Bishop Lindsay Urwin OGS, parish priest at Christ Church, writes:

We so much want to welcome you to the Christ Church Brunswick website! Like our life together it is a work in progress, and it will just give you a little taster of what our life is like and about who is at the centre of all that we are and seek to be and do.

That ‘who’ is Jesus.

 The question ‘Who is Jesus?’ has tantalised people for two thousand years, and still does! But how is a person to discover who he is? How do we discover who anyone is? It takes time, you have to give yourself to the discovery, and of course the other has to be willing to reveal him or herself to you. 

We have probably all learnt that while sometimes secondhand information can be very helpful, and when we are looking at history and historical characters there’s an inevitability about the need for it, that information needs also to be judged reliable, and its reliability and accuracy is generally discovered over time. Secondhand information about historical characters is very often more reliable than the information we receive about our contemporaries, especially all that we ‘know’ of them via social media…It’s an interesting thought that while folk are often quick to make judgments and come to conclusions about others on the basis of what they read or hear on social media, they are dubious to the point of scepticism, even ridicule about the information we have about Jesus from the Bible, information that has been around the traps, discussed, poured over and dissected by scholars and philosophers, and perhaps as importantly prayed over by good ordinary folk for hundreds and hundreds of years. It’s information full of mystery and challenge, but to many it comes to makes sense, and seems ‘true to life’.

In any case, the interesting, maybe even strange to some is thing about Christians, is that while we believe the Bible is absolutely crucial to our knowledge of him and of the purposes of God, there is more. Christians believe that they do not just know about Jesus as they might some other historical figure ‘brought to life’ in their writings by scholars and biographers, they know him as a contemporary; that he lives, and is experienced today through the gift of his Spirit.

When Christians pray and worship they do so acting and trusting as if Jesus is alive and what’s more that he is listening! To many an atheist this just seems a bit weird, to some that it’s downright dangerous, and yet, whatever the terrible failures of the Church and of some Christians, men and women who act and trust in this way have been the source of incredible change for good these past two thousand years, even in our own Melbourne…..the first schools, the first hospitals, refuges for women, hostels for the homeless…the justice system, so much that is great in architecture and art and music…

All relationships take time to develop and require spending time with the other. No relationship has ever gone anywhere without leaps of faith and trust. No relationship grows or is decided to be ‘true’ love on the basis of scientific analysis, important though that analysis in many aspects of life. Actually I’m not sure there’s much growth in knowledge at all that doesn’t require quite a lot of leaping!

I think it’s just true that the more a person seeks to know Jesus, the more he or she realises that there is still more to know. A relationship with Jesus is more like an adventure than a settled thing, and yet, once you begin to take the idea of it seriously, the more you are drawn to him, or at least that has been my experience. And then you start to plan you life and change your views under his influence and guidance. What he wants becomes the measure of what you think is right or wrong, and doing what he wants becomes central to your actions.

If you haven’t begun that adventure yet, or you’ve had a bit of an adventure with the Lord in the past but it’s a bit of a distant memory, then I want to invite you to come and see…

The Church, our Church here in Brunswick is a community of people opening their mind and heart to the possibility of the three loves at the heart of the Christian faith – loving and being loved by God ; loving and being loved by our neighbour ; and the love of self.

We are disciples of Jesus, continuing to learn what it means to be a disciple. We are a community unafraid to admit our need for  ‘L’ plates in the love business! These can never be removed from the back or front of a disciple of Jesus. There is always more to discover about the Lord and about the demands and joys of love. There is always the need to say sorry and begin again.

So the Church is a community of love helping to create a civilisation of love. If you make a decision to ‘come and see’ at Christ Church it is our hope and our intention that you will indeed experience some of that love. Please know how welcome you are.

Best wishes,
Lindsay Urwin OGS