Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Carpe Diem

Change happens. Just when we get used to our world the way it is, something moves. Or someone moves. Or we move.
Word4Life began almost 11 years ago and has been sent out via email most weeks for that same period. It began when a member of Macquarie Chapel told me he needed a mid week spiritual hit on a Wednesday to give his corporate life a spiritual jolt. It began as an attempt to see how faith and life interact, to take what we see in the news and to see if in some way we could look behind the event to learn eternal lessons from everyday events. Actually it's not really a new idea, as a certain itinerant spiritual teacher in Israel 2000 years ago told stories about wheat, lost sons, mustard trees and a surprisingly good Victorian (I mean Samaritan) - and he called them parables. Another word for a parable might easily be a Word4Life.
Word4Life, though written by me, has always been a silent partnership. Macquarie Chapel Presbyterian Church (known affectionately as Macchap) has always supplied the computer, the email management system and the time for me to write each week. A good friend, Peter Thomas, has for about 8 years been my unpaid and unacknowledged editor and spell checker. In spite of Peter’s assistance, I have still been able to make mistakes but Peter's gallant service has saved a great deal of grammatical pain and spelling embarrassments.
Last Sunday I announced to Macchap that I will be leaving my post here in mid June, to take a rather different position as a Chaplain in the Royal Australian Navy. There are many factors that have led to this and if you want to hear a much longer explanation then you can listen at http://www.macchap.com.au/wp-content/uploads/2012/04/02-the-church-in-3d.mp3. In short, as one friend said on Sunday, it’s a Jesus thing. We sensed that the Lord was encouraging us to have one more ministry assignment and the Navy seemed a place where I could follow my passion of connecting word and life in a very real, needy, challenging and, at times, extreme environment.
Starting in July I have to first attend 5 months of New Entry Officer Training at Jervis Bay and if you want an insight to the challenges ahead for this 52 year old, you could check out http://www.defencejobs.gov.au/navy/training/neoc38/#/episode1/. After that I will be posted somewhere in Australia to serve the men and women of the Navy.
Many have asked what will happen to Word4Life and at this stage the answer is a little uncertain. Many receive this email each week and politely delete it. But for others they read, enjoy and bounce it on to all sorts of people in all sorts of places. I have been humbled that these short thoughts each week are read by people all over the world, from those in the humblest of states to indeed a head of state. Some have suggested that Word4Life could now become Word from the Bridge, Word from the Seas or whatever, but to be honest I am not even sure what time or freedom I will have as I move forward.
So the weekly Word4Life is going to be replaced by an occasional Word4Life. (I will write it when I can and if possible continue to post on the blog and to my Facebook friends). My passion remains to understand this fascinating world we live in and do so with reference to our gracious God, who loves us in spite of our unworthiness. Knowing God and following Jesus has been for me an amazing adventure and I am looking forward to this next posting, with the sadness that comes with any change. The Latin phrase has always challenged me: Carpe Diem - sieze the day.
The words of Scripture remain a light to my path.
This is the day the LORD has made; let us rejoice and be glad in it.  


  1. Wow Richard! I can't wait to hear what God does in and through you guys in this next season of serving Him. Is Wendy joining the Navy too? If not I have two lovely children she could teach here in SE Asia while I learn the language! Bless you guys! Janelle

  2. Hey Janelle - thanks for the kind note. So pleased you guys finally made it - we are thinking about you often - Richard

  3. Wow that's big news! I don't like change generally so good to hear that you hope to still blog occasionally-whenever i read W4L (which is probably about half of them in detail)I think, "Richard should put these into a book"; Very last century; I didn't realise you posted them on a blog, which kinda is a modern book.

    My first thought on the Navy is, does that mean Tim's boss is going to kinda be yours too? Having a father in the services might give Tim some more 'street cred' for that portfolio he serves! My other thought and prayer is, "How are your 'Rugby Knees' going to cope with basic officer training? I'm sure you'll be fine!

    ANZAC day reminds me of the amazing Gospel opportunity that goes with Service Chaplaincy. Where else in public do hundreds, thousands (and even millions on TV) gather and it is still accepted, and expected to hear the Bible read, and the message of hope through Jesus proclaimed! Awesome!


    1. Many challenges ahead - including rugby knee - but I am training hard and living in hope. Thanks for your kind thoughts Chris