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The Gippsland Anglican
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The Gippsland Anglican
is the officialnewspaper of and is published byThe Anglican Diocese of Gippsland,453 Raymond St, Sale, Victoria, 3853,www.gippsanglican.org.auEditor: Mrs Jeanette Severs,PO Box 928, Sale, 3850Tel: 03 5144 2044Fax: 03 5144 7183
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Hope discussed1MU’s worldwide view3Abbey program4ourney with Saints5Archbishop: No more silence 6Here & Now in Paynesville 7-9Diocesan Calendar9Color in and puzzles10400 years of KJ Bible11Perspectives on death 12Perspective on worship13Book & film reviews13Choir sings Crucifixion14Holy hands at fete15Diocesan pictorial16
The Right Reverend John McIntyreAnglican Bishop of Gippsland
A FAMILIAR episode in the midst of the Pas-sion Story sees Pilate wash his hands of any re-sponsibility for the death of Jesus, who he hasdetermined is innocent. There is a chilling ringto the response Matthew the Gospel writerplaces on the lips of ‘the people as a whole’.“
His Blood be on us and our children,
” they say.Here is a pointer to the profound theologicalsignificance of the death of the Christ as trulybeing ‘for the sins of the whole world’. Wetoday declare this each week in The GreatThanksgiving Prayer in the service of HolyCommunion. In declared innocence, Jesus bearsthe sins of the world and pays the price of thatsinfulness. Rather than condemn us, God inChrist forgives us. The response of grace towrongdoing is to forgive and forgiveness comesat a cost to the one who forgives.Throughout his life and on to his death, Jesusrefuses to act other than in grace. He refuses todo anything other than to love as he understandsGod loves. At any point he could have turnedback from the way of grace but he refuses to,even in the face of death. In this, we declare, liesour salvation. God’s forgiveness offered bygrace in Christ, gives us hope. And the cost of our hope is the death of Christ.Insofar then as I have ever sinned, the bloodof Christ is on me. His death is the cost of myforgiveness. The price for my wrongdoing is hisblood, not mine. Confronted by my sin, the Godof grace bears the consequences of my sin,rather than paying me back for my wrongdoingand using my wrongdoing as a reason for mycondemnation. The death of Christ is the costof grace to God and the means of hope for us.This is the profound mystery of faith we declarein the crucified and risen Christ.In being met by grace despite my wrongdoing,my life is transformed by God’s love and ac-ceptance. In the experience of that transforma-tion I am set free, inspired and empoweredmyself now to live by that same grace. WhenJesus calls us to ‘be perfect as our Father inheaven is perfect’, he understands the perfec-tion of God to be the perfection of grace. Thelife he is calling us to live is the life of grace.God has met us in grace. Now we are called tomeet each other and all whom we meet in thatsame grace.The call to ‘be perfect’ is not a call to somekind of moral perfection. That leads only to self-righteousness. The righteousness that Jesus says‘exceeds that of the scribes and Pharisees’is alife lived in grace. It is not a life of higher moralrigorousness but a life that overflows the re-strictions of moral rigor by daring to live bygrace and by grace alone, despite the cost.Grace is not restricted in any way. For Jesus itwill mean even to ‘love your enemies and prayfor those who persecute you’
By the life of grace we show we belong to Christ and that weare, as Jesus says, ‘children of our Father inheaven’
Paul takes up this same theme in writing to theRoman Christians. He understands the life of grace only because he was met by grace, evenwhen as an enemy he was persecuting the fol-lowers of Jesus. He understands that, as his evilwas not repaid by evil but confronted by gracein forgiveness, so we are called not to ‘repayanyone evil for evil’. We are called, he says, notto be
overcome by evil’but to ‘overcome evilwith good’.As at this Easter time you have contemplatedthe cost of grace for Jesus in the cross, know toothere is a cost for you to live by grace. The con-sequences of evil and wrongdoing are still borneout in the life of the world. If you are the onewronged, you will bear that cost. To live bygrace means to be willing to bear that cost andto confront its implications for you.It means to agree not to use that cost to you asa justification for striking back and causing acost to be borne by the one who has wrongedyou. This is what it means ‘to take up yourcross’. Go in this way of grace and you willbring hope to others.It is important, however, not to misunderstandwhat living by grace and forgiving means. Thisis especially so for those who are the survivorsof others’ abuse. Living in grace and offeringforgiveness does not mean making excuses forthose who have wronged you. Nor does it meandenying the wrong others have done to you, orthe effects that has had on you. Living in graceand offering forgiveness does not mean lettinganother continue to be abusive towards you, orexcusing a wrongdoer from having to face theconsequences of their wrongdoing. Nor does itdeny you rightful anger at wrongdoing, or denyyou the opportunity to express that anger.Living in grace and offering forgiveness re-quires the courage to confront wrongdoing in away that makes healing a possibility, both forthose who have been wronged and those whohave done wrong. Grace and forgiveness arecostly but not naïve or stupid. Above all, theyare not a denial of evil and wrongdoing but away of confronting and overcoming evil andwrongdoing.Grace, lived out in and through our lives inChrist, is the gift of hope and healing whichJesus Christ brings to a broken world. This isthe hope of resurrection.
An Easter message from Dr Philip Freier,Anglican Archbishop of Melbourne
THERE will be many, at this time, who feeltraumatised by the recent series of natural ca-tastrophes. As well as the devastating loss of lives, the hopes and dreams of many have beendramatically swept away, or have crumbledabout them.We have been remorselessly reminded in theseevents of the fragility and vulnerability of human life. Nature and its forces that we oftensee in a personal and friendly way are revealedas hostile and inhuman.When we encounter such destructive naturalforces and elemental power, which can makeour human efforts at building a world of stabil-ity and comfort look feeble, we naturally ask,where is God?But God is not a remote or uncaring God. Godis the God of love and the God of compassion,who suffers our pain with us. This is what com-passion means; to suffer with another. In the lifeof Jesus, we encounter the true compassion of the God who is the infinite source of all love andthe very essence of love.Jesus is a fellow sufferer who understands ourpain and suffered one of the most painful andagonising of deaths possible to imagine onGood Friday.So, when we are haunted by the pictures of those who died or were badly injured in the nat-ural disasters, I invite us all to believe in theChristian vision that God is there with them intheir pain and anguish. As God is with all thosewho suffer; whether through natural disaster orillness or poverty.God is present, too, in the selfless love andcare of the rescue workers, the police, the hos-pital staff and paramedics – but also in all theheroism and self-sacrifice of ordinary people –neighbours, colleagues, family and friends; aswell as the generous financial support shown bymany.Death, pain and suffering do not have the lastword in the Christian vision. This is the mean-ing and joy of Easter. It does not end with GoodFriday. The God who is love joins us in our suf-fering, not so that we can remain in it, but sothat we can be liberated from it.Easter Day is the day Christians celebrateJesus’ resurrection into new life and God’s greatliberation of humanity from death, pain and suf-fering. St Paul said that nothing, in life or death,can separate us from the love of God that is inChrist Jesus (
).Easter is the great proclamation of this pro-found truth. Nothing, not tsunami, or earth-quake, or flood, can separate us from the loveof God in Christ Jesus. Christ is Risen, Alleluia!See Archbishop Freier giving his Easter mes-sage on YouTube at: www.melbourne.angli-can.com.au/easter2011[Archbishop Freier’s message provided byThe Melbourne Anglican.]
We find God in Easter