Weekly Reflection (23 November 2020)
Good morning to you. How was your weekend? We can feel that summer is upon us now. How wonderful that we are able to meet again through the sound waves broadcast through the air. This would be unheard of in the last flu pandemic a century ago. By the grace of God, we live in such a technological age that what was impossible a generation ago is now common place.
While I ponder about this and the progress we have made here in Victoria in regards to controlling the spread of the coronavirus, I could not help but be reminded of the grace God has lavished into our lives.
I guess that is why the hymn “Amazing Grace” though written in 1772 by the English poet and Anglican clergyman John Newton is still the most popular of all hymns. It is known to Christians and non-believers alike and sung in hundreds of languages. Sometimes this hymn buzz in my head hours on end. Truly amazing! This is what the grace of God awakens in us.
Isn’t it wonderful that Victoria’s restrictions have been further eased? We are in the last step of restrictions and with God’s help, we can be completely free of any restrictions.
It is by God’s grace that this Sunday, which is also the first Sunday of Advent, our Cathedral will be opening its doors for Sunday Services for congregants to come in. You are encouraged to join us in either the 8.00 am, 10.00 am and 1.00 pm bilingual Service or the Wednesday Lunchtime Eucharist. It is an incredible feeling to be able to worship together face to face again after so many months. If you are coming, you will need to book through the “Trybooking” link. Please go into the Cathedral’s website for the details. Failing that, please call our Cathedral Office on this number: 9365 4333.
Prayer of the Week
Christ the King / The Reign of Christ
Stir up, we pray you, O Lord, the wills of your faithful people, that they, plenteously bringing forth the fruit of good works, may by you be plenteously rewarded; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.
This morning, our Bible Reading is taken from Ephesians 1.
Paul, an apostle of Christ Jesus by the will of God, To God’s holy people in Ephesus, the faithful in Christ Jesus:
2 Grace and peace to you from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ.
3 Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us in the heavenly realms with every spiritual blessing in Christ.
4 For he chose us in him before the creation of the world to be holy and blameless in his sight. In love
5 he predestined us for adoption to sonship through Jesus Christ, in accordance with his pleasure and will—
6 to the praise of his glorious grace, which he has freely given us in the One he loves.
7 In him we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of sins, in accordance with the riches of God’s grace
8 that he lavished on us. With all wisdom and understanding,
9 he made known to us the mystery of his will according to his good pleasure, which he purposed in Christ,
10 to be put into effect when the times reach their fulfillment—to bring unity to all things in heaven and on earth under Christ.
11 In him we were also chosen, having been predestined according to the plan of him who works out everything in conformity with the purpose of his will,
12 in order that we, who were the first to put our hope in Christ, might be for the praise of his glory.
13 And you also were included in Christ when you heard the message of truth, the gospel of your salvation. When you believed, you were marked in him with a seal, the promised Holy Spirit,
14 who is a deposit guaranteeing our inheritance until the redemption of those who are God’s possession—to the praise of his glory.
In the reading just now, we can hardly comprehend the grandeur and richness of God’s grace lavished on us. Amazing grace indeed. It pays great dividend to ponder on this passage frequently. In view of this, our devotion this morning is entitled “Grace in an Unusual Place” by Cathy Irvin. 
Grace in an Unusual Place
Recently, I went into an imports store with my great-granddaughter Destiny, who is 2 years old. I told her to sit in her stroller because there were pretty things that might break. Did I think she understood? Not really, but I thought I could keep my eyes on everything, including those little hands. At any moment they might reach out to touch the pretty coloured, fragile items sitting on shelves near her eye level.
I stopped to check something up high. It was a bottle with a drinking glass used as the top. As I reached for it, the one beside it fell off the shelf and the glass top smashed to the floor. Destiny began to draw attention to me by repeatedly saying “Gi-Gi broke, Gi-Gi broke.”
I decided that I should buy the bottle with the broken top. A saleslady came over and said, You certainly do not have to pay for this. It was an accident.
I was startled at her statement but I said, Ok, but I will buy one anyway. Again she said, That is not necessary. I am glad that neither of you were cut. I smiled and asked her to take the bottle to the counter so I could continue to shop.
Destiny saw some small pink glass balls that were now at her eye level. She calls them “baws” so I showed her one from the package. I told her to hold out her hand. With my hands around hers, she could feel it was not a rubber ball but a glass ball that might break. I thought that I was smart by teaching her about the feel of glass. She handed it back carefully and I opened the package to place it inside.
She grabbed another one and it fell to the floor. She cupped her hand over her mouth and pointed to it and said, “Broke.” I told her, Yes, but this time “Destiny broke.” I was going to get the lady and noticed no one came running to the rescue. I picked out three more items and went to the register with my purchases. I told the lady I needed to leave now before anything else happened.
The two sales girls smiled, waved their hands, and said, Don’t worry about this. It’s nothing. They told me how glad they were to see such a cute little girl and that she was just adorable. I felt good in spite of a disastrous shopping adventure.
I realized God was showing me that sometimes when we mess up and don’t always do everything right that He just smiles and says, Child, it’s ok. I will just sprinkle a little grace on the situation this time.
II Corinthians 12:9 says, But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me.
Some stores have a motto, ‘You break it, you buy it,” so I felt like I had really received God’s grace in the department store. I was able to purchase what I wanted not what I had to buy. I will shop there again because of their kindness. Maybe next time I will go by myself and pray that I don’t drop anything.
Can you picture heaven like a department store? It’s full of mercy and grace, and it is free.
Ephesians 1:6 says, to the praise of his glorious grace, which he has freely given us in the One he loves.
The Morning Collect
Eternal God and Father, by whose power we are created and by whose love we are redeemed: guide and strengthen us by your Spirit, that we may give ourselves to your service, and live this day in love to one another and to you; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.
Go forth into the world in peace; be of good courage; hold fast that which is good; render to no one evil for evil; strengthen the faint-hearted; support the weak; help the afflicted; honour every person; love and serve the Lord, rejoicing in the power of the Holy Spirit. The blessing of God Almighty, Father, Son and Holy Spirit be upon you and remain with you always. Amen
It is again a pleasure to share this time with you. I pray that we will continue to ponder deep and long on God’s grace. Ask Him to show you how His grace has touched your life. I can assure you that you will be in for a mighty pleasant surprise.
Till next Monday then, rejoice often. Do good. Love outrageously. Enjoy life. Praise God. Amen. Goodbye.