#40: Resurrection life

When Jesus arrived, he found that Lazarus had already been in the tomb for four days. Now Bethany was near Jerusalem, some two miles away, and many of the Jews had come to Martha and Mary to console them about their brother. When Martha heard that Jesus was coming, she went and met him, while Mary stayed at home. Martha said to Jesus, ‘Lord, if you had been here, my brother would not have died. But even now I know that God will give you whatever you ask of him.’ Jesus said to her, ‘Your brother will rise again.’ Martha said to him, ‘I know that he will rise again in the resurrection on the last day.’ Jesus said to her, ‘I am the resurrection and the life. Those who believe in me, even though they die, will live, and everyone who lives and believes in me will never die. Do you believe this?’ She said to him, ‘Yes, Lord, I believe that you are the Messiah, the Son of God, the one coming into the world. (John 11:17-27) Continue reading “#40: Resurrection life”

Worship at home

Worship is so physical. In ordinary times, we gather at Sanctuary: a gentle, colourful, comfortable space. We greet one another with a hug, a clap on the back, a touch on the arm; we choose our favourite chair or sprawl on our favourite rug. We look at the paintings on the wall and wonder what they mean; we see the story box come out and wait with anticipation as the lid slowly opens. We sing, listening as we find the point of harmony, separate voices melding into a beautiful whole. We move to the prayer stations and light candles, push twigs into sand, or plant teaspoons as we pray. We stand around the communion table, anticipating the touch, taste and smell of fresh warm bread and sweet red wine. And how much more physical things get during Holy Week, when we would usually kneel to wash one another’s feet on Thursday; crowd into a small dark room on Friday; and gather around a eucalyptus-scented campfire on Sunday in the cold light of dawn. Continue reading “Worship at home”

#35: Resist false teachings

When the disciples reached the other side, they had forgotten to bring any bread. Jesus said to them, ‘Watch out, and beware of the yeast of the Pharisees and Sadducees.’ They said to one another, ‘It is because we have brought no bread.’ And becoming aware of it, Jesus said, ‘You of little faith, why are you talking about having no bread? Do you still not perceive? Do you not remember the five loaves for the five thousand, and how many baskets you gathered? Or the seven loaves for the four thousand, and how many baskets you gathered? How could you fail to perceive that I was not speaking about bread? Beware of the yeast of the Pharisees and Sadducees!’ Then they understood that he had not told them to beware of the yeast of bread, but of the teaching of the Pharisees and Sadducees. (Matthew 16:5-12) (You may recall that Jesus elsewhere criticises the Pharisees for their insistence on ritual purity and a moralistic legalism, all the while maintaining a hardness of heart.)  Continue reading “#35: Resist false teachings”

#33: Wind of the spirit

The wind blows where it chooses, and you hear the sound of it, but you do not know where it comes from or where it goes. So it is with everyone who is born of the Spirit.(John 3:8). Note: The word translated as ‘spirit’ means ‘air-in-movement’ and is translated as ‘spirit’, ‘breath’ or ‘wind’ depending on the context. John 3:8 reads: “The pneuma blows wherever it pleases. You hear its sound, but you cannot tell where it comes from or where it is going. So it is with everyone born of the pneuma.” Play around with different translations and see how it sounds. Does this change how you understand other wind-spirit-breath passages in the Bible?  Continue reading “#33: Wind of the spirit”

#32: Slow work

Is not this the fast that I choose: to loose the bonds of injustice, to undo the thongs of the yoke, to let the oppressed go free, and to break every yoke? Is it not to share your bread with the hungry, and bring the homeless poor into your house; when you see the naked, to cover them, and not to hide yourself from your own kin? Then your light shall break forth like the dawn, and your healing shall spring up quickly; your vindicator shall go before you, the glory of the Lord shall be your rearguard. Then you shall call, and the Lord will answer; you shall cry for help, and he will say, Here I am. If you remove the yoke from among you, pointing of the finger, the speaking of evil, if you offer your food to the hungry satisfy the needs of the afflicted, then your light shall rise in the darkness your gloom be like the noonday. The Lord will guide you continually, satisfy your needs in parched places, make your bones strong; and you shall be like a watered garden, a spring of water, waters never fail. Your ancient ruins shall be rebuilt; shall raise up the foundations of many generations; you shall be called the repairer of the breach, restorer of streets to live in. (Isaiah 58:6-12) Continue reading “#32: Slow work”

#29: Prayer and medicine

Are any among you suffering? They should pray. Are any cheerful? They should sing songs of praise. Are any among you sick? They should call for the elders of the church and have them pray over them, anointing them with oil in the name of the Lord. The prayer of faith will save the sick, and the Lord will raise them up; and anyone who has committed sins will be forgiven. Therefore confess your sins to one another, and pray for one another, so that you may be healed. The prayer of the righteous is powerful and effective. (James 5:13-16) Continue reading “#29: Prayer and medicine”

#28: Billows and waves

Remember the sabbath day, and keep it holy. For six days you shall labour and do all your work. But the seventh day is a sabbath to the Lord your God; you shall not do any work—you, your son or your daughter, your male or female slave, your livestock, or the alien resident in your towns. For in six days the Lord made heaven and earth, the sea, and all that is in them, but rested the seventh day; therefore the Lord blessed the sabbath day and consecrated it. (Exodus 20:8-11)

The other day I stripped off my clothes
I put on my wetsuit
I was going for the first surf in five months Continue reading “#28: Billows and waves”

Why we won’t be sharing communion via Zoom

I was delighted with our first Zoom service. So many of you participated in the liturgy, and there was such good conversation both before and afterwards. And your feedback has been strong: that many kids stuck around; that the prayers for the world showed a high level of engagement; and that the tech made some of you actually feel closer and more connected than ever. So that’s wonderful! Continue reading “Why we won’t be sharing communion via Zoom”

#24: The faith of friends

And after getting into a boat he crossed the water and came to his own town. And just then some people were carrying a paralysed man lying on a bed. When Jesus saw their faith, he said to the paralytic, ‘Take heart, son; your sins are forgiven.’ Then some of the scribes said to themselves, ‘This man is blaspheming.’ But Jesus, perceiving their thoughts, said, ‘Why do you think evil in your hearts? For which is easier, to say, “Your sins are forgiven”, or to say, “Stand up and walk”? But so that you may know that the Son of Man has authority on earth to forgive sins’—he then said to the paralytic—‘Stand up, take your bed and go to your home.’ And he stood up and went to his home. When the crowds saw it, they were filled with awe, and they glorified God, who had given such authority to human beings. (Matthew 9:1-8) Continue reading “#24: The faith of friends”

#23: Power in weakness

For it is the God who said, ‘Let light shine out of darkness’, who has shone in our hearts to give the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ. But we have this treasure in clay jars, so that it may be made clear that this extraordinary power belongs to God and does not come from us … So we do not lose heart. Even though our outer nature is wasting away, our inner nature is being renewed day by day. (2 Corinthians 4:6-7, 16) Continue reading “#23: Power in weakness”

Blog at WordPress.com.

Up ↑