St Hilda's Anglican Catholic Church Service Times

You are invited to join us for Anglican Catholic Holy Communion / Mass on:
Every Sunday, Maitland NSW Australia. Venue: St Marys School Chapel in Victoria St. Mass at 11am.
Fr Matthew Kirby for further details.
Check here for any additions or cancelations of services.

Wednesday 31 July 2013

Trinity 9 - Summary of Sermon

The Epistle:  Brethren, I would not that ye should be ignorant, how that all our fathers were under the cloud, and all passed through the sea; And were all baptized unto Moses in the cloud and in the sea; And did all eat the same spiritual food; And did all drink the same spiritual drink: for they drank of that spiritual rock that followed them: and that Rock was Christ. But with many of them God was not well pleased: for they were overthrown in the wilderness. Now these things were our examples, to the intent we should not lust after evil things, as they also lusted. Neither be ye idolaters, as were some of them; as it is written, The people sat down to eat and drink, and rose up to play. Wherefore let him that thinketh he standeth take heed lest he fall. There hath no temptation taken you, but such as is common to man: but God is faithful, who will not suffer you to be tempted above that ye are able; but will with the temptation also make a way to escape, that ye may be able to bear it. Wherefore, my dearly beloved, flee from idolatry. I speak as to wise men; judge ye what I say. The cup of blessing which we bless, is it not the communion of the blood of Christ? The bread which we break, is it not the communion of the body of Christ? For we being many are one bread, and one body: for we are all partakers of that one bread.

 “I would not that ye should be ignorant”
Context of Epistle: Corinthians who said eating food at feasts organised by pagan acquaintances was OK even if the food was known to have been sacrificed to idols, false gods. They said that because the idol was not a real god, this meant nothing. (Of course, while the stone sculptures were nothing, demons are happy to take advantage of this fraudulent worship.)

Hence we have Paul’s comparison with the old covenant people of God, the Jews, and how they had tried to stick with paganism at the same time as worshipping Yahweh. Penalty: death, death, death.
(Bit missing from Epistle:“ We must not indulge in immorality as some of them did, and twenty-three thousand fell in a single day.  We must not put the Lord to the test, as some of them did and were destroyed by serpents; nor grumble, as some of them did and were destroyed by the Destroyer. Now these things happened to them as a warning, but they were written down for our instruction, upon whom the end of the ages has come.”) This is an example to them. They too must keep away from false gods or spiritually die.

Baptism compared to salvation through water of Exodus. (Note: getting physically immersed is not necessary here.) Manna and miraculous provision of water from rock compared to Eucharist. Note the fundamental importance of these two sacraments.

“And that rock was Christ” means Jesus as God the Son was the provider, the giver even then. The water is not called Christ as the wine is called his blood, the source is instead described. Here is evidence of both the similarity and dissimilarity between the Old and New Covenants. In the Old, Jesus bestows upon his people their needs, in the New he gives his very self. (That is why in Hebrews it is said that “Christ has obtained a ministry which is as much more excellent than the old as the covenant he mediates is better, since it is enacted on better promises” )

But as wonderful as the Sacraments are, St Paul makes clear that, just like those of old, they will do us no good if we partake of them while mocking God. Hebrews makes the same kind of comparison (chapters 3 and 4) and considers the ones who rebelled to have the core sin of unbelief. (Ironically, the Corinthians who were willing to compromise with other religions implied they had superior faith, since they had superior understanding. That is why Paul also says in this letter that “knowledge puffs up but love edifies”. Their faith was in their intellect, not God.)

So, we must have the living faith that actively avoids sin, otherwise the sacraments will not benefit us. However, while some people say passages like this show Paul did not think the sacraments were that important, this is nonsense. In fact, he thinks they are so important that disrespecting them by other actions is self-destructive, a point which he emphasises later in the letter when he notes the dangerous consequences of unworthy communion! Also, note that the sacraments do not become insignificant in themselves or cease to be holy because of our lack of faith, even the much-abused OT “sacraments” of manna and water are called supernatural by St Paul. The point is that despite the awesome reality of the Sacraments, our attitude determines how much of that reality can become part of us.

But there is also a beautiful promise here. When we are tempted to compromise our faith, God will not allow the trial to be beyond our strength, he will not allow us to be spiritually trapped. He will provide both the courage and any escape route we need. And this promise is for us. We may not be asked to parties where the main meal has been offered to Zeus, but this world will provide many temptations to compromise and then cover it up with clever rationalisations and excuses. So, we must have loyal faith, choosing to obey, trusting that God will give us the power to do so; and confessing and repenting when we fall.

