27: Gifts from strangers #Lent2021

But a Samaritan while traveling came near him; and when he saw him, he was moved with pity. He went to him and bandaged his wounds, having poured oil and wine on them. Then he put him on his own animal, brought him to an inn, and took care of him. (Luke 10:33-34)

I rang for help and by 4am a party of three turned up at my door: one specialist nurse and two ambos. We chatted for a while and they confirmed my fears, so they arranged for me to go to hospital. It was a novel experience to drive through the crack of dawn where all I could see was the tops of the trees, some light poles and a few wires, and the occasional steeple or multi-story building.

Continue reading “27: Gifts from strangers #Lent2021”

Slow reading: Many members, one body

This is the third in a four week series inviting you to dwell in the Word, ponder what it is to be the church, and discern if the spirit is calling us to anything new. Reflect alone, with your household, or with a friend. Send any insights to Alison, or bring them to the congregational conversation on 28 February (details here). 

Last week, we heard how the earliest believers were organized into a radically interdependent body; this week goes deeper into this arrangement. As you listen to the text and dwell in the Word, notice any resistance within yourself to the text; notice also what intrigues you, excites you, or makes you want to know more. Continue reading “Slow reading: Many members, one body”

Presence bathed the room with love

To every question and demand, God’s answer is simply presence. (Listen.)

Who among us hasn’t said something like: God, show me your plan. Tell me what I’m supposed to be doing here. I need clear guidance, a proper sign. Not some mimsy-wimsy spiritual hint, but something solid, something real. Otherwise, how will I know that you’re even with me? And how will anyone else know? Continue reading “Presence bathed the room with love”

In the wilderness of 2020, God keeps providing

The ancient story of a wilderness-wandering people invites us to ponder how God sustains us during shutdown. (Listen.)

Day after day, week after week, month after month, we have been walking in the wilderness of shutdown. School has changed. Work has changed. Church has changed; and so has everything else. Most of us are still spending time with too many family members and not enough friends; many of us are lonely, anxious, exhausted, overwhelmed. Babies are being born; children are growing; grandparents are ageing, all without loved ones attending every step. Significant milestones are passing by without our usual rituals: Birthdays. Graduations. Anniversaries. Even deaths.

Continue reading “In the wilderness of 2020, God keeps providing”

Cartalk / Tabletalk 11: Being a gift

Sanctuary has just turned 4! And so this week’s cartalk / tabletalk is going off lectionary as we reflect on how Sanctuary is a gift to the world: ‘salt’ and ‘light’ in Jesus’s terms. When we wondered about this during the service, people observed that Sanctuary is a place to be authentic, to be accepted, to be yourself. It’s a place to share the journey and nourish each other; it’s a place of protection and refuge; a place to be loved. And it’s a place with challenging Bible teaching! Continue reading “Cartalk / Tabletalk 11: Being a gift”

Cartalk / Tabletalk 6: Jacob’s dream and God’s generosity

In this story, Jacob responds to God’s free gift with fear and awe, worship, and a concrete gift: the tithe. The tithe is ten percent of one’s income, and it is how congregations have traditionally funded their pastors, church buildings, and mission. Of course, being Jacob his gift is conditional (if God does this, then I’ll do that); it is a marked contrast to God’s unconditional generosity. Continue reading “Cartalk / Tabletalk 6: Jacob’s dream and God’s generosity”

Welcoming the stranger, encountering the divine

Emerging from shutdown is an opportunity to create space and time in our lives: but for whom? (Listen.)

So here’s old Abraham, dozing in the entrance of his tent in the heat of the day. Sarah’s inside, having a nap. The air is heavy; the afternoon is still. Somewhere, a fly buzzes. And the Lord appears to Abraham and he looks up, and sees three strangers down the road, emerging out of the shimmering haze. Continue reading “Welcoming the stranger, encountering the divine”

Group Reflection: Sanctuary’s Treasure

Tonight we reflected as a group upon Jesus’ teachings not to be anxious; to strive for God’s kingdom; to know that it is God’s good pleasure to give youse the kingdom; to share what youse have with those in need; and to make for yourselves treasure in heaven, for where your treasure is, so is your heart (see Luke 12:29-34; and yes, Jesus is speaking to his disciples as a group: every occurrence of ‘you’, ‘your’ etc. is plural). So together we wondered what our common treasure is, where our common heart is, and how we might have already received the kingdom … and given it away. Questions and responses follow. Continue reading “Group Reflection: Sanctuary’s Treasure”

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