from whom he had cast out seven demons. (Mark 16:9)

By: Traci Rhoades

Ref: Lord, Let Me Be A Mary - A Poem (Traces Of Faith {Traci Rhoades})


The Resurrection Brings Joy

Three significant truths rooted in the Resurrection open a window and highlight some of the reasons for our joy.

First, the Resurrection is a proclamation that Jesus is alive and present with us. In the Resurrection appearances, the disciples experienced Jesus in their midst. The same Jesus who had walked with them now again touched their lives and spoke and ate with them. But Jesus was radically changed. Clearly, Jesus had not simply come back to life like Lazarus did. Jesus now lived the glorious life beyond death, but he was again with them. The Resurrection proclaims that Jesus is with us as well. Luke’s story of the Ascension is not a declaration of Jesus’ absence. Luke is announcing that Jesus is now present in every space and time. We encounter Jesus in the Scripture, in the sacraments, and in our brothers and sisters. As we recall the stories of the Resurrection appearances, Christ is once again with us, forgiving, feeding, and consoling.

Second, death has been conquered. Death opens the way to eternal life. Jesus gives witness to God’s faithfulness even in death. We need not be afraid of death since it is not the end, but the beginning of eternal life. Jesus’ Resurrection gives meaning to suffering and death as a way to salvation.

Third, Jesus’ Resurrection affirms the value of the human person and the world in which we live. Jesus was raised as a whole person—body and soul. Jesus did not take on human flesh and then discard it. Jesus retained his whole humanity. Along with the doctrines of the Incarnation and the Eucharist, the Resurrection assures us that God has identified with matter. God has embraced the human condition. A profound unity forever exists between God and the world, between spirit and matter. As Christians, we do not believe simply in the immortality of the soul. We believe in the immortality of the human person. Jesus’ Resurrection and ours speak of continuity between this life and the next. Jesus’ Resurrection also acknowledges the value of creation.

This world is a gift of an all-loving God. Our faith in the Resurrection assures us that everything of beauty and love and creativity lasts forever. The Resurrection is the foundation of a holistic view of the human person and an incarnational and sacramental view of life.

Jesus is with us, death has been destroyed, and human life and activity have lasting value. These are all reasons to rejoice.

Ref: Gerald M. Fagin, SJ

The Resurrection Brings Joy -

From Putting on the Heart of Christ: How the Spiritual Exercises Invite Us to a Virtuous Life


Closed for Sabbath Rest

This year has been unique for us. Early in the pandemic shut down we decided to support you in your isolation with daily devotions. One day at a time spent in the presence of God means every day has some aspect of joy no matter how difficult.

This has been a tiring year for most people and I include myself in that. So now it is time to have a rest. Daily devotions might be back at the start of school term. We will do a reassessment before then.

In the meantime, feel free to try out alternative daily devotions. I have enjoyed YouVersion which hosts a large variety of devotional styles from great to aweful. However, you get to choose which devotion series you would like to try. Try here

Whatever you choose give each day to God and listen to him as he speaks to you about life.

In the words of our church vision "Everyone Closer to God".

Grace and Peace,

Graeme and Vic


Christmas Is Really For The Children?

Christmas Is Really For The Children

Christmas is really

for the children.

Especially for children

who like animals, stables,

stars and babies wrapped

is swaddling clothes.

Then there were wise men,

Kings in fine robes,

humble shepherds and a

hint of rich perfume.

Easter is not really

for the children

unless accompanied by

a cream filled egg.

It has whips, blood, nails,

a spear and allegations

of body snatching.

It involves politics, God

and the sins of the world.

It is not good for people

of nervous disposition.

They would do better to

think on rabbits, chickens

And the first snowdrop

of spring.

This slightly jarring poem from Steve Turner reminds us that a shallow take on Christmas loses sight of the profound nature of God’s entry into the world and his ultimate purpose. A young betrothed Jewish girl of no significance has her story told for the next 2,000 years. Ah the simplicity and profoundness.

So, as we come to Christmas to celebrate the birth of Christ. We can so easily get caught up in the holiday festivities; school and work breakups visiting extended family, decorating our houses buying presence... we forget to pause give thanks for the love, hope and joy found in Jesus – our Saviour and friend. As we exchange gifts with loved ones, it is out of remembrance of the gift God gave us in Jesus. The gift that we are loved, are never alone and can have hope for the future.

After Jesus was born, a small group of wise men visited him. They recognised the kingship of Jesus and they “worshipped him. Then they opened their treasures and presented him with gifts of gold, frankincense and myrrh” (Matthew 2:11). We too, can offer up our worship and thanks to God through prayers this Christmas. Prayers of thanksgiving for the gift of hope, love and joy. We also have commoner shepherds entering the picture equally celebrating the coming of the Messiah.

