The Game of Life

Romans 14:1-12, Matthew 18:21-35

How many referees control a rugby league game? One or two? Or, with the video ref, is it three? But to listen to the broadcast commentaries it sounds as though there are at least six or seven. Sometimes it seems that every spectator at the game is a self-appointed referee. But how many referees are there in the game of life?The way people criticize and condemn one another, one might think that everyone has the right to referee everyone else’s life.

The administration of this game called life is clearly in the hands of God who not only wrote the rules but also referees the game. Accept it. It is not for you or me to send a player off to the sin-bin. That is God’s prerogative.And if you are a player in the game and another player hurts you, it is not for you to seek revenge; it’s for you to get on with the game. Grudge matches or revenge attacks are not in the spirit of the game. Translated into inter-personal relations, that means forgiving the person who asks for your forgiveness and refraining from condemning the person who thinks differently from you. If you are in Christ’s team, let him decide who is in or out –not you. And if you have been hurt by another, remember whose side you are on –God who has forgiven you.

•Holding grudges is bad for your health. Is that true?

•Can one forgive another if the other person shows no remorse?

•When Paul wrote Romans, the issue was the eating of meat slaughtered in sacrifice to pagan gods. On what issues today are people condemned by their fellow Christians?

•Where lies the key to Christian unity?

Rev Ron

My Faith Journey - Lyn Metelerkamp

As most of you know, I grew up in South Africa but have lived in Australia for the last
10 years.

I now hold dual citizenship. Most of my life in South Africa was spent on the
east coast in a small town called Amanzimtoti (it is the Zulu word for sweet waters),
about 40km south of Durban.

I was the youngest of four siblings, two older sisters and a brother. My faith journey
started as a small child, when every night I would kneel beside my bed with my mother
and say prayers.

I would thank God for all my blessings and ask for protection over all
of my family referring to each by name. So from an early age, I felt a deep relationship
with Jesus.

From birth to the age of 5 years we lived in a very small inland town,
Bergville, not far from the Drakensberg Mountains. The only church within close
proximity was an Anglican church, and I was baptized there as an infant.

However, when at the age of 5 years, our family moved to the coast at Amanzimtoti,
the church within walking distance was Methodist so that is the one I attended while
growing up.

When I met and married my husband, Tim, who was then a very active
practising Catholic, I attended conversion classes and became Catholic and duly
brought up both our daughters in that faith.

For many years I used to teach catechism
which is the equivalent of Sunday school. I also taught maths in Catholic High Schools
for much of my teaching career.

The schools had a chapel attached where the whole
school would worship regularly.

I continued to worship in the Catholic church for
41 years, attending mass every weekend and sometimes in the week during school
holidays and also when I retired.

For personal reasons and after much heartfelt and prayerful reflection, I made a
decision, which was not taken lightly, that I would find another church when we moved
to Australia.

So that is my explanation of how I started to attend Nambour Uniting
Church, where I have been made to feel very welcome. I have now attended for the
10 years since we arrived.

When recently I was asked to become treasurer, one of the criteria was that I had to
“belong” to the Uniting Church. My reply was that in my heart I felt that “I belonged”.

Noel and Lyn Park responded that as I had attended for 10 years, they felt that I could
be considered as “belonging”.

Rev Ian then offered a seminar for those who wanted to
“belong”, and he very generously gave up a whole Saturday to lead a seminar on the
beliefs and history of the church.

Daphne Heaton provided the local history of our
church. Those of us who participated enjoyed this fruitful broadening faith experience.

I thank Rev Ian so much for this enriching experience.

Now, I fully belong. Thanks be to God.

Everyday, I read a passage from an inspirational book called “Bread for the Journey”
written by Henri Nouwen.

The following is a passage that bears relevance to a
faith-sharing community.

The Mosaic that shows us the face of God
A mosaic consists of thousands of little stones. Some are blue, some yellow,
some green and some may be gold.

When we bring our faces close to the mosaic, we can admire the beauty of each stone.

But as we step back from it, we can see that all these little stones reveal to us a
beautiful picture, telling a story none of these stones can tell by itself.
This is what life in a community is about.

Each of us is like a little stone but together we reveal the face of God to the world.

As an individual, it is not as easy to “make God visible” as it is for us as a group to do so.

Community is where humility and glory touch.

As one body, we become a living witness of God’s immense desire to bring all peoples
and nations together as the one family of God.

Those who choose, even on a small scale, to love in the midst of hatred and fear are the
people who offer true hope for peace in the world.

Thanks be to God. Lyn Metelerkamp


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