Thus we will be able to be united to Christ in the Sacrament in our hearts and not just our mouths. +

Monday 29 July 2013

A precious gift from God

"....When you go through storms that shake your faith you need people who know what the Word of God says, people who believe that God will 'do exactly' what He said no matter how bad the circumstances look. Such friends are few and far between, and they're precious. If you have one or two of them in your life today you're blessed, so thank God for them....". (Partial quote from "The Word For Today". 27 July 2013)

It is important whether going through storms or not, that we not only thank God for these valuable friends but that we remember to express to the person themselves how important and appreciated they are.  It is also important that we, ourselves, remember to be sensitive and supportive to those we love who are encountering their own storms, and aim to be that same blessing in their lives.

I am currently blessed to experience this type of friendship and 
I thank God for His precious gift of placing this person in my life.

Saturday 27 July 2013

The Collect

The Collect.
Grant to us, Lord, we beseech thee, the spirit to think and do always such things as be rightful; that we, who cannot do any thing that is good without thee, may by thee be enabled to live according to thy will; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.
Pg 231 of The Book Of Common Prayer Canada

This Sunday 28th July 2012, our St Hilda's Anglican Catholic Church worship will be held in Taree NSW. Join us for Christian prayer and Holy Communion / Mass. 
 Email Fr Matthew Kirby for address and time.

Friday 26 July 2013

Trinity 8 2013

"You have not received a spirit of slavery to fall back into fear". +

The Epistle: My brethren, we are debtors, not to the flesh: to live after the manner of the flesh;  for if you live after the manner of the flesh, you will die; but if through the Spirit you mortify the deeds of the body, you will live. For as many as are led by the Spirit of God, they are the sons of God. For you have not received the spirit of servitude again into fear: you have received a spirit of sonship, in which we cry aloud, Abba, Father; the Spirit himself bearing witness with our spirit, that we are children of God;and if children then heirs; heirs of God, and fellow-heirs with Christ; if so be that we suffer with hum, that we may also be glorified with him,

St Paul tells us in today's Epistle that we need to kill off (mortify) the old, sinful nature "through the Spirit". If we aren't doing this, we are risking spiritual death. And we know from the end of this passage that one way we mortify the "flesh" is suffering with Christ, which Christ said was taking up our cross to follow him. This taking up our cross includes voluntary fasting and acts of self-denial, but it also includes patiently accepting persecution and insults for our faith. And, of course, it includes resisting temptation.

Now that doesn't sound like much fun, does it. It certainly sounds like hard work and pain will be involved. Very true. But the interesting thing is that the Apostle also says that we can do this because as Christians we are not slaves and are not bound by fear, as I quoted at the beginning. Instead we are children of the King, and thus his heirs. And, as princes and princesses, we have received knowledge of our renewed identity by the Holy Spirit revealing itself to our spirits.

How can self-mortification be freedom from slavery? How can taking up our cross be fearless? How can self-denial be equated to the joy of a royal life as an heir of the King of Kings?

Yet God does not lie. And, in fact, it is nowhere near as paradoxical as it might look. The truth is that those who give themselves over to excess and to sin, find themselves enslaved and ensnared and unhappy. How many of the rich and famous end up with broken marriages, breakdowns and feelings of emptiness. Indeed, how many do we hear about spending time in "rehab"! (Personally, I wonder whether they would be better off publicly repenting rather than publicly rehab-ing, and maybe spending some time in a quiet monastery helping in the kitchen or garden as penance. And as therapy. OK, you're right, probably not going to happen!) So many celebrities, smiling on the outside, but miserable on the inside, as they often tell us later.

Not only that, but all those who throw themselves into the world and the flesh find that one of two things happen. That which promised so much, and began as fun, becomes boring and disappointing, so they either carry on regardless, or search for the bigger thrill, the "true" fulfillment. Needless to say, those who carry on regardless are unhappy, and feel powerless to do anything about it. But what about those who go on to try the harder drug, the wilder parties, the more perverse sexual activity, or just the more all-consuming higher-paying job that keeps them from their families and everything else that matters in life? Well, they can keep the illusion of happiness going a bit longer, cause a lot more collateral damage around them, deaden their own soul to a greater degree, and still end up a complete mess. "Awesome."

So, if freedom is not found in sin, just the contrary, then mortifying the sinful nature can go along with freedom. More to the point, such freedom requires such mortification. But what about happiness? Were is it to be found? Well, clearly, true, fearless joy is found in Christ, in knowing and experiencing God, in loving God and neighbour.

