Sunday, 9 April 2017

"That's Your Blooming Lot!": a sermon (of sorts) for the final service of Scots' Uniting Church, Sorell, Tasmania, 9th April 2017

Let us pray:

Loving God, the Spirit of Life began the great work of creation.   

Bless these bulbs, pregnant with life. They show us the Easter mystery of new life coming from death and burial. May they burst forth with abundant growth from earth, rain and sun.

You have called us to the honored task of being workers in your garden. Through the rain and these bulbs bring us to a new awareness of your presence in and around us, as we joyfully live in the knowledge of eternal resurrection.

Plant seeds of love in our lives that will grow through the years. Your Son showed us the way. We now ask your guidance to follow it well. We ask this in Jesus’ name. Amen. 

A reading from the Gospel of John, chapter 12, verses 20 to 24.

Now among those who went up to worship at the festival were some Greeks. 21They came to Philip, who was from Bethsaida in Galilee, and said to him, ‘Sir, we wish to see Jesus.’ 22Philip went and told Andrew; then Andrew and Philip went and told Jesus. 23Jesus answered them, ‘The hour has come for the Son of Man to be glorified. 24Very truly, I tell you, unless a grain of wheat falls into the earth and dies, it remains just a single grain; but if it dies, it bears much fruit.…

Thanks be to God.  Amen.

A grain is planted. 

As such it dies to itself.

But it grows into new life for others.

So it is with this box of daffodil bulbs which we’ve just blessed.

So it is with this worshipping community which, as of today, formally ceases to worship in this building and which, for a few months now, has been worshipping as part of the Lindisfarne worshipping community within the Clarence Congregation.

A grain is planted. 

As such it dies to itself.

But it grows into new life for others.

These bulbs will not do anyone any good sitting in this box.  We need to distribute them.  I’ll distribute them in a way that symbolises the distribution of those who – up until today – have been part of the worshipping community known as Scots’ Uniting Church, Sorell.

If you get a bulb, please plant it.

The Sorell congregation is now part of the Clarence congregation, with its two worshipping communities at Lindisfarne and at Bellerive.  Here’s some bulbs for Clarence, one bag for each worshipping group.

The Sorell congregation has had a long-standing relationship with the Ningana Home.  Here’s some bulbs for Ningana.

This Uniting Church congregation here in Sorell has lived, worshipped, and witnessed alongside other congregations.  And I have bulbs for two other local congregations, for St. George’s Anglican Church and for our across-the-street neighbours of St. Thomas’s Catholic Church.

This congregation has received great support in its life from the wider Uniting Church, so here’s some bulbs for the Presbytery office in Launceston. 

There are bulbs for individuals, as well.

During our last few months as a congregation, if everyone who came reasonably regularly showed up on the same Sunday, there were eleven of us.  And there’s a bulb for each of the eleven.

Michelle, from the Presbytery Ministers team, did a brilliant job in providing support and encouragement to the congregation in this process.  Here’s a bulb for Michelle.

Over the past five years, there were plenty of people who drove in and provided worship leadership on occasional Sundays.  You know who you are, and there’s a bulb for each of y’all.

And, if there are any bulbs left, please feel free to take one.  (Can I suggest, kids first?)

A grain is planted. 

As such it dies to itself.

But it grows into new life for others.

And, in the words of someone who has planted more than the occasional bulb in Tasmanian soil, and who recently turned ninety:  “That’s your blooming lot!”

So I suppose it’s time to bloom.

In the name of the Trinity of Love: 
Redeemer, and
Giver of Life.

Saturday, 1 April 2017

A few new words and their definitions

A few months ago, while walking past some buildings that displayed brass plates for the various medical specialists who practised therein, I noticed a brass plate for an Ear, Nose and Throat Consultant whose name was Dr. Garg.  I observed that this distinguished medico may well have been the person who invented gargling.  (Sorry about that, but this is just the way my mind works.)

Frequently, particularly in the field of medicine, people's names are attached to diseases they've discovered or to medical equipment they've invented.  If your surname is something like Alzheimer or Condom, you may well have a distinguished medical person in your family tree.  (But, nevertheless, it's still rather tedious to be lumbered with such a name while you're in high school.)

I've coined a few terms in recent months, based on the names of people who've inspired the words.  I hope you like them.

Cundallination (noun, with verb form to Cundallinate):   the act of urinating on a lemon tree with the intent of helping the tree to grow and to produce large lemons.  (from Peter Cundall, colourful Launceston horticultural and media identity).

Dawk, to (verb):  to parlay expertise in an area in which one is an acknowledged expert (say, evolutionary biology) into the right to pontificate on subjects in which one has no expertise (say, theology, philosophy, politics).  (from Professor Richard Dawkins, colourful Oxford scientific identity).

Lathamectomy (noun):  the dismissal from a position of responsibility (by a media organisation, political party, religious denomination, academic institution, business enterprise, etc.) of an individual whose outrageous public utterances have proved to be a liability for the organisation, usually well after the outrageous statements have done irreparable damage to the organisation concerned.  (from Mark Lathan, colourful Canberra political identity, turned colourful Sydney media identity).
Pellgrimage (noun):  the act of leaving one's country of residence ostensibly for religious reasons, but also to avoid involvement in embarrassing legal proceedings (from Cardinal George Pell, colourful Ballarat religious identity, turned colourful Melbourne religious identity, turned colourful Sydney religious identity, turned colourful Vatican City financial identity).*

Trumpdashian (adjective):  seriously rich and seriously tacky, simultaneously.  (a composite of the surnames Trump and Kardashian, from Donald J. Trump, colourful Atlantic City gaming identity, turned colourful New York reality television identity, turned colourful Washington political identity; and from the Kardashian family of colourful Los Angeles reality television identities).

I hope you find these new words useful.

*   Note: this post was originally published before the Cardinal chose to return to Australia as a result of the court case in which he was involved.