Waranga Uniting Churches
Colbinabbin, Murchison, Rushworth, Tatura
FAITH | HOPE | MEANING | GRACE | COMMUNITY
Sunday 3rd Dec 2023 – God doesn’t need a building
Streaming from Colbinabbin 9.30am and via Zoom to Rushworth, Murchison, Tatura and for folk at home.
Church buildings are a contentious issue for many congregations, not just around the Uniting Church, but for most denominations. Mostly our buildings were built for larger congregations that we now have, there are often halls that are rarely used. The maintenance and insurance costs are a burden on the finances and capability of the parishioners. We know that the church is not a building but the people. The church is not God’s house, it is for the gathered community and well-designed buildings facilitate our ability to meet, to worship and be the body of Christ. They are not essential, but we are reluctant to part with them without good reason.
It’s 1000 BC and after 40 years of wandering in the desert, and several decades fighting with the land’s original inhabitants, the Israelites have taken possession of the land and under the charismatic leadership of King Saul have been consolidated as a federation of tribes. King David has taken over following the death of Saul and is beginning to construct his minor empire. He builds himself a nice palace, but then starts to get worried that all they have for worshiping God is a tent.
“Now when the king was settled in his house, and the Lord had given him rest from all his enemies around him, the king said to the prophet Nathan, ‘See now, I am living in a house of cedar, but the ark of God stays in a tent.’ 2 Sam 7: 1-2
He proposes building a Temple for God. But God has different ideas: God says that the tent is just fine, and that God has never asked for a house, instead he will build David a house – a dynasty.
Are you the one to build me a house to live in? I have not lived in a house since the day I brought up the people of Israel from Egypt to this day, but I have been moving about in a tent and a tabernacle. Wherever I have moved about among all the people of Israel, did I ever speak a word with any of the tribal leaders of Israel, whom I commanded to shepherd my people Israel, saying, ‘Why have you not built me a house of cedar?’
Now therefore thus you shall say to my servant David: Thus says the Lord of hosts: I took you from the pasture, from following the sheep to be prince over my people Israel; and I have been with you wherever you went, and have cut off all your enemies from before you; and I will make for you a great name, like the name of the great ones of the earth. Moreover, the Lord declares to you that the Lord will make you a house. 2 Sam 7: 4-9
In a wonderful speech made before he was stoned to death, Stephen recounts the history of God’s dealings with Israel.
‘Our ancestors had the tent of testimony in the wilderness, as God directed when he spoke to Moses, ordering him to make it according to the pattern he had seen. Our ancestors in turn brought it in with Joshua when they dispossessed the nations that God drove out before our ancestors. And it was there until the time of David, who found favour with God and asked that he might find a dwelling-place for the house of Jacob. But it was Solomon who built a house for him. Yet the Most High does not dwell in houses made by human hands; as the prophet says,
“Heaven is my throne,
and the earth is my footstool.
What kind of house will you build for me, says the Lord,
or what is the place of my rest?
Did not my hand make all these things?” Acts 7: 44-50
God doesn’t need us. He really doesn’t. He doesn’t need our money or our prayers or our time or our smarts or our education or our experience or our stuff. He just doesn’t. The God who created the universe and everything in it can do anything God wants to do, when God wants to do it and how God wants to do it. God will never have a true need for us or our stuff.
But God loves us.
God loves us and invites us to participate in what God is doing so that we may know God more intimately – reflecting God’s love, sharing God’s justice and grace to a broken world.
As we move towards Christmas we will listen again to the stories of hope, disruption and transformation from the Old and New Testaments, and ask can I too find new life amidst the disruption?
Join us on Sunday as we reflect, worship and share together. The service will start at 9.30am and be led by Brian Spencer. The live Zoom “room” will be open for you to log-in to from 9.00am. Log-in, chat to others, be the church!
Watch on Facebook Live Streaming
Watch the service here on Facebook
Watch the recorded service later
Facebook records the service and it will be available to watch later or share with others in your family and friendship circle.
Rather stay anonymous?
We understand that you may prefer to remain anonymous. It may have been a while since you went to church, maybe you’ve never been to church and are just curious. We understand that you don’t want to be hassled just because you were curious.
If you want to remain anonymous there are four ways you can do it.
