Page 32 - Church Review JUNE 2020 [IM)
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 AROUND THE PARISHES...DUBLIN
 HOLMPATRICK AND BALBRIGGAN
Rector: Rev. Anthony Kelly,
Tel. 8493886 Email: kellyanto@aim.com
Asst. Priest: Rev. Tom O’Brien,
Tel. 087 650 2504 Email: thobrien@tcd.ie
Church Review: Mrs. Margaret Davidson Tel. No. 849 1756 Church Services: 9.30am Kenure; 10.30 Holmpatrick;
12 noon St. George’s, Balbriggan.
No notes this month.
HOWTH
Rector: Rev Kevin Brew Tel 01 832 3019 Rev Ken Sherwood
Lay Reader: Mr Ron Bass
Youth Worker: Elke Koker
Review Distributor: Mr Stanley McMullen 832 4678 Email stmaryshowth@gmail.com
Website www.stmaryshowth.com
No notes this month.
KILLINEY, BALLYBRACK
Rector: William Olhausen Tel 01 285 2228 Email: rector@stmatthias.ie
Messy Church Leader: Alistair Doyle Email: doylealistair@msn.com
Parish Secretary: Beverley Grant Tel 01 236 9555 Email: stmatthiaskilliney@gmail.com
Communications offificer: Maria Waters Email: info@stmatthias.ie
Parish Centre Bookings: Tanya Olhausen Email: tolhausen@gmail.com
Church Review: James Malseed Email: jamesmalseed@eircom.net
Parish website: www.stmatthias.ie
Rector writes...
We have now come to the end of our Sunday readings in 1 Peter. I have been challenged and encouraged by this lesser known book of the New Testament. The purpose of Peter’s letter was to provide the diaspora of Christian churches across Asia Minor with encouragement and instruction in how to deal with Roman persecution. Whilst we are not being persecuted by the state, we are suffering, and we, too, are having to make sense of this global suffering in the light of our Christian faith. Peter begins by reminding the church of where it all began: the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead. This is the living hope into which all believers have been given new birth (1 Peter 1: 3). This resurrection hope remains exactly that, hope, until we finally receive our own resurrection at that time when our salvation will be fully revealed, and all God’s people will be vindicated.
In this ‘in between’ time, believers (and churches) may face all kinds of hardship and suffering. Peter proceeds to rehearse those things that are now theirs, in Christ, that will prepare and resource them to endure what is happening to them. Firstly, he reminds them that they have become a new sort of community with radically different values to those in the world around them. They now have the power to ‘love one another deeply from the heart’ (1 Peter 1: 22). And in this, Jesus is their example and teacher.
Secondly, Peter explains that in the midst of seemingly unjust suffering, Jesus is the shepherd and guardian of our souls (1 Peter 2: 25) who has not only gone ahead of us but has also given us an example to follow. As the psalmist puts it: ‘Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death you are with me. Your rod and your staff they
comfort me...’ Jesus, our good shepherd, has gone ahead and takes us through our own time of trial with the gentle and loving rod of godly formation and the staff of his providential care and authority.
Thirdly, Peter writes to the churches about what the church actually is: how we join, what it is, and what it does. We join the church by coming to the living stone, Jesus (1 Peter 2: 4). We then become part of a spiritual temple made up of millions of other living stones, a chosen people, a royal priesthood, and a holy nation (1 Peter 2: 9). In this time of pandemic, it is good to remind ourselves that a church is not a physical building + priest. Rather, it is a dynamic community of people who are all called to priesthood in God’s living temple...who happen to sometimes meet in buildings (sometimes quite lovely buildings!). As part of this extraordinary new community, we are then to offer spiritual sacrifices to God through Jesus Christ. Once again, Jesus is the reference point for who we are. This phrase ‘spiritual sacrifices to God’ includes every aspect of human life – our homes, our work, our hobbies and so on. There is nowhere and no thing that cannot be transformed into something beautiful for God.
Fourthly, we have seen how a persecuted people still need to be ready to tell their story: ‘Always be ready to make your defence to anyone who demands from you an account of the hope that is in you...’ (1 Peter 3: 15). One very real threat facing the church of Peter’s time was arrest and trial – sometimes on a capital charge! Peter needed to know that the churches were ready for this and that they would know what to do. During his ministry, Jesus addressed precisely this sort of situation:
18 and you will be dragged before governors and kings because of me, as a testimony to them and the Gentiles. 19 When they hand you over, do not worry about how you are to speak or what you are to say; for what you are to say will be given to you at that time; 20 for it is not you who speak, but the Spirit of your Father speaking through you. (Matthew 10: 18-20)
Whilst there are places around the world where being a Christian is illegal or considered a threat to the state, our context in Ireland is slightly different. However, especially during these uncertain times of pandemic, there might well be occasions when people want to know about our faith. People might be looking for answers to the big questions of life! They might even ask us: ‘Is there any hope in all this?’ Are we ready to tell our story?
Fifthly, and finally, our readings in Peter take us to the point where Peter gives his final team talk! He iterates some of the big themes of the letter and reminds them of their destiny: the joy and the glory that will be theirs on the other side of their time of trial: ‘ And after you have suffered for a little while, the God of all grace, who has called you to his eternal glory in Christ, will himself restore, support, strengthen, and establish you. 11 To him be the power forever and ever. Amen.’ (1 Peter 5: 10-11).
You can find their excellent 7 minute overview and introduction to 1 Peter here: https://bibleproject.com/explore/1-peter/
What’s been happening?
Zoom worship
Like many other parishes and Christian organisations, we are now running a ‘live’ Zoom service on Sunday mornings. It’s not quite the same as actually being together but, on the up side, you can attend church in your pyjamas and be enjoying your breakfast at the same time! Sermons are also shorter! It is also possible to include friends and family from other regions of Ireland and, indeed, from any other country! Invites are sent out each week.
The Marriage Course
Launched in January 2020, we are currently running the new-look Marriage Course on Wednesday evenings. For more details about the Marriage Course see: https://themarriagecourse.org/
Alpha Course
Together with Johnstown Parish, we are also taking part in an online Alpha Course for attendees of our Men’s Breakfast. For details of an Alpha Course near you or one starting soon follow https://ireland. alpha.org/
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