St Hilda's Anglican Catholic Church Service Times

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Every Sunday 2017. Maitland NSW Australia. Venue: St Marys School Chapel in Victoria St. Mass at 11am.
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Fr Matthew Kirby for further details.
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Wednesday, 9 October 2013

What undermines Christian witness to God?

Sermon Summary for Trinity XVII 2013

  "do not disclose another's secret" +

The Bible has much practical advice about how to live both well and successfully. Ignoring this element brings disappointment and undermines Christian witness to God.

If a person thinks mystical experiences or great theological insights, as wonderful as these can be, are all that matters, they will be fooling themselves. And they will be annoying others. Piety and belief without good behaviour are offensive.

Nothing helps the Gospel spread more than Christians living according to God's revealed wisdom. People see Christ in us, and see that the Word works: it is more than words. On the other hand, nothing undermines the Gospel more than Christians who confess the faith, perhaps even vociferously and enthusiastically, but are untrustworthy, unreliable, unkind or unwise. In other words, they struggle even to be minimally decent citizens, let alone holy Christians.

So, today's Old Testament lesson, reminds us of the basics: thoughtful discretion, listening, reliability.

Thoughtful discretion: 
Humbly not "putting oneself forward", not trying to be the centre of attention. Do not put yourself forward in the king’s presence or stand in the place of the great; for it is better to be told, “Come up here,” than to be put lower in the presence of a noble. Proverbs 25:6-7. Not rushing to bring disputes or other's apparent mistakes before third parties, but quietly maintaining their dignity as much as possible and talking to them face-to-face. What your eyes have seen do not hastily bring into court; for what will you do in the end, when your neighbor puts you to shame? Argue your case with your neighbor directly, and do not disclose another’s secret; or else someone who hears you will bring shame upon you, and your ill repute will have no end. Proverbs 25:8-10. Not rushing to speak, but thinking carefully, then speaking in a way that will have an impact because it reflects truth, beauty and goodness. A word fitly spoken is like apples of gold in a setting of silver. Like a gold ring or an ornament of gold is a wise rebuke to a listening ear. Proverbs 25:11-12.

Listening: 
We need to really hear what people are saying, even if they are disagreeing with us or criticising us. A word fitly spoken is like apples of gold in a setting of silver. Like a gold ring or an ornament of gold is a wise rebuke to a listening ear. Proverbs 25:12. They may have a point, after all, and automatic defensiveness out of fear or pride will rob us of the chance to be better people. Also, we earn (or even restore) respect by listening.

Reliability: 
If you've been given a duty, perform it, if you have said yourself that you will do something for somebody, do it. Like the cold of snow in the time of harvest are faithful messengers to those who send them; they refresh the spirit of their masters. Like clouds and wind without rain is one who boasts of a gift never given. Proverbs 25:13-14. Simply being reliable makes an impact. Given how many people are not reliable, it brings great relief. Those over you will have less stress, and will generally be willing to credit you for that. They know they can trust you to "get it done". On the other hand, persistent unreliability and dishonesty cause great disappointment and angst.

So, let us think and listen carefully before we act or speak, showing self-control. 
And let us live up to all our responsibilities, showing self-discipline.  
We can do it by God's grace. +

Join us for Anglican Catholic Worship and Prayer. Communion / mass is held at the chapel in St Mary's campus of the All Saints College in Victoria Street Maitland on Sunday at 11am.

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