Here we are 2020 and Christmas this year looks different to previous years. It may not match up to the commercial images you see or hopes you may have. But the meaning of Christmas doesn’t depend on the gifts under a tree or the type of food on your table. The message of Christmas doesn’t change if you are surrounded by family or missing loved ones. It is not affected by the house you live in – or don’t live in.

God’s love is for everyone. You are not alone. You are loved, and you can feel hopeful and joyful. That is the true meaning of Christmas.


Lord, in this holy season of prayer and song and laughter, we praise you for the great wonders you have sent us: for shining star and angel's song, for infant's cry in lowly manger. We praise you for the Word made flesh in a little Child. We behold his glory; and are bathed in its radiance.




Galatians 6: 1 – 6

Brothers, if someone is

caught in a sin, you who

are spiritual should

restore him gently. But

watch yourself, or you

also may be tempted.

(Gal. 6:1).

A bloke once had a go at me saying my blessing for ministry would be taken away! It was delivered with great gusto, it was blunt and public, leaving me feeling furious and judged.

The context was this: a few of us were sitting in a mate’s shed discussing the whole gay marriage question (this was about 8 years ago when it had emerged as a big question for the wider church). As the conversation progressed there were big, bold statements of condemnation of gays and of those who sought to endorse marriage for them.

I shared with these blokes that my nephew was gay and as consequence had experienced his share of bullying and rejection growing up. As his uncle I did my best to respect, validate and love my troubled nephew. I posed the question to all present in the shed; when eventually my nephew decides to marry, do I compound his rejection and invalidation by refusing to support the marriage or do I affirm and engage with him and his partner and call them to live the values and grace of his Christian heritage to the full. What does God call me to do? And that’s when this bloke dropped his clanger.

I reckon there are times when the best of Christianity can be swallowed up by the worst, and often the worst is simply mean-spirited attacks from within our faith communities. Not inspiring for those looking on at the church while it beats up on itself.

Our Lord made it really clear if you’re struggling with a brother or sister in Christ, go and sort it out, don’t further demonise them don’t assume the worst of them because you simply can’t agree on a matter. The best way to resolve the disagreement is between the two of you (Matt 18:15). It’s awkward, uncomfortable and it takes prayer. When resolved, that relationship can be stronger than ever. And it’s your opportunity to grow, in wisdom and as a disciple.

God of friendship and forgiveness,

You lead us on life’s journey As we gather in Your name,

Open our minds to know Your voice.

Open our hands to do Your work.

And open our hearts to hold Your Spirit.



Faith and Doubt

Faith and Doubt

Devotion by Graeme Harrison)


I place my hands in yours Lord

I place my hands in yours.

I place my will in yours Lord

I place my will in yours

I place my thoughts in yours Lord

I place my thoughts in yours

I place my days in yours Lord

I place my days in yours

I place my heart in yours Lord

I place my heart in yours

I place my life in yours Lord

I place my life in yours


David Adam in The Book of a Thousand Prayers


Luke 1:5-20. Read this 3 times, each time asking God’s help and thinking about those words or phrases that leap out at you.

5In the time of Herod king of Judea there was a priest named Zechariah, who belonged to the priestly division of Abijah; his wife Elizabeth was also a descendant of Aaron. 6Both of them were righteous in the sight of God, observing all the Lord’s commands and decrees blamelessly. 7But they were childless because Elizabeth was not able to conceive, and they were both very old.

8Once when Zechariah’s division was on duty and he was serving as priest before God, 9he was chosen by lot, according to the custom of the priesthood, to go into the temple of the Lord and burn incense. 10And when the time for the burning of incense came, all the assembled worshipers were praying outside.

11Then an angel of the Lord appeared to him, standing at the right side of the altar of incense. 12When Zechariah saw him, he was startled and was gripped with fear. 13But the angel said to him: “Do not be afraid, Zechariah; your prayer has been heard. Your wife Elizabeth will bear you a son, and you are to call him John. 14He will be a joy and delight to you, and many will rejoice because of his birth, 15for he will be great in the sight of the Lord. He is never to take wine or other fermented drink, and he will be filled with the Holy Spirit even before he is born. 16He will bring back many of the people of Israel to the Lord their God. 17And he will go on before the Lord, in the spirit and power of Elijah, to turn the hearts of the parents to their children and the disobedient to the wisdom of the righteous—to make ready a people prepared for the Lord.”

18Zechariah asked the angel, “How can I be sure of this? I am an old man and my wife is well along in years.”

19The angel said to him, “I am Gabriel. I stand in the presence of God, and I have been sent to speak to you and to tell you this good news. 20And now you will be silent and not able to speak until the day this happens, because you did not believe my words, which will come true at their appointed time.”

