Weekly Reflection • 2 Aug

Listen to the the audio version of the reflection here or read below.

Warm greetings to you in the name of Christ, and in this name, I bring you His peace and grace. I am delighted to be back with you this week after a month of absence. As always, it is such a delight to share this short time of reflection with you. I am sure you have enjoyed and learn a lot from the other speakers the past few weeks.

May this week bring us closer to our Lord Jesus Christ as we seek to follow Him daily. In Melbourne, we are so thankful for the easing of restrictions, while to our north, New South Wales is still under lockdown for at least the next three weeks. Thank you to everyone who are praying with us daily during this uncertain period. Let us know what you’re praying for today, so that we can pray with you.

It is good that we now pause to commend ourselves and those whom we love to the mercy and protection of God.

Let us pray,

Lord and heavenly Father you have brought us safely to the beginning of this new day: keep us by your mighty power, protect us from sin, and guard us from every kind of danger, and in all that we do direct us in the fulfilling of your purpose through Jesus Christ, our Lord. Amen.

Prayer of the Week

Tenth Sunday After Pentecost

Almighty God, whose beloved Son for our sake willingly endured the agony and shame of the cross: give us courage and patience to take up our cross daily and follow him; who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and for ever. Amen

Our Bible reading today is taken from Matthew 28:16-20. This event happened after Jesus’ resurrection and are the last few verses of the Gospel of Matthew.

Bible Reading

Then the eleven disciples went to Galilee, to the mountain where Jesus had told them to go. When they saw him, they worshiped him; but some doubted. Then Jesus came to them and said, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.”

Devotion – Jesus’ Baton

Some years ago, while still overseas I visited a patient in a Psychiatric Hospital. I parked my car and walked towards the building some distance away. This hospital had a huge compound for its patients and care-givers to stroll around its vast gardens.

At about fifteen meters from the main entrance, a patient with his blue hospital pyjamas walked out and began smiling at me. Wanting to be friendly, I smiled back. As we approached each other, his smile widens to become a grin. Not wanting to offend him, I smile even more back at him. We were but only a few meters away when suddenly with an evil laugh, he lifted his hands from his back and brought up a wicked looking long machete which he held high about his head. Looking straight at me, with menace in his eyes, he began to run towards me.

Even though I am a priest, I did not stop to pray. Instead, I turn around 180 degrees and ran back the other way as fast as my legs would carry me. I must have broken all my personal running records but unfortunately my pursuer could run faster than me.  His spine-chilling laughter pierce the air again.

The hospital staff strolling in the gardens saw what was going on and gave chase. Because the both of us were running so fast, they had a hard time catching up. In my panic, I ran blindly and lost my way. I ran into a corner of the compound that was surrounded by a two-meter fence intended to keep patients from escaping.

I turned around and saw him in front of me giving out a triumphant blood-curdling laughter. He lifted up the machete above my head. The hospital staff were still 20 meters away and I could sense my end was near.  I closed my eyes and prayed, “Lord have mercy on me and make it quick. Look after my wife and children. Forgive my sins… etc.”

His booming voice interrupted my prayers. “Hurry up, I don’t have much time, I got to do this before they arrive. I will give you three seconds. Three, Two, One.” The machete came down, I closed my eyes…

He grabbed my hand, put the machete on it. I opened my eyes, he turned around and stated running with a shrill voice saying, “Come-on hurry up, it is your turn to chase me now….”

We are in last week of the Tokyo Olympics. Millions would have seen the Field and Track relay competition. In this race, each runner with the baton has the responsibility to run his best and successfully pass it to the next runner in the most efficient manner. The aim of the race is that the baton is successively passed from the first the last runner in speediest manner.  

The Gospel of Matthew we just read is popularly known as “The Great Commission.” They are Jesus’ last words and his final command to us. Here, Jesus is passing the baton of making disciples to us. He made his disciples when he was on earth. Now that he is ascending to his father in heaven, this task of disciple making is passed onto each of us. This command of Jesus is not an option nor a sideshow but central to our following Him.

I am excited that in the coming six weeks we are going to have a coordinated focus on discipleship in our sermons, Bible Studies, Monday Reflections and Story-telling. Each Monday, a member of the Cathedral clergy will bring you the reflection on the theme of the week. We want to bring home the centrality of discipleship and disciple-making to all believers.

Will you receive this baton from Jesus? Watch this space.

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. [1]

O Lord, direct our steps this day into the way of peace, and strengthen our hearts to obey your commandments. May the Dayspring visit us from on high, and give light to those who sit in darkness and the shadow of death, that they may adore you for your mercy, follow you for your truth, desire you for your sweetness, for you are the blessed Lord God of Israel, now and forever. Amen.[2]

The Blessing

O God who goes before you: Give you wisdom and strength to live this week as a true disciple of His. Give you courage enough to follow Him into the difficult places you rather avoid. Give you love enough to bear patiently with the hurts and struggles of your friends. Give you faith, patience, and perseverance to hold His hand tightly each day. Give you peace enough to accept and nurture your own selves. And the blessing of God Almighty, the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit, be upon you and remain with you always. Amen.

In the coming six weeks, the central theme of our Cathedral will be on discipleship. All our teaching and ministry will be coordinated to reflected this theme. We will be able to enjoy the Sunday preacher leading us in this Monday reflection each of the six weeks.

It is such an assurance that in the chances and changes of these uncertain times, we are followers of the unchanging Jesus Christ whose forgiveness, presence and help enables us to be the light and salt of this world.

Till we meet again, follow Christ faithfully, rejoice always, do good, love outrageously, enjoy life, praise God. Amen. Goodbye.

[1] Daily Office, Morning Prayer, Wednesday. A Prayer Book For Australia, 1995.

[2] Source: An ancient Collect, A. D. 440