3 | asterisks and gentleness #Lent2022

Paul writes, “As God’s chosen people, holy and dearly loved, clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience.” (Colossians 3:12)

When lockdown was announced in 2020 and we were watching the news reports with concern and then horror at the deaths in the Northern Hemisphere, I also noticed there was for me a little excitement, as in, “Okay, kids, this is how we handle tough times. Watch me!” Continue reading “3 | asterisks and gentleness #Lent2022”

1 | like children #Lent2022

Jesus says, “Truly I tell you, unless you change and become like children, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven.” (Matthew 18:2-3)

When I taught the fruits of the spirit to children I realised that faithfulness and goodness were difficult to explain. We thought that faithfulness was like integrity, and that goodness was when you are able to do the right thing, even when no one else knows. We drew pictures of ourselves doing things that were kind and loving and hid them under a lift-the-flap. Continue reading “1 | like children #Lent2022”

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”

Luke | Background briefing & script

This week we had a congregational reading of Luke 1:1-2:40, with songs (Luke: The Musical!). You can download the script (scripture, songs, prayers and questions) here. This is the background briefing, preparing us Gentiles to hear a very Jewish story.

The gospel according to Luke has often been described as the gospel for the Gentiles. At the very beginning, it is addressed to ‘Theophilus.’ Theophilus can simply be a name; but it means ‘god-lover.’ A god-lover was a Gentile who had come to know and worship the God of the Jews without converting to Judaism (i.e. without circumcision and without adopting Torah); and there were many God-lovers. Continue reading “Luke | Background briefing & script”

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”

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?”

Not your usual Mother’s Day sermon

Some of us feel conflicted about our mothers, confused about love, and coerced by Mother’s Day. Thankfully, Jesus shows us what love is, and draws us into his family. (Listen.)

Today is Mother’s Day. Some of us have enjoyed breakfast in bed, and hugs, and chocolate, and flowers. Some of us have celebrated with big family luncheons. Some of us have spent time with a mother who has become a good friend: and these are all things to be thankful for and to celebrate. And yet for many of us, this is a day flecked with pain.

Continue reading “Not your usual Mother’s Day sermon”

39: Margins #Lent2021

Jesus was crucified outside the city gates… So let’s go outside, where Jesus is, where the action is—not trying to be privileged insiders, but taking our share in the abuse of Jesus. This ‘insider world’ is not our home… Let’s take our place outside with Jesus, no longer pouring out the sacrificial blood of animals but pouring out sacrificial praises from our lips to God in Jesus’ name. (Hebrews 13:12-14, MSG)

Some of my earliest memories are of family and church. As a pastor’s kid, they have always been entwined. I have fond memories of running down aisles, riding a pony as Mary in the nativity play, making clay Bible characters and of trying to sneak an extra cookie at morning tea after the service. Church often felt like a second home. I knew all the hiding spots and I loved all the people. I used to live a block from my church growing up. My brothers and I would often duck past on the way home from school. I distinctly remember running into the church building after school one time when my brother and I were running from kids who wanted to bash us. It was a place of refuge and an enjoyable place for me…

Continue reading “39: Margins #Lent2021”

38: Hard times #Lent2021

Friends love through thick and thin, and kinfolk are born to share in hard times. (Proverbs 17:17)

The last couple of months have been a flurry of unknown, disagreement and trying to hope for the best. Those months felt sad and lonely though we all tried to make the best of it. I felt as if we’d been deserted, nothing left but each other and hope. One of the hardest things was being a big sister. It’s hard to comfort someone while you’re upset.

Continue reading “38: Hard times #Lent2021”

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