25th July – 17th Ordinary Sunday

We continue our new sermon series, The Christian Life Inside-Out, looking at the emotion of Fear (particularly from Philippians 2:5-13 and Matthew 10:24-33).  I hope you will find this thought-provoking and stirring.

Olympic reflection

I have always enjoyed the Olympics, with a keen focus on Australia’s medal tally, and I think I am looking forward to these Tokyo games.  It is just a little difficult to know whether we should be excited.  Perhaps a few early successes in the swimming pool and we will all be right into it!

The Olympics is arguably the biggest showpiece of human effort to bring unity to the world.  As a result, it has always struck me as sad that we won’t hear anyone leading us in prayer – as a whole world! – to our loving Maker and Redeemer.  Imagine how good and right it would be, with the whole world gathering to celebrate the God-given talents of our best sportspeople, for us to lift up united voices to thank the Author of it all.  God, more than anyone else, wants to see humankind living together in harmony.

Of course, the reasons why such prayers do not take place are obvious.  But let’s not pretend for a moment that they are good reasons.  There is no good reason why humanity gathered for the Olympics should not acknowledge its Creator.

Tragically, while refusing to turn to Jesus, the world still desperately wants the life and the unity that only Jesus can offer.  According to the ABC, the name of this year’s Olympic mascot, Miraitowa (pictured below), is based on Japanese words meaning “future” and “eternity”.  I can’t speak Japanese, but don’t those words say something about a deep desire?

The theme of the opening ceremony is “united by emotion”.  Again, this says something about human desires.  We would love to be unified with our fellow human beings.  And as we watch Friday night’s ceremony on TV, from inside our locked-down lounge rooms, we might feel united with humanity (“by emotion”) for a little while.  But that feeling of unity will pass.

There is only one way to true human unity.  It is to be reconciled to the loving Creator and Father of us all, at the foot of Jesus’ Cross.  During these Olympics, let us pray each day for God to send out his light and truth into the whole world, so that more people would be able to join that multitude in heaven who sing endless praise to the One seated on the throne.

News in brief

  • Obviously our plans for a celebration launch of our new 4 pm service on 1st August have been put back!! We continue to meet regularly online at 4 pm until we can get back in person.
  • In-person activities continue to be on hold.  Although there is no government announcement yet, we fully expect that church next Sunday will continue to be online only.

Prayer points

  • That the world would seek unity in Jesus, and not just through the Olympics
  • COVID outbreak
  • CMS – Jerome and Indra
  • Prime Minister Scott Morrison and Opposition Leader Anthony Albanese
  • Randwick Boys and Girls’ High Schools
  • Elderly
  • Those whose names are in the Prayer Journal

Olympic mascot Miraitowa