As news broke this week about the conviction of Cardinal Pell for child sexual abuse, I was deeply saddened.
It reminded me again of how the church has failed so many people.
Sexual abuse has occurred in churches of all denominations, and it is an overwhelming tragedy.
There have been many cases of abuse in the Anglican Church of Australia, and we remain truly sorry for the betrayal of trust and the harm experienced by so many people.
Whilst new systems now provide greater protection from abuse, it comes too late for those who have already been hurt by the leaders they trusted.
Indeed, the impact of sexual abuse in the church goes wider than the immediate victims: it affects everyone who has had faith in the church.
For those who see the church as the place to meet God and receive his grace, this news can create serious disillusionment.
After all, if the church is polluted, then it seems impossible to really know God and receive his blessings.
Yet, from the ashes of this tragedy rises a new hope.
The Bible says that every one of us can relate directly to God, without priest or sacrament.
God speaks directly to all of us in the Bible, and you can hear him for yourself.
Which means that when the church fails, God doesn’t.
Even if you feel like giving up on the church, don’t give up on Jesus.
You can meet Jesus directly by reading God’s word, the Bible for yourself.
And you can pray directly to Jesus, because his death on the cross brings the ultimate forgiveness.
Jesus said, “Come to me, all of you who are weary and carry heavy burdens, and I will give you rest.” (Matthew 11:28).