Bishop Greg’s Easter Message 2016

Bishop Greg Anderson - photo courtesy Anglicane NTPolitical commentator Mungo MacCallum recently described Malcolm Turnbull’s performance in the top job as ‘a hugely disappointing resurrection’.

Maybe it is good that the word resurrection still has some place in today’s media. But the first resurrection sets the benchmark. All other so-called resurrections, including the PM’s, are inevitably hugely disappointing. They all, in the end, run out.

What Christians believe about the first resurrection, the resurrection of Jesus Christ on the first Easter Day, is different.

Jesus appeared to his disciples, alive in his body, on the third day after his well-documented death.

This was not just a temporary return to life that would in the end run out. It was a breakthrough into a new and transformed kind of life, which provides hope for the whole world.

Our bodily life in the present world will in the end run out, but Jesus’ resurrection points forward to a future where death itself is defeated and life no longer ends.

Christians believe that the first Easter turns a corner onto the straight where we see clearly into the distance. What we see is a world where crises have been fixed, relationships restored, the environment healed and life is all good.

To be part of that future we align ourselves with Jesus.

Our present life has many potentials for difficulty, but Easter is like an anchor that gives us a mooring point of confidence. It injects the future into the present in a way that is anything but disappointing.

Bishop Greg Anderson

Bishop Greg’s Christmas Message 2015

Perhaps “the age of entitlement is over”, but most of us believe we have a right to certain things. Usually we call them human rights. Humans should expect to be free from oppression and slavery, to be paid for our work, to be able to have leisure, to express our views peacefully. Of course many people in our world lack these basic goods, and we should do all that we can to make sure that they are indeed universal.

But the Christmas message gives a whole new angle on rights. The Gospel of John says that ‘grace’ came through Jesus Christ. In other words, what Jesus brings to the world is not something that the world had a right to. Grace means kindness that is not deserved. When we give gifts at Christmas we might echo that grace – except that we feel awkward when somebody gives to us and we don’t give back to them! The grace that comes through Jesus has many sides. Most fundamentally, Jesus is God-with-us, showing God has not left us alone, but does what is needed to bring blessing to the world, even though we do not deserve it. Jesus also comes to us as fully human. He knows us from the inside. He models the love, humility, wisdom and courage that we want all people to display. Jesus himself taught that his reason for being was to find the lost and to bring people life in all its fullness.

We are challenged to respond to this grace in two ways.

First, we simply accept it, thankfully. This matches the structure of our Christian faith – we simply trust God’s promises to us through Jesus Christ, rather than having to be some kind of spiritual super-achievers to earn our way into friendship with God.

Second, we remember that as we received grace, so we should show grace to others. That means doing good to others whether they deserve it or not. This opens up all kinds of opportunities for demonstrating what God’s goodness is like, whether we do this on the individual level, or in partnership with others such as our congregations.

Christmas is a time of celebration. The grace that came in Jesus is a great thing to celebrate and to pass around.

(Photo courtesy Anglicare NT.)

Presidential charge to the Synod of the Diocese of the Northern Territory

Bishop Greg Anderson’s Charge to the Synod of the Diocese, Friday April 17th, 2015.

Bishop Greg's Synod Charge April 2015

Welcome to Synod. This is the 33rd time that people of the Diocese of the Northern Territory have come together for this kind of meeting since 1968, when we began as a diocese.

We meet like this because we are a fellowship of churches that belong together and that work together.

We belong together for at least four reasons.  [Read more…]

Synod 2015 set for April

Synod 2015 will be held on Friday 17th, Saturday 18th and Sunday 19th April 2015, at Christ Church Cathedral and Kormilda College, Darwin.

All involved would appreciate your prayers for the Synod itself, and for all the preparation involved.

Bishop Greg’s first post

Bishop AndersonThis is the first time that I am writing to the whole diocese, and I want to take the opportunity of saying how glad I am to be here with you.

Together we have been chosen by God for the work that God has for us. That work centers on showing and telling people about the love God has for them (and the whole creation) in making a rescue plan for the world – and that plan centers on Jesus Christ.

When we gather in our churches, we are celebrating that rescue and, I hope, growing in our understanding of it and our experience of it. Our diversity in the diocese reminds us that God’s rescue plan is for all kinds of people, and we celebrate that too. When we welcome and encourage one another, we are putting into action what God is doing in us.

Paul’s whole letter to the Ephesians is a great statement of these truths. (There are extracts from Ephesians in the lectionary later this year, but it is worth reading the whole letter in one go, and it doesn’t take long!)

It has been a great joy starting to visit the parishes in these early weeks back in the Territory, and Annette and I look forward to meeting those that we haven’t yet met. So far we have been to the Cathedral, Fred’s Pass and Sanderson, with visits scheduled for Nightcliff, Palmerston, Alice Springs and Katherine. I hope to visit Groote after Easter, and Minyerri and Ngukurr after Katherine Christian Convention.

I’m old enough that I use Facebook rather than Instagram, and have set up a new page called Bishop Greg NT. I hope that this can be a way of keeping in touch with you with what is happening in the diocese, matters to think about, and news from elsewhere. So if you’re on FB, please be my friend.