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 | 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”

Sanctuary | A little boat, riding the waves

Where your treasure is, there your heart will be also. (Luke 12:32-34).

While Alison was on retreat, Greg led a congregational reflection on this text. From Greg and Elvira’s notes on the conversation:
The overwhelming image of Treasure was of Sanctuary, as a small boat in the midst of an unsettled and uncertain world. We are being tossed and turned, riding the waves in a safe and resilient place. It’s a place where the truth of the world and ourselves is named and confronted, but with honesty, humility and without ego – an honest little crew. Continue reading “Sanctuary | A little boat, riding the waves”

Galatians | Victoria’s new Child Safe Standards, culture change and the law

A truly child safe culture is the work of the Holy Spirit. (Listen.)

As many of you know, I’ve spent much of the last two weeks grappling with Victoria’s new Child Safe Standards. These eleven standards will come into effect on 1 July, and replace the seven standards which currently apply to every organization which works with or involves children. The new standards are highly detailed and prescriptive; even the Short Guide runs to over 40 pages, with dozens of dot points of required actions and documentation. Now, I’m not a lawyer or a policy wonk, but nor am I an idiot. Yet working through these new standards and drafting the necessary policies and other documents has very nearly crushed me. Continue reading “Galatians | Victoria’s new Child Safe Standards, culture change and the law”

Proverbs | Wisdom for changing times

Divine wisdom is found in liminal spaces: and is confident, creative and relational. (Listen.)

I have a confession to make. For a pastor, it’s a biggie, and it’s this: I don’t know where the church is headed. When Sanctuary began, we had a pretty clear path: gather up hungry people and establish regular habits of all-age worship and meals so that they could be fed: a program described behind my back as ‘boot camp’. But then the pandemic hit and two years of lockdowns—a third of our life together—blew everything out of the water. Continue reading “Proverbs | Wisdom for changing times”

Revelation | A vision for the church

Imagine a church like the holy city: full of light, open to all peoples, rooted in the gospel, and overflowing with love. (Listen.)

A few years ago, I went to the Southwest Roadshow. There, LGBTIQA+ folk, allies and agencies listened to and learned from one another about the needs, resources and gaps in the region. I was there as an observer, at the invitation of friends. But to my surprise, one of those friends then introduced me to the gathering and told everyone about Sanctuary. Continue reading “Revelation | A vision for the church”

IDAHOBIT | Wenn’s story: The truth shall set you free

In Acts 11, Peter doesn’t argue with the Jerusalem Council about whether or not Gentiles are acceptable to God. Instead, he simply tells the story of his meeting with Cornelius and friends, and how he observed the Holy Spirit at work in their lives. In similar vein this IDAHOBIT (International Day Against Homophobia, Biphobia and Transphobia), I’d like to introduce you to one of our beloved Sanctuary folk, Wenn, whose faithfulness shines through in the following testimony. Wenn writes: Continue reading “IDAHOBIT | Wenn’s story: The truth shall set you free”

Revelation | A liturgical reading (My little finches)

A bleak day, a cosmic conversation, a liturgical identity – and consolation. (Listen.)

I was feeling despondent so I went for a walk when I came across a flock of red-browed finches. They were darting back and forth across the path, cheeping merrily at each other. And they said to me, ‘Learn from us! Look how happy we are in our little flock, flitting between sun and shade.’ And I said, ‘But where is my little flock? I don’t know anymore. And I seem to be stuck in the shadows.’ Continue reading “Revelation | A liturgical reading (My little finches)”

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