On the 12th January I was asked by Adjunct Research Professor Brian Douglas to give a talk to the intensive diaconate course at St Mark’s National Theological Centre, for those seeking ordination.
This is part of the talk I gave.
When God calls us to serve him within the church our lives change forever. We are called to be his witnesses to the people in the town we live in and in the place we are called to serve him.
We are called to be his heart and body on this earth. And we are called to reach out with his heart that overflows with love for all through Jesus. We are called to be disciples, to live as Jesus lives and to be as one with him in all we do and say.
My life as a Deacon in charge of the Gundagai parish is so fulfilling because of the work I do.
My days are filled with looking after our community and the parish. I manage our local Op Shop, and this is the base of my street ministry. This is where I serve the ones who live on the fringes of society, and I am supported by volunteers who freely give their time and love to these people.
God uses our life experiences to help others. Our pain and suffering enables us to reach out in God’s name and help them. As disciples of Christ we need to remember everyone has a voice and wants to be heard. This is one of the most important lessons we can learn. As Deacons you will be called into many different situations and just sitting and listening to the people is so important. And as with any situation we do not know what has bought others to this moment of time in their life’s journey.
The rectory where I live has what I call a revolving door, and everyone is welcome there. My veranda and lounge room has become a place for prayer, gatherings, fellowship and talking about the wonder of God and how he works in our lives.
On Monday mornings an ecumenical prayer group is held at the rectory and we come together to pray for each other, and those in need in our community.
Thursday afternoons at the rectory I am joined by the local Fijian community for fellowship and prayers.
I visit the hospital and residential care and I am often called to the hospital to give the last rites to the dying. While I am there I also spend time with the family in prayer.
I preach and lead our Sunday services at St John’s and St Paul’s each week and often have healing prayer during the service. I am supported by a congregation who love God and are faithful to him.
I do most of the funerals in our town as well as baptisms and weddings.
As you can see my life is busy in Christ and, yes, I get tired but at the end of the day I know I have tried to live for and serve God through his son. It is not easy to live as a disciple of Christ and I make mistakes, but God is gracious to me and as in the beginning of my journey with him he never lets me go, he holds me to him with his love.
For me my life in Christ is fulfilment. I am filled with his Holy Spirit and his love. And I am blessed to be his disciple. I am not perfect, far from it, but each day I ask to be renewed in his Holy Spirit so I may be led by his will and not my own.
My love for Jesus knows no boundaries, he is the reason I get up each morning. Each day is filled with excitement because he makes life worthwhile. Every day I see the possibility of a new miracle, a miracle filled with the love of Jesus. I may never see these miracles but I do not need to because all the praise and glory belongs to God, not me.
Each of us has a story to share. My story is one of God’s saving grace and how he has led me from a life of darkness into a life of hope and love.
I have given my life in service to God and as a disciple of Jesus. Every day I know I will experience Jesus’ saving grace as I serve the people God has called me to serve. There is healing within one’s own life when we serve God.
He is simply my life, my heart, and my soul. He simply rocks my world. God has made me who I am today and for that alone I am his.
I pray that each of you know the deep fulfilment of serving God and as a disciple of Jesus. Each day commune with God, seek his guidance and his wisdom and ask him to help you as you go into the world to serve him.
And I pray all goes well for each of you who is answering God’s call to serve him within his church and his community.
Quite often I think upon these words: You cannot preach Christ crucified if you do not live Christ crucified.
And this is how God continues to work in our lives and in the parish of Gundagai.
by Reverend Wendy Anderson