33 | groceries #Lent2022

The Psalmist sings, “The snares of death encompassed me; the pangs of Sheol laid hold on me; I suffered distress and anguish … I walk before the Lord in the land of the living.” (Psalm 116:3, 9)

It may seem odd to talk about what you eat at a funeral as a way of celebrating life, but at every level, that is exactly what it is. Nor do I mean a celebration in that cheery if faintly maudlin sense of giving someone a good send-off, though that is a part of it. Any food is a vital reminder that life goes on, that living is important. That isn’t brutal: it’s the greatest respect you can show to the dead … Continue reading “33 | groceries #Lent2022”

30 | i’ll take over now #Lent2022

Jesus says, “Truly, I tell you, just as you did it to one of the least of these who are members of my family, you did it to me.” (Matthew 25:40)

One of the exercises I did with teenage students was one where, on the walk with Jesus, the student and Jesus passed by four people. They passed by a person who was injured, a person who was excluded, a person who was ill and a person who was lonely. It tied in with the theme of the day, which was ‘Who is my neighbour?’ Continue reading “30 | i’ll take over now #Lent2022”

29 | powerful presence #Lent2022

Paul writes, “We know, brothers and sisters beloved by God, that God has chosen you, because our message of the gospel came to you not in word only, but also in power and in the Holy Spirit and with full conviction.” (1 Thessalonians 1:4-5)

I remember receiving the gifts of the spirit through a gift from my dear friend Rachel after the birth of my first child.  It came as a powerful force. Continue reading “29 | powerful presence #Lent2022”

27 | dewdrops #Lent2022

A friend loves at all times. (Proverbs 17:17)

I have a beautiful friend.  She doesn’t say she is a Christian, but she just embodies abundant love, generosity, and a joyful spirit – that I know reflects God’s love.  At random times, she sends me brief, sometimes funny cards that express love and care for me.  These little gifts come like dewdrops of love and warm my heart. Ω Continue reading “27 | dewdrops #Lent2022”

Farewell, Elephant: A Jewish man whose friendship was a gift to this Baptist pastor

You may not have known him, but last week Sanctuary lost one of its ‘people of peace’: Jon Yaakov Gorr, known to many as Elephant. He was killed while riding his beloved bicycle in Allansford, and perhaps you have driven past him on his regular ride down Hopkins Point Road into Warrnambool. Continue reading “Farewell, Elephant: A Jewish man whose friendship was a gift to this Baptist pastor”

Resurrection: Echoes #Lent2021

Jesus said to him the third time, ‘Simon, son of John, do you love me?’ Peter felt hurt because he said to him the third time, ‘Do you love me?’ And he said to him, ‘Lord, you know everything; you know that I love you.’ Jesus said to him, ‘Feed my sheep.’ (John 21:17; Simon is also known as Peter (‘Rock’))

I once was in desperate need of making a decision and, almost without control, found myself marching to a small chapel. Inside, possessed with an agency I still marvel at, I asked myself what story of the Gospels most sounded like what I needed to hear. It was a question of pure intuition. One the whim of some kind of autopilot, I turned to the last chapter in John, the chapter where Peter has decided that he is returning to fishing and he goes, together with six others who follow him even if he may have wished they weren’t.

Continue reading “Resurrection: Echoes #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”

35: Trees, walking #Lent2021

Jesus took the blind man by the hand and led him out of the village, and when he had put spit on his eyes and laid hands on them, he asked him, “Can you see anything?” The man said, “I can see people, but they look like trees, walking.” (Mark 8:23-24)

I feel I am living in the land of the walking trees. By this I mean experiencing an incomplete healing like the man from Mark chapter 8, with limited capacity. It is a land familiar to me. I lived there prior to 16 years ago, only receiving a complete healing when my first child was a baby.

Continue reading “35: Trees, walking #Lent2021”

Government orders and new friends: 2020 in a nutshell

In this, our final Sanctuary email for the year, I invited one of our recent high school graduates, Ellen, to reflect. She writes:

As a (younger) kid I remember waiting eagerly all year for the Christmas Eve service at my church, as it meant I had a chance to stay up late and gorge myself on Christmas treats, getting home after midnight and barely sleeping until I remembered it was Christmas and thus obviously time for presents! This year is similar except instead of staying up late, I’m looking forward to the chance to sleep in, spend a relatively quiet Christmas with family I haven’t seen enough and celebrate an end of sorts to a crazy year.

Continue reading “Government orders and new friends: 2020 in a nutshell”

Slow reading: Paralysis

I’m finding it difficult to climb out of bed in the morning. A global pandemic, the monotony of shutdown, the changes to family, work and congregational life, climate catastrophe: unsurprisingly, I find the state of the world overwhelming. I just want to lie in bed and do nothing; to ignore kids, work, climate and let the world hurtle its way to destruction. There are days when I feel nearly paralyzed by grief and fear. Continue reading “Slow reading: Paralysis”

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