Fifth Sunday of Easter

What’s Your Legacy?  –  28 April 2013

Anzac Day is quite a ‘big deal’ for us Aussies isn’t it?  It’s a Public Holiday, for heavens sake, so it must be important!!  The attendance at Anzac Services across Australia this year were considered very good.  The numbers were UP so I was told.  I attended the Anzac Service at the School that my children attend and I was very impressed with the presentation, respect shown and the content of the service.  Over 1600 students seemed to pay attention and listen to the messages that were being passed on to the ‘next generation’ of Australians, who are further and further removed from the original experience and conflict in World War 1.  New layers of experience and emphasis are being added to the original concept of those first Anzacs who landed at Gallipoli 98 years ago.  The original ‘eye witnesses’ are gone and the documents, photos, oral stories and memories are the means of passing on that history.  Today we will remember one of those aussie soldiers who gave his life for others.

As we hear the notes of The Last Post and Reveille still echoing in our ears, I thought that we might ask ourselves the question about the Legacy that we will leave when we are gone.  My mother-in-law, Joyce, is ageing quite quickly now and we are trying to maximize the time that we are spending with her.  As her family, we are asking many questions about her life and her family and we are taking photos and recording stories on video as part of our efforts in remembering and respecting her life and her journey.  It’s a particular time in history, isn’t it?  We took her to Burleigh Heads on Thursday afternoon and she asked me what I’d be preaching about this Sunday.  I said that I was going to focus on ‘our legacy’.  She said, “What if you don’t have any children to leave a legacy to?”  I said that she’d made a very good point and that our legacy is far more than leaving a ‘stash of cash’ for our kids when we die…. it’s more about who we are as a person and how we treat the people around us and the legacy of our imprint on the world in which we live.  It’s about honouring who we are as God’s creations, made in God’s image.  Handing on a financial inheritance is one way of viewing a Legacy, but a “Living Legacy” seems to have an influence about it that ‘out of this world’ and far more rewarding.

Our lectionary readings from Acts 11:1-18 and John 13:31-35 are both passages that indicate the kind of Legacy that God has commanded us to pass on to the world around us.  In Acts 11, Peter is surprised, even shocked to find himself eating with Gentiles and seeing the Spirit of God given to those who he once would have excluded.  God is showing Peter that ‘inclusion’ into God’s family is not about distinctions about colour and race, gender and ability.  God, through Jesus, has commanded that a new legacy of ‘loving one another as I have loved you’ (John 13:31-35) is the kind of “living” that represents the kingdom of God.  Jesus’s love cost him his life.

Today we have the pleasure of sharing in worship with the current YWAM (Youth With A Mission) students doing their DTS (Discipleship Training School).  They are preparing to go to North and South India for two months of ‘outreach’, putting into practice the things that God has been teaching them over the past three months and throughout their lives.  They are going to find themselves in situations where God’s message of inclusion and acceptance will be the living legacy that they will leave behind them.

Jesus has commanded us to ‘love one another without restriction and without condition for this is the way in which people will know the disciples of Jesus.

May that be your legacy….this week…and the next…and the next… and into eternity.

Rev. Brad Foote

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