Forrest Hill Presbyterian Church


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Wisdom and watchfulness

17th November 2019

I heard on the news bulletin earlier this week a description of the Eastern Australian bush fire situation as apocalyptic. Certainly, it would seem to be an apt description given that it's not even summer yet and there is already unprecedented fire danger. Let us be prayerful for Australians affected by this.

We attribute such extreme fire seasons as a product of global warming and associated climate change. A contributing factor is that expanding suburbs push closer to bona fide bush land. Interestingly, state conservation authorities and modern landowners manage the bush ecosystems differently than the indigenous people did pre-colonisation. Aboriginal people would employ a controlled, sectional burnoff in the winter season to reduce the amount of fuel available in the summer season, thus creating a safer environment long-term for both humans and wildlife. Some winter discomfort mitigated the need for summer terror. I'm preaching a mini-two-part series called Wisdom and Watchfulness. This is because the church calendar leads us to thoughts of apocalypse and end times at the beginning of Advent. Sandwiched between these two sermons is a visit from Stephanie from Barnabas Fund. My main thought for today is that the church sometimes over-spiritualises the apocalyptic elements in scripture, thinking that God is orchestrating some sort of Hollywood magic show. I prefer to try and connect scripture with the real world. Current political and climate upheavals provide us with plenty of material for realistic reflection on biblical apocalypse and end-times. The persecution of the church is already overwhelming in some parts of the world. God is connected to every aspect of the human experience. We already have enough need for wisdom and watchfulness without waiting on some revelation in the heavens to give us hints about the Lord's return. Contemporary events should turn us to a prayerful life and a desire for the presence of the Holy Spirit to give us spiritual wisdom and help us to be ever watchful in attitude. We need to ponder scripture now and apply it to contemporary living. May God bless you as you consider these things.