Moderator's Comments - Posted 9 August 2016

"A Sovereign Protector I have..... "

The book of Esther is surely a unique piece of literature.

Xerxes, the King of Persia, is a named over 100 times; Mordecai, who was to become Xerxes' Prime Minister, is named 51 times and Esther is named 42 times. Yet, the central character in the book is God Himself and He is never named. His hidden hand is never acknowledged.

Moderator's Comments - Posted 25 July 2016

Tucked away in the catalogue of sins resulting from humankind’s rejection of God, are the words, “they disobey their parents” (Romans 1:30).

Children are part of the church, Paul expected them to be present when his letter was read to the Ephesians. He even expected them to be still paying attention as the letter concludes. His instruction to children is clear, “obey your parents in the Lord, for this is right” (Ephesians 6:1). “In the Lord”, could mean as you would obey the Lord or obey your parents as the Lord obeyed his parents (Luke 2:51).

Paul then quotes the 5th commandment (Exodus 20:12, Deuteronomy 5:16). This commandment transitions from the first four which concern our reverence for God. It includes the reference to “the Lord, your God” like the first four commandments.   Commandments 6 to 10 concern our love for neighbour, the first neighbours we meet in life being our parents.

We are to honour our parents, the idea is giving them the weight or respect due to their position, after all they are like God to us, they are God’s channel of life to us. To honour them is open ended and non-specific. Paul sharpens this by instructing obedience by children. The command, however, is not limited to children. All of us are to respect our parents, in every way, in every stage of life. Respect, esteem and affection are to mark out dealings with them.

Jesus confronted the hypocrisy of the Scribes and Pharisees who were “using traditions” to evade their God given responsibility of helping their parents.

Matthew 15:5 -7 shows Jewish leaders claiming they could not help parents financially because their finances were all tied up and promised to the Temple as part of their devotion to God. The proper honouring of parents and the aged is a mark of a healthy and God-honouring community. “He who robs his father and drives out his mother is a son who brings shame and disgrace” (Proverbs 19:26).

We were all raised by amateurs, we can all remember how some things could have been better handled, yet in this relationship we are to learn respect and obedience.

God is concerned for our treatment of the frail and the needy, the poor, the widow and the orphan.   The frailest are mostly those at the very beginning and very end of life and we honour them and our redeeming God by our compassion and love which cares and provides.  “There is no doubt that our nation’s elderly care facilities are among the loneliest places on the planet, stocked with persons whom time and families have too often forgotten” (John Holbert’s sermon on the 5th commandment).

Time, creative thought, a question for advice, gratitude expressed, a favourite meal, a visit to a special place, are all God honouring ways of honouring fathers and mothers and passing on a pattern of care to the next generation.  

Parents also have responsibilities. Paul urges fathers not to exasperate their children by high demands or inconsistent standards (Ephesians 6:4). Psalm 78 fills out the responsibility to teach, “the praiseworthy deeds of the Lord…. so the next generation would know them… and put their trust in God and keep his commandments” (v4 -7).

Some churches have early Sunday traditional services for the oldies and later services for young families. Such a clear division is sad because each of these groups would benefit greatly from access to one another.

God is the God of the generations. He delights in families, He loves to see parents honoured, wives loved, husbands respected, children included and nurtured.

As family life is eroded around us, the unconscious witness of the Christian community, where reconciliation, love, respect and nurture are evident, has great apologetic value in this crumbling old creation.

David Cook

Moderator's Comments - Posted 19 July 2016

Pauline Hanson and now Sonia Kruger have called for curbs to be placed on Muslim migration levels into Australia. I believe the concern of each has been a seeming lack of integration of Muslims into the Australian community, failing to join Tony Abbot’s, ‘Team Australia.’

I am appalled by the lack of integration seen in terrorist acts against fellow countrymen, whether it be in Paris, Nice, Orlando or Sydney. However, as a Christian, I battle integration issues!

Moderator's Comments - Posted 6 July 2016

Genesis 1 records God speaking ('And God said','Then God said) on ten occassions, calling creation into being.

In Exodus 20 and Deuteronomy 5, the same speaking God utters ten words ( the ten commandments) by which He defines the shape of redemptive living. These are the commands we receive from the hand of the Lord Jesus and understand in the light of His words and work. I recently heard the late opthalmologist, Fred Hollows, quoted as saying, 'I believe the basic attribute of mankind is to look after eachother'.

Moderator's Comments - Posted 28 June 2016

There is no use complaining about social media. Like wealth, it is here to stay. Like wealth, it is very useful.

When I left SMBC in 2011, the student body presented me with an iPad. Frankly, I didn’t know what I was going to do with such a contraption. Now, nearly five years later, I don’t know how I ever coped without it.