Where your treasure is …

Where your treasure is, there your heart will be also. (Matthew 6:21)

From Sanctuary’s leadership team: At our recent leadership meeting we looked at Sanctuary’s finances and budget. Sanctuary’s main expense is our pastor’s wage. She is paid for three days a week, but puts in at least another day on top of that. Despite this being our primary expense, our finances are severely strained. The budget specifically shows that our congregational giving is down $15,000 on our projected income for this financial year. We are currently plugging that hole with $320 a week from our Job Keeper treasure chest! Continue reading “Where your treasure is …”

Friends of the cross

For many live as enemies of the cross of Christ … (Phil. 3:18)

Saturday saw an appalling spectacle as British campaigner Kellie-Jane Keen, sitting member of Parliament Moira Deeming, and masked neo-Nazis performing the Nazi salute held an anti-trans rally on the steps of Parliament House. And so it was timely and perhaps spirit-led that Sunday’s reflection was a queered up reading of a well-known biblical text (here). Continue reading “Friends of the cross”

Matthew | Blessed discipleship

What if the Beatitudes describe the progress of discipleship? A back-to-school reflection. (Listen.)

At last, the summer holidays are drawing to an end. Some of us are heading back to school; others, to university. Some of us are setting goals for reading the Bible; some are planning their professional development; many are thinking about what we will be teaching others. And so, one way or another, almost all of us are preparing ourselves for another year of learning and growth. Continue reading “Matthew | Blessed discipleship”

Matthew | The confusing cousin, and all the rest

Are you the one who is to come, or should we wait for another? (Matthew 11:3).

Surely John knew. Jesus was his cousin, and people were talking of Messiah. Yet John wondered. Jesus didn’t look like the Messiah he expected, so John sent a message and asked, ‘Are you the one?’ Like the confusing, annoying cousin that he was, Jesus replied ambiguously. ‘Look at the fruits of my ministry,’ he said. ‘People and communities are healed and restored. Am I the one? You decide.’ Then for good measure he threw in a zinger: ‘And BTW – blessed is anyone who takes no offense at me!’ For the faithful prophet John, the implication that he is offended must have felt like a punch in the guts. Continue reading “Matthew | The confusing cousin, and all the rest”

John | A light so lovely

What has come into being through the Word was life, and the life was the light of all people. The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness did not overcome it. (John 1:4b-5).

Another day, another flick through the news and my heart sinks. I am struck by how the loudest religious voices so often seize my appalled attention as they use scripture to prove others wrong or less-than, to shore up their own power and privilege, to undermine truth-telling and justice, and to discredit, shame and reject people. I feel angry, diminished, scornful, incredulous; and I reflect that much of the church is in a time of great and self-destructive darkness. Continue reading “John | A light so lovely”

Walking together in love: How LGBTIQA+ folk and allies make a church

Last weekend, the Baptist Union of NSW/ACT passed a motion that churches, faith communities and pastors who refuse for any reason to affirm a heteronormative statement of marriage will be disaffiliated or disaccredited. It’s beyond appalling, and it’s tempting for me to dissect all the ways this decision is destructive for people, churches and society. But for us here at Sanctuary,  who are not in NSW/ACT, this is the wrong focus just now. Instead, given the fear and concern it evokes in our own context, it will be more fruitful to remember who we are and what our work must be here. Continue reading “Walking together in love: How LGBTIQA+ folk and allies make a church”

Luke | Slow reading | Zacchaeus: Negotiating crowds, making choices

Luke’s gospel tells us that Zacchaeus is a man of short stature; he cannot see Jesus because of the crowd. He is also limited by Roman rule, by social expectations, and by other people’s judgements. Yet he is so desperate to see Jesus for himself that he risks his dignity, climbing a sycamore tree in flapping robes to place himself in Jesus’ path. The next thing he knows, Christ is in his dwelling and at his table. Zacchaeus is so moved that he responds, unprompted, with generosity, justice and joy. Continue reading “Luke | Slow reading | Zacchaeus: Negotiating crowds, making choices”

John | Group reflection: Intimate grounded presence

Tonight we reflected on John 21:19-31, the story of the Risen Jesus appearing to the disciples as they were fishing. We spent time sitting with the reading and then chatted about our responses: in particular, the sense that after all the chaos and trauma, Jesus helped the disciples “move on and find the fish”, and how much we too need to rest in his intimate, grounded presence. Continue reading “John | Group reflection: Intimate grounded presence”

Guided meditation: Jesus washes his disciples’ feet

A guided meditation. (Listen.)

Tonight, we are not physically gathered in a room. We cannot pass the peace with hug or handshake; we cannot wash each other’s feet. But our imaginations are not confined. So tonight, allow me to lead you in a guided meditation, and just as our Lord reaches out to us, let us meet one another in the communion of the Holy Spirit. Continue reading “Guided meditation: Jesus washes his disciples’ feet”

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