OUR COMMUNITY NEWS FOR TODAY AND THE COMING WEEK
In defence of the hired man
There is something that doesn’t sit well with me right from the start of this Gospel passage: the characterisation of the hired hand. He is fearful and careless. This doesn’t sit well for selfish reasons—because a hired hand is all I’ve ever been, professionally speaking. My titles have included farmhand, fry cook, server, assistant, caregiver, and now associate rector. I’ve never owned my own business or flock, never been an Executive Anything. And yet I’d like to think I’ve done good, faithful, strong, even excellent work.
John’s Jesus does not speak highly of the hired hand. And so I’m left wondering: Is there a better version of the hireling we might envision, or aspire to be? After all, we’re not the shepherd—Jesus is. And though we try to pattern our life and our faithfulness after his, it’s not our place to become the shepherd.
Peter and the other apostles in Acts embody this better sense of the more careful, committed hired hand that I’m looking for. They go around healing and preaching boldly, but always in the name of the good shepherd who commissioned them. Aren’t they, in some sense, hired hands for Jesus? Aren’t we?
I suspect the key distinction here lies in the sense of the “hiring.” God doesn’t just hire us; God calls us by name. God claims us and makes a covenant with us in baptism (and with some of us again, through ordination).
God’s devotion to us remains steadfast, even when we, hired hands that we are, would scatter at the sight of the wolf, fleeing for a time to some seemingly greener pastures. Even when our behaviour would justify our firing, God keeps showing up, with an endless supply of second chances. Always ready to make all things new.
Ideally we’re not just in it for the money the way John’s hired hand is. But we also don’t have the same burdens of ownership that the shepherd does. In fact, it’s precisely when we start to think that we do—when we try to function as the owner of the mission rather than as God’s missionaries—that we tend to get into trouble.
So perhaps the goal of discipleship is to chart something of a path between the good shepherd himself on the one hand and the fearful, careless hireling on the other. We can try to be like the apostles, leaning into the claim God has placed on us. Speaking truth, working for healing, taking risks in the world. But always pointing back to the one we are working for—the one who calls us by name and sets us on the path.
- Nadia Stefko (From Christian Century for today’s readings)
EVENTS AND NOTICES
Saturday Take Away Night (STAN)
STAN will be held on 28 April, 6.30 pm, and will be at the home of Frances Geilen. All welcome.
Please RSVP to Frances
Soul Food next Sunday
Soul Food - the planning team has decided to press the pause button with a view to revisiting the concept later in the year - come and join our last one for this series next Sunday April 29 at 5.30 - informal food and fellowship and a chance to share ideas.
Planting at Cobbledicks Ford
Early notice for Thursday 17 May, 10 am to 12.30 pm. 400+ native grasses to be planted in pre-drilled holes. See the notice on the foyer notice board.
Housekeeping & Help
If you or someone you know is in need of pastoral care, please don’t hesitate to contact either our minister, Mike Lewis or Robyn Tomkins.
We’re keen to make sure that when people know that someone has gone into hospital or is otherwise ‘out of sorts’, that they are not forgotten. If we don’t know that someone has suffered some misfortune we are not likely to be able to visit or offer support in some way; so please let us know in such a circumstance.
Worship Plan for this week
9.30 am Family Worship (Rev. Mike Lewis)
Following worship today
Please join us for morning tea in the foyer.
Activities this week
Monday: 9.30 am Playgroup
Wednesday: Seniors Afternoon Tea, 2 pm in the foyer.
Thursday: Bible Study, 8 pm, Savorys’.
Saturday: STAN, 6. 30 pm at Frances Geilen’s.
Next Sunday — 29 April Easter 5
9.30 am Worship (Rev. Mike Lewis)
5.30 pm Soul Food (Final) See notice.
Rosters for Next Week
Duty Elder: Robyn Tomkins
Greeting: Rose Geilen
Morning Tea: Margaret Dent & Mary Dixon
Flowers: Mary Dixon
Reader: Val Tardrew
AV Desk: Chris Bradley
Prayers: Mike Lewis
Piano: Jeremy Withers
Bible Readings next week: Acts 8:26–40, Psalm 22:25–31; I John 4:7–21; John 15:1–8.
Bruce Watson and Rose Broadstock
Revd Bruce Watson,
Chairperson of the Presbytery of Port Phillip West, brings greetings to the Crossroads congregation of the Uniting Church. Port Phillip West Presbytery includes more than fifty five UC congregations.
Bruce is now minister of Trinity Uniting, Seves St Altona; his chairperson role is part-time.
I asked Bruce “What can the Presbytery offer to a congregation such as Crossroads?”
He says: “In a time of transition, when Australian society is facing rapid change, Presbytery supports and encourages the life and ministry of local congregations, resourcing and enabling new and creative ways of regenerating our ‘mission-motivated’ church.”
Revd Rose Broadstock,
Mission Strategy worker, assists congregational leaders, pushing the boundaries of imaginative ways of serving Christ.
Presbytery can support strategic thinking by congregations as they step outside the previous context.
We now are experiencing our Christian discipleship interculturally. People of migrant ethnic communities from the former mission fields are stepping up to share leadership in the Synod of Victoria and Tasmania.
Often the environment of nineteenth century buildings and furniture we’ve inherited have determined the congregation’s existence; Presbytery can facilitate new expressions of being the church, freeing us up to worship and follow Christ in new ways.
Let’s not forget that Presbytery has responsibility especially at the beginning and the end of placements, to steer the process of reviewing the local church’s raison d’etre (profile), and the selection of a new minister.”
Pray for Bruce, Rose, and the members of Presbytery as they serve Christ and his church. (Story by Neil Tolliday)
Wyndham Theatre Company presents "Calendar Girls" by Tim Firth
At Crossroads UC Hall on Fridays 11, 18 and 25, and Saturdays 12, 19, and 26, all at 8 pm, and at 2 pm for a matinee performance on Saturday 19 May only.
Tickets from www.wyndhamtheatrecompany.org.au
CHURCH OFFICE AND NEWSLETTER
Telephone 03 9741 1084. Postal address is PO Box 2156 Werribee 3030. Email firstname.lastname@example.org.