Thoughts on Luke 18: 9-14

Jesus is talking about two different people praying, a Pharisee and a tax collector. What they prayed revealed the basis on which they prayed. The religious leader trusted in his own righteousness, Jesus tells us. The tax collector threw himself on God’s mercy. Do we conduct our lives based on our own vision of how much better our own lives are than others, thus in a way justifying ourselves and condemning everyone else? Or do we conduct our lives on the hope that God is merciful to us, and, so, by extension, to everyone else?

If we do the former, we decide “me and mine” and using our power to protect that are all that counts and dismiss – if not destroy – the rest of the world. If we do the latter, we decide that love and mercy are what really counts, and so, perhaps, extend mercy abundantly in a way that includes and offers healing to the whole world.

Keep on… trusting in God’s mercy.

Rev Dawn Chesser

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Samaritan’s Purse 2016

As part of our Mission Plan for 2015 we supported the Operation Christmas Child ministry run by Samaritan’s Purse. We were very successful in our efforts last year and a total of 65 shoe boxes were donated to Samaritan’s Purse for distribution to children living in poverty throughout the Asia Pacific region.

Samaritan’s Purse (Operation Christmas Child) has again been selected as a focus area for our Mission plan for 2016 and our aim is to try and build on our success of last year. The idea is that over the next 10 or so weeks we will collect items for inclusion in the shoe boxes and then gather on a Saturday in early October (date TBA) to pack the shoe boxes as a group.

A list of items suitable for inclusion in the shoe boxes has been provided to you on July 24.

This is a great opportunity to help a worthy cause that benefits children who have very little. Everyone is encouraged to help as, and where, they are able.

Please continue to pray for the success of Operation Christmas Child.

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Luke: Thoughts on the Gospel Reading

“In Luke we are offered the stark contrast between Mary and Martha. Mary stops and listens; Martha stays busy.”

“The core problem Jesus identifies with Martha in this story is not that she is busy. It is that she is in an uproar. She’s overwhelmed, distracted from what matters, and lashing out at everyone else. The one thing needed right now, Jesus says, is to listen, as Mary had chosen to do.”

“If you want to serve your guest, or anyone else, you need to listen first. Really listen. Do nothing else. Let go all other distractions. Turn off the livestream in your head that diagnoses what others need. Just listen. To love your neighbour as yourself, and to love God—both require this, first of all. Turn off the uproar. Stop. Listen.”

- From Rev Dawn Chesser
United Methodist Church,

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Easter Sunday Celebrations

Easter Sunday Celebrations - Decorated Cross

On Easter morning, we decorated the cross with fresh flowers.

It means that this symbol of death, darkness, pain and hopelessness has been transformed into Hope and New Beginnings in celebration of the resurrection of Christ.

I wish that all of you may experience the joy, hope, peace, and the resurrection of Christ in your lives.

The Risen Christ is with you, in you and among you.

- Shin Goo

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Leura UC Retreat

Loving yourself into being: A Retreat at Leura Uniting Church, cnr Megalong St and Grose St, Saturday 18 July, 10am – 3.30pm

Retreat Leader: John Bleyerveen

How do we love ourselves well? Love is the beginning and end of the spiritual life. Jesus tells us that the love of God and others is all interconnected with the love of self.

This retreat explores how love of self can be one of the creative channels through which God’s grace pours into our life. How do we claim back our own true self without becoming selfish or narcissistic?

The retreat will have a variety of special moments formed with different inputs and include personal meditation, creative prayer exploration, small group work and whole community conversation. We actively seek people from a broad variety of backgrounds and God always blesses us with the richness of gifts in the people attending.

We hope to be an authentic experience of the communion of the Holy Spirit. Tea/coffee, cake and fruit will be provided, but please bring lunch or buy it locally. There is a suggested donation of $20 (for earners). More details on the flyer on the noticeboard.

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