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 | But I thought it was all about peace!

The paradox of God’s peace. (Listen.)

‘Do you think I have come to bring peace to the earth?’ asks Jesus. Well, yes, I do. When he was born, angels sang that there would be peace among those in whom God delights: so it seems reasonable to think he brings peace. But in tonight’s reading, he says ‘No!’ In tonight’s reading, Jesus says that he brings fire to the earth, he brings division, and that households will be torn apart. So, were the angels wrong? Did Jesus really come in order to wield fire and destruction, to generate conflict, to destroy relationship? Continue reading “Luke | But I thought it was all about peace!”

Luke | Martha Made Whole

Inviting Christ into your dwelling means being renovated from the inside out. (Listen, or watch on YouTube.)

A newcomer was sitting with a circle of women as they reflected on the sermon after the service. Suddenly she said, ‘Wow! I’ve never seen THAT before!’ I asked her what she noticed. She gestured to the men heating food and setting the table for our common meal. ‘Everywhere else, men talk and women serve,’ she said. ‘Not here,’ I replied. ‘Here, people take turns. And if you stay for the meal, you might see men doing the dishes afterwards!’ Continue reading “Luke | Martha Made Whole”

Revelation at Armageddon

Military violence never ends, but Jesus’ way leads to true and lasting peace. An insight received one Remembrance Day, while standing at Armageddon. (Listen.)

To get to Armageddon, known in Hebrew as ‘Megiddo’, we drive past an airfield. Our Israeli guide tells us about the Syrian fighter pilot who defected there in 1989. He was flying a Soviet-made MIG-23, which provided Israel with valuable military intelligence—and it feels like nothing ever changes. Continue reading “Revelation at Armageddon”

The little apocalypse

A local retelling of Mark’s little apocalypse, since the apocalyptic tradition is “both profoundly contextual and transferable.” (Ched Myers). (Listen.)

So Joshua and some of his mates caught a train to the little city. They wandered up from the station, and soon found themselves at a crossroads. Here, they saw a magnificent cathedral; there, a church on the hill. “Wow,” said one of his friends, “What incredible buildings! What spires! What stonework! What domination of the streetscape!” Continue reading “The little apocalypse”

Ruth | Extending the protections of the law to everyone

The story of Ruth undermines the push for religious purity by extending the protections of the law, and the lineage of King David, to a person who was traditionally despised. (Listen.)

What a charming love story! After the loss of her husband, an attractive young widow is protected from starvation and assault, and taken under the wing of a kindly kinsman. Her barrenness is quickly remedied, and they all live happily ever after; indeed, the village women pray that she will be like Leah and Rachel, the foremothers of Israel, and lo! she becomes the great-grandmother of Israel’s most famous king. And it is indeed charming. Continue reading “Ruth | Extending the protections of the law to everyone”

Being hurt is unavoidable. It’s what we do next that counts

It is a truth less than universally acknowledged, that someone in your church will let you down. Maybe they’ll promise to do something, then fail to do it. Maybe they’ll say something thoughtless, offensive or belittling; maybe they’ll misgender you. Maybe they’ll always seem to take and never give. Maybe they’ll miss that something big is going on and hurt you through their lack of curiosity, or their absence. Whatever it is, one way or another, sooner or later, you’re going to feel hurt, disappointed, let down, even betrayed, by someone; quite possibly by the pastor. Continue reading “Being hurt is unavoidable. It’s what we do next that counts”

Cartalk / Tabletalk 8: Jacob wrestles

Jacob doesn’t have to wrestle. He could stay with his women and children and servants: there is safety in numbers. He could sedate himself with wine or the web or some ancient Palestinian Prozac, and allow his encounter with the stranger to remain a blur. He could yield to the stranger at the beginning, crying ‘I give up! Leave me!’ But he doesn’t. He allows himself to be alone, vulnerable, wide awake in the dead of night. The stranger comes. Jacob wrestles; he grasps; he is wounded: and he is blessed. Continue reading “Cartalk / Tabletalk 8: Jacob wrestles”

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