Talofa lava and greetings in Jesus’ name.
Last week, we heard the story of the “Lost Son” (Luke 15:11-24). The familiar story is about a father and his two sons and the day his youngest son demanded to have his share of the property – an entitlement that was due to the two brothers at a later time. It is not long before the young son leaves home with his share, sells his share, and uses the money on wasteful living. Meanwhile, at home, a father anguishes over his youngest son hoping one day he would return. After “coming to his senses” the young son, left with nothing but a prayer, returns from the wilderness with a heart full of repentance and regret. Overjoyed, his father greets him with a welcoming party fit for a king! The oldest son is not impressed. He had been home all along serving and working for his father but there was no party for him. He was bitter and angry and refused to join the homecoming celebrations. His father begged him to come in, but he refused.
There were 3 lost sons – not just one. The youngest son had been drawn to the freedom of independence but quickly lost his way – and lost everything. His brother had failed to recognize what was important here – it wasn’t about who was found – it was finding what was once lost (Luke 15:1-7). The father too, was lost in many a sense, one being, that he had failed to celebrate the faithfulness and obedience of his older son.
Many of us see ourselves in this story. Some of us have lost our way in life and need to come to our senses to get back on track – one that leads to God’s unconditional providence and love. For many, sibling rivalry and competition has been the cause of lost relationships throughout generations. For our parents, favouritism for one child is neglect for another. Neglect can potentially lead to rebellion, introversion, and even suicide.
It’s a great relief to know that when we are lost, in whatever sense, Jesus comes looking for us (Lk. 15:4). We just need to place ourselves where we can be found.
Rev. Gary Mauga
Greetings in the name of our Lord and Saviour, Jesus Christ.
We live in a day where social networking, and media, and mobile phones are the new ways of talking – communicating with one another. There is Facebook, Youtube, Twitter, Photobucket, Skype, iPhone, iPad, Smartphone… and the list goes on.
I find social media and the latest mobile phone technology quite fascinating – and even helpful. It helps in so many different ways! I can video call friends and family in other countries; I can keep in touch with groups of friends and share statuses of how I’m feeling (emphasized with an emoticon); I can even share pictures and photos between family members. I have been able to communicate
especially with our StAND Youth members via Facebook given their very busy and sophisticated young lives. It makes me also young and cool.
The collection of Psalms throughout Scripture, capture and articulate the emotions of many early pilgrims. Reflections from kings, slaves, those who are strong in faith, those who are weak, those for whom oppression has become unbearable, the lament of those who feel abandoned by their God, but also those who can testify to God’s enduring love – are all collated to make up what is commonly known as the Psalter. Despite the schizophrenic nature of these psalms – they hold a significant place in Scripture – in the story of the people of God.
Earlier this year, I concluded that “Facebook is a modern day Psalter.” It is a collection of celebratory occasions, successes, encouragement, intention, future hopes, past regrets and failure, frustration, a forum to praise God – but also to curse God, a space where many share their grief, honour personal loss of a loved one, an arena to confront an enemy… all these things and more. Facebook, then, like many other social networks has become today’s psalms.
As people of God, a community of faith, we are called to “praise Him in the assembly of the people” (Ps. 109), and giving thanks to God for “He set his people free and made an eternal covenant with them … he is to be praised forever” (Ps. 111). And how about you and me? In the assembly of our social network groups, do we honour the Lord? Do we honour our redemption through the grace of Jesus Christ in our status updates? Is the language we use in today’s psalms, like the Psalter, a language that begins with lament and rebellion, but points to hope? The psalmist says, “May your constant love be with us, Lord, as we put our hope in you” (Ps.33).
I encourage you, then, friends in Christ, in all that we do and speak, whether face to face or facebook to facebook, may our words reflect a nature of hope, that others too, may find hope.
“To you alone, O Lord, to you alone, and not to us, must glory be given because of your constant love and faithfulness” (Ps. 115).
Have a great week!
Rev Gary Mauga
Greetings in the name of the Most High God!
I love shoes. This week, I received a phone call from a local shoe store. I had visited this shoe store last month hoping to buy a pair of new leather dress shoes. I have big feet (size 14/15) and so the lovely lady who was serving me put in the nicest way possible, “we have run out of your size.”
Translation: “My, what big feet you have!” She kindly offered to order my size shoe from their factory shop and said she would contact me when my new “kicks” arrived. They called me to inform that they had received my order and it was ready to be paid and collected. As I tried on these shoes, I noticed that I was trying to squeeze a size 14 foot into a size 13 shoe. I proceeded to wriggle my foot in as I really wanted these shoes. I tried forcing the shoe on my foot whilst trying not to damage the shoe. It wasn’t to be. I would have to wait again. Once again, I would leave empty handed – or empty
Not everything fits. In all aspects of life, we will experience the disappointments of not fitting in. It may be a sport or hobby that we would like to try only to find that no matter how much effort we put in – we are plain and simply not good at it. This may also extend to those seeking friendships or relationships. We often discover that there are groups of people we would like to join despite our own interests not really matching up to theirs. We try to force ourselves to adapt to their habits and routines – but it doesn’t last – we just don’t fit. Forcing a fit can cause some damage. Not only are we unhappy (doing something for the appeasement of others) but we can also be led into a routine of life that we may one day regret (like a group of friends who are a bad influence on your life).
God created us equal – but with “different gifts” (Rom. 12:6-8). You have a gift that is unique to you. As it is a God-given gift, wherever you go, whatever you do, and whoever you encounter, your reverence for God will make you stand out – fitting in is of no importance – STANDING OUT is what
makes you distinct. Not everything is for you but in all that you do “work at it with all your heart, as
though you were working for the Lord and not for people” (Col. 3:23) and STAND OUT!
Rev. Gary Mauga
Rev. Gary Mauga
Thoughts and comments by our minister, Gary.
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Rev. Gary Mauga