Archive for the ‘John’ Category


Remembrance Day at the Shalom Centre, Sydney

He has now finished his thesis for his 2nd masters degree in Theology, but Bob Creelman is more excited about running a men’s group at the Shalom Centre, the Aged Care Facility where I am the Chaplain. He has been in Israel recently and now my Geologist/Theologian friend was having lunch with me telling me about being in Beersheba and the history about Remembrance Day. Bob loves history, especially the history of war.

The discussion includes the Australian Light Horse Brigade who served at the Battle of Beersheba and how they made their famous cavalry charge on 31 October 1917, during the advance on Damascus. Bob told me he had found the gravestones of some of these brave men and had taken some photos. I said that I would be interested in displaying the photos as part of a PowerPoint presentation I was doing for the Remembrance Day Service (Shalom had the service on Friday 9th this year).

I notice that Douglas Mountain is sitting at the next table. I can see he is interested in our conversation when we spoke of Beersheba and the Light Horse, so I invite him over. I have already asked Douglas, a returned serviceman himself, to participate in the Remembrance Day service the next day.

Just yesterday I had a conversation with Douglas and I know Bob will be interested. Douglas is wearing an Australian Remembrance ring. When he bought it a few years ago he was encouraged to have it engraved with the name of a member of the family who had been to war. He engraved the name of his uncle, T.W.Mountain who was wounded in the charge of the Light Horse Brigade in Beersheba and died 3 days later way back in 1917. We are enthralled by the conversation.

Bob is even more excited when he rings me in the afternoon. Of the six photos he had taken when he had visited the gravestones in Beersheba, one of them included the name of T.W.Mountain, 1st Australian Light Horse, 3rd November, 1917, Age 27. It was Douglas Mountain’s uncle! How amazing is that!

At our Remembrance Day service, after Douglas Mountain reads a poem, I get him to stay at the microphone and ask him about the ring he wears, it’s inscription and the story of his uncle. He shows everyone the medals of his uncle which he is wearing alongside his own. He is completely surprised when Bob Creelman comes to the front and presents him with a beautiful remembrance booklet with the photo of his uncle’s grave and I display the picture of the gravestone on the screen. A moving moment.

Douglas Mountain receives a Remembrance Book from Bob Creelman

Douglas comes to us after the service and tells how all through his life, he has rarely received any affirmation or encouragement for any of his achievements or the achievements of his family during times of war. Sometimes something special happens and he treasures such moments. This is one occasion he will treasure.

Just a chance conversation at a lunch table? Not at all. Bob told me later that on the day he took the photographs in Beersheba, he had a friendly debate with his Jewish friend about Providence. He will write to him about Remembrance Day and about a God moment where we had an opportunity to honour and remember a brave man who gave his life in a decisive battle during World War 1. Douglas Mountain’s gravestone reads “Greater is no man than he who lays down his life for his country.” These words echo the words of (NKJV) which says “Greater love has no one than this, than to lay down one’s life for His friends.” This speaks ofwhat Christ has done for us when He died for our sins on the Cross and won the victory at another decisive battle. 

Pastor Ross

F-0000000599&e=fa4951147c8be03849ebd2dc83972c77″ target=”_blank”>Remembrance Day: Who are you remembering? (


Superstition – Photo Creation by Ross Cochrane using and

The 2nd Friday in January was Friday the thirteenth, 2012. For those who believe in SUPERSTITION an unlucky day – a bad day for a journey, to marry, to make any investment. One woman I spoke with yesterday reads the stars each morning in the paper and prays that God will allow it to happen. Lets add to that walking under a ladder, a black cat, crossing your fingers, touching wood, reading the stars, petals plucked to discover if she loves me, she loves me not.

RELIGION especially can be the hive of superstitious nonsense. One man wears a cross as a kind of rabbits foot against bad luck, while another wears it as a symbol of what Christ did for us on the Cross in dying for our sins. One person prays as a meaningless ritual while another uses prayer as an expression of relationship with Christ.

SUPERSTITION is evident when I have a belief or practice resulting from ignorance, fear of the unknown, trust in magic or chance, or a false conception of cause and effect. Many people would add that a belief in the supernatural, in miracles, in God, in the resurrection and ascension of Christ is also SUPERSTITION.

I’ve been reading a lecture (blog) by Robert G. Ingersoll (1833-1899), an Atheist. I love his ability to express himself but I am amazed by the arrogance of his assertions and how he intentionally associates SUPERSTITION WITH FAITH. He is particularly scathing about regarding the Bible as the inspired Word of God and proclaims SCIENCE AS OUR SAVIOUR, which will “destroy bigotry in all its forms… It will abolish poverty and crime, and greater, grander, nobler than all else, it will make the whole world free.” (Ingersoll lecture on Superstition)

And years after his death in the scientific age in which we live we are still mesmerised by the superstition of believing that science is the saviour of the world. Yet far from freeing the world, the evidence suggests we are destroying it by the very discoveries we have made. Science hasn’t lived up to the arrogant claims and promises Ingersoll makes because it keeps limiting us by ignoring the very things that truly set us free.

If I was not willing to accept Christ for who He is I guess I would be forced to come up with some fanciful explanation that allowed my atheism or superstition some credence and would not obligate me to come under God’s authority – scientific or religious – it wouldn’t matter much which.

In delivering a series of messages based on The Truth Between Us, Erwin McManus, founder of Mosaic, recently said that true atheists and followers of Christ both want to rid themselves of SUPERSTITION. Thankfully, both atheists and followers of Christ ask us “Is that really the truth?” and if we were honest sometimes the answer is “No, it’s more connected with superstition and rituals and our own biased desires.” It may even be based on our self imposed limits.

Arnold (not his real name) has worked so long as a scientist that he has allowed his empirical rationalism to limit his ability to discern truth by relying only on his SENSES. Allowing for a multiplicity of ways to discern truth and not simply restricting discernment to the five senses allows me to exercise FAITH as a valid system of perception. When Arnold, shackled and restricted to the evidence of the senses as he must be for his scientific research to be meaningful, refuses to acknowledge any OTHER pathways to truth but it’s own self imposed world of choices, then far from practicing science he is involved in “SCIENTISM” (as my geologist friend Bob calls it). Closing itself up to other possibilities outside the field of it’s own restricted measures of obtaining truth, scientism arrogantly seeks to cut us off from the possibilities of discovering a more holistic range of truth for our lives and from the divergent thinking that leads us to new discoveries. Should I restrict myself to my senses as the ONLY means to living life I could never be accountable to anyone but myself, limited by my “INGROWN THINKING”.

Erwin McManus speaks about the impossibility of trying to see something with the sense of smell or hear something with the sense of sight. It’s not that faith and science are diametrically opposed. They are not. It’s that we sometimes apply the wrong apparatus of perception when seeking truth.

It isn’t Jesus who is responsible for leading me to believe in superstition. No-one should be more committed to pursuing truth than a follower of Christ, who says He is the way, TRUTH, and life and that the TRUTH will set us free (John 14:6, John 8:32). He will never take me anywhere where truth is not.

Pastor Ross