1: A different way #Lent2021

And having been warned in a dream not to return to Herod, the astrologers left for their own country by a different way. (Matthew 2:12)

Christmas Eve 2020. It would not be original to say, it had been an awful year. We were finally allowed to meet, our little faith community, in the car park, masked and socially distanced, to reflect on the ancient Christmas story and croak out a few carols.

Continue reading “1: A different way #Lent2021”

Government orders and new friends: 2020 in a nutshell

In this, our final Sanctuary email for the year, I invited one of our recent high school graduates, Ellen, to reflect. She writes:

As a (younger) kid I remember waiting eagerly all year for the Christmas Eve service at my church, as it meant I had a chance to stay up late and gorge myself on Christmas treats, getting home after midnight and barely sleeping until I remembered it was Christmas and thus obviously time for presents! This year is similar except instead of staying up late, I’m looking forward to the chance to sleep in, spend a relatively quiet Christmas with family I haven’t seen enough and celebrate an end of sorts to a crazy year.

Continue reading “Government orders and new friends: 2020 in a nutshell”

Gettin’ down and dirty with Jesus

If you want an earthy faith which embraces all our materiality and mess, look to Jesus Christ. For he is Emmanuel, God-with-us: and he points us to the human. (Listen.)

I’ve been browsing the app store lately, and it is simply marvellous how many apps there are to help me with my spirituality. There are apps for meditation and prayer. There are apps for devouring the whole Bible in a year, or for memorising passages, or for reading one verse very slowly. Continue reading “Gettin’ down and dirty with Jesus”

Is this the real deal? You decide

Christ’s incarnation is often underwhelming. It is up to us to look at the evidence, and decide if it’s the real deal. (Listen.)

Is this all there is? Our faith tells us that God is neither distant nor remote. After the resurrection, Christ ascended into heaven to be everywhere present: and this gift of Christ’s presence was poured out into the world at the first Pentecost and continues to be in the world now. Continue reading “Is this the real deal? You decide”

Love, joy and conflict at Christmas

St Andrew’s Fairfield had a donkey at its service last Sunday; Hillsong will have camels. The Christmas story is certainly very picturesque: animals, angels, shepherds, wise men, and, in the middle of the crowd, a baby. It’s easy to forget that this baby’s mother was a young girl, whose response to pregnancy out of wedlock was to praise the God who overthrows the powerful and sends the rich away empty. It’s easy to forget that the first people to worship at his cradle were shepherds: impoverished social outcasts and not the right sort of people at all; and the second lot were religious outsiders, foreigners who practiced the abominations of numerology and reading the stars. It’s easy to forget that the baby grew up in occupied territories, sought asylum in Egypt, and returned to a new town after being warned not to go home. It’s easy to forget that the prophecies surrounding his birth triggered the slaughter of many other young boys; and that his preaching and ministry were violently opposed right up until the cross. Continue reading “Love, joy and conflict at Christmas”

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