Esther, empire and the hiddenness of God

Esther shows that when insecure fools are in charge, even the most disempowered person may trigger a radical policy reversal. (Listen.)

Esther is not a love story; it’s a story about powerful men. Esther is not a love story; it’s a story of faithfulness and courage. Esther is not a love story; it’s a story about the hiddenness of God. And yet ‘love story’, even ‘beauty pageant’, is the interpretation of Esther that many of us were taught. So today, we’re going to blow that reading out of the water: then we’ll look more closely at what it’s really about. Continue reading “Esther, empire and the hiddenness of God”

31: Release captives #Lent2021

“The Spirit of the Lord is upon me, because he has anointed me to bring good news to the poor. He has sent me to proclaim release to the captives, and recovery of sight to the blind, to let the oppressed go free, to proclaim the year of the Lord’s favour.” (Luke 4:18-19)

I particularly identify with Luke 4:18-19 and have experienced this as a call on my life. From the age of 15 I wanted to be a lawyer to help people and because I was fascinated by institutions. I started a theology degree part time during the last year of Law School and continued it over the next 8 years while I started work as a lawyer. A couple of years into my career I was asked to help in a case to assist a victim of abuse to seek justice from an institution.

Continue reading “31: Release captives #Lent2021”

Teachers like Jesus

Great teachers like Jesus use what they know to show you a bigger, bolder, more expansive world. They help you find your place in it, and they build you up in love. (Listen.)

Over the years, I’ve had some great teachers. There was Jim, who began a calculus lesson by leaping around the room at ever-decreasing intervals until he got down to teeny-