Wednesday, 24 July 2019

Sermon 28th July 2019 – 7th Sunday after Pentecost Text Luke 11:1-13 – Lord, teach us to pray.

Sermon 28th July 2019 – 7th Sunday after Pentecost
Text Luke 11:1-13 – Lord, teach us to pray.

In our Gospel reading today we have Luke’s version of the Lord’s Prayer which Jesus gave to his disciples to teach them how to pray.
It’s a little bit different to Matthew’s version which is a more fuller account and which we have come to know as we pray the Lord’s Prayer.
I thought perhaps we could again look at Luke’s version in today’s Gospel using Luther’s explanation and what it means today.
Probably the most audacious part of the Lord’s Prayer is that we can dare call God “Father”.
After all we have done to God by our disobedience and all that we did to his Son – we dare to call him “father”.
And yet this is what Jesus invites us to do.
This invitation shows the very heart of God who cannot disown his children despites their disobedience.
That is true love.
This invitation is Jesus’ work of reconciliation of the world to God when after his resurrection, when the work of dying for our sins was over, Jesus sends Mary with the message to the disciples – tell them I am ascending to my father and YOUR father.
Luther says that we should embrace this invitation to call God “our Father”
We are to believe that God is truly our Father and we are his children.
We are to pray to him with complete confidence and speak to him just as a child speaks with their parents.
Prayer is communicating with God.
It is speaking to God as we would speak to our parents.
The challenge in this is that not everyone has or had a good relationship with their earthly parents;
But God is the true reflection of Fatherhood in his unconditional love for his children.
But prayer is also listening to God like listening to our parents – and that can be hard at times also.
Children don’t always like to hear what their parents have to say to them especially when it is to discipline them by saying “no”.
But as we mature and maybe become parents ourselves,  we begin to understand what that discipline meant and how it actually benefitted us.
And so Jesus says: If you then, who are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will the heavenly Father give the Holy Spirit to those who ask him!
Hallowed be your name,
Hallowed is not a word we are altogether too familiar with.
What does it mean?
Basically it means to keep something special – in this prayer – to keep God’s name special or sacred.
Why is that important?
Because your name is who you are.
Your name is what identifies you.
So when Moses went  to fight against Pharaoh to release Israel from slavery, the weapon God gave to Moses was his name.
A name that he, and we now, can call upon at God’s invitation.
When Jesus fulfilled all that God asked of him Philippians says that God gave to him the name that is above all names.
So how do we keep God’s name special?
We do that by remembering that everything we say – everything we do – reflects on God’s name.
When we say and do things that upset or hurt people and they know that we are Christians it reflects on God’s name.
We see that so often in the media whether it’s clergy or laypeople who do the wrong thing – they criticise the Church and God.
So as Christians we need to be aware that what we do affects God’s name.
This is more than just the 2nd Commandment – do not misuse God’s name – this is at the heart of the First and Greatest Commandment – to love the Lord your God with all your heart, soul, mind and strength – and your neighbour as yourself.
As we are created in the image of God, what we do is as if God himself has done it.
Your kingdom come.
Why do we pray this?
Aren’t we waiting for Heaven when God’s kingdom will come?
Isn’t this world evil and rejected by God?
The wonderful thing about this part of the Lord’s Prayer is God’s continued love for this world.
Despite how far many have drifted away from God – God will never drift away from anyone.
Despite all that we did to his Son Jesus God still wants his Kingdom here on earth until we are with him in heaven.
It’s what Luther described as the 2 Kingdoms of God;
God’s left kingdom – the worldly Government – and his right Kingdom – the Kingdom of his Gospel.
Just because we chose to disobey him and were removed from the Garden of Eden does not mean God has abandoned us to our own devices until we are in heaven.
No, God still wants to make his home here amongst us and so we pray – your Kingdom come.
