We are indebted to a wonderful team of people who have, once again, helped us to experience the Easter story with challenging insights into traditional understandings while affirming our faith and encouraging us to continue on the Jesus Way.
Beginning in February with Dennis Ryle`s moving and beautiful Ash Wednesday service at the Church of Christ, we were gifted with Lenten studies on the theme`Faith Facing Reality` with Bill Loader, a very well-attended series over four Sunday evenings in Lent.
How fortunate were we to have Bill again on 25 March where we once more heard the story of the Passion in words, music, images and commentary. As Karen said on her Facebook page: We have valued and received so much from this clear-thinking New Testament scholar, who also is a person of strong faith, but a faith with eyes firmly open to critical thinking and analysis of our traditions and scripture.
As Emeritus Professor, Bill will continue his long association with Murdoch University and and looks forward to preaching in his new environment. He will continue to travel overseas for conventions and conferences as they arise. And of course, we will still hear his voice through his website.
And so we say farewell to Bill.
Many of our friends from the Church of Christ joined us for our Maundy Thursday service. Led by Karen, the service began and ended in contemplative silence as we focused on Jesus` actions and words on the night before his crucifixion. Service to others was symbolised by washing the hands of one another - a very personal and meaningful action. We shared a meal of bread and wine, before moving into a darkened section of the church, where we listened to the account of the events in Gethsemane. After lighting candles and placing them on the cross, we contemplated the violence and horror of the crucifixion and were invited, if we so wished, to share any thoughts which had come to us during this time.
Thank you, Karen for this moving and evocative time of reflection.
God`s Day - Good Friday - the final service from our much-loved and respected Nev Watson was based on just three verses: Luke 28:23 - Weep not for me; weep for yourselves and your children; John 19:5 - Pilate said to them: Here is the man; and John 19:30 - It is finished. Nev`s deep and confident faith is always so very evident in his preaching, and this was no exception.
Fortunately, we don`t have to say farewell to Nev. He has been a guiding light in this congregation for so many years and who will forget his many innovative and creative ways of sharing the message? He will continue to mentor those who seek his guidance and wisdom, and he will still be involved in discussions and decisions made in the church.
We just say`Thank you, Nev.`
And then came Easter Day. In a service rich in symbolism, Marion took a line from a song, `Sun` by the group`Sleeping at Last`: I guess space, and time Takes violent things, angry things And makes them kind. How could this be? Using several contemporary situations, she explored this difficult theme in terms of new life - resurrection. Having said that whether we believe in a physical resurrection is irrelevant, she concluded her sermon with these words: The meaning of this day, if we are open to encountering the risen Christ, is that love is the only thing that triumphs over all else. And interwoven into this love story is the reality of ourselves as the body of Christ now present in the world.
The service concluded with the celebration of Communion, conducted jointly by Marion and Neville. We all feel blessed indeed to have experienced another Easter season to remember.