It is a truth less than universally acknowledged, that someone in your church will let you down. Maybe they’ll promise to do something, then fail to do it. Maybe they’ll say something thoughtless, offensive or belittling; maybe they’ll misgender you. Maybe they’ll always seem to take and never give. Maybe they’ll miss that something big is going on and hurt you through their lack of curiosity, or their absence. Whatever it is, one way or another, sooner or later, you’re going to feel hurt, disappointed, let down, even betrayed, by someone; quite possibly by the pastor. Continue reading “Being hurt is unavoidable. It’s what we do next that counts”
Today at the river, bedecked by falling leaves, Sanctuary baptised Arwen into the life of Christ. Here is Arwen’s testimony:
God has always been a big part of my life. I am grateful to have two incredible loving and caring parents that follow in the footsteps of Jesus. They have been such a big influence on my journey with faith and have always allowed me to choose my own path and my own journey with God.
Repentance is about changing your mind, and accepting the freedom which this new perspective brings. (Listen.)
Once upon a time, long long ago, I had a great-uncle who was slightly mad. He used to parade up and down a major traffic bridge wearing a sandwich board; on it, large letters proclaimed, ‘Repent!’ I don’t know about you, but this sort of thing makes me twitchy. It’s like the time I was sitting in a tram quietly minding my own business, when a bloke I knew to be an intermittently violent psychiatric patient loomed over me and aggressively demanded, ‘Have you been saved?’ To which I replied, ‘Yes, of course,’ and immediately scrambled past him and shot off the tram.
We often assume God works only through good things, but here we see God working through bad. Remember, Joseph’s brothers nearly killed him, then they sent him into slavery and exile. Yet when they meet up again years later, Joseph attributes even their destructive choices to God’s design. Where have you seen ‘God in the compost’, redeeming the rubbish of life? Continue reading “Cartalk / Tabletalk 10: Redeeming the rubbish”
As we look to our fourth birthday and annual service of recommitment to the faith community, what exactly are we called to do and be? (Listen.)
Next week, it’s Sanctuary’s fourth birthday; and, as we do on our birthday every year, next week we will renew the congregation. Those who are willing will pledge to journey together as the body of Christ for another twelve months, and commit to some simple attitudes and practices which help knit us together. These include gathering to wrestle with life in light of the Scriptures and to pray; to eat, sing, work and play together; to practice hospitality and support the congregation; and to seek justice, reconciliation, wholeness and peace in every sphere of life. Continue reading “Committing to be together, apart”
An account of the genealogy of Jesus the Messiah, the son of David, the son of Abraham … Read it here. (Matthew 1:1-18). Note that Ahaz was a horror, as were several others in the list. Rahab was a prostitute. Ruth was not Hebrew, but Moabite: an enemy. Bathsheba was Uriah the Hittite’s wife, but King David slept with her, then arranged to have Uriah murdered to cover up Bathsheba’s illegitimate pregnancy. And so on: this is a dodgy bunch of ancestors. Continue reading “#37: Smoking ceremony”
I waited patiently for the Lord;
he inclined to me and heard my cry.
He drew me up from the desolate pit,
out of the miry bog,
and set my feet upon a rock,
making my steps secure.
He put a new song in my mouth,
a song of praise to our God. (Psalm 40:1-2) Continue reading “#22: A new song”
They came to Bethsaida. Some people brought a blind man to him and begged him to touch him. He took the blind man by the hand and led him out of the village; and when he had put saliva on his eyes and laid his hands on him, he asked him, “Can you see anything?” And the man looked up and said, “I can see people, but they look like trees, walking.” Then Jesus laid his hands on his eyes again; and he looked intently and his sight was restored, and he saw everything clearly (Mark 8:22-25). Continue reading “#11: Blind hatred”
Now when Jesus saw great crowds around him, he gave orders to go over to the other side. A scribe then approached and said, “Teacher, I will follow you wherever you go.” And Jesus said to him, “Foxes have holes, and birds of the air have nests; but the Son of Man has nowhere to lay his head. (Matthew 8:18-20); A new heart I will give you, and a new spirit I will put within you; and I will remove from your body the heart of stone and give you a heart of flesh. (Ezekiel 36:26) Continue reading “#8: Heart of stone”
It’s true: Christians fight. Sometimes (and this is embarrassing) they squabble over money or furniture or music or the flowers; other times (and perhaps this is more understandable) they argue over who is welcome at the communion table, what age is appropriate for baptism, or whether to eat meat sacrificed to idols. Often, they have simple personality clashes. The truth is, conflict has been part of church life since the earliest days, and what marks a church is not the absence of conflict, but how it is handled. Continue reading “Conflict in the church”