One body, not yet fully vaccinated

Just as the body is one and has many members, and all the members of the body, though many, are one body so it is with Christ. For in the one Spirit we were all baptized into one body — Jews or Greeks, slaves or free — and we were all made to drink of one Spirit. (1 Corinthians 12:12-13)

There’s a lot of talk these days about independence, self-sufficiency, and ‘my body, my choice.’ Whether people are referring to financial arrangements, homesteading, or vaccination, there is an underlying assumption that each person, or at most each family, is an individual unit, independent of anyone else and free to choose how to live. This is not, however, consistent with Christianity. Continue reading “One body, not yet fully vaccinated”

Victorian Roadmap: Sanctuary’s response

There’s a lot of hype around the Victorian Roadmap, and high expectations. We read that 10,000 fully vaccinated people will be able to attend the Melbourne Cup: and we get excited. However, the reality is that the new freedoms are, in fact, very limited and are almost entirely directed at fully vaccinated people. We at Sanctuary are blessed to have a high ratio of children: but this means that many of our households include people who are not yet old enough to be vaccinated. Therefore, the leadership team has met to prayerfully consider the Victorian Roadmap, and to work through what it means for Sanctuary. Continue reading “Victorian Roadmap: Sanctuary’s response”

Filled with new wine

Are we open to the intoxicating power of the Holy Spirit, or are we dispiritingly sober? (Listen.)

One of my happy places is Little Creatures brewery in Geelong – or any big barnlike place which serves hot chips, a decent pint, and a place to hang out with family and friends. I also love being around a dinner table with simple food and backyard flowers, hosting people in the process of getting to know each other. I love chatting in a coffee shop, latte in hand and the hiss of an espresso machine in the background. I love sitting at my desk having Zoom drinks with friends; I love making coffees at Anglicare and swapping tall stories with clients and volunteers; I love lazing around the garden with a glass of wine or mineral water, and a cheese board, and guests. Basically, it doesn’t take much to make me happy: good food, good drink, and good conversation.

Continue reading “Filled with new wine”

Slow reading: Seeking the mind of Christ

This is the final in a four week series inviting you to dwell in the Word, ponder what it is to be the church, and discern if the spirit is calling us to anything new. Reflect alone, with your household, or with a friend. Send any insights to Alison, or bring them to the congregational conversation on 28 February (details here). 

From a young age, we are encouraged to know our own mind and push our own opinion, and winning an argument is often seen as more important than loving. According to the Apostle Paul, however, “Knowledge puffs up, but love builds up. Anyone who claims to know something does not yet have the necessary knowledge; but anyone who loves God is known by God.” (1 Cor. 8:1b-3). He was writing in a context where people were making technically reasonable arguments, yet their conclusions were hurting others; and he argued that even the best theological reasoning meant nothing unless it led to love.

Continue reading “Slow reading: Seeking the mind of Christ”

Mailbox communion ~ Christ among the couch cushions

SHELLEY WRITES: We did the communion tonight and it was great. We weren’t sure if it was going to happen for a while there because one member of our family, who is very fond of fruit boxes, hid the Blood of Christ underneath some cushions. She denied it three times on Saturday night but confessed in the bright sunshine of Sunday morning.

But how did it get there? Well, one constant of COVID-19 for me has been thinking about communion. Way back in March, when we were first shutdown, I explained why we wouldn’t be sharing communion via Zoom; you can read it here. Then shutdown eased, and we were permitted to meet in groups of twenty. Being a small enough church, we dreamed up Carboot Communion: that is, multiple outdoor gatherings by RSVP for prayer and the eucharist. So we met in groups on the first weekend of June, July and August. It was wonderful, if rather chilly at times … but then we went back into shutdown. And I wondered, Must we cancel communion again?

Quite honestly, I couldn’t face it. At our carboot communions, with the people of Israel we had asked, ‘Can God set a table in the desert?‘: the answer was a resounding ‘Yes!’ Now we were faced with another shutdown wilderness. The people continued to be hungry for physical signs of God’s presence; yet communion via Zoom feels artificial to me. And some of our people cannot access Zoom. For this pastor, if communion is to be a meaningful gathering of the body of Christ, it has to include everyone.

I put on my thinking cap, and realised that, if we take seriously the mystical communion of saints, which unites us across time and space, then, as a congregation, we can take communion in our homes at any time in a way which affirms our connection with the wider body of Christ.

I realised then that food delivery drivers are permitted to go to people’s doorsteps: and that’s when Mailbox Communion was born. It’s a liturgy, a juice box, and a pack of crackers, home delivered by a highly sanitized facemasked pastor who knocks, steps back, and asks, ‘RUOK?’ when you open up.

So that’s how the Blood of Christ found itself tucked among the couch cushions. And when I think about how much Jesus loves little children, I have no doubt that he would have laughed wholeheartedly at the sight, and given that young juice box lover an enormous all-encompassing hug.

Peace,
Alison

PS – If you’re interested, you can find the various liturgies here.

Emailed to Sanctuary, 16 September 2020 © Alison Sampson, 2020. Image credit: Mathyas Kurmann on Unsplash.

Coffee

If this post stimulated your thinking or restored your equilibrium, why not share it on social media? And why not flick a double shot coffee our way, to support our ongoing thinking, writing and praying. We are a small young faith community seeking to revitalize tired faith. Your contribution helps keep us awake.

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Committing to be together, apart

As we look to our fourth birthday and annual service of recommitment to the faith community, what exactly are we called to do and be? (Listen.)

Next week, it’s Sanctuary’s fourth birthday; and, as we do on our birthday every year, next week we will renew the congregation. Those who are willing will pledge to journey together as the body of Christ for another twelve months, and commit to some simple attitudes and practices which help knit us together. These include gathering to wrestle with life in light of the Scriptures and to pray; to eat, sing, work and play together; to practice hospitality and support the congregation; and to seek justice, reconciliation, wholeness and peace in every sphere of life. Continue reading “Committing to be together, apart”

Carboot communion with the manna-mobile

‘Can God set a table in the desert?’ The people asked; and the answer is a resounding Yes! This week we kicked off carboot communion with the manna-mobile. That is, being a church that is too big to gather in one room under current restrictions, but small enough to be served in groups, we gathered in a backyard, under a carport, and in a driveway for prayer and communion, set up out of the boot of my car. Continue reading “Carboot communion with the manna-mobile”

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