Archive for August, 2010

Resilience for Life

August 31st, 2010
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A recent Federal Government report The Hidden Toll showed suicide among older men is expected to rise, with suicide rates reaching a second peak (after the 25-44 age group) in men over 85, and men over aged 75 remaining  a high risk group. The Salvation Army made a submission in the report that there is an increasing need to target resilience programs and suicide prevention programs to elderly people.

The report said the committee received a number of personal submissions from elderly people “highlighting the challenges, the indignities and lack of choices frequently faced by those nearing the end of their lives.’

Recently Daphne Sidney gave a presentation on the subject of resilience to a WCG women’s conference. While directed primarily to women its principles apply to both male and female and to all ages. This is a topic we will try to explore more in the future.

To view the PowerPoint click Resilience Daphne Sidney

Over 60's

5th Master Class of Jesus Christ (96)

August 31st, 2010
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Scripture of the Day: Luke 9:46-48

An argument started among the disciples as to which of them would be the greatest. Jesus, knowing their thoughts, took a little child and had him stand beside him. Then he said to them, “Whoever welcomes this little child in my name welcomes me; and whoever welcomes me welcomes the one who sent me. For he who is least among you all—he is the greatest.” (NIV)

Test No 3

Effectively these men are opponents of Jesus’ divine mission, not helpers.

This would be the normal concern in any gathering in Graeco-Roman antiquity: questions of relative status and behaviour appropriate to one’s place with regard to the station of the other.

You only have to watch political parties to see it in the raw. The old creation is all around us.

Jesus message had been against such maneuverings and positioning.

“Knowing their thoughts “ is usually associated with Jesus’ opponents. He doesn’t get angry or express his frustration. He knows who they are. Jesus uses the moment to give is a lesson of profound significance.

The child may have been the little boy just healed. The child is placed in a position of honour at his side.

Jesus comment using the little child in this way completely undermines everything the Roman world –or any culture for that matter – would have taken for granted regarding questions of status and social relationships.

To ‘welcome’ is to extend the honour of hospitality, to regard them as guests. But one in that society would only welcome a social equal or one who was above one’s own.

Children, who were at the bottom of the ladder of esteem, might be called upon to perform acts of hospitality such as washing the feet of the guests. They were not the recipients of honour.

Jesus is turning upside down the social pyramid. He is undermining the very conventions that motivated the disciples’ argument.

They were blind to what Jesus was all about. They could see his greatness, that he shared in the divine glory and through whom the majesty of God is evident. But their worldview could not allow for his prediction of shameful rejection or to becoming small, marginalized in the eyes of the elite. The servant of all humanity.

But Jesus is relentless. He calls upon his followers to welcome those of lower status, the poor, even this child “in my name” – which means this topsy – turvy social ethic is grounded in the divine purpose. To honour children is to honour Jesus and to honour Jesus is to honour the one who sent him –that is God himself.

All Christians have struggled with the full acceptance of this transformation. Almost by default we fall back in to cultural social ethics. And before we know it, it has infiltrated our congregations and organizational power structures.

It is not without reason we as a church need to be reminded annually in the footwashing how subversive Jesus is to our natural inclinations.

Our discipleship depends on this understanding.

Message for the Day

5th Master Class of Jesus Christ (95)

August 30th, 2010
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Scripture of the Day: Luke 9:45

But they did not understand what this meant. It was hidden from them, so that they did not grasp it, and they were afraid to ask him about it. (NIV)

A complete lack of perception.

And the last line is also interesting: and they were afraid to ask him about it.

Why would they be afraid? Jesus had already called them “O unbelieving and perverse generation.”

They knew he was liking them to the stubborn, faithless and rebellious Israelites in the wilderness. They probably were like the Israelites cowering, not appreciating that Jesus was for them – that he knew their weaknesses. He knew why they did not get it.

They hadn’t yet grasped the depth of the love of God for them demonstrated in what Jesus was saying about his rejection, death and resurrection in Jerusalem.

Message for the Day