The Courage to Connect | Bible study

 

THE COURAGE TO CONNECT

Rev. Thresi Mauboy

Northern Synod

 

I have always been encouraged by the stories of the many different people who came together to form the Uniting Church in Australia. As an Indonesian-born woman, ministering in the Northern Territory as Moderator, I have sometimes felt overwhelmed by the task before me. I remember clearly when I was first called to consider the position, I thought I must have been invited into the office because I was in some kind of trouble! I could not even bear to tell my family about it until we had prayed together. It was my son’s enthusiastic hug and cry of, “I believe you can do this, mum!” that really gave me the confidence to take on the role. All this time, the idea that I am not alone in this ministry—that I am just one part of a bigger body—has spurred me on.

 

I’ve often sat with our First Peoples to hear stories of joy, challenge, heartbreak and hope. They each play a role in the mission of the Church even when their voices and experiences are overlooked. When I travelled to the land of Papua (West Papua) to hear from our partner church there, I was welcomed as a sister and assured of love and support in all that God is doing here in Australia, just as I told them we are supporting them in their care for the sick and the poor in their own place. In the Pacific, I sat with women who have experienced terrible violence and I offered communion to brothers and sisters in Fiji, joining with young people in a vibrant service of worship that inspired in me hope for the future.

 

Not long after I took up my position as Moderator for the Northern Synod, I was asked to speak at the opening of Parliament where I reminded our politicians of love’s call – truth telling, open hearts, humility, bringing people together as one. This spoke to me of the desire of politicians to hear the voice of the Church reminding them of their own call and of their eagerness to see the Church active in the community.

 

Through all this I am reminded that the only way to achieve all this is to have the courage to join hands and walk forward together; whatever our nationality, mother tongue or skin colour; making the most of our strengths wherever our ministry might be.

 

We truly are one body with many parts.


Bible study

 

Read 1 Corinthians 12: 12-27 ‘One Body with Many Members’

 

Unity is at the heart of our church. Seeking fellowship with the “one body” of Christ is vital to our lives as disciples of Jesus. Is Paul’s message to the church in Corinth just as relevant for us today?

 

 

Discuss

  • If you were to imagine God’s work in the world as a body, what part might you be? An ear, listening? The stomach, processing and digesting? Hands, actively tending to things?
  • The members of the body that seem to be weaker are indispensable and those that we think of with less honour we clothe with greater honour… (12: 22-23). What do you think Paul means by this?
  • What do you think are some of the ‘weaker’ or ‘less well respected’ aspects of ministry within the Uniting Church? How might you be part of giving these ministries honour and respect?
  • Who are the different ‘body parts’ in your church or wider social network you can count on for support in your daily life?
  • How does this image of the body give you courage to play your role (and allow others to play theirs) in the sometimes-overwhelming world we live in?

 

Going Global 🌏

 

In 2010, Glebe Road Uniting Church in Ipswich began exploring the idea of connecting with a project overseas and the people who run it. They were motivated by the idea that they could lift their eyes beyond their own horizon – a typical Queensland community, no more affluent than the next, but with a heart for others and resources to share. The church began a partnership with the Church in Timor Leste that has changed many lives.

 

 

Watch the fourth Lent Event video ‘Courage to Connect’ here.

 

Discuss

  • In what ways do you think Glebe Road UC’s approach reflects the idea that we are all part of the body of Christ?
  • How do you think being involved in a project like this would give an Australian community courage to face their own particular challenges?
  • Has your church been involved in supporting a project through UnitingWorld or another organisation? Do you see brothers and sisters in developing countries as having strengths we can learn from or have you tended to regard most projects you give to as simply donations to the less fortunate?

 

Take Action

  • Donate now to support our partners in Timor Leste and beyond
  • Consider supporting a project as a community. We can help your church with planning and learning about the project and people with whom you’ll partner, as well as financial management of your giving, meeting with staff who might be visiting from your project and facilitating prayer requests between your congregation and your project. Email: [email protected]