I hope you find it encouraging and thought-provoking to engage with God’s word today. In sermons throughout the Easter season, we will engage with the book of Acts. Andrew Goddard is preaching today on “The Unlikely Christian” from Acts 8:26-40.
We also read from the gospel every Sunday; this year we are working sequentially through the Gospel of Mark. Today’s section will be familiar to many: the Parable of the Sower. Jesus uses the illustration of four soils – the pathway, the rocky ground, the thorns and the good soil – to show how different people respond to the word of God.
My hope and prayer is, of course, that we will all turn out to be the good soil, but perhaps it might be interesting to ask yourself which of the three unfruitful soils you are most tempted to be:
- The pathway stands for the skeptic or the uninterested person, who simply doesn’t find the word of God very compelling.
- The rocky ground stands for the person who gives up on Christ when the going gets tough.
- The thorny ground stands for the person who drifts away because the enjoyments and the stresses of worldly life get in the way.
Whichever way you answered, the take home message is the same: Jesus says, “Whoever has ears, let him hear.” In other words, by listening and engaging with the word of God, we will be fruitful. Engaging with the Bible for yourself is the way to grow and be fruitful.
Two big barriers to engaging with the Bible are when it is difficult to understand, or when it seems to say something that we find difficult to accept. In both cases, can I encourage you to persevere and not give up. God’s word is a “lamp to our feet” (Psalm 119:105). We will always be rewarded by working hard at engaging with it. Don’t forget that a Bible study group is a great way of engaging with the word in a discussion-based format, which also provides a way of getting to know others from church.
On the COVID front, you’ll be interested to know that the NSW health department has advised us that, in light of there being no evidence of COVID in NSW at the moment, there is no barrier to communion resuming with the common cup. However, the diocese advises us to continue to be cautious on this, and our own Parish Council has also (rightly) taken a conservative approach to COVID restrictions since the outbreak of the pandemic. We therefore won’t be rushing to change what we are doing.
- Newcomer welcome today 12 pm at the Rectory – for everyone new or newish in the last few months
- Introducing God introductory night is on tonight at 6 pm.