A kingdom, where through our Baptism as promised – I am with you always till the end of the age.
And that means that we too, according to Luther’s Small Catechism – that we are to live a godly life on earth now as in heaven.
If it is something we won’t be doing in heaven then we should not be doing it here on earth while we await God’s Kingdom.
Give us each day our daily bread.
Bread, according to Luther, is symbolic of everything we need for this life – such as food, clothing, home, work and income, community, good government. Favourable weather, peace, health, a good name and true friends and neighbours.
But bread is also symbolic of the love and care that God extends to us as we journey to our heavenly home.
Just as God provided daily bread to the Israelites as they wandered the desert for 40 years onward to the Promised Land.
Each day God would provide them with Manna to show them that he cared for their daily needs.
So too God has promised to love and care for us on our journey to our promised land with the promise of Jesus, the Bread of Life  – I am with you always till the end of the age.
Forgive us our sins,
This part is easy to pray – forgive us our sins – but it’s what follows that pricks our conscience:
    for we also forgive everyone who sins against us.
Not some – not most – not almost everyone – but we forgive everyone who sins against us.
Is that blackmail?
I won’t forgive you unless you forgive others?
It’s a reality check that if we cannot forgive someone who has sinned against us – have we truly understood the gravity of our sin against God and how much he has forgiven us?
How can we truly justify saying – God should surely understand why I can’t forgive that person for what they did to me – and yet readily accept God’s forgiveness for having caused great suffering, humiliation and death to his son Jesus.
God’s concern in this petition is wanting us to know the full extent of his love and mercy to us which can only be experienced when we show the same unconditional love and mercy to others.
And finally - lead us not into temptation.
This is a tricky one as many have argued that God does not tempt anyone –
And that’s true as St James says in his letter: When tempted, no one should say, "God is tempting me." For God cannot be tempted by evil, nor does he tempt anyone;
And so some have changed this part of the prayer to “save us from the time of trial”.
This petition does not say – don’t tempt us.
It says, lead us not into temptation.
Luther explains it best when he says in his Catechism:
We ask in this prayer that God would watch over us and keep us so that the devil, the world, and our sinful self may not deceive us and that even though we are tempted that we may still win the final victory.
Temptation doesn’t come from God but it is to God we go when we feel tempted and don’t know which way to go – so we pray – lead us not into temptation.
In other words – lead us in a way that leads to doing your will.
Temptation is a part of our human existence to turn away from God.
It was how Satan lured Adam and Eve away from God.
It was how Satan lured Jesus to turn his back on God too – but as we know from the writer to the Hebrews – he was tempted in every way, just as we are—yet he did not sin.
And it is because of this that not only can we come to him but the Hebrews writer says - Let us then approach God’s throne of grace with confidence, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help us in our time of need.
This is a very powerful prayer and should never just become something we say or do.
It encompasses everything that God enshrines in his love and mercy for us – who knows us more intimately than we know ourselves – who knows what we need and not just what we want.
So often we hear people respond to situations – my thoughts and prayers are with you.
But this is not what Jesus is doing.
He is giving us access to the presence of God and says - Ask, and it will be given you; search, and you will find; knock, and the door will be opened for you. For everyone who asks receives, and everyone who searches finds, and for everyone who knocks, the door will be opened.
And this is not just any door – it is the door to the Kingdom of Heaven to which Jesus has given us the Keys.
Like any relationship, communication is the key to sustaining and growing and here Jesus has given to us the Masterkey so we can with confidence pray and come to the Father – our Father in Heaven.

