Spirituality at Holy Covenant
Each Christian community understands and approaches spiritual growth and formation in different ways. Some see baptism as the entry point while others believe that a moment of conversion is necessary. A few say that penal substitutionary atonement is essential.
At Holy Covenant we believe that spirituality is about how we grow into the people we were created to become. We think that the journey moves through several stages or phases. Sometimes it is a step forward and at other times a step back. Often there’s lots of wondering where to next. Doubt, crisis and challenge are often invitations to go deeper.
Our spiritual journey often has three parts to it. First, is our connection to God’s kingdom. Every human heart yearns for things like prosperity, security and meaningful relationships. These are the things of God’s kingdom. Second, is God’s people. We are not the only one’s who yearn for God’s kingdom to come. Others share our desires for wholeness and wellbeing, peace and justice. Third, is God’s Son, Jesus, who made the kingdom possible and around whom God’s people assemble so that they might learn and grow. Each connects with the other and our journey can start anywhere.
So what’s the destination? Why bother to invest our time in the spiritual life when there are so many other things to do? Many believe that spirituality is about being saved from death to eternal life. Others argue that spirituality is all about dealing with the problem of sin and evil so that some might escape judgement. We are more of the view that the spiritual journey is about overcoming the loneliness and emptiness that grows within. From this perspective, it’s about living well, realising our potential and discovering all that God has for us. Afterall, Jesus declared, “I came so they can have real and eternal life, more and better life than they ever dreamed of” (John 10.10, The Message).
You will meet people at every one stage or phase of the journey at Holy Covenant. We encourage you to simply be curious. Be present. Be creative.
Brian McLaren’s typology is helpful. You can read more about it in his books Faith after doubt: why your beliefs stopped working and what to do about it (2021) and Naked spirituality: a life with God in twelve simple words (2010).
The journey begins by learning the basics. Reading Scripture from a posture of openness and trust find us looking for answers and direction. What matters is getting things right and so faith is understood initially to be a matter of life and death, embracing goodness and rejecting evil. Consequently, we learn about God and we seek to follow Jesus. As we seek to be a part of God’s people we find ourselves trying to fitting in with the group often assenting to required beliefs, behaviours and practices. We try our best and often value those things that are simple and straightforward.
Over time, we find ourselves succeeding or failing. The Christian life works for us or it doesn’t quite fit. This is when we want to succeed more, vow to do better or start to fake things for as long as we can. We try to master all the things that others seem to do naturally, like praying, serving or thinking more consistently as Christians. We strive to realise new possibilities and opportunities. In the process, we begin to sense that there more to Christianity than the little corner we’ve experienced. God’s house has many rooms and we slowly begin to carve out our own little space with God’s help, who encourages us to reach for new heights of commitment or depths of devotion.
Challenges arise, difficulties emerge and crises swamp us so that our journey rarely goes to plan. Such things leave us with doubts, weariness and uncertainty. We want something more authentic but we just can’t believe that stuff anymore. What feels like the end is often a new beginning. Rather than simply absorbing answers about God’s kingdom, God’s people and Jesus it’s time to ask questions and explore things more deeply. Some call this deconstruction but it’s more like clearing space so that something new can be built. And so our faith is rennovated and remodelled. Old commitments go and new understandings emerge often by meeting someone we never encountered before.
The journey doesn’t end so much as we begin to make peace with our experience of construction, deconstruction and reconstruction. We find our place in God’s presence. We appreciate the opportunities we’ve shared. We seek to make our own contribution, no matter how small. We discover that faith is not about the keeping the rules or being fruitful so much as it is about cultivating love, exercising compassion and committing ourselves more fully to the paths of justice and peace. We seek connection, not just understanding. We accept that growth takes time and our failures and weaknesses often play a critical role in helping something richer emerge. We are not perfect so much as forgiven.
A traditional prayer book service with Holy Communion is accompanied by hymns from Together in Song. There is a simplicity here without being simplistic as this classic liturgical setting provides a space for all that we are and everything in God’s purposes.
For those who can’t make it to church, the 8am service is also available over Zoom on a fortnightly basis – 1st and 3rd Sundays of the month. Click here to join.
Contemporary music and liturgy is used to create a time of encouragement and reflection. A wider range of sources are used to affirm that we are all loved by God. Our children and youth programs run concurrently during the service. All are welcome to receive Holy Communion including children.
If you can’t join us in person, the 10am service is usually available over Zoom each Sunday. Click here to join.
Sometimes people need a space to talk and think. This online group provides an open-minded, relaxed and informal space where people can ask their questions about faith and life. This is our space for deconstruction and reconstruction. Click here to join.
A traditional prayer book service with Holy Communion provides a quiet and reflective time of worship for those who find it hard to make an early start on Sundays.
A discussion replaces the sermon thereby allowing for a lively conversation about God’s love and involvement in our lives.
A light lunch follows.
Here is a list of sermons by our rector and others presented throughout the years.
Click on a scripture reference to read the passage in Bible Gateway, right-click the sermon title to download the sermon file or click the play button to hear the sermon.
Fifth Sunday after Epiphany
Isaiah 58:1‑9a; Psalm 112; 1 Corinthians 2:1‑13; Matthew 5:13‑20
Revd Dr Wayne Brighton
5 February 2023
Fourth Sunday after Epiphany
Micah 6:1‑8; Psalm 15; 1 Corinthians 1:18‑31; Matthew 5:1‑12
Revd Dr Wayne Brighton
29 January 2023
Third Sunday after Epiphany
Isaiah 9:1‑4; Psalm 27:1‑10; 1 Corinthians 1:10‑18; Matthew 4:12‑25
Revd Wendy Robertson
22 January 2023
Second Sunday after Epiphany
Isaiah 49:1‑7; Psalm 40:1‑14; 1 Corinthians 1:1‑9; John 1:29‑42
15 January 2023
Baptism of our Lord
Isaiah 42:1‑9; Psalm 29; Acts 10:34‑43; Matthew 3:13‑17
Revd Anne Dudzinski
8 January 2023