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”

Exodus | God provides in the wilderness

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 “Exodus | God provides in the wilderness”

Cartalk / Tabletalk 15: Celebrate justice, grieve suffering

As weve read through Exodus, weve switched switching between Egyptian and Israelite identities – but it all comes to a head in this story. The Egyptian army is destroyed; and when the Israelites see their bodies washed up on the shore, they sing and dance for joy. If we dont celebrate when justice is done, we dont care enough; but if we celebrate when people suffer, we lose our humanity. How can we celebrate when hurtful people receive justice without losing our humanity? Continue reading “Cartalk / Tabletalk 15: Celebrate justice, grieve suffering”

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