Thursday, 18 July 2019

Sermon 21st July 2019 - 6th Sunday after Pentecost - Text: Luke 10:38-42 - Sibling rivalry

Sermon 21st July 2019 - 6th Sunday after Pentecost - Text: Luke 10:38-42 - Sibling rivalry

Sibling rivalry.
Is this what we are seeing in our Gospel reading between Mary and Martha or is it something deeper?
Jesus has come to the home of Mary and Martha and both sisters see a different emphasis of what needs to happen.
It reminds me of a similar situation which involved Mary in John’s Gospel – it may have even been the same event when Jesus came to Bethany, where Lazarus was, Mary and Martha’s brother whom Jesus had raised from the dead. So they gave a dinner for him there. Martha served, and Lazarus was one of those reclining with him at table. Mary took some expensive perfume and anointed the feet of Jesus and wiped his feet with her hair. The house was filled with the fragrance of the perfume. But Judas Iscariot, one of his disciples said, “Why was this perfume not sold and given to the poor?” Jesus said, “Leave her alone, so that she may keep it for the day of my burial. For the poor you always have with you, but you do not always have me.”
Was one action more important than another?
Not necessarily.
It was seemingly a question of priorities.
Mary chose to sit at Jesus’ feet and listen to his teachings because who knows when she might have that opportunity again.
Entertaining the guests could have happened anytime afterwards.
Mary chose to use the expensive perfume to anoint Jesus because he was about to die.
The poor could be helped continuously after that or with other resources.
So this Gospel reading speaks to the heart of priorities.
I don’t believe it’s a situation of one of the sisters being better or more “Christian” than the other because of what they have chosen to do.
Both were believers in Jesus as the Christ.
Both loved Jesus and Jesus loved them both.
But they were very different women.
There is no doubt that grace lived in both their hearts.
But each showed that love and grace in different ways.
So we learn from this that we should not expect all Christians to be exactly the same as each other as the body of Christ is made up of many different members – like a human body.
We learn that we can each make decisions on how we believe God is calling us to express our faith and gifts.
Neither, therefore, should we judge based on our own expectations and gifts – which is what Martha did.
And that’s one of the beautiful things about God’s creation – the differences and diversity.
As we look at creation we see a variety of flowers – different colours – different aromas – different times of the year they flourish in different conditions.
It’s the same with God’s creatures – we don’t have one type of bird but thousands – the same with all animal species.
That’s part of God’s creativity.
So too in humanity –we have different gifts – different skills – different ways of expressing ourselves – including our faith and service to God.
What we are called to do, as members of the body of Christ is to embrace what God has gifted us with and support the other members as they too express their God given gifts in their own ways.
And together we express God’s creativity in harmony.
St Paul highlights that when he says: the eye cannot say to the hand, “I don’t need you!” And the head cannot say to the feet, “I don’t need you!” On the contrary, those parts of the body that seem to be weaker are indispensable, and the parts that we think are less honourable we treat with special honour.
Martha’s problem is that she was bringing down both herself and Mary by her criticism of her sister.
Martha’s gift was the gift of hospitality.
But because she was so focused on Mary not sharing the same gift she also distracted her own gift.
Because of her distraction she didn’t see what she was doing as a gift and that’s when we begin to lose passion for what we are doing for God.
And that’s what Jesus is pointing out.
He points out her distraction not her decision to not sit at his feet.
He doesn’t tell her to stop what she is doing and come and sit down but to not allow her distractions from affecting her calling and also her sister Mary’s.
The body of Christ is like a well tuned machine.
Each part by itself doesn’t really achieve anything.
But when it works in conjunction with all the other parts it achieves the outcome for which is has been built.
A sparkplug in an engine has an important function.
By itself it has no purpose.
An engine without one will not function.
But together they work in harmony.
Or take a piece of music made up of many notes.
By itself a note is just a noise.
But with other notes it creates a harmony.
So too the body of Christ.
Martha had a function which in harmony with everything going on created a harmonious environment for Jesus’ visit.
But she stopped serving.
She interrupted Jesus’s function.
She interrupted Mary’s function.
We no longer have harmony but chaos.
When God created the world he created order from chaos.
The Spirit of God hovered over the empty void and then God began to create order – he brought light and life into our world.
He ordered it in such a way that had harmony between creature and creation and behold it was very good.
And that harmony continued until human beings broke that order through sin and reintroduced chaos through disobedience.
Adam and Eve were distracted by Satan to look away from God’s harmony and let their own desires break that harmony.
Martha, too, became distracted and allowed her own desires to break the harmony of Jesus’ visit.
So this text speaks to us and any behaviour we might show that breaks the harmony of God’s work.
Each of us is gifted in one way or the other to which we contribute to the harmony of the body of Christ.
St Paul, so majestically paints that harmonious order in our 2nd reading today:
Notice how many times he highlights Jesus being at the head that puts everything in our lives in order:
Christ Jesus is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn of all creation.
In him all things in heaven and on earth were created.
All things have been created through him and for him
In him all things hold together
He is the head of the body
He is the beginning, the firstborn from the dead
In him all the fullness of God was pleased to dwell
Through him God was pleased to reconcile to himself all things
I think we start to see the picture here.
If Jesus is at the head of our congregation.
If Jesus is at the head of our family.
If Jesus is at the head of our ministry.
If Jesus is at the head of how we live our lives –
Then everything falls into harmony.
It’s when we let our own desires – our own egos – our own agendas – our own criticisms,  when we let these influence our judgments – then chaos creeps back in.
When we start to act like Martha and start judging others by our standards rather than Christ’s then our harmony breaks down.
We all play our part in our community of Christ here.
And some play what might seem a lesser role but one that would create chaos if it wasn’t done.
Just like a $10 sparkplug can render a $100,000 luxury car inoperable if it is faulty or missing.
All of us are an intricate and vital part of the body of Christ and we should value each and every part as indispensable and irreplaceable.
That’s how God sees us and that’s how we should see ourselves – we are that one lost sheep – we are that one lost coin – we are that lost prodigal son – and together we make up the body of Christ.
Whatever it is that God has gifted you, do it joyfully and don’t be distracted by how God is using others.