And here is the really interesting thing. The more we seek the Lord and find our satisfaction, our fulfillment in Him, the less the flesh and the world can draw our desire or keep our attention. The more we pray, meditate upon God and his word, and participate in Church, fellowship and sacrament, the less we are excited or enticed by other things. Christians can even have the strange experience of thinking that we want or will enjoy some extra, quite innocent, "treat"or "luxury", then finding we lose interest when we try to partake of it. The more we walk in the Spirit, the easier it becomes to mortify the flesh, because the flesh becomes increasingly mundane. It suffers by comparison with higher appetites, so to speak. And our appetites themselves are ennobled.

We do not become angels, nor are we meant to be. The body has its place, and innocent pleasure is still innocent. However, the path to freedom, peace and joy really is making God numero uno and practicing self-discipline. And all of this is to be done through the Spirit of Christ. +

Photo shows 0ne of the "Stations Of The Cross" art reliefs on the walls in the chapel which we use for St Hlida's Anglican Catholic Sunday Mass, it is located at  St Mary's School (its entrance is in Victoria St) Maitland NSW Australia.
Click on image to enlarge

Wednesday 24 July 2013

They will soar on wings like eagles

Click on image to enlarge (Photographed in Cessnock NSW)

Even youths grow tired and weary and young men stumble and fall; 
but those who hope in the Lord will renew their strength. 
They will soar on wings like eagles; 
they will run and not grow weary, they will walk and not be faint.  
Isaiah 40:30-31 (NIV)

DON'T FORGET: Sunday 28th July - Anglican Catholic Communion/Mass will be in Taree. 
Email Fr Matthew to confirm venue and times.

Friday 19 July 2013

Healing our memories

Penetrate these murky corners
where we hide our memories
and tendencies on which we do not care to look,
but which we will not yield freely up to you,
that you may purify and transmute them.
The persistent buried grudge,
the half-acknowledged enmity
which is still smouldering,
the bitterness of that loss
we have not turned into sacrifice,
the private comfort we cling to,
the secret fear of failure
which saps our initiative
and is really inverted pride,
the pessimism which is an insult to your joy.
Lord, we bring all these to you,
and we review them
with shame and penitence
in your steadfast light.

(Prayer by Evelyn Underhill)

Saturday 13 July 2013

Holy Communion Times.

Sunday 14th July 2013. Maitland NSW Australia. 11am.
Sunday 21st July 2013. Maitland NSW Australia. 11am.
Sunday 28th July 2013. Taree NSW Australia. 11am
email Fr Matthew Kirby for further details

In whose hand is the soul of every living thing, and the breath of all mankind.
Job 12:10(KJV)

Friday 12 July 2013

Thought for the day

"Nobody cares how much you know, 
until they know how much you care."

Remember a time in your life when God showed you how much He cares.

There are people all around you that need to know they are not alone, that someone cares about them, about their struggles, their fears and their pain. Showing you care doesn't have to be hard. A simple smile and a genuine "How are you?" that waits and shows interest in their reply can sometimes make a huge difference to someones day. When people struggle they often feel useless and undervalued, that nobody sees or cares. Are you guilty of pretending not to see? Have you reached out to at least one person today? The person you need to reach out to could be a total stranger, or it could be someone right under your nose... open your eyes and your heart, you will soon find them.

The image used is Mary Magdalene from the "Entombment of Christ", 1672,  
from Saint-Martin Church in Arc-en-Barrois (Haute-Marne, France).

You are invited to join us at the Anglican Catholic Church this Sunday for prayer and Holy Communion.
At 11am in St Marys School Chapel in Victoria Street Maitland NSW Australia.

Saturday 6 July 2013

For those who mourn

O HEAVENLY Father, whose Blessed Son Jesus Christ wept at the grave of Lazarus, his friend; Look, we beseech thee, with compassion upon those who are now in sorrow and affliction; comfort them, O Lord, with thy gracious consolations; make them to know that all things work together for good to them that love thee; and grant them forever sure trust and confidence in thy fatherly care; through the same Jesus Christ our Lord. 
( For the family of Edna Jackson who passed away this morning 6-7-13, and for everyone else in mourning and missing their loved ones. May God comfort you)

Wednesday 3 July 2013

Give, and it will be given to you

“Give, and it will be given to you. Good measure, pressed down, shaken together and running over, will be poured into your lap. For with the measure you use, it will be measured to you.” [Luke 6:38] +

A generous person will find that the measure of what they receive in return is not only from God, but also from "men". Compare earlier Luke 6 verses 32b and 33b: “Even sinners love those who love them… Even sinners do good to those who are good to them.”

At the beginning of each mass we are reminded “…Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and all thy mind, and with all thy strength. This is the first and great commandment. And the second is like unto it; Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself…”  Generosity is a natural response to love. People, believers or not, respond to generosity of spirit. And it’s not just about giving money, either.

