Perseverance: Father Theo
I am writing to invite you to register your son for the Confirmation program, which will commence in week 4 this Term. Please email me at TMcCall@stpeters.sa.edu.au This is open to all students from Years 7–11.
Confirmation is a service in which the Bishop blesses the person being confirmed and prays that they will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit. It is a symbol of growing in the Christian faith.
At St Peter’s College, Confirmation also prepares students to receive Holy Communion at our Senior School Holy Communion services on Maundy Thursday and St Peter’s Day, as well as in parish churches on any Sunday.
The Confirmation Service this year is Tuesday 24 September in St Peter’s College Chapel at 7pm with Archbishop Geoff Smith.
Rev Ben and I will be holding an overnight camp down at Finniss Campsite for students wishing to be confirmed or who are interested in learning more about the Christian faith in depth, as well as having a great camp!
One of the interesting things about trying to make sense of Jesus’ parables, is that they make a lot more sense if you understand something of the culture of his day. To this day in Middle Eastern culture, it is still crucial to look after your guests properly. If you are the host and you have friends or family over, you have to look after them properly. This was especially true in the time of Jesus. If you or I have a couple of friends over for a BBQ, obviously it’s important to make them feel welcome, to look after them, to make sure there’s enough to eat and so on. But, in the time of Jesus, your very honour depended on you being a welcoming and generous host.
In Luke’s Gospel, chapter 11 (verses 5–13) Jesus tells a parable about prayer and the Holy Spirit. It is about someone going to friend at midnight and asking for three loaves of bread, because a friend has just arrived and he has nothing to give him. This is a truly bizarre story when you first read it. On occasion, my family and I have arrived quite late at relatives’ homes when we’ve travelled interstate. If we travel to Melbourne, for example, to visit my sister Alex, and we are a bit late leaving Adelaide, then it can be quite late by the time we arrive. But if we were to arrive at 11pm or at midnight, we certainly wouldn’t expect my sister to rush out to a service station, let alone over to one of her friends, and pick up some food! In the culture of the Middle East at the time of Jesus, though, the fact was that if you had relatives or friends turn up, you had to provide for them properly, regardless of the time. You simply couldn’t wait until the shops opened in the morning.
So, the person in the parable has to rush out to a friend’s house and beg for some bread. And the friend, who, unsurprisingly is in bed, says, “No, I’m in bed, the kids are all in bed, the front door is locked, go away!” And Jesus said that he will get up and give the loaves of bread, if he keeps knocking, if he is persistent. I have a mental image of the guy banging on the door until, finally, his friend gets up and gives him the loaves of bread.
The message of the parable is simple: if your friend is generous to you, because you’re persistent, how much more will God give you the Holy Spirit, if you ask for it? How much more generous will God be if we ask for the Holy Spirit in our lives?
Persistence in life can be sometimes be tough, but if something is worth pursuing, the rewards can be absolutely worth it. If something is valuable, but demanding, sometimes you just have to hang in there, knowing that perseverance will pay off.
The Reverend Dr Theo McCall