NAIDOC | Acknowledgement of Country

NAIDOC Week is an excellent time to introduce our acknowledgement of country and statement of inclusion. You will also find it under the tab ‘About Us’.

God saw everything that God had made, and indeed, it was very good. (Genesis 1:31)

Ngatanwarr! Sanctuary acknowledges the Peek Wurrung people of the Eastern Maar Nation, the traditional owners of the land where our building stands. It’s a land threaded with rivers and bounded by the sea. Kooyang (eels) migrate here every year and koontapool (southern right whales) calve in the bay in a relationship with cultural knowledge holders which has continued for millennia. Continue reading “NAIDOC | Acknowledgement of Country”

Galatians | Roe vs Wade vs Loving

You were called to freedom, my siblings; only do not use your freedom as an opportunity for self-indulgence, but through love become slaves to one another. For the whole law is summed up in a single commandment: You shall love your neighbour as yourself. (Galatians 5:13)

I was speaking with a woman a few months ago who had been at a large conference. She observed to me that, as a certain bishop spoke against gay marriage, she was struck by the vindictive hatred which distorted his face. Continue reading “Galatians | Roe vs Wade vs Loving”

Group reflection: Good fruit needs a good gardener

Today marked our final summer service here in the garden on Peek Wurrung country. Together we reflected on Isaiah 55 and good and bad fruit. While we sang, prayed and pondered, common swallowtails fluttered around the buddleia, billy buttons and sunflowers nodded their heads, dianella berries glowed a rich purple, and a large flock of corellas flew overhead. Then the wind turned. As the air was filled with a fresh salt breeze and the rumble of distant thunder, the poas shivered; and we people all unfurled. Continue reading “Group reflection: Good fruit needs a good gardener”

Enemy-love, community, and the healing of the world

Alone, few of us can love an enemy, perpetrator or abuser; in community, we can do it. (Listen.)

“Love your enemies, do good to those who hate you, bless those who curse you, pray for those who abuse you. If anyone strikes you on the cheek, offer the other also … Forgive, and you will be forgiven.” These words of Jesus are all very well if you are a six-foot male and built like a truck, or a burly fisherman, perhaps, with eleven brothers behind you. But too often these words are spoken to victims of violence in ways which cause terrible harm. Continue reading “Enemy-love, community, and the healing of the world”

Luke | The level playing field

Jesus invites us to join him on a level playing field, where all may be healed. (Listen.)

So Jesus and his disciples were praying on the mountaintop. Then they came down to the level place smack bang into a crowd, and Jesus was mobbed. People from all over were there, and everyone wanted a piece of him: because they knew that hearing him and being touched by him would heal them of their diseases and unclean spirits. Dis-eases: the things which unsettled them, made them ill-at-ease and anxious. Unclean spirits: the internalized powers which drive people apart. But Jesus’ words and gentle touch healed them all. And when they were healed, Jesus turned to his disciples, and he taught them, and he said: “Blessed are you who are on JobSeeker or NDIS: for yours is the culture of God.” Continue reading “Luke | The level playing field”

Slow reading: The prophet Amos and 26 January

Today is 26 January. It’s a day of formal ceremonies and concerts; festivities and fireworks; citizenship oaths and wattle seedlings; parades and parties; lamb on the barbie—and even WA is invited! Workplaces will be closed, pubs will be full, and our favourite swimming hole will be a sea of flags printed on towels, bikinis and stubbie holders, as people celebrate the construct we call Australia. Continue reading “Slow reading: The prophet Amos and 26 January”

2 Chronicles | Group reflection: Aboriginal Sunday 2022

In 1940, Aboriginal Christian Leader William Cooper asked all churches to set aside the Sunday before January 26th as Aboriginal Sunday, a day of Christian solidarity calling for full citizenship rights to be granted to Aboriginal peoples. More recently, Common Grace has reclaimed this day and asked churches around Australia to mark it each year. We worshipped on the lands of the Eastern Maar nation using prayers by Aboriginal Christian leaders, and  together reflected on one of many Biblical passages which link following God’s way with the health of the land. Continue reading “2 Chronicles | Group reflection: Aboriginal Sunday 2022”

Where God’s word comes

God’s word comes the one who forsakes privilege, lives simply, works for justice … and listens. (Listen.)

Once upon a time, long, long ago, I lived in Washington, DC. We went to a church which was once Harry Truman’s, then Jimmy Carter’s; and while we were there the Clintons came a couple times. Members included presidential advisors, scientists, and journalists; officers in the military and CIA staff; senior bureaucrats and retired diplomats; professors, stockbrokers, and a governor of the Federal Reserve. A lot of power was concentrated at that church, and there were some incredibly committed and godly people. Continue reading “Where God’s word comes”

A tender shoot of love and justice

Jesus embodies ancient hopes for justice, nonviolence, and peace between all peoples. As people grafted into this righteous branch, we must embody these qualities, too. (Listen.)

So it’s Advent: a paradoxical time-slip in which we look forward to the coming of the one who was born, and lived, and died, and was raised, and lives among us now. It’s a time of anticipating more than ever God’s kingdom come. It’s a time of hopeful expectation of a world turned rightside up, a world where love and justice reign, and vulnerable people are raised up, and the arrogant are cast down. Continue reading “A tender shoot of love and justice”

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