Christ is the reflection of God’s glory and the exact imprint of God’s very being, crowned with a glory “bright with Eden’s dawn light.” My brothers and sisters, Jesus says, I’m here with the children God gave me.

Welcome to the gathering of St. Mark’s Church (Sunday worship under one roof) .

Let’s enter this time of worship of the God of Jesus Christ by giving our listening ear to the voice of God in the words of Scripture.

I want to invite you to ponder a couple of things as I read this to you. This passage speaks of Christ as the reflection, the imprint of God. What does the passage suggest we will see, as we look into Christ?

Secondly, how does Christ consider us? Who are we to Christ?

Hebrews 1:1-3; 2:8-13 (The Message)
Long ago God spoke to our ancestors in many and various ways by the prophets, 2but in these last days he has spoken to us by a Son, whom he appointed heir of all things, through whom he also created the worlds. 3He is the reflection of God’s glory and the exact imprint of God’s very being, and he sustains all things by his powerful word.

When God put humanity in charge of everything, nothing was excluded. But we don’t see it yet, don’t see everything under human jurisdiction. What we do see is Jesus, made “not quite as high as angels,” and then, through the experience of death, crowned so much higher than any angel, with a glory “bright with Eden’s dawn light.” In that death, by God’s grace, he fully experienced death in every person’s place.

10-13 It makes good sense that the God who got everything started and keeps everything going now completes the work by making the Salvation Pioneer perfect through suffering as he leads all these people to glory. Since the One who saves and those who are saved have a common origin, Jesus doesn’t hesitate to treat them as family, saying,
I’ll tell my good friends,
my brothers and sisters,
all I know about you;
I’ll join them in worship and praise to you.
Again, he puts himself in the same family circle when he says,
Even I live by placing my trust in God.
And yet again,
I’m here with the children God gave me.

Let us enter this time together and meditate on Christ Jesus, the reflection, the exact imprint of God. Because in doing so, we will see who God is. In seeing who God is, we will see who we are, who we are meant to be – to be the reflection, the imprint of Christ Jesus, the children of God.

We are to emanate the light of Christ, the very light of Eden, the light of Creation. This light that gives life and sustains life. We are given charge for all creation to give life and to sustain life in love, care and service. We are to follow Christ Jesus, the Salvation Pioneer, whose steps treads a path of salvation on earth. We are called to tread along this path making it visible, making it accessible, as followers of our Salvation Pioneer, in fact, more than that, as brothers and sisters of Christ Jesus.

I invite you now to a time of prayerful reflection.

Prayerful Reflection:

Reflection song: Prayer by Rene Clausen words attributed to Mother Teresa of Culcutta


Christ is the reflection of God’s glory and the exact imprint of God’s very being, crowned with a glory “bright with Eden’s dawn light.” My brothers and sisters, Jesus says, I’m here with the children God gave me.
Choir singing: ‘Longing for Light’

Welcome and Notices:

Praying the Psalm:

Today we will pray Psalm 8 together. It is a prayer of wonder, mystery, and curiosity. It is a prayer that arises from the kind of experience that we might have when we are encountered by something immense – it’s like standing below the dazzling night sky that stretches across the Mackenzie country, it’s like driving down towards Lake Pukaki and suddenly your eyes are met with the great expanse of the glacial lake and the towering majesty of Aoraki Mt. Cook, it’s like standing on the ground of significance and suddenlty getting that sense of deep history rushing up towards to meet you in the present moment, you know what I am talking about don’t you? It’s like a great awakening when our eyes and hearts open to realise the food we eat is not a product we have paid for fair and square but a grateful sacrifice of our natural world for human thriving, it’s like that sudden but sure realisation that I am part of a great web of reality of interdependence with other humans, the natural world.


It is a moment that makes us small in that we experience humility However, at the same time, we are lifted up by that which is immense to know who we are not to become proud but to appreciate the virtuous and noble purpose to our being. This Psalm expresses this wonder and mystery and curiosity in encountering God who has created all that is immense. In our humility before the immensity of this God, God lifts us up as God’s partners for life, God’s partners for giving and sustaining life for the natural world and the human society. It challenges us to see the world differently – an upside down world, where God uses baby noises and toddler shouts to silence the pompous talk of the violent and the proud. Such is the way of God, lifting up that which is small and humble to be called for higher and deeper calling, to be partners of salvation.