(Luke 1:5-20 NIV)

Thought for the Day:

What a strange scene. An angel appears and Zechariah knows it is an angel judging by his reaction. The angel brings astonishing good news that he and his wife are to have a miraculous birth in old age. And Zechariah asks the miraculous angel standing right in front of him in plain sight, how he can be sure?

And yet is Zechariah so different from us. His problem was the clash of world views that was taking place in his life. Life experience and social norms say that old people can’t have babies whereas God was assuring him that when God is involved other alternatives open up in life. Does that not sound like your experience and mine? Isn’t it true that God asks us to do abnormal things like loving the ‘unlovable’, and sharing Good News that changes lives. Don’t we believe in a loving personal God when the world appears as secular?

And yet sometimes, when we are called to defy the norms of society by Christ do we not hesitate and say “How can I be sure?”

Doubt and hesitation are not dealt with by denial and suppression but by accepting the feelings and bringing them before God. Sitting with God and praying with the father of so long ago, “Lord, I believe. Help my unbelief”.

Epilogue. God gave Zechariah the proof he asked for; miraculous muteness. Strangely his silence communicated God’s message to the community better than his spoken words.

Photo by Tachina Lee on Unsplash


The Annunciation

The Annunciation

In the sixth month the angel Gabriel was sent by God to a town in Galilee called Nazareth, to a virgin betrothed to a man named Joseph, of the house of David, and the virgins name was Mary. He went in and said to her, “Rejoice, you who enjoys Gods favour! The Lord is with you.”

Luke 1: 26 – 28.

Saying Yes to God

The Annunciation is an amazing account of God’s intervention into the world through the mysteries, powerful yet simple conversation and presence of an angel with young Mary in Nazareth. I try to imagine being in the room when she responds, “You see before you the Lord’s servant; let it happen to me as you have said” (Luke 1:38).

Wow, I find myself overthinking these words and grab at the how, what, where, when questions whilst running on adrenalin plotting and scheming about the implications.

· How is this possible

· What does this mean

· Where is this to take place

· When…WHEN?

The challenge is not to overthink these words but rather just let them be spoken for me, for you. To quote Henri Nouwen “Mary is so open, so free, so trusting. She is completely willing to hear words that go far beyond her own comprehension.”

Mary hears the words from Gabrielle she does seek clarity but does not doubt what God has call.

· She is scared but does not withdraw

· She uncertain yet has faith

“How can this be”, how can this be possible… only Mary has or ever will hear the words “The Holy Spirit will come upon you”.

This Christmas let’s meditate on Mary’s response, and may it be our response to the Holy Spirit’s nudge when God has something for us to live out.


Life-giving God, we thank you for calling Mary to be the mother of Jesus.

In a world where men were in control, you chose a young girl to nurture the Saviour of the world.

In a world where power is sought, you turned our values upside-down by inviting Mary to share in the great work of redemption.

We thank you that still you can call women and men to share in your saving actions.

You call us to live and serve in the ways of Christ, uncertain of the future but trusting in your faithfulness.

Sometimes your choices surprise us, the way you seem to point daunts us, your faith in our possibilities awe us.

Help us to say “Yes” when you call. Enlarge our vision, strengthen our resolve and increase our sense of your all sufficient grace, that we might be used mightily for your glory and for the serving of the world; through Jesus Christ our Lord.

(Patterns and Prayers Christian Worship)

Photo by Bethany Beck on Unsplash


Titus. A Waste of Time

Titus. A Waste of Time

Devotion by Graeme Harrison)


Almighty God, Creator;

The morning is yours, rising into fullness

The summer is yours, dipping into Autumn, eternity is yours, dipping into time.

The vibrant grasses, the sent of flowers, the lichen on the rock, the tang of seaweed,

All are yours.

Gladly we live in this garden of your creating.


From George MacLeod’s poem “The whole earth shall cry Glory”


Titus 3:9. Read this 3 times, each time asking God’s help and thinking about those words or phrases that leap out at you.

9But avoid foolish controversies and genealogies and arguments and quarrels about the law, because these are unprofitable and useless. (Titus 3:9 NIV)

Thought for the Day:

I have had discussions with people who aren’t Christian who throw countless arguments at you to show why Christianity is nonsense. Inside me I have known that the whole discussion was pointless because no one was going to change their mind. Was it body language, or facial expression or just how things were said that gave it away? I’m not sure but I knew.

I have had the same experience with Christians arguing over things too. Why do we do it?

Paul urges us to avoid this type of thing. The best way to do so is to ask yourself, “How do I recognise a pointless controversy?” What do you think?