Psalms | Jesus Christ, the apple tree, and me

This week I (Alison) am on leave. So here’s a little something from the archives on how we might relate to country. Perhaps it will inspire you to reflect and write something for our 2023 Lent Book, which will be a collection of prayers and readings rooted in the land.

While we were away with our sister church a couple years ago, Phil went for a walk. When he came back, Uncle Den wandered up for a chat: “I saw you come back from a bit of a walkabout just now.” “Yep,” said Phil, and he told Uncle Den how much he loves being outside by himself, and how he finds peace and rejuvenation there. Uncle Den asked him, “So do you talk to the birds that you see? Do you stop to listen to what they might wanna say to you? How ‘bout the trees? They’re always talking; do you listen to them, too?” Continue reading “Psalms | Jesus Christ, the apple tree, and me”

Isaiah | Peace and plenty for everyone

This week I (Alison) am on leave. So heres a little something from the archives relating to the local landscape. Perhaps it will inspire you to reflect and write something for our 2023 Lent Book, which will be a collection of prayers and readings rooted in the land.

Twenty years ago, Cudgee was a depleted paddock. Now, it’s an oasis. Families have built sustainable homes and are raising their children there. People have planted countless Indigenous trees, grasses, and shrubs. The creek is overhung by eucalypts; blocks are lined with wildlife corridors; koalas grunt and roam. There are organic gardens and orchards; happy chooks; contented ducks; an Indigenous plant nursery; and the best garlic in Victoria. Continue reading “Isaiah | Peace and plenty for everyone”

Hebrews | Slow reading | Drinking the rain

It’s been a week: of working, studying, cooking, cleaning, laundering, parenting, medical appointments, and family business requiring an 8-hour return trip to Melbourne. My husband and I have passed like ships in the night as he, too, had to be in Melbourne but on different days. Now a kid has Covid; it’s their third week of sickness this term. The cat is overdue its annual vaccinations; I’m getting rude notes from the library; the garden’s knee high in weeds; and I’m conscious of all the things I haven’t done. Continue reading “Hebrews | Slow reading | Drinking the rain”

Luke | Want to encounter God? Get lost!

It is precisely when we are lost that God seeks us out. (Listen.)

When I first preached on this text at Sanctuary, I began with a story. It went like this: So Joshua was at the pub, eating and drinking and talking with whoever turned up. There were gay folk and trans folk and very complicated families. There were women who loved work more than children, and who liked nothing more after work than a drink with their friends. There were sex workers and drug addicts; blokes fresh out of prison; evangelical atheists; and people who had been burned by the church. All these and more were crowding around and listening to what Joshua had to say. Continue reading “Luke | Want to encounter God? Get lost!”

Luke | In the face of climate catastrophe, seek signs of the kingdom

Jesus says, ‘Look at the fig tree and all the trees; as soon as they sprout leaves you can see for yourselves and know that summer is already near. So also, when you see these things taking place, you know that the kingdom-culture of God is near.’ (Luke 21:29-31)

What are ‘these things’ of which Jesus speaks? Well, he has just detailed them in the previous verses: earthquakes, famines, plagues, invading armies, the roaring of the ocean, terrible suffering, and people ‘fainting from fear and foreboding’. Once, these words referred to the brutal repression by the Romans of the Jewish Revolts, using cosmic imagery to allude to forces of violence and empire; now, as the living Word continues to speak into our lives, we might hear them as also referring to climate catastrophe and all that comes with it. Continue reading “Luke | In the face of climate catastrophe, seek signs of the kingdom”

Deuteronomy | In the face of climate catastrophe, choose life

The news is devastating, but we still have choices: so choose life. (Listen.)

This week, as cataclysmic floods pour across Pakistan, destroying farms, roads, towns and infrastructure and displacing over 30 million people; as unprecedented heatwaves and wildfires continue to threaten much of Europe; as long-term drought impacts water security for millions of people in the southwest United States; as we brace ourselves for the likelihood of another La Niña cycle and further devastating floods; as we learn that the catastrophic bushfires along the Great Dividing Range burned six metres deep in places, rendering regrowth impossible, the most famous words of Moses’ most famous sermon should ring loud and clear. Continue reading “Deuteronomy | In the face of climate catastrophe, choose life”

Luke | Slow reading | Stilling the storm

 

A few weeks ago, the worshipping congregation described Sanctuary as a little boat riding the storm (here). So this week, let’s reflect on one of the Jesus-stills-the-storm texts. In Luke’s account, the story is surrounded by conflict. Immediately before Jesus and the disciples get in the boat, Jesus claims as his family those who do the word of God, even as his biological family stand at the door. Then he suggests that he and the disciples cross the lake to the other side i.e. the Gentile side. Continue reading “Luke | Slow reading | Stilling the storm”

Luke | Disabled and poor people are primary at God’s table

Disabled and poor people aren’t optional extras to God’s table, but primary participants. (Listen.)

It’s been more than twenty years since my mother died. As most of you know, she had multiple sclerosis. First it disrupted her balance, so she had to walk with a cane. Then it caused paraplegia, so she rolled around in a wheelchair. Gradually, the paralysis crept up her spine; she became quadriplegic. So she graduated into an electric wheelchair which someone else steered for her. Then she began losing hearing and vision; then finally the strength and mobility to inflate her lungs and breathe. She died quite literally crippled, lame and blind. Continue reading “Luke | Disabled and poor people are primary at God’s table”

Prayer | The earth is filled with God’s presence

 

Let us pray.
We are the people:
the people of earth.
Let us care for each other:
let us care for the earth.
Let us worship the creator:
let us attend to the earth.
For the earth is filled with God’s presence.
Our ancestor Jacob woke from his sleep and said,
“Surely the Lord is in this place—and I didn’t know it!”
And he was afraid, and said,
“How awesome is this place!
This is none other than the house of God,
and this, the gate of heaven.”
Let us acknowledge this place’s traditional custodians,
the Peek Wurrung peoples of the Eastern Maar nation,
and pay our respects to elders past and present.
May we wake up to this place and its peoples.
May we wake up to God’s holy presence.
Let us attend to the earth: the very dwelling place of God. Amen. Continue reading “Prayer | The earth is filled with God’s presence”

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