Thursday, 11 July 2019

Sermon 14th July 2019 – 5th Sunday after Pentecost Text: Luke 10:25-37 – Go and do likewise

Sermon 14th July 2019 – 5th Sunday after Pentecost
Text: Luke 10:25-37 – Go and do likewise

There are some fairly tough parts in the bible but for me there is none tougher than today’s Gospel reading when Jesus says – “Go and do likewise”.
It reminds me of the old saying – “do as I say not as I do”.
It’s so easy to know what the right thing is to do but not so easy to do it.
So when Jesus says – love one another as I have loved you, how many of us can do that?
How many of us could have offered hospitality to Judas like Jesus did, knowing he was going to betray him?
How many of us would have been prepared to forgive and reinstate Peter like Jesus did after denying him 3 times.
How many of us would be prepared to ask God to forgive those who put him to death like Jesus did?
St Paul found that dilemma himself when he said:
For what I want to do I do not do, but what I hate I do. For I do not do the good I want to do, but the evil I do not want to do—this I keep on doing.
Jesus tells the Parable of the Good Samaritan as it is widely known and upon telling the actions of the Good Samaritan tells the lawyer asking Jesus a question about eternal life to “go and do likewise”.
What are the details of this direction?
What is it that the Samaritan has done that we are to example in our lives?
Well, let’s look at the context and what leads up to the telling of this parable.
 A lawyer comes up to Jesus and asks: "what must I do to inherit eternal life?"
So there is the first mistake this lawyer makes.
What must I DO?
There is nothing one does to receive eternal life.
It is a gift from God.
A free gift as St Paul says in Ephesians Chapter 2:
For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith—and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God— not by works, so that no one can boast.
There is nothing we do – God has done it all.
As a lawyer he wanted to know what he needed to do.
And as a lawyer it meant he probably wanted to know what he didn’t need to do – to try and find a loophole in the law.
So if there’s something I don’t need to do then I won't be doing it.
The priest and the Levite going down the road didn’t have to stop and help one of their fellow Israelites – so they didn’t.
The loophole they found in the law was from the Law of Moses which said; “Whoever touches a dead body will be unclean for seven days… If they fail to purify themselves after touching a human corpse, they defile the Lord’s tabernacle. They must be cut off from Israel. (Numbers 19)
If they stopped to help him and he was actually dead then they would be disqualified from serving in the temple which was where they were heading.
Likewise the Samaritan didn’t need to stop.
It wasn’t one of his countrymen.
He was from the people that had persecuted his people.
He didn’t need to stop and help – but he does.
He loved as Jesus loved when he cried out “forgive them Father”.
Being a Good Samaritan is more than just helping someone out.
Being a Good Samaritan is helping out when all other indicators would say not to.
That’s what Jesus is teaching the lawyer.
The lawyer was looking for an out.
Jesus said to love your neighbour and he is trying to find out who I don’t have to love.
So he asks – “who is my neighbour”.
Why would you ask that question unless you were wanting to know – who is NOT my neighbour.
Jesus is explaining in this parable – think of someone you believe is NOT your neighbour – they are your neighbour.
How was it that this Samaritan would now call an Israelite, with whom they did not associate, a neighbour?
The Israelites had been anything but neighbourly to the Samaritans.
On the other hand, the Priest and the Levite had an obligation to care for this victim.
Not only was he a fellow Israelite but they were God’s representatives.
They were the ones charged with the Holy Things of God and to administer God’s grace and blessing on his people.
And they ignored the needs of their neighbour – their own blood.
So what makes a person a neighbour, according to Jesus’ parable?
A neighbour is anyone in need.
A neighbour is a victim who needs help.
A neighbour is anyone that we can help.
And that’s why this parable and Jesus’ teaching from it – go and do likewise – is one of the most difficult teachings of Jesus.
It examples exactly what God has done for us through Jesus.
We remember what Paul says – it was while we were yet sinners that Christ died for us.
We were anything but neighbourly to God.
We disobeyed him.
We rejected him.
We were anything but neighbourly to Jesus.
We betrayed him.
We denied him.
We humiliated him.
We chose a murderer to be freed rather than Jesus.
We demanded his death by crucifixion.
And yet his dying prayer on the cross was “forgive them Father”.
Can we think of a situation where we can be truly justified in not helping another person?
How does the Good Samaritan speak in today’s setting:
2 examples:
This week Channel 10 will show the documentary on footballer Adam Goodes – an indigenous footballer who left footy after prolonged booing.
It caused major divisions.
Some said it is his fault because of the way he acted and nothing to do with racism.
Irrespective of what you believe, the parable of the Good Samaritan teaches that if he is hurting then we need to respond to his hurts.
Another example is the safe injecting room in Richmond.
Letters this past week slammed a decision to open more facilities with many saying just let them overdose and let society be rid of them.
Irrespective of what you believe, the parable of the Good Samaritan teaches that if they are hurting then we need to respond in love.
That’s the challenge- to put aside our views and our biases and respond to hurt.

