14th January 2024 Bethany Service

18 January, 2024

Bethany Holy Communion Service with Pastor Paul Kerber

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7 January 2024 Bethany Service

8 January, 2024

Bethany Service is led by Dennis Canute.

Sermon message 'Father Welcome'

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24th December 2023 Parish Service

29 December, 2023

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17th December 2023 Bethany Service

20 December, 2023

Contemporary HC Service with Karen Pietsch and Pastor David Gogoll

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26th November 2023 Bethany Service

28 November, 2023

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19th November 2023 Bethany Service

20 November, 2023

Bethany Service Lay Led by Karen Pietsch with Peter Steicke

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5th November 2023 Tabor Sermon

8 November, 2023

Living in Faith….. Dying in Faith

Let us pray – Heavenly Father, Let the words of my mouth, and the meditation of my heart, be acceptable in your sight – Amen

I would like to acknowledge Pastor Vince Gerhardy – for his inspiration and words. (Pastor Gerhardy graduated from Luther Seminary in Adelaide in 1974)

I think you would all agree that one of the great things about the Christian gospel is its message of hope. When we are being taken through some of the darkest valleys and alleyways that life can lead us we can find ourselves in the same place as Mary and Martha. Lazarus shouldn’t have died. But he did. The sisters had called on Jesus but his answer wasn’t what they expected or wanted and Lazarus’ life was out of their hands. There was nothing left for them to do except mourn his death.

Mary is clearly upset and very puzzled. She questions Jesus when he finally gets there, “Lord, if only you had been here, things would have been different. Lazarus wouldn’t have died. Where were you?” Jesus sees her grief and feels for her. He raises Lazarus to life and offers hope to all who face death saying that he will raise to life all those who live and believe in him. It is the hope that we have in Jesus Christ that is highlighted today as we celebrate All Saints Day. The Book of Revelation describes to us the joyful celebration of those gathered around the throne of the Lamb in heaven. They have gone through their time of suffering and tribulation and have been faithful to the end and now all of that is behind them. God has wiped away all their tears and sorrow. There is no more death and pain and dying. There is only joyous celebration as they praise God for the victory he has given to them through the Lamb who has died for them and made them new and clean. He has given them the white robes of righteousness and purity.

(Revelation 4: reading from Verse 8) Victoriously they wave palm branches calling out with the angels and all those in heaven,

“Holy, holy, holy, is the Lord God Almighty, who was, who is, and who is to come. Salvation comes from our God, who sits on the throne, and from the Lamb! All Praise, glory, wisdom, thanksgiving, honour, power, and might belong to our God forever and ever! Amen!”

In today’s reading from Revelation, we hear about a new heaven and a new earth. God's creative work takes a full turn. When God created the Garden of Eden it was a perfect place where God and his people lived together in harmony. There was no death or crying or grief or pain. Now at the end of the Bible, we hear God creating a new heaven and earth and God will once again dwell amongst his people. From - (Revelation 21:4). We can read, “He will wipe away all tears from their eyes. There will be no more death, no more grief or crying or pain. The old things have disappeared” There in that perfect place we will gather with all the saints who have gone before us – the saints whose names are written in history because of what they did in Christ’s name. There are also those saints whose names are not recorded anywhere except in the Book of Life – those Christians who were never famous but were faithful to their calling as disciples of the Lord knowing their weaknesses, trusting in his grace, and serving in whatever way they were able.

There in that perfect place are all the saints who will come after us – those to whom we have passed on the gospel through words and deeds and then those who have received the message of Jesus’ love through them. The hope and confidence of a life beyond this life are the true blessings that come with knowing Jesus. Even if we are to face the worst, we can do so knowing that Jesus has made it possible for us to pass through death to a glorious new life in eternity. Through his death and resurrection, he has made us right and clean and ready to enter the perfect place we call heaven. “This week I had the privilege to assist with the planning and share the Funeral Service with 4 families.

Sometimes we are asked to officiate the Funeral Service. We always ask- did your loved one have faith and would you like this to be the basis for the service? Sometimes the family says no but then often they will say well “mum” used to go to church so we think she would like the Lord's Prayer and perhaps Psalm 23. Sometimes the family says no “Dad” has his own faith. And sometimes we feel we can use the words from Ecclesiastes 3, "To everything there is a season, a time to be born, and a time to die. These few words can often provide an understanding of death, words of Faith for those that know it, and comfort for those that don’t think, that they have Faith.”