- Choose the “Join without video” option. You will be able to see, hear (and talk if you want to)
- Your name also appears in the bottom left of their picture in Zoom. This name will be the one you entered at sign-up. At any time in the meeting you can right-mouse click on your name and change or delete it.
- You can choose to attend via the Livestream option.
- You can watch the recorded service later on the website
Our church needs your support.
Please consider donating your offering online via the button below
or by direct bank transfer:
Waranga Uniting Churches.
Account No:162 446 371.
ABC Radio Shepparton
Matt Dowling interviews Brian Spencer. Monday 5th July.
The Waranga Uniting Churches comprise congregations from the towns of Colbinabbin, Murchison, Rushworth, and Tatura.
You are welcome to join us at any of our worship services or activities.
Many faces… Many places… Many forms
Our congregations throughout the district are caring communities to which all people can belong.
Some of our congregations may be a tiny community of a dozen people, but they are warm vibrant and alive.
They have many faces. There are older people and young, families and single people, people of one culture or many.
While our congregations can be different, each aims to embrace all people… to unite them with each other and with God. This is expressed in part by our having an open table for Holy Communion, to which all baptised people are invited, welcoming children for baptism and being willing to marry those who are divorced.
We are by no means perfect, but we know that God loves us as we are and as we grow. Our congregations are communities in which people seek to follow Jesus, learn about God, share their faith, care for each other, serve the local community, and seek to live faithfully and with real joy. This is the kind of engaging church to which we belong.
Quixote Thinking Blog
Quixote Thinking “sees things different” I live my life by it
It’s a long time since I tried to sleep the night sitting up in the front seat of my car. Actually, I had no intention of doing so. It was just one of those occasions when one hour leads to two, two hours leads to four, and so it went on, until, in the early hours, I...
If I received ten dollars every time someone said to me, “The roof will fall in if I come to church.” I’d have no fear for the future finances of the little congregations that I care for. I hear the statement many times every year during my work as a minister, or when...
We were sitting around having a cuppa after church, when the conversation among some of the men turned to the subject of underwear. One chap announcing he had just re-stocked his supply of underwear, saying it had been a difficult decision as the old underpants were...
I’m 30000 ft above the Great Australian Bight, flying to Western Australia on my way to visit my best friend. I’m listening to Neale Daniher’s audio book “When all is said and done.” Neale has spearheaded the fight against Motor Neuron Disease (MND). He, along with...
I’ve been buying the same style of shoes for the last twenty-five years. It’s now 40 years since my knee reconstruction and comfortable, shock absorbing shoes are a necessity. I’ve settled on ‘Rockport Walking Classic shoes as my go to footwear, when I’m not wearing...
Life is so very fragile, isn’t it? We realize that so powerfully when we hold a newborn in our arms. This tiny life is so fragile, so dependent, so precious and so alive with wonder. We want to protect that child from all harm forever. We also realize how fragile...
Don Quixote is a character in a novel by Miguel de Cervantes, first published in 1605. In the “real world” of La Mancha, Spain, Quixote is known as Alonso Quijano, a thin country gentleman, familiar to all as kind and friendly. He lives with his daughter and two servants. As a gentleman, he spends time studying medieval romance stories, full of knights, chivalry, castles, and jousts. This all goes to his head to the point where he goes crazy and actually starts outfitting himself as a knight. He believes that he has been called by voices to change the world and right all wrongs.
At this point in the story, art imitates life and life imitates art as the innkeeper doubles as a duke of a castle who dubs Don Quixote officially as “knight,” and a peasant girl at the inn becomes the princess and lady love for our knight errant. Don Quixote then goes out to fight perceived foes, both real and imagined in the name of his ladylove who stands for purity and perfection. Don Quixote has selective vision of the real world. Windmills are giant brutes, sheep are attacking armies, and slaves are oppressed gentlemen. Quixote is an idealist seeing things through rose-colored glasses at times. He fights impossible symbolic battles while the rest of the world says it can’t be done and mocks him for trying. It is ironic that a crazy man is showing humanity the “right way” to live. This character has survived the centuries demonstrating his universal appeal to all. Don Quixote is something of a Jesus figure, who saw meaning and purpose beyond the surface but endured mockery and humiliation from the crowd. This “fight for the right without question”, having moments of clarity in a sea of confusion and a belief in the transformative power of a crazy vision is what the essence of Quixote Thinking.