When the lawyer asked Jesus: what must I do to inherit eternal life?" Jesus said to him, "What is written in the law? What do you read there?" He answered, "You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your strength, and with all your mind; and your neighbor as yourself." And he said to him, "You have given the right answer; do this, and you will live."
We are very good at looking at others and declaring what behaviours shall not inherit eternal life.
But here Jesus sums up what it means to inherit eternal life.
Loving God and loving our neighbour.
And there is no one who is not my neighbour because every single person is created in the Image of God.
Every single person is a person for whom Jesus died.
And Jesus does not give us an out or a loophole but says – go and do likewise – he doesn’t say go and try your best.
We know that we cannot keep this law of love perfectly and for that we are thankful that Jesus has paid for our sins.
But it reminds us that we never have an excuse for treating anyone as less than a neighbour.
Even the Priest and the Levite show us that God even puts the needs of our neighbour above his own needs telling us to example the behaviour of the Good Samaritan rather than the Priest and Levite.
There are so many in our society today who are treated like the victim in our text – people we would rather not associate with – people for whom we cross to the other side of the road.
Let us daily example the Good Samaritan who was able to overlook his prejudices and seek ways to help.
They are there – across the road – it’s just we have learnt so well to look the other way.
Thankfully God did not look the other way but loved us with all his heart, soul, strength and mind.
Let us go and do likewise.

Wednesday, 3 July 2019

Sermon 7th July 2019 – 4th Sunday after Pentecost Text: Luke 10:1-11, 16-20 – The harvest is plentiful – but so is rejection

Sermon 7th July 2019 – 4th Sunday after Pentecost
Text: Luke 10:1-11, 16-20 – The harvest is plentiful – but so is rejection