The work of Sister Bernice Elphick of the Sisters of Charity is an example to how such giving gets given back by both God and man. An extraordinary love of people inspired 60 years of service by Sister Bernice, a pioneer of Australian health care services. LINK: Read More about her work....

According to her former colleague, Sr Laureen Dixon. "Her love of people is extraordinary, so as a great networker she is able to connect the people and get them enthused and that is one thing that is obvious in the way that she has led." When Australia's richest man Kerry Packer died, the media referred to Sr Bernice as "the only woman Kerry Packer can't say no to". When she needed money for a new project at St Vincent's, she would often turn to Mr Packer. Clearly and compellingly, she would outline her case and, within minutes, the media magnate would be signing a cheque. She had a way of stimulating the unbelieving Kerry Packer’s generosity. His humorous protest to her visits was that he “couldn't say no”. Why? She's a nun. He knew she had given her life to God in celibacy, personal poverty and obedience, and given her time to prayer and service to the needy. Mrs Packer is quoted as saying "She would just say, 'Darling, I know you'll fix it,’ But because of the respect in which we all held her, we knew she was not asking for any money that was not needed." And what did Mr Packer have to say? "He says it has been a great joy to know her - but that it has not been inexpensive." LINK: "Sydney Morning Herald" article....

Another example similar to Sister Bernice Elphick is the Salvos we often see in the shopping centers and local clubs selling their magazine and collecting donations. You will find there is little or no complaint about their panhandling. Instead, out come the wallets! People who are not part of the church and who otherwise wouldn’t even consider making a donation become generous. Why? Because they will know that what the Salvos do within the community is for the poor and dysfunctional.

Emil Joseph Kapaun (April 20, 1916 – May 23, 1951) was a Roman Catholic priest and United States Army chaplain who died as a prisoner of war in the Korean War.

Father Emil Kapaun was posthumously given the Congressional Medal of Honour recently for sacrificial courage in Korea. What made him extraordinary? Bicycling to wherever the shooting was to support. Showing incredible faith during the chaos, dodging bullets and explosions, Father Kapaun raced between foxholes, out past the front lines and into no-man’s land -- dragging the wounded to safety.
  LINK: Article on Fr Emil and his award...

Father Emil Kapaun was known for dragging wounded out under fire. When his commanders ordered an evacuation, he chose to stay -- gathering the injured, tending to their wounds. When the enemy broke through and the combat was hand-to-hand, he carried on -- comforting the injured and the dying, offering some measure of peace as they left this Earth. Exhorting others by word and example to carry wounded after capture when he realised they were simply being shot.

Roy Wenzl, a reporter and the co-author of an upcoming biography of Kapaun said of him: “Combat veterans are pretty reluctant to talk about (their experiences)," "But this was a pretty dramatic exception. They all wanted to talk about him. They regarded him as a heroic figure, the greatest person they ever knew."

In this image Father Emil Kapaun shows his pipe, which was shot out of his mouth by a sniper during the Korean War. 

Fr Emil physically stopped a North Korean soldier shooting a wounded American: “Then, as Father Kapaun was being led away, he saw another American -- wounded, unable to walk, laying in a ditch, defenseless. An enemy soldier was standing over him, rifle aimed at his head, ready to shoot. And Father Kapaun marched over and pushed the enemy soldier aside. And then as the soldier watched, stunned, Father Kapaun carried that wounded American away”. 

What sort of response did Fr Emil receive for his selfless giving? Catholics, protestants and Jews prayed the rosary together with him! Followed him more than their officers. Tried to protect him when enemy decided he had to go to the hospital, which was tantamount to a death sentence.

Again, notice that the original generosity and the generous response can both involve things other than money. Christian love touches hearts. No clever argument, no powerful preaching, will have the same effect over hard hearts, even though the words will still be necessary to communicate the faith at some point. 

So, let us light up our world with generosity of spirit. +

Join us at the Anglican Catholic Church for prayer and Holy Communion Next Sunday.

Tuesday 2 July 2013

Prayer for the Indwelling of the Spirit

Holy Spirit, powerful Consoler, sacred Bond of the Father and the Son, Hope of the afflicted, descend into my heart and establish in it your loving dominion. Enkindle in my tepid soul the fire of your Love so that I may be wholly subject to you. We believe that when you dwell in us, you also prepare a dwelling for the Father and the Son. Deign, therefore, to come to me, Consoler of abandoned souls, and Protector of the needy. Help the afflicted, strengthen the weak, and support the wavering. Come and purify me. Let no evil desire take possession of me. You love the humble and resist the proud. Come to me, glory of the living, and hope of the dying. Lead me by your grace that I may always be pleasing to you. Amen.

Saint Augustine of Hippo