“Yesterday I went to visit my great Aunty. It was her 96th birthday. I didn’t tell her I was coming because these days she is mostly home. When I arrived she was in her garden. We went inside for a coffee and she brought out 3 varieties of her homemade biscuits. She lives alone, and she will say she is sometimes lonely because - she reminds me…you know when you get to my age most of my friends have already gone but she has her faith and her family. We talk about her Faith, and we always do. Then her youngest son called in to wish her a happy birthday, we joked about age and he said with a smile well it’s better than the other! How often do we hear or say – well, being this age is better than the alternative! My Aunty Ethel said, well I think the “other” will be ok too! She has her faith. My Aunty is ready to die - but not today, she has her garden to care for, her biscuits to make, and her family. But when her last day here on earth comes she will be ready, and I know she will rejoice the day she sees her Lord.

“That doesn’t mean that death won’t bring with it pain as we farewell those whom we love here in this life.” All Saints Sunday reminds us of the hope that we have in Jesus Christ. This hope assures us that even though we are separated physically from our loved ones, we are still one with them in the church, joined to them in Christ. All Saints Day reminds us that we are part of the Church, not the Lutheran Church, or Anglican Church, or Bethany and Tabor, but The Church, the holy people of God everywhere from all ages, in heaven and earth; Christians of all times; our parents and grandparents, marriage partners, children, dear Christian friends all those who have died in Christ and are now raised to life with him and who live with him forever. We have all been joined to Christ and become members of his Church in our baptism, we have been made new and clean through his blood and made heirs of eternal life now and forever. We are part of an eternal community, a communion of saints, that crosses earth and heaven and shares in the glory of God.

There is great comfort for us in this, and for all who grieve. We have all lost people we love. That loss is sometimes devastating – to feel that we will never see that person again. We will never again hear their voice or see their face. That is the pain of loss.

The great comfort we celebrate today is that those who have lived with Christ in this life, and are with Christ in eternity, whom we have loved and still love, are not lost. We often say when someone dies that the person has “passed away” or that we have “lost” a loved one. Those who die in Christ aren’t lost and they haven’t passed away as if they have vaporised into nothing. They have passed on to a new life and although we cannot see them or embrace them now, they are still with us, in our one faith and hope.

There is great comfort too in knowing that those who have suffered terribly through illness in this life, those who have been “taken” away suddenly, those who died in tragic accidents, or in fear, they are now safe and in peace, sheltered, as we read in Revelation, “Now God's home is with his people! He will live with them, and he will be their God. He will wipe away all tears from their eyes”.

We can share our faith and hope and give strength to others, not just when people die and not always by reading Revelation with them……there is a time for that too – but every day in our work, within our friendship circle and with people we meet. We can share our faith just in our living and sharing our faith with others.

It is our mission statement… Living for Jesus - Growing in Jesus - Sharing Jesus with others. Amen

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5th November 2023 Bethany Service

6 November, 2023

Bethany Layled Service with Nevin Nitschke & Peter Steicke

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5 November 2023 Tabor & Bethany Services

3 November, 2023

9.00 am Tabor LayLed Service with Chris Bartsch

10.30 am Bethany Layled Service with Nevin Nitschke and guest Peter Steicke

LCA Readings for this week are .....

Bible Readings

Joshua 3:7-17 Crossing the Jordan to the promised land OR

b) Micah 3:5-12 The prophet declares the ruin of Jerusalem

1 Thessalonians 2:9-13 Paul’s conduct among the Thessalonians

Gospel

Matthew 23:1-12 Warnings against the scribes and Pharisees

Psalm:

a) Psalm 107:1-7, 33-37- a) Psalm 107:1-7, 33-37 Antiphon: They saw the deeds of the Lord, his wondrous works in the deep. (Ps 107:24 NRSV)

b) Psalm 43- b) Psalm 43 Antiphon: Hope in God; for I shall again praise him, my help and my God. (Ps 43:5b NRSV)

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