How Psalm 86 changed a terrible, horrible, no-good, very bad day

Are we in lockdown? Are we not? Can we have visitors to our home? Are we in the classroom, or are we teaching and learning remotely? Are we worshipping in person or on Zoom? How many people from my house can go to the grocery store today? When the news says ‘Melbourne’, does it include regional Victoria? Can my daughter come home for her sister’s birthday? Can my husband go to his office? If we’re allowed to gather in a group, can we sing?
Continue reading “How Psalm 86 changed a terrible, horrible, no-good, very bad day”

First the pain, then the waiting, then the rising

The pain is the terror which wakes you in the small hours. It’s the sweat rolling down your brow; it’s desperate prayer beyond words; it’s abandonment by friends who cannot bear to watch. It’s the gut-wrench of betrayal; the hollowness of a false kiss. It’s the scourge of the whip; the agony of thorns; the spear thrust in the side. It’s God-forsakenness, for God is nowhere to be found. This is the unbearable pain of crucifixion; in the suffering, something must die. Continue reading “First the pain, then the waiting, then the rising”

Chronic pain changes everything. So does chronic love

After a recent service, members of the congregation had a long conversation about chronic pain, sharing resources, techniques and encouragement. In response, I invited people to reflect on the intersection of faith and pain in their lives. Here is Ollie’s story. Thanks, Ollie!

I only had a short time of suffering chronic pain. A few years ago, when I went part time at work and became primary carer part time, I would get these episodes where my ankle would become extremely painful for a few hours at a time. At the start it would just go away after a while or with mild medication. Continue reading “Chronic pain changes everything. So does chronic love”

My soul refuses to be comforted

We love the idea of a powerful God who reaches out to organise events to our satisfaction: and right now, we could really use a God like this. A God who ends world hunger, ensures justice for every situation, waves a hand to make climate change and the pandemic simply disappear, and all without us doing a thing. Unfortunately, there doesn’t seem to be much evidence of this God in Scripture. Continue reading “My soul refuses to be comforted”

Driving in pre-dawn darkness

This term, we have been reflecting more than ever on healing, wholeness and integration. Here, Lucy shares a particular terror of hers, and an experience of integration both with her body and with a wider story: that first Easter Dawn. Thanks, Lucy!

Driving in pre-dawn darkness
Draws (for me) a deep shade of terror –
And on this unfamiliar, unlit,
Curving, swerving, hurtling highway,
I can almost smell
The pungent permanent ink of it. Continue reading “Driving in pre-dawn darkness”

29: Out of Egypt #Lent2021

“What have you done to us, bringing us out of Egypt?” (Exodus 14:11)

Spring can seem to me like “a blind green wall,” an implacable force stirring things into life that has grown comfortably dormant. It is one of the perversities of my interior makeup that I so often become depressed just as winter makes its turn into spring, and the longed-for moment arrives; the weather turns pleasant and one can walk out of doors without bundling up. But unbundling means exposure, a kind of vulnerability, and I seldom feel ready for it when that first balmy day arrives. Instead, I resist the good news of spring, lurking inside my house as if it is still winter. … Choosing interior darkness, I draw the house around me like a shroud and protect my despair.

Continue reading “29: Out of Egypt #Lent2021”

Sophie says, ‘Stay awake!’

A contextual re-telling of Mark’s little apocalypse reveals its ongoing relevance and truth. (Listen.)

Sophie and the gang had been at the Centre, where cardinals swanned around in brocade robes and mega-church pastors wore thousand-dollar sneakers. These religious authorities were well-known, successful. They had access to the prime minister and all his cronies; they were all over tv and social media. Everybody knew God had blessed them with wealth and health; everybody knew they could get in on the blessing by donating to the building fund.

Continue reading “Sophie says, ‘Stay awake!’”

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