Matthew | Like an arsonist

John the Baptizer has strong words for religious leaders; but, in the kingdom of heaven, even the most vulnerable person need not be afraid. (Listen.)

Sin. For many of us it’s a dirty word. Because many of us are recovering Christians. We are recovering from churches which preached judgement and condemnation, triggering fear and shame. We are recovering from feeling manipulated; we are recovering from the threat of hell; we are recovering from bad theology. We are recovering from mincing moralism which taught us to be afraid of our own desires. We are recovering from abusive shepherds and church leaders who stole our innocence away. We are recovering from all the ways the word ‘sin’ has been wielded like a weapon, to make us compliant and afraid. And yet, we are here. Continue reading “Matthew | Like an arsonist”

Matthew | Who’s listening?

This poem was written by Di Shearer, who has been worshipping with Sanctuary recently. It picks up themes of Sunday’s text with the expectancy of Advent. I encourage you to find a quiet space, and read it slowly and prayerfully.

For as the days of Noah were, so will be the coming of the Human One … Therefore, be ready! (Matthew 24:37, 44) 

There’s an old story about a man
who built a boat
in the middle of a waterless plain. Continue reading “Matthew | Who’s listening?”

Matthew | Like a thief

Jesus may come looking poor, scruffy, and dangerous – and he’ll probably take something precious away. (Listen.)

When a thief broke into our house one night, I was sound asleep. My husband was in Melbourne, but a friend and her daughters had come to stay. And so I was woken at 3am by my friend whispering, ‘Ali! Ali, wake up! There’s someone in the house …’ Heart pounding, I crawled out of bed, and we crept out together to see. And that’s when we found a thief in the dining room, pocketing my grandmother’s jewellery. Continue reading “Matthew | Like a thief”

Revelation | A vision for the church

Imagine a church like the holy city: full of light, open to all peoples, rooted in the gospel, and overflowing with love. (Listen.)

A few years ago, I went to the Southwest Roadshow. There, LGBTIQA+ folk, allies and agencies listened to and learned from one another about the needs, resources and gaps in the region. I was there as an observer, at the invitation of friends. But to my surprise, one of those friends then introduced me to the gathering and told everyone about Sanctuary. Continue reading “Revelation | A vision for the church”

A child walked in

Alison is on leave until Monday 2 May. In the meantime, here’s a little god-moment which happened to Donald on a recent Tuesday. He writes: 

I was ‘filling in’, presiding at the 5.00pm service at the local Anglican church. It was a Tuesday, with a congregation of three present. The Gospel reading of the day, according to the lectionary the rector uses, was Jesus putting a child in the midst of the disciples. Continue reading “A child walked in”

Luke | A story of family

In Luke’s account, Jesus is born into an ever-expanding family into which we are all invited. (Listen.)

A baby is born in a little village, it doesn’t matter where. The women attending send out word, and soon a line is forming at the door. One by one, every member of the village, and every visitor to the village, and every traveller passing through, comes inside and greets the newborn. They introduce themselves to the baby, and they welcome the baby into the world. Continue reading “Luke | A story of family”

Luke | Background briefing & script

This week we had a congregational reading of Luke 1:1-2:40, with songs (Luke: The Musical!). You can download the script (scripture, songs, prayers and questions) here. This is the background briefing, preparing us Gentiles to hear a very Jewish story.

The gospel according to Luke has often been described as the gospel for the Gentiles. At the very beginning, it is addressed to ‘Theophilus.’ Theophilus can simply be a name; but it means ‘god-lover.’ A god-lover was a Gentile who had come to know and worship the God of the Jews without converting to Judaism (i.e. without circumcision and without adopting Torah); and there were many God-lovers. Continue reading “Luke | Background briefing & script”

Mary: Prophetic, intelligent, unafraid

Portrayals of Mary tend to the aristocratic, the submissive, the vapid; but the gospel reveals an intelligent young woman who stands in the prophetic tradition. (Listen.)

When you think of Mary, how do you imagine her? I don’t know about you, but I was raised in the Western artistic tradition. When I think of Mary, the first thing that usually comes to mind are images from the Italian Renaissance. That is, I see an elegant, pale woman in a royal blue dress. Continue reading “Mary: Prophetic, intelligent, unafraid”

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”

John | Witnesses to the light

‘There are no final proofs for the existence of God; there are only witnesses.’ Abraham Joshua Heschel. (Listen.)

Like you, like me, John was not the light. Instead, he was sent as a witness to testify to the light which is the life of the world, and he does this in three movements: through his identification with Scripture; through particular activities; and through grounded self-knowledge. Before we hear somebody else’s witness, let’s take a closer look. Continue reading “John | Witnesses to the light”

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