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Jesus does for us what we cannot do for ourselves

I don’t know about you but as I read the Sermon on the Mount (Matthew Chapters 5, 6 & 7), I am continuously struck by how far I fall short of the standards set out in it. Jesus sets a very high bar for righteousness! In fact, it is so high that it is impossible for anyone to reach. For those that think they can be right with God based on their own merits, this poses a significant hurdle. If this bar is the standard which God requires for sinlessness normally, then how can they exceed it to “balance out” the evil they have done by not doing these things in the first place? The answer is they cannot. For the Christian, it can pose another problem as they feel the weight of their own sinfulness

MALCOLM ALLBROOK explores the history of Canberra's oldest church

There's a place in Canberra that evokes the appearance and atmosphere of an English country parish. The churchyard at St John's Anglican Church in Reid has an attractive steepled building, an old school house and rectory, lychgates and a graveyard. And, we might expect of such a place, it wears its past proudly. The monuments, gravestones and stained glass windows connect it directly to generations of Canberra's Anglican churchgoers and speak of the important place the church has had in their lives. Consecrated in 1845, St John's signified the harmony and order of the small Limestone settlement. As Nicholas Brown writes in A History of Canberra, around the church's "modest stones" grew an ag

Clergy facilitate people’s access to God

Tuesday marked nine years since my Induction as Rector at St John’s. Over recent days I have been rereading, ‘What Clergy Do – Especially When It Looks Like Nothing’, by Emma Percy, who is a Church of England minister or priest. She has an interesting chapter called ‘Dependence and interdependence’ which I reproduce here in part: “Central to the Christian faith is the underlying belief that we are always dependent on God. This is why religion is often dismissed as a weakness: it invites adults to admit to their dependency. The gathering together for worship is a time to focus on this dependency, which underpins all of life… Thus we talk about coming into God’s presence, of drawing close to

We can't avoid getting older!

The beginning of a New Year can make us realise that we are going to be a year older! We all get older – we simply can't avoid it! The experience of many as we get older can vary greatly. So, we have to take care in not using categories or stereotypes about people who are of a certain age. But altering stereotypes of certain ages is an uphill battle! It is said that old age is not a distinct developmental stage but rather features great diversity of experiences and situations. One aspect as we age that needs to be dealt with is the ability to 'forgive'. In every age, we are to follow our Lord’s example in forgiving others. In the Lord's prayer, we pray “forgive us our sins as we forgive thos

Christ the source of our salvation

Our Prayer Book for Australia (APBA) sums up how we are saved by the birth and ministry of Jesus in the Eucharistic prayer on page 139… Loving God… we thank you that when we turned away from you, you sent Jesus to live and work as one of us, and bring us back to you. He showed us how to love you and set us free to love and serve one another… on the cross Jesus took away our sin, all that keeps us from each other and from you. He frees us from hate and fear, from all that destroys love and trust. The Incarnation – God becoming fully human while still fully divine, in the person of Jesus Christ – indicates an understanding that salvation comes about not just through the crucifixion and resurre

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