Luke | Not even #humble

Competitive faithfulness has no place in God’s kingdom; instead, it’s all about love. (Listen.)

So the minister and the deacon are standing at the front of the church, praying. In a big, resonant voice the minister says, ‘Lord, have mercy on me, a sinner.’ In a clear, ringing voice the deacon says, ‘Lord, have mercy on me, a sinner.’ Then they hear a muffled sound coming from the back of the building. They turn to see the cleaner, head bowed, kneeling, beating his breast and saying, ‘Lord, have mercy on me, a sinner.’ The minister turns to the deacon and says, ‘Look who’s calling himself a sinner!’ Continue reading “Luke | Not even #humble”

Jeremiah | Our fickleness, God’s faithfulness

In our fickleness and faithlessness, God insists on renewing the relationship. (Listen.)

Who among us has never broken covenant? Who among us has been always and entirely faithful in thought, word and deed to family, to friend, to spouse, and to God? Who among us has kept every single aspect of our marriage vows, our baptismal vows, or our other significant promises? Who among us has meticulously observed all Ten Commandments? Who has always honoured the Sabbath, setting aside a whole day every week for neither working nor shopping, but only for worship, rest and play? Who among us has not once been jealous of our neighbour’s house or garden or car or life? Anyone? Continue reading “Jeremiah | Our fickleness, God’s faithfulness”

Isaiah | The heavenly banquet

ELLIOTT WRITES: Dear Alison, Mum says that God said in heaven there won’t be any sadness or crying. But I know lots of people don’t believe in heaven and don’t want to go there. Some of my friends and their families don’t want to believe in God or heaven. I think I will miss them in heaven so I will be sad – I don’t think God will make clones of them. Can you explain this to me? I would like it in an email. From Elliott. Continue reading “Isaiah | The heavenly banquet”

Isaiah | Awe, wonder and the threat of love

An encounter with God means an encounter with love: and this can be truly terrifying. (Listen.)

Why are you at worship today? If I were to ask most of you, you’d say something like, “I want to be closer to God” or “I hope to experience God’s presence.” These are good and right reasons to be here. They are what we always hope for, and making space for such an encounter is exactly what I try to do. But it must be said: I have never yet curated a service where people have fallen flat on their faces in awe, terror and wonder at the devastating presence of the Living God. Nor have I heard anyone shriek, “Get away from me, Lord, for I am sinful!”, or say they think they’ll die in God’s presence. And I’m not sure any of us here want these reactions: yet in Biblical accounts, such responses are normal. Continue reading “Isaiah | Awe, wonder and the threat of love”

Job | Responsibility, awe and wonder

In response to human suffering, God offers presence and a broader perspective. (Listen.)

God, why was Elephant killed? What about J and K and all our other friends this year? Why is there a plague galloping across the earth, and so many people suffering or dead? How long must we live in fear? When can we see friends and family again? We’re good people, Lord, faithful and committed and true. We try to live ethically; we pray: why is this all happening? Continue reading “Job | Responsibility, awe and wonder”

Esther | Renegotiating Esther: Lucy’s story

Growing up in the church meant hearing fairly regularly about Esther. The general narrative taught was along the lines of: beautiful young woman, hand picked and placed by God into the palace so that she could bravely advocate for her people. She was away from home and scared and isolated and it was a bit weird she was made to make the most of her looks* but she did it all as God had placed her in this euphemistic beauty pageant ‘for such a time as this.’

Continue reading “Esther | Renegotiating Esther: Lucy’s story”

33: Helping daddy #Lent2021

A man had two sons. He went to the first and said, ‘Son, go and work in the vineyard.’ He said, ‘I won’t,’ but later changed his mind and went. The father went to the second and said the same, and he answered ‘I go, sir’; but he did not go. Which of the two did the will of his father? (Matthew 21:28-31)

This is my favourite story in my God book. I like how the boy helps his Daddy. Ω

Reflect: How do you help your daddy in heaven? What work does he ask you to do? Continue reading “33: Helping daddy #Lent2021”

Cartalk / Tabletalk 17: God’s economy: Enough for all

Our economic system assumes scarcity: that is, that there is never enough to go round. The anxiety generated by this idea leads us to hoard what we have, and to always seek more. But God’s abundance, seen here as manna, shows that there is enough for everyone. What do your household’s habits of working, shopping, saving, investing and giving reveal about your faith? Do you hoard money, clothes, whatever? Or do you trust God to provide what you need when you need it? How does this story challenge your economic behaviour? Continue reading “Cartalk / Tabletalk 17: God’s economy: Enough for all”

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