Navigation Bar
The Uniting Church in Australia

Cowes, Phillip Island

The Church of St John,
- Fisherman and Apostle -

MINISTERS :- THE MEMBERS OF THE CONGREGATION

St John's UCA Cowes

Open Places: The Fields of Easter.

In the fields of Easter, here in Phillip Island, the land is becoming greener.   The lake at the cemetery is beginning to refill after the dry summer.   The shearwater birds are flying their epic journey to the Northern Hemisphere.   Our holiday neighbours have returned to the cities into their working weeks.   In fields of Easter, in the fifty days that church communities celebrate Easter, things here at Phillip Island are returning to usual.

How usual does your world feel?
Is anything ever really usual?

For the disciples, after the resurrection, there was a sense that ‘one returns to what one knows’. The post resurrection story of Jesus’ BBQ on the beach in the gospel according to John 21, sees the disciples back at work on the fishing boat.   After the trauma of the events in Jerusalem;   the betrayal;   their own shame at not being the faithful people they hoped to be:   even after the appearances behind locked doors;   the testimonies of the women:   even then, how to live life in the light of resurrection was an unknown quantity.   Things began to return to usual.   After years of living as disciples, they returned to their boats.

Known pathways and patterns can be helpful guides after such upheavals.

Psalm 66: 10-12 speaks of such a journey.   It speaks of being through what seems to be life's tests and trials.   Tested as silver is refined, caught up in nets, carrying heavy burdens, through fire and rain, and yet, “You have brought us out to a spacious place.”

Was the disciple's return to their nets a time to return to the known pathways?   And was it also a time to regain space, to regain a sense of self?

Had the disciples remained behind the locked doors, in fear and loss, then something would have gone terribly wrong.   Some people understand the church as a place where disciples huddle and hide, living small lives, blocking out the complexities of life in the world.   However, the Gospel message is one of coming into spaciousness.   The saved people are the ones who have come into a spacious place.

James Alison, historical Jesus and New Testament theologian, describes the calling as “the huge adventure of unimaginable horizons to which we are being summoned to participate.”   Returning to the boats was only the beginning of seeing the horizon differently.

As Phillip Island becomes greener in the Autumn rains, is anything really returning to usual?   Or, is it, that we are invited to see the horizon differently?   To become curious about this Easter season.   What is God showing to me now?   Where is it I feel God is drawing me?   And how can I live in the light of that gift of grace?   As Easter people, we are always being lead to new horizons, and invited to see differently our futures.   For the disciples, they found their new pathways by returning to what they knew and responding to the next call of Jesus.   For them, their horizons were about to expand.

We are invited to discover that spaciousness, of new horizons too in the fields of Easter.

In Christ,
Ian