I will remember the deeds of the Lord;
yes, I will remember your miracles of long ago.
12 I will consider all your works
and meditate on all your mighty deeds.
Psalm 77: 11-12
It is easy to give in to fear when we look at a week that commenced with record cases of locally acquired Covid-19 cases in NSW, a 7.2 magnitude earthquake in Haiti that has left at least 1,400 people dead and 84,000 homes devastated and the lightening-swift return of the Taliban to power in Afghanistan. What are we in the light of these monumental global events?
Yet, as weak as we are, our hope is in a power that transcends our understanding or imagination. It is the power of the living God who is calling his people to himself. The image above reminds us of His might at work in those who profess faith in him and come together to sing his praises. While the work has currently halted on the building at Hope Anglican, (see images of the building site here), God’s work continues.
A past reminder of God at work in Sydney
This image is taken from the Billy Graham Crusade in the Sydney Showground in April 1959. The Sydney Morning Herald reported that:
“the Showground on May 10, 1959 attracted a world-record Crusade crowd of 150,000, the Herald reported. “It was estimated that more than a million Australians heard a direct radio and landline broadcast of the meeting in homes, churches and halls.” (Billy Graham’s Record-breaking 1959 Sydney Crusade)
This was a decade which saw tremendous Gospel growth in our Diocese as well. We added 15 parishes in the decade from 1949 to 1959, while there was a commensurate growth of population across the cities of Sydney and the Illawarra. It was a period when Archbishop Howard Mowll launched the “Every Member” campaign, which sought support from every member of the Sydney Anglican Diocese to ensure financial viability for new churches planted in the growth suburbs of the day. These suburbs were West Ryde, Kingsgrove, Seven Hills and Fairfield.
While these may have been different days, they still remind us of what God has done… and can still do in our work to support Gospel growth in our city.
What kind of legacy will we leave?
Undoubtedly, our decade will be remembered for the great social upheaval casued by Covid-19 and perhaps things that are yet to be revealed. But in times of desperate need, and perhaps even despair, let us remember the God we serve and what he may yet still do! His work is often magnified in the face of our weakness and fear. This is something the Apostle Paul himself learned:
‘My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.’ Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me.’
2 Corinthians 12:9
Phenomenal Sydney – Anglicans in a Time of Change, 1945-2013 Marcia Cameron, 2016
Sydney Anglicans Stephen Judd and Kenneth Cable, 1987
Sydney Morning Herald website