My little finches: Reading Revelation liturgically

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 “My little finches: Reading Revelation liturgically”

Enemy-love, community, and the healing of the world

Alone, few of us can love an enemy, perpetrator or abuser; in community, we can do it. (Listen.)

“Love your enemies, do good to those who hate you, bless those who curse you, pray for those who abuse you. If anyone strikes you on the cheek, offer the other also … Forgive, and you will be forgiven.” These words of Jesus are all very well if you are a six-foot male and built like a truck, or a burly fisherman, perhaps, with eleven brothers behind you. But too often these words are spoken to victims of violence in ways which cause terrible harm. Continue reading “Enemy-love, community, and the healing of the world”

Luke | The level playing field

Jesus invites us to join him on a level playing field, where all may be healed. (Listen.)

So Jesus and his disciples were praying on the mountaintop. Then they came down to the level place smack bang into a crowd, and Jesus was mobbed. People from all over were there, and everyone wanted a piece of him: because they knew that hearing him and being touched by him would heal them of their diseases and unclean spirits. Dis-eases: the things which unsettled them, made them ill-at-ease and anxious. Unclean spirits: the internalized powers which drive people apart. But Jesus’ words and gentle touch healed them all. And when they were healed, Jesus turned to his disciples, and he taught them, and he said: “Blessed are you who are on JobSeeker or NDIS: for yours is the culture of God.” Continue reading “Luke | The level playing field”

Luke | A story of family

In Luke’s account, Jesus is born into an ever-expanding family into which we are all invited. (Listen.)

A baby is born in a little village, it doesn’t matter where. The women attending send out word, and soon a line is forming at the door. One by one, every member of the village, and every visitor to the village, and every traveller passing through, comes inside and greets the newborn. They introduce themselves to the baby, and they welcome the baby into the world. Continue reading “Luke | A story of family”

The real #FirstWorldProblems

Most of us assume that wealth is a blessing and a privilege, but Jesus says otherwise. A reflection on one of his most ignored teachings (which, if taken seriously, would pretty much resolve the climate crisis and heal the world). (Listen.)

So I ordered a latte, and I don’t know whether the barista was having a bad day or whether the coffee shop is going downhill, but I was given a flat white — and the milk was too hot. And if I’m going to spend four bucks on a coffee, the least they can do is get it right. But, you know, #FirstWorldProblem. Continue reading “The real #FirstWorldProblems”

Who are my mother and my brothers?

Jesus says: Whoever does the will of God is my brother and sister and mother (Mark 3:35). Rachel P has been thinking about this since the service a couple weeks ago. She writes:

It brought up so many conflicting thoughts and feelings about family, loyalties, and understanding who Jesus speaks to. I remember setting off to live “by faith” many years ago with my newly wedded partner, and trusting that we would be looked after. We deliberately tried to separate ourselves from the strings of family – strings that urged us to be a bit more sensible and secure in our economic planning, strings that invited us to numerous family gatherings and to partake in “capitalist” traditions which we rejected in the light of Jesus’ call to the poor. The work of Christ was important and we needed to get out there and give love and a message of hope to people who were on the margins.  “Who are my mother and my brothers?” rang loudly in our thoughts. Continue reading “Who are my mother and my brothers?”

Slow reading: May God integrate y’all

In Acts 17:1-10, we learn that Paul and Silas went to Thessalonica and, in three days, convicted ‘some of the Jews’, as well as ‘a large number of God-fearing Gentiles and not a few prominent women’ to the way of Jesus Christ. However, others – both Jew and Gentile – saw the message as a threat, so they stirred up mobs, riots and legal accusations against them. Paul and Silas were hustled out of the city, leaving the brand new yet already persecuted church to fend for itself. The following is a word of encouragement written by Paul to the church—and to us now, especially those of us surprised by the new COVID restrictions. As you read, be aware that every occurrence of the word ‘you’ is plural here. In everything, Paul is addressing the Thessalonians not as individuals, but as a group. How does this affect your understanding of salvation-healing-wholeness? Continue reading “Slow reading: May God integrate y’all”

Be the church you want to belong to

This coming Sunday we celebrate Pentecost. On this day long ago, the Holy Spirit came down from heaven ‘like fire’ and touched a motley group of Jesus followers, simultaneously uniting them and empowering them to communicate with all peoples. As such, Pentecost has traditionally been celebrated as the formation and birthday of the church. But what the church looks like, that is, how people gather as communities of faith, must find new shape in every time and place.

Continue reading “Be the church you want to belong to”

When God seems absent

When God seems absent, we need each other. (Listen.)

Did you hear it? The disciples have been sent into shutdown. For the Risen Jesus orders them not to leave Jerusalem. Instead, they must wait for the outpouring of the Holy Spirit, which will fill them with power. Then he moves into the cloud which signifies God’s presence, and disappears from their sight. And so the disciples—men and women both—go back to the room where they’re staying, and devote themselves to prayer. They don’t know what the future holds; they don’t know how long they must wait. But in faith they bunker down to watch and wait, pray and wonder: in all these things, together.

Continue reading “When God seems absent”

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