Tonight we re-tell a story from the gospel of Mark in which Jesus’ family think he’s crazy; the religious experts accuse him of being demon possessed; and Jesus talks in riddles, then questions family ties. The original text is dense, and easily obscured by our deeply held social values and longing for judgement. Therefore, I’ve expanded, adding commentary, in the hope that this re-telling sheds some light on the passage and leaves you with good questions to ponder. The simple refrain is included to give you an opportunity to sing gently and reflect on what the preceding paragraph reveals. Continue reading “Beloved Son: A Meditation”
Introduction: Sometimes, we respond to the readings (John 3:5-8 and Romans 8:12-17) with a sermon. Sometimes, we have a conversation. Sometimes, like last week, people testify to God’s action in the world and their lives. And sometimes, we have a guided meditation which invites you to enter deeply into the readings. Tonight it’s a meditation. Listen to the song below; then work slowly through the meditation. Be aware that the meditation uses gendered language for God, language which the Biblical writers used. There are times when we analyse and even question this language: but tonight, I invite you to let it be. Instead, just rest in the imagery, and see what emerges in the silence. Continue reading “Birthed by the Spirit: Beloved by God”
Who among you feels unclean? Perhaps you have a mental illness, and have learned to hide it. Perhaps you have thoughts or feelings which make you ashamed. Perhaps you have been touched in ways for which you blame yourself. Perhaps your identity is condemned by politicians, or the religious, or the mass media. Perhaps you are indigenous, raised to pass for white. Perhaps you are HIV-positive, and terrified of infecting others. Perhaps, like me, your hands erupt in eczema, and you often need to hide them. Perhaps, perhaps, perhaps. Continue reading “The Testimony of Touch”
The book of Jonah is a powerful, difficult, and demanding book, more relevant than ever: for it shows a man walking into the epicentre of globalisation and military violence, unarmed, to preach the end of the age. Christians often think they should feel warm, fuzzy, loving thoughts towards the other; but, like Jesus, Jonah shows us that love means placing our very bodies among those we fear, hate, or simply don’t understand. Whether this means the extreme of walking into Mosul, the modern-day Ninevah, and preaching God’s word; or whether it means crossing the barriers of religion, age, class, or cultural, gender, or sexual identity in relationship, this radical enemy-love lies at the heart of the gospel – and it is terrifying. Continue reading “Jonah: Ministry without reservation”
A person knocks on a door. A voice calls from within, “Who is it?” The person says, “It’s your servant.” The voice says, “There’s no one here.”
The person goes away, wandering and wondering, working and thinking and talking and praying and sleeping and playing and dreaming, as you do. A year goes by, and they return. They knock at the door. A voice calls from within, “Who is it?” The person says, “It’s your sibling.” The voice says, “There’s no one here.”
The person goes away, wandering and wondering, working and thinking and talking and praying and sleeping and playing and dreaming, as you do. A year goes by, and they return. They knock at the door. A voice calls from within, “Who is it?” The person says, “It’s You.” The door swings open.
What if we have already been given every spiritual resource we need? What if we can be so transformed by Christ that, when he looks into our eyes, he sees himself? What if it is up to each of us to open the door? Continue reading “It’s You!”
Begin by reading Exodus 16:2-15. Now reflect on our congregation: who we were, who we are now, and where we seem to be heading; then pray your way through the four questions. When you have done this, read the brief reflection below.
- What did you leave to join Sanctuary?
- What makes it difficult to stay?
- What do you complain to God about?
- What are you hungry for?
Make yourself comfortable, and give yourself time to ponder the images and questions here. A meditation on Matthew 21:1-11 for Palm Sunday, 2017. You can also listen here.
One day, he will come. He will enter the city in triumph, and free the people from the occupying forces. Maybe he’ll be wearing a thick leather jerkin, and riding a battle horse. Maybe he’ll have a sword at his side. Maybe he’ll bring an army of rebels, ready to raise hell and throw out the oppressors: self-serving politicians, rapacious business owners, corrupt bureaucrats, mercenary soldiers, powerful predators, those who place profits before people, those who stay silent in the face of violence. Continue reading “Waiting for the liberator: A meditation”