Matthew | Like a scandal

God demands Joseph wake to a deeper reality, where love takes priority over obedience to God’s law, and scandal forms the womb of grace. (Listen.)

He thought he could do it quietly. Provide money for an abortion and never see her again. Or book the distant clinic; send her to the asylum; lock her in a nunnery. Whatever. No need to make a big fuss. He’s a righteous man. He knows the law; he knows his rights. He knows he could call for an inquiry and have the betrothal publicly annulled, the woman stoned; he knows the first stone should be thrown by her father. But he doesn’t insist. Instead, he decides to do it quietly ‘for her sake’. Continue reading “Matthew | Like a scandal”

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”

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”

Hosea | Gomer, the face of God

God is not seen in a violent man, but in a woman known for her love. (Listen.)

Like so many women, I know what it is to receive unwanted attention and even assault. The comments about my breasts in primary school and, later, the wolf whistles; the propositions. The unsought gawkings and strokings and gropings. The encounters where consent was murky at best. And given what so many of my sisters have experienced, I consider myself one of the lucky ones. Continue reading “Hosea | Gomer, the face of God”

36 | all I have #Lent2022

Paul writes, “The one who supplies seed to the sower and bread for food will supply and multiply your seed for sowing and increase the harvest of your righteousness. You will be enriched in every way for your great generosity, which will produce thanksgiving to God through us; for the rendering of this ministry not only supplies the needs of the saints but also overflows with many thanksgivings to God.” (2 Corinthians 9:10-12)

Her son was fourteen when he died. On the day of the funeral her husband returned, took to his bed, and did not leave it until he too died six months later … In the long years of her son’s illness, Sarah had spent much time with him in the children’s wards of hospitals. There she met many others like her son and met the mothers who, like herself, spent every hour they were allowed to with their children. But she also met children no one cared enough to visit, children who had been abandoned, orphaned, or who came from homes where the need was so desperate that no one even had the time for visits. Continue reading “36 | all I have #Lent2022”

35 | gentle protection #Lent2022

Jesus says, “Aren’t two sparrows sold for a penny? Yet not one of them will fall to the ground apart from your Father. And even the hairs of your head are all counted.” (Matthew 10:29)

I marvel at the gentleness of Otto, a 10-year-old boy, with a kitten a few days old. I wonder at just how gentle God is with us and how God holds us. The look of love and joy. God’s patience and kindness. God’s unfailing generosity and faithfulness. May God hold you in his hands and may we trust in God’s holy powerful and gentle protection. Ω Continue reading “35 | gentle protection #Lent2022”

24 | homecoming #Lent2022

The Psalmist sings, “Joyful are all who fear God, and who follow in God’s ways! You shall eat the fruit of your labour; joy and shalom shall be yours. Your beloved shall be like a fruitful vine within your house, your children like olive shoots around your table.” (Psalm 128:1-3)

I experience palpable joy every now and again. Most often it is when I have returned home to my family after being away for a few days for work. Sometimes it is anticipatory – I get off the train, inhale the fresh sea air and walk up the hill brimming with the joyful thought that I am about to see and hug and be amongst my family again. Continue reading “24 | homecoming #Lent2022”

23 | reflection and reckoning #Lent2022

The poet sings, “The steadfast love of the Lord never ceases, his mercies never come to an end; they are new every morning; great is your faithfulness.” (Lamentations 3:22-23)

I remember my grandfather as a man of gentleness and grace. When I walked into a room, his eyes would light up. He showed his affection with a warm pat then a rub of the forearm, followed by a gentle squeeze; we still call it ‘The Snell Pat’. He always had projects on the go, and would potter around humming “psalms, hymns and spiritual songs” while he worked; every now and then, he’d break into full song.  Continue reading “23 | reflection and reckoning #Lent2022”

21 | my mum #Lent2022

Paul writes, “I am reminded of your sincere faith, a faith that dwelt first in your grandmother Lois and your mother Eunice and now, I am sure, dwells in you as well.” (2 Timothy 1:5)

Recently my eldest daughter and I took part in ‘A Celebration Day for Girls’ with three other local mothers and their daughters. This was a meaningful event in many ways, including when our facilitator invited the mothers to each speak about a significant woman in our lives. Although I also considered other females who are dear to me, I realised that I wanted to share a bit about my mum, Faye.

Continue reading “21 | my mum #Lent2022”

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