Matthew | Like an arsonist

John the Baptizer has strong words for religious leaders; but, in the kingdom of heaven, even the most vulnerable person need not be afraid. (Listen.)

Sin. For many of us it’s a dirty word. Because many of us are recovering Christians. We are recovering from churches which preached judgement and condemnation, triggering fear and shame. We are recovering from feeling manipulated; we are recovering from the threat of hell; we are recovering from bad theology. We are recovering from mincing moralism which taught us to be afraid of our own desires. We are recovering from abusive shepherds and church leaders who stole our innocence away. We are recovering from all the ways the word ‘sin’ has been wielded like a weapon, to make us compliant and afraid. And yet, we are here. Continue reading “Matthew | Like an arsonist”

Acts | Cut off from the church? Here’s good news for you (and a challenge to the church)

The baptism of the Ethiopian eunuch points to a faith which is radically accepting and inclusive. (Listen.)

The Ethiopian eunuch is cut off in every way. A precious part of him has been sliced off, and this loss defines him: for we do not even know his name. Instead, we only know that he’s a eunuch. And as a eunuch, he has been cut off from having children, and from establishing a family line.

Continue reading “Acts | Cut off from the church? Here’s good news for you (and a challenge to the church)”

Spreading kindness: Arwen’s testimony

Today at the river, bedecked by falling leaves, Sanctuary baptised Arwen into the life of Christ. Here is Arwen’s testimony:

God has always been a big part of my life. I am grateful to have two incredible loving and caring parents that follow in the footsteps of Jesus. They have been such a big influence on my journey with faith and have always allowed me to choose my own path and my own journey with God.

Continue reading “Spreading kindness: Arwen’s testimony”

Baptism: A primer

A quiet bend in the river has been chosen, complete with resident platypus, a Bible has been ordered, a wetsuit has been arranged: all because a young person in our midst has responded to God’s call on her life and is ready to be baptised. And so, in a few weeks, we will do one of the most exciting things a church can do: hear her vows, and baptise her into the body of Christ.

Continue reading “Baptism: A primer”

Mark | Change your thinking, claim your life

Repentance is about changing your mind, and accepting the freedom which this new perspective brings. (Listen.)

Once upon a time, long long ago, I had a great-uncle who was slightly mad. He used to parade up and down a major traffic bridge wearing a sandwich board; on it, large letters proclaimed, ‘Repent!’ I don’t know about you, but this sort of thing makes me twitchy. It’s like the time I was sitting in a tram quietly minding my own business, when a bloke I knew to be an intermittently violent psychiatric patient loomed over me and aggressively demanded, ‘Have you been saved?’ To which I replied, ‘Yes, of course,’ and immediately scrambled past him and shot off the tram.

Continue reading “Mark | Change your thinking, claim your life”

Let’s make a splash!

Sanctuary’s taking a summer break, but here’s a little something from the archives on baptism. Note: I’m reflecting on Luke’s account (not Mark’s). (Listen.)

Baptism. It’s something John offered, and something Jesus underwent, and something his disciples are told to do. It’s got something to do with water and washing and sin: but what is it, actually? What are we doing, what are we declaring, who are we becoming when we are baptised? What does it all mean? Tonight’s story offers a few clues, but to explore the depths, we’ll first need to zoom out a little. Continue reading “Let’s make a splash!”

#40ways40days 2019

#40ways40days is an invitation to share your story. Choose one of the 40 ‘discipleship dynamics’ below, and reflect on how it connects with your life. Then share a true story, a reflection, an image or a poem which tells us how the theme guides, challenges or intersects with your own journey of discipleship. It’s a way to get to know each other, the Biblical story, and the Spirit which inspired it. Continue reading “#40ways40days 2019”

Let’s Make a Splash!

Listen here.

Baptism. It’s something John offered, and something Jesus underwent, and something his disciples are told to do. It’s got something to do with water and washing and sin: but what is it, actually? What are we doing, what are we declaring, who are we becoming when we are baptised? What does it all mean? Tonight’s story offers a few clues, but to explore the depths, we’ll first need to zoom out a little. Continue reading “Let’s Make a Splash!”

Cut to the Heart

Listen here.

The Ethiopian eunuch is cut off in every way. A precious part of him has been sliced off, and this loss defines him: for we do not know his name. Instead, we just know that he is a eunuch. And as a eunuch, he has been cut off from having children, and from establishing a family line. He is an Ethiopian, a Gentile. Even so, something in Judaism has attracted him: perhaps from the Isaiah scroll which he studies so carefully in his chariot. Perhaps it is the promise from Isaiah 56, that God’s heart extends to the eunuch and the foreigner; that they, too, may become members of the covenant. And perhaps with this promise ringing in his ears, the Ethiopian eunuch travels to Jerusalem to worship.  Continue reading “Cut to the Heart”

Infant dedication, Baptist-style

Just under a year ago, we welcomed baby Tessa to her first service and gave thanks for her safe arrival. Now her parents are ready to dedicate her into the life of the church, so we will do this during the service on Sunday. For those of you from non-Baptist backgrounds, it may look a little different to what you are used to: there is no water, and she will not be christened. So what, then, are we doing? Continue reading “Infant dedication, Baptist-style”

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