By John Newton,
Anglican Minister and author of the hymn ‘Amazing Grace’.
In evil long I took delight,
Unawed by shame or fear,
Till a new object struck my sight,
And stopped my wild career.
I saw One hanging on a tree,
In agonies and blood;
He fixed His languid eyes on me,
As near His cross I stood.
Sure never till my latest breath,
Shall I forget that look!
It seemed to charge me with His death,
Though not a word He spoke.
A second look He gave, which said,
“I freely all forgive;
This blood is for thy ransom paid;
I die that thou mayest live.”
Thus while His death my sin displays
In all its blackest hue,
Such is the mystery of grace,
It seals my pardon too!
As we commemorate Reformation Day this Tuesday, which this year marks the 500th anniversary of the beginning of the Protestant Reformation, let us also remember one of the key slogans that has come to mark later generations of Protestant Christians; Semper Reformanda, Always Reforming.
While we celebrate what the power of God’s Word achieved 500 years ago in Europe, the work of Christians and the church to be continually reforming our lives and practices by God’s Word will not end until Christ returns! So standing on the foundation of the scriptures let us always be reforming!
The Anglican Prayer Book has a prayer for the Church which is excellent to use at such a time as Reformation Day, and I encourage you to use it in your own prayers this week:
Most gracious Father,
we pray for your holy catholic Church [and Berwick
fill it will all truth
and in all truth with all peace;
where it is corrupt, purge it;
where it is in error, direct it;
where anything is amiss, reform it;
where it is right, strengthen and confirm it;
where it is in want, furnish it;
where it is divided, heal it and unite it in your love;
through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen
In the lead up to the 500th anniversary of the Protestant Reformation, Berwick Anglican Church is running the discussion series Ideas That Changed The World on Tuesday evenings in October. All Welcome!
This week at Berwick Anglican we are celebrating our ‘Flower Show Sunday’, with a number of wonderful floral displays set up around the Church building. These complement our worship space’s main architectural feature; it’s splendid glass wall out look upon our gardens and grassy hill over overshadowed by those two grand gum trees. But all this is not mere decoration, rather should remind us of the splendour of God’s creative power!
As the famous opening of Psalm 19 puts it; ‘The heavens declare the glory of God; the skies proclaim the work of his hands’ (Psalm 19:1). One of the purposes of the beauty of the created world is to point to God, as the wonder of the universe reveals something of the majesty of its creator.
But perhaps the greatest example of God’s creative power is displayed through his redemption and re-creation of his people in Jesus Christ. As the Apostle Paul marveled; ‘if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; the old has gone, the new has come!’ (2 Co 5:17). And with that in mind it is also a great joy to celebrate a number of baptisms and confirmations at our 5pm service this week, where the candidates will publicly declare their faith in the redemptive promises of Jesus.
So today give thanks to God for the splendour of his creation, and even more so for his re-creation of us in Christ.