For broadcast on 2CH Sydney, 5 Jan 2014.
The 3rd of February marks the 226th anniversary of the first church service in Australia. Led by the colony’s chaplain, Rev Richard Johnson, the service took place under a great tree just a week after the First Fleet anchored in Sydney Cove, with a sermon on Psalm 116:12.
Preaching at a service to mark the anniversary last year, former Sydney Anglican Archbishop Dr Peter Jensen observed that Johnson’s choice of text was odd:
The great voyage was a corporate affair … But his text is personal: ‘what shall I render to the Lord for all his benefits to me?’ It is as if he stands before them all, under the great tree … and sees them all individually, each one, and speaks to them personally about themselves, not so much as a body of people who had gone through great trials together.
As 2014 begins, what will you render to God for all his benefits to you? Happy New Year!
I’m Rod Benson for the NSW Council of Churches.