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A Vision for Christ’s Church

Christ's Church

Christ’s Church

Welcome to St. Andrew’s Church this morning! Today we celebrate an important event in the life of the Anglican faith community of Lismore – the centenary of the laying of the foundation stone in the chancel and sanctuary (which were additions to the earlier construction) of what was then St. Andrew’s Church of England.

The Psalm, bible reading and some of the hymns in our service today were part of the original dedication service of Holy Communion held on 18th September 1913.

The vision and commitment of past worshippers and clergy in planning and building such a beautiful church is inspirational! Their foresight and dedication to financing such a large undertaking is truly humbling, especially when we consider construction methods of the time were largely manual – very different to modern prefabricated building methods.

The beautiful historic building that stands today gives us a glimpse of Jesus’ vision for his kingdom that was to be established on earth – how he entrusted the work of building his church to those such as Peter.

Today’s gospel is Matthew’s account of Jesus naming Peter the rock on which his church will be built – not merely a church building made of stone, bricks, stained glass or slate – but a living, breathing church – a community of disciples who would live out Jesus’ Great Commission.

Matthew calls attention to the central mission of this community – to exercise the power of forgiveness in the binding and loosing of sin in the name of God. We are endowed with the promise of a rich gift – the ‘keys of the kingdom’ with which we may perform great things in Jesus’ name.

Have we done that well? What will the church look like in the future? Such questions inevitably arise as we consider the challenges of remaining faithful to that mission in a changing world.

 

1 Corinthians 3: 9-16

9For we are God’s servants, working together; you are God’s field, God’s building.

10 According to the grace of God given to me, like a skilled master builder I laid a foundation, and someone else is building on it. Each builder must choose with care how to build on it. 11For no one can lay any foundation other than the one that has been laid; that foundation is Jesus Christ. 12Now if anyone builds on the foundation with gold, silver, precious stones, wood, hay, straw— 13the work of each builder will become visible, for the Day will disclose it, because it will be revealed with fire, and the fire will test what sort of work each has done. 14If what has been built on the foundation survives, the builder will receive a reward. 15If the work is burned, the builder will suffer loss; the builder will be saved, but only as through fire.

16 Do you not know that you are God’s temple and that God’s Spirit dwells in you?

 

Matthew 16: 13-20    Peter’s Declaration about Jesus

13 Now when Jesus came into the district of Caesarea Philippi, he asked his disciples, ‘Who do people say that the Son of Man is?’ 14And they said, ‘Some say John the Baptist, but others Elijah, and still others Jeremiah or one of the prophets.’ 15He said to them, ‘But who do you say that I am?’ 16Simon Peter answered, ‘You are the Messiah, the Son of the living God.’ 17And Jesus answered him, ‘Blessed are you, Simon son of Jonah! For flesh and blood has not revealed this to you, but my Father in heaven. 18And I tell you, you are Peter, and on this rock I will build my church, and the gates of Hades will not prevail against it. 19I will give you the keys of the kingdom of heaven, and whatever you bind on earth will be bound in heaven, and whatever you loose on earth will be loosed in heaven.’ 20Then he sternly ordered the disciples not to tell anyone that he was the Messiah.