People of God, do you know who you are? Let us stand before the immensity of the mountains, the plains, the seas, history and interconnectedness, and encounter the immensity of God, who has created all that brings to us wonder, mystery and curiosity. In standing before this God, in our smallness and humility, let God lift us up to know who we are, partners of God for giving and sustaining life. Who needs to hear this good news? Where do we need to live this out? Who do you see living this life giving and life sustaining life? Let us together pray this psalm of wonder, mystery and curiosity for ourselves, for those who do not know it, for those who is living this life, and against the powers of destruction to silence their violent and proud babble with the song of baby talk of the children of God.

Please respond with the words in bold.
Psalm 8 (The Message) adapted for worship

God, brilliant Lord,
yours is a household name.

Nursing infants gurgle choruses about you;
toddlers shout the songs
That drown out enemy talk,
and silence the babble of the proud.

I look up at your macro-skies, dark and enormous,
your handmade sky-jewellry,
Moon and stars mounted in their settings.
Then I look at my micro-self and wonder,

Why do you bother with us?
Why take a second look our way?

Yet we’ve so narrowly missed being gods,
 bright with Eden’s dawn light.
You put us in charge of your handcrafted world,
repeated to us your Genesis-charge,
Made us stewards of sheep and cattle,
even animals out in the wild,
Birds flying and fish swimming,
whales singing in the ocean deeps.

God, brilliant Lord,
your name echoes around the world.

Prayer for Others
We will pray the Lord’s Prayer together

Our Father in heaven
hallowed be your name.
Your kingdom come,
your will be done
on earth as in heaven.

Give us today our daily bread,
forgive us our sins,
as we forgive those
who sin against us.
Save us from the time of trial
and deliver us from evil.

For the kingdom, the power,
and the glory are yours,
now and forever.

[Offering brought forward]

Offering Prayer

Choir singing: ‘Come Children Join To Sing’

Scripture Reading: Mark 10:1-16 (NRSV)
13People were bringing little children to him in order that he might touch them; and the disciples spoke sternly to them. 14But when Jesus saw this, he was indignant and said to them, “Let the little children come to me; do not stop them; for it is to such as these that the kingdom of God belongs. 15Truly I tell you, whoever does not receive the kingdom of God as a little child will never enter it.” 16And he took them up in his arms, laid his hands on them, and blessed them.

2 Corinthians 6:11-13 (The Message)
I can’t tell you how much I long for you to enter this wide-open, spacious life. We didn’t fence you in. The smallness you feel comes from within you. Your lives aren’t small, but you’re living them in a small way. I’m speaking as plainly as I can and with great affection. Open up your lives. Live openly and expansively!

Sermon Reflection:

In the last two Sundays, our Gospel reading from Mark has progressively led us through incidents where Jesus and the disciples clash. The first was when the disciples have been arguing about who is the greatest among them. Jesus graciously teaches them that those who serve are the greatest in the new creation that God is bringing forth. In the same breath, Jesus teaches them, taking example of a child, that whoever welcomes a child, welcomes God. The kind of heart, the kind of mindset, that is willing to provide and give space for a child to thrive, the kind of way of life that seeks to nurture and empower the next generation, such heart, mindset and way of life, becomes a channel for God, where God is welcomed, where God arrives in our midst, a path spacious, virtuous and beautiful enough for God to choose to come.


As for last Sunday, we encountered Jesus and his disciples at cross purposes, when the disciples display a kind of heart, a kind of mindset, a kind of way of life that is narrow and small. They complain about people outside their group using the name of Jesus to drive out evil that demonises people. Their complaint is that the name of Jesus belongs to them. If anyone wants to do good driving out destructive forces with Jesus’ name, then they must come under them, come under their control, learn their tradition, and live by them. Such sectarian thinking gets Jesus fired up! Such narrowness, such smallness, has no place in the new creation that God is bringing. This is the very thing that God will incinerate.

And now we come to today’s reading. We hear that Jesus is indignant with his disciples. Why? Do you recall why?

People were bringing children to Jesus so that he may bless them. To me this speaks of two things. First, the parents or grandparents saw in Jesus something good. Something they felt was important for their children to be part of, to be influenced and shaped, grounded and anchored as they grow up. But also they must have felt that Jesus is welcoming of children. In what they have heard and seen, unlike the world around them, Jesus had a heart for children, the next generation.

