14 | never rough or sharp #Lent2022

Paul writes, “Be imitators of God, therefore, as dearly loved children, and live a life of love, just as Christ loved us and gave himself up for us as a fragrant offering and sacrifice to God.” (Ephesians 5:1-2)

A man can bless a woman abundantly without even knowing it. A female client with a history of chronic and violent sexual abuse shared this story. She was afraid of men and of church, since that’s where much of her abuse had occurred. After several years of counselling sessions with me, she wanted to go to church again. She attended every Sunday, sitting in the back, arriving late and leaving early. After a few months, she told me about a family that sat in front of her every Sunday, a father, mother, and two little girls. Continue reading “14 | never rough or sharp #Lent2022”

6 | I wouldn’t pull the trigger #Lent2022

Jesus says, “Love your enemies, do good to those who hate you, bless those who curse you, pray for those who abuse you.” (Luke 6:27-28)

When I was younger, I remember waking up early with dad to play one of my favourite games at the time, Battlefront 2 on the X-Box. For context, Battlefront 2 is a shooter game set in the Star Wars universe, and my family are diehard Star Wars fans. But that isn’t the point, the point is when I was playing the game I stumbled across an interesting situation. I had crouched down in a bush with a teammate, and suddenly a storm trooper (the bad guys) had found our hiding spot. He crouched down and shot my teammate, and then aimed at me. Continue reading “6 | I wouldn’t pull the trigger #Lent2022”

5 | pretending #Lent2022

James writes, “Do you suppose it is for nothing that the scripture says, ‘God yearns jealously for the spirit that she has made to dwell in us?’ But she gives all the more grace, therefore it says ‘God opposes the proud, but gives grace to the humble.’ Submit yourselves therefore to God.” (James 4:5-7)

Sometimes I am too proud. My girls ask me to play hide and seek, and I demur. I’m too dignified to crawl under a bed; I’m too big to stuff my body into a cupboard; I’m too intelligent to pretend not to see them as they hide with one leg sticking out. Anyway, I have better things to do. Continue reading “5 | pretending #Lent2022”

4 | the least I can do #Lent2022

John writes, “Beloved, you are acting faithfully in whatever you do for the brethren, and especially when they are strangers … You do well to send them on in a manner worthy of God; for they began their journey for the sake of Christ.” (3 John 1:5)

There were only three public high schools for black children in the entire state of Florida, but there were several private church-supported schools, the nearest to Daytona Beach being Florida Baptist Academy of Jacksonville. A cousin who lived in Jacksonville told my mother that if I enrolled in the academy, I could live with him and his wife, doing chores around the house in exchange for a room and one meal a day. Continue reading “4 | the least I can do #Lent2022”

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”

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