Sunday, 25 December 2016

2016 Christmas Message

[Sydney Tongan choir – singing]   Allelujah. Allelujah.

Stuart McMillan, President:

My soul magnifies the Lord and my Spirit rejoices in God my saviour. (Luke 1:47)

Hello I’m Stuart McMillan, the President of the Uniting Church in Australia, and I’m here in Parramatta at Parramatta Mission to share with you my Christmas message for this year.

Filling the hungry, physically and spiritually is the daily work of Parramatta Mission in Sydney’s west.

People who volunteer here provide meals and care, laughter and conversation.

As Christians mark the day of Jesus’ birth, it’s important to remember God’s purpose through Jesus of restoring dignity and honour to those who need it most.

The Rev. Keith Hamilton and his team are interested in the whole person and their wellbeing.

Rev. Keith Hamilton:

So we’re here at Meals Plus – one of the gateways into Parramatta Mission. I’m Keith Hamilton, I’m the Senior Minister/Group CEO of Parramatta Mission, and we’re just getting ready to serve lunch to people as they arrive in about 10 minutes time. We’re expecting about 50 people coming in for lunch today, but there are days in the week and weeks in the month when we might have 150 people here, even up to 200 people. This is about social connection as opposed to social isolation.

Rev. Radhika Sukumar-White (singing):       

My soul gives glory to my God
My heart pours out its praise
God lifted up my lowliness
in many marvellous ways
                                      [Morning Song (Magnificat) Verse 1]

Sydney Tongan Choir Allelujah. Allelujah.

Stuart McMillan, President:   

This Christmas I greet you with the words of Mary - the mother of Jesus - in her song from the first chapter of Luke’s Gospel.

Many people know the beautiful musical versions of this song, known as the Magnificat. Not as many know its words.

As she celebrates her miraculous pregnancy, Mary praises God, for:

He has brought down the powerful from their thrones, and lifted up the lowly;
He has filled the hungry with good things, and sent the rich away empty. 
                                                                                                         (Luke 1:52-3)

Rev. Radhika Sukumar-White (singing):         

…promotes the insecure,
leaves hungry spirits satisfied,
the rich seem suddenly poor.
                                    [Morning Song (Magnificat) Verse 4]

[Sydney Tongan Choir] Allelujah. Allelujah.

Stuart McMillan, President:

To me, the Christmas story is a reminder to us all of our need to show unconditional love for everyone.

In the Uniting Church in Australia congregations, community service agencies and individuals seek to share the love they have received with others.

On behalf of the Uniting Church in Australia I wish you and your loved ones a happy and peaceful Christmas, filled with love.