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Vicar's Musings for Ordinary Sunday 29

22 October, 2017

We are blessed to have the Rev'd Prof. Canon Dorothy Lee, Dean of Trinity College Theological School, as our guest preacher today. After High Mass, at 1:00pm, Dorothy will be joined by Dr Ree Boddé to co-lead a seminar on "Forgiveness and Kindness: Biblical and Theological Perspectives."

One of the central tenets of Christianity, Biblically, theologically and practically, is Forgiveness. Christ came to fulfil the Law and the Prophets, to break down the walls that divide, and the Temple curtain was symbolically torn in two on Good Friday. We can all be one in Christ's forgiving self-sacrificial love, no matter how flawed, diverse, broken or hurt we are. In a world that is threatening once again to tip over into the abyss of nuclear annihilation, this is a message of profound hope for Anglo-Catholics, Evangelicals, and all Christians. It is also a message of hope for our relationships with Jews, Muslims, Buddhists, Hindus, agnostics, atheists and all people. A couple of centuries ago two political philosophers wrote these words: "The bourgeoisie cannot exist without continually revolutionizing the instruments of production, that is, the relations of production, hence all relationships ... All fixed, fast-frozen relationships, with their train of venerable ideas and views, are swept away, all new ones become obsolete before they can ossify. All that is solid melts into air" (Marx & Engels 1848).

A century later Salvador Dali, with his melting clocks and surrealistic depictions of life, turned these words of Karl Marx and Frederick Engels into art. These three saw clearly the spirit of our age. We live in a time of all-embracing and on-going paradigm change. The Church and all other great and ancient institutions are struggling to survive in this melting pot of change. So, how do we react, respond and find meaningful existence in such times?

Wounding and destruction are easy; a two year old in a temper tantrum naturally does that when faced with unwelcome change. Perhaps, like me, you notice many in our shrinking congregations and stressed church structures similarly pulling tantrums. We probably see it in ourselves if we are honest. Even powerful Presidents seem to succumb! But surely the task of the mighty, the mature, the wise, the humble, and the poor alike, is to create and heal. And creativity and healing can only grow from the rich soil of forgiveness and kindness.

Thank you for coming to worship today, please do stay on for this week's Seminar at 1:00pm after High Mass. Then you may wish to make a day of it, and join with me and hundred of others in the JCMA Friendship walk: from the Albanian Mosque in North Carlton, to the Albert Street Synagogue, and then back over the road to light a candle for peace and reconciliation here at St Peter's Eastern Hill.

The Rev'd Dr Hugh Kempster

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