22nd August 2021 – 21st Ordinary Sunday

I’ve called this week’s sermon, “Fig Leaves and Festal Robes: the Theology of Shame”. It is number six in our Christian emotions series, The Christian Life Inside-out. I hope it catches your interest.

It has been really good to see more people each week joining both morning and afternoon services online. As well giving us the chance to join in prayer and praise and to hear God’s word read and taught, we also encourage one another by our presence – even if it is in a little box on someone else’s screen!

Sydney’s lockdown has been extended until 30th September, which means at least another month without in-person gathering. This is a very difficult time for those who live alone, for families, for year 12s and all school students, for those with loved ones overseas, for those forced to postpone weddings and those whose livelihoods are drastically affected by the lockdown. This list could go on. And all of this without mentioning those directly affected by the virus.

Meanwhile, we are aware of horrific events overseas, particularly in Afghanistan but also Haiti. I find myself praying more earnestly as the weeks go by. (Not that God’s grace depends on our earnestness, thankfully.) This week’s psalm is the simple prayer for mercy of humans who have come to the end of our own resources: “As the eyes of slaves look to the hand of their master, so our eyes look to the Lord our God, until he shows us his mercy” (Psalm 123:2). May this be the spirit of all our prayers in these difficult days.

Some parishioners will remember Colleen McLachlan, a dedicated member of our 8 am congregation and a stalwart of the Fair and other parish activities in years gone by. She has not been able to attend church for several years but has still been living locally. Colleen passed away on 12th August. Her funeral will be held at St Jude’s on Monday as a COVID-safe service limited to ten persons. Later in the week, a recording of the service will be available online.

Looking forward to seeing you online.

Every blessing to you this week.