I have to admit that I struggle a bit with our Gospel reading in trying to understand it.
Jesus says to the 72 disciples that he is sending out - "The harvest is plentiful, but the workers are few;
The way that many in the church are feeling today is that the harvest is getting less and less rather than being plentiful.
No one seemingly wants to hear what the church has to say.
A harvest suggests that the people are waiting for us but we don’t have enough workers to send out for the demand.
Where are all these people that Jesus suggests are just waiting for us to come to them?
Where is this harvest that Jesus speaks about that is ready to be picked?
The harvest is wherever you go – whenever you go there.
The harvest is in your workplace.
The harvest is in your local shopping centre.
The harvest is in your own home.
The harvest is in your local sport.
That’s how Jesus sees every individual because every individual is created in God’s image.
Every individual is a person for whom he suffered and died.
In last week’s Gospel when the Samaritans rejected Jesus, James and John wanted to call down fire from heaven to destroy them.
But Jesus rejected their anger.
What would that achieve?
They too were people for whom he will die.
After all the suffering, humiliation, rejection and death that Jesus would undergo to save humankind, what more could anyone do that would deny them from Jesus’ love to have them saved?
And so we are sent out with just one thing – the love of Christ to extend to all people.
So often we go out with our agenda of what WE believe people need to hear.
What WE believe people need to do or change in order to be accepted by God.
But let us remember, we are already accepted by God –that’s what the Cross of Jesus is all about;
For God loved the world so much that he sent his one and only Son, not to condemn the world but to save the world through him.
God had nothing more to give us which he gave by sending his Son Jesus so what can we possibly give or do for God to have him accept us.
There is nothing we can do to earn God’s love or have God love us any more than he does.
Likewise there is nothing we can do that will make God love us less or reject us.
But, because of free will, we can freely reject God’s love – and that’s our harvest field to work in.
And that’s what we have to give to the world around us – the love of God in Jesus.
Jesus sends his disciples out equipped with all they need – the Good News of God’s love and acceptance of all people:
Carry no purse, no bag, no sandals; and greet no one on the road.
Go where the Holy Spirit leads you.
But he wants us to be under no illusion – we are going into enemy territory
I am sending you out like lambs into the midst of wolves.
And that’s why the harvest is plentiful.
Because there are so many out there that do not yet know the love of God that he has for them.
This is not an easy task to do because, as Jesus says, rejection is at the heart of sharing the Gospel.
And that is why the workers are few because it not everyone’s “cup of tea” to share the gospel with others – especially with family and friends.
In fact Jesus acknowledges the difficulty as he sends his disciples out in pairs rather than by themselves.
And that’s why we need to encourage one another.
That’s why we gather as community rather than individuals.
And what a wonderful message we have to share and how amazing when we see someone respond to the Gospel.
Just like the disciples who returned with excitement: The seventy-two returned with joy, saying, "Lord, in your name even the demons submit to us!

It’s like  the angels in heaven who rejoice over one sinner who repents rather than the multitude who have no need of repentance – that’s our harvest field – even if there is just one grain of wheat ready for the harvest.
Sadly our fear of rejection often motivates us rather than the joy of sharing the Good News.
As Isaiah says: How beautiful on the mountains are the feet of the messenger who brings good news, the good news of peace and salvation, the news that the God of Israel reigns!
What is it that hinders us from sharing this Good News that brings so much joy and peace?
Is it because we are afraid of the rejection and take it personally?
It often is, which is why Jesus encourages and comforts us - Whoever listens to you listens to me, and whoever rejects you rejects me, and whoever rejects me rejects the one who sent me."
It’s not you that is being rejected but God.
It isn’t easy but we need to share the Good News so others have the opportunity to share in the joy we have.
And that motivation comes by remembering what we have, as Jesus said:
Rejoice that your names are written in heaven.
If you ever want motivation – remember what you have and what others miss out on if they don’t hear about the love that God has for them.
And another thing to notice from our Gospel reading is that this was not a quick process.
When he sends them out he says: remain in the same house, eating and drinking whatever they provide, for the labourer deserves to be paid. Do not move about from house to house.
For someone we are witnessing to it may take a lifetime.
And for some it may be just one person God has you focused on for your entire mission.
Remember ever single person is important to God – like the one lost sheep.
It may take a lifetime of involvement of sitting with them, eating with them, listening to them, praying for them and with them – waiting for the right time.
That’s how Jesus did his evangelism – “he eats with sinners”.
Sadly “evangelism” has received a bad name whether it’s the evangelist on the street corner yelling out to “repent” or the door knocker wanting to leave reading material, or posting things on Facebook, twitter or Instagram.
Jesus sends his disciples out with nothing – just the message of the Good News – no purse, no bag, no sandals, no reading material, no bullhorn – just the love that God has asked them to share.
I wondered what it means to “shake the dust of your feet” if a town rejects you.
Does that mean you forget about them and ask God to send down fire from heaven on them.
It means, move on to the next place the Holy Spirit sends you and don’t take the rejection with you.
Don’t let the rejection stick to you like mud weighing you down.
Because it is very easy to become cynical in our witnessing and condemn everyone after a while and give up.
As Jesus said – they have not rejected you – they have rejected God.
Let God work in their hearts while you spread the Good News elsewhere.
And remember – one sows, one waters, but only God can make it grow.
And never give up because it is so easy to become disheartened.
But remember what St Paul says:
Let us not grow weary in doing what is right, for we will reap at harvest-time, if we do not give up.
So then, whenever we have an opportunity, let us work for the good of all, and especially for those of the family of faith.
Let us go because the harvest is plentiful and ready – but the time is short.