Category Archives: Pastor’s Blog

News and views from our Pastoral Team

Pastor’s Reflection 8/3

I awoke this morning and heard the cries of a thousand mothers

Cradling to their heart the lifeless and limp bodies of their beloved children

Now dead.

 

I saw children wandering aimlessly among the ruins of their once safe town

Cold, shivering, the light faded from their frightened eyes.

 

I heard young women in a foreign city crying, yearning for their home

Used and abused by one hundred men for a few dollars

Their innocence stolen, their dreams abandoned, their souls numb.

 

The sounds of families too numerous to count laboured endlessly

Scratching together barely enough food for their hungry bodies

While the rich ate and drank in luxurious excess.

 

I listened to the faint groans of a multitude of elderly citizens

Sitting alone and afraid without the warm touch of a human hand

Discarded, ignored and dishonoured.

 

And when my heaving and heavy heart threatened to tear beyond repair, overwhelmed by the tsunami of grief in our broken world, I heard these words:

Then I saw “a new heaven and a new earth,” for the first heaven and the first earth had passed away, and there was no longer any sea. I saw the Holy City, the new Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God, prepared as a bride beautifully dressed for her husband. And I heard a loud voice from the throne saying, “Look! God’s dwelling place is now among the people, and he will dwell with them. They will be his people, and God himself will be with them and be their God. ‘He will wipe every tear from their eyes. There will be no more death’ or mourning or crying or pain, for the old order of things has passed away.” (Re 21:1–4).

And so I set out again, following in the footsteps of my Master, healing, blessing, praying, comforting, bringing His Good News, encouraging and helping humanity. Just as He did.

Jesus says to us all: “Follow me.” Will you follow?

Nicholas Tuohy

Pastor’s Reflection 1/3

The church is irrelevant. It’s clearly corrupt. The church offers nothing of value to the world. These are fairly common sentiments. Can it be that bad? What do you actually know about the church? Actually, what’s the point of the church — or, what is it? There’s a number of things the church, through its people, has offered the world:

Aid and Charity. For thousands of years churches have started, funded and run orphanages, homes for the sick and dying, food kitchens and many other forms of aid and charity for the poor and needy. Think of organisations such as St Vincent de Paul’s, Salvation Army, Brotherhood of St Laurence, World Vision. In fact, 4 of the top 5 Australian Charities are Christian organisations.

Scientific Advancement. Towering figures of modern science, Galileo, Johannes Kepler, Blaise Pascal, Robert Boyle, Isaac Newton, Michael Faraday, Charles Babbage, Gregor Mendell, Louis Pasteur, Lord Kelvin, were all theists and most Christian.

Social Activists and Reformers. Christians such as William Wilberforce, Desmond Tutu, St Francis of Assisi, Martin Luther King, Dietrich Bonhoeffer, Oscar Romero and Mother Teresa have literally changed the world for the better for millions of people.
Theology and Philosophy. Leading thinkers such as Augustine, Aquinas, Calvin, Luther, Ignatius, Barth, and Kierkegaard, have shaped the intellectual landscape of the Western world.
Education and the University System. Many of the major Universities of Europe, including Oxford and Cambridge, for instance, were founded my monks.

Art and Architecture. Think Raphael, Leonardo da Vinci, Michelangelo, Bernini; and in architecture think Byzantine, Romanesque, Gothic, High Renaissance.

Language and Literature. Latin, central to the church’s writings, is the most widely used alphabet system in the world. And think of the contribution to literature by Tyndale, Dante, John Bunyan, J.R.R. Tolkien, C.S. Lewis, Dostoevsky, John Milton, Solzhenitsyn and Flannery O‘Conner.

Music. A monk named Guido invented musical/staff notation. Imagine music developing without this? The hymn, oratorio, opera were nurtured within the church and artists such as Haydn, Bach, Handel were devout Christians.

Put simply, however, the greatest thing the church has given the world is: Jesus. Actually, it was Jesus who gave the church to the world so that his life, truth, love and ministry could go on. Over the next several weeks at NightChurch we will look at the Church from Jesus’ perspective, focussing on his mission, message, the way God transforms human beings and the new community he called into being.

Nicholas Tuohy

Res Reflection 22/2

I remember spending quite a bit of time in my later high school years thinking through what I might do when I finish Year 12. I could not make up my mind! I think the major thing that turned me off the idea of any one career was that I couldn’t see myself being a journalist, or a teacher, or a lawyer or a human resource manager or anything else for the rest of my life. It seemed so boring!

I have the type of temperament that enjoys change. Of course, for others, the mere mention of the word ‘change’ creates feelings of anxiety.

Leaving the security of home for an unknown place is certainly up there with the more stressful changes in life.

For the thirty-two students joining our community today, there will be those who simply cannot wait for this change in their lives and there will be a good number who will be battling feelings of nervousness, uncertainty and perhaps even fear. Probably for most, it will be something like nervous anticipation.

We can probably safely assume that the vast majority of our students are coming from homes where they’ve experienced love, support and care. When the ancient Israelites left Egypt, it was a very different situation. Leaving Egypt meant a move away from slavery, a sense of homelessness and disorientation.

I remember a time many years ago now when I was lost in the bush and wandering around trying desperately to find something recognisable. With each minute that passed, I grew increasingly anxious and wondered about all the potentially horrible things that might beset me! When I finally heard the voice of someone I knew, I was overcome by sheer adrenaline-fuelled excitement.

I can only imagine that such feelings of joy, relief and expectation must have been all the more overwhelming for the Israelites as they finally left Egypt. To leave Egypt was the hope of coming home.
Home is not necessarily a place to be thought of geographically, and certainly not as a fixed, physical dwelling. The sense of coming home should be about coming to a place where you feel loved and accepted – a place of belonging. Home should be a place where you are able to be yourself, to have others take an interest in the real you. Home is a place where you are supported and challenged. It is the place where you are able to recharge. It is a place where you are secure enough to be able to grow and to flourish.

We know that the Res is successful if, by-and-large, our returning students feel that they are returning home today. For those who are joining us – excited, nervous, fearful or all three and more! – we hope that, with time, this will become a place that you think of as home. We want to welcome you today, not simply to a new address, but into a new community and a new sense of home.

Stephen Chatelier