St. Cuthbert’s Church Brunswick

Parish of Christ the King

Diocese of Newcastle

19 February 2016

Dear Friends

The more I read the writings of the Apostle Paul, the more I see in him the love of Jesus. I believe he woke up every morning and went to sleep every night thinking about how he could BLESS the believers in the early church. Even when he was making plans to go and see them, his mind wasn’t occupied with the hardship he would suffer on the journey (and those hardships were severe), he was thinking about the impact his visit would have on them.

That’s the way Jesus was. He lived every day with others on his mind. Jesus never got up in the morning and said  “What do I want to do today? How can I make myself happy?” No, He started  his day by saying “Father, I didn’t come down from heaven to do my own will but yours. Where do you want me to go today? Who do you want Me to minister to? How do you want Me to give Myself away.  How can I serve you and others? What can I do to reveal your Kingdom, your Love to others. Not my will be done, but yours”. As a result, everywhere he went Burdens were removed and yokes were destroyed. People were helped, people were loved, people were healed and delivered, people were transformed. Jesus literally gave himself on behalf of others and that’s what Paul did in his ministry. I try and do the same, but I probably fall way short of the example of Jesus and Paul, but that is what I tried to do.

What’s more, like Jesus, Paul did it gladly. He did it with passion and heartfelt pleasure. He did it without caring at all about what he received in return.

Letter from the Vicarage April/May 2014

His Joy didn’t come from others giving to him, it didn’t even come from their grateful response to his ministry.  As long as they were helped in some way by his sacrifice, he was more than happy to make it.

Did Paul not say  “I have put to death my old life and the life I now live is for Christ” and should we not also daily crucify the flesh and live for Christ. Isn’t that what being a Christian is all about? Or are we only playing religious games? Paul’s joy was absolute it came out of his spirit through dying to self and living for Christ. Unfettered gladness is the hallmark of real love.  When its not there, no matter how kind and giving our actions might be, wholehearted love is not behind them.  Rather selfish pride has got in and spoiled the mix.

When we abandon ourselves completely to love, we not only forget about the cost, we actually rejoice in it.  It’s a bit like the hockey player I heard interview once, he said “I throw myself with such passion into the game that I don’t notice the suffering, the hardship the knocks, in fact” he said “in an odd kind way I take  pleasure in it”  He said to his  opponent “Come on, give it your best shot and I’ll beat you anyway”. Which is exactly what Jesus Christ was saying when Satan tried to get him to give up the way of the cross.  Jesus came to destroy the works of evil, Easter reminds of how God so love the world that he gave us his only Son. Jesus for our sake went to the cross. We are called to walk the way of the cross, to love and not hate.

When we throw ourselves fully into the divine game of love, we say, like Paul, “I spend myself gladly!” We endure the hardship and rejoice, we make the sacrifice and smile. All for the love of the game! Amen.

Rev Mark