Isn’t it surprising then that those closest to Jesus, those who called themselves to be his disciples, didn’t get it, while those who were outside that group did. Those who are supposed to represent who Jesus is and what Jesus stands for are the ones who stand in the way of it. The disciples apparently spoke to them sternly – probably telling them to be quiet, go to your room, you should know your place, this is serious business! This reminds me of adults who find children to be a nuisance, an unnecessary weight that drags them down from whatever good cause they want to achieve, a distraction from the main business. You know that saying children are good, when they are not seen and certainly not heard.

Well, as for Jesus, on the contrary to his disciples, children are the very metaphor for the people who will inhabit the new creation that God is bringing. In other words, absence of children, is the absence of the very image of a kind of heart, a kind of mindset, a kind of way of being, that reminds and challenges the people of God to aspire to, that is, who they need to be as children of God, the children of new creation to reflect and emanate Christ Jesus, the very reflection of God. No wonder, Jesus is indignant!

So what do we learn from children? We learn from children how to be the children of God. Many of you would have heard about a childlike faith. Often this is understood as trusting faith, dependent faith. Yes, we are to have faith that we are utterly dependent on God for our whole being. This is very important aspect we need to be reminded of from children as we seek to live as the children of God.

I want to suggest another aspect that is important that we need to learn from children. What I am going to suggest isn’t learnt from observing a child. I am intrigued by what Jesus says: “Let the children come.” Jesus doesn’t say look at children and learn. Jesus says let the children come. What the disciples resist is not learning from observing children from a distance. What they resist is being with children. What Jesus challenges is this resistance of being with children. Let them come is not let them come under us, under our control. Let them come is practice faith with them. Let them come is not we will allow you, it is we will come along side you. Let the children come is have a heart, a mindset, a way of life, that is spacious enough to live faith together with children.

You see, children when they are in the midst of us, when we are open to interact and be present with them, they offer us an opportunity to live a life that is spacious. Children offer us an opportunity to recognize the small, narrowness that is within us, that hinder us from being the children of God. To illustrate this I want to share with you a video. It is a social experiment, an openness of a community to the presence of a child. A child is about to cross a road. She asks an adult next to her to help her to cross the road.

A child asks for help. When we come down to listen and offer our hand, something happens. We suddenly make this place a better place, a beautiful place, one by one, we make our community, our nation, our world a better place, a safe and spacious place for thriving.

Yes I know, I did think that the reason why some people won’t help is because the awareness of child abuse and child predators. I don’t want to be mistaken for one. But I realised that such thinking is unhelpful. Such awareness must not stop us from responding to a child in need. Rather such awareness should move us to realise how vulnerable children are and find means to protect them as well as providing safe haven for their thriving.

I wonder when we are living as a children of God, we are not only being invited by God to reach out and help but also to become the child that asks for help to provide an opportunity to make this world a better place. Think about it in this way. When we reach out to ask for help, we are implicitly challenging something. We are challenging a notion in this world that grinds us to insignificance. We are told that we are small. We are told that we are not good enough. We are told what are you in the midst of the large businesses and political and cultural forces that turn us into selfish, self-centred individuals that contributes to destruction of communities and natural environment. There are many who believe this. There are many who have been ground to insignificance. When we ask for their hand, we are going against this very destructive notion. We are saying, you are better than this, you are significant, you can make a difference, You are a child of God, charged with a higher and deeper calling – to give and sustain life. You and I can make this place into a sanctuary for life thriving!

As we have prayed together Psalm 8, this is how God creates miracles and bring his mission of new creation. As we see in Jesus, God takes what is small and humble and raises it up as the partner of God’s immense work of salvation and creation. We are to emanate the light of Christ by reaching out to help people in need as children of God who live out the ways of God. At times, we are called to be the children of God who become the opportunity for others to find the light within them, to awaken to see who they really are! This is the invitation of Christ to us when Christ invites children to come – to live out the ways of Christ who bear the name of Christ and also to become the innocent child that lights the light of God in others to become partners with God in the work of new creation where we live life spaciously!

Reflection song: All of God’s children by Jon Foreman

Oh, I’ve been waiting for love to give birth
New life to show pain it’s worth
I’ve been waiting for peace on earth like a newborn child
All of God’s children shining underneath

Choir singing: ‘Lord Your Almighty Word’

The Grace of our Lord, Jesus Christ,
the love of God
and the communion of the Holy Spirit,
be with us all
now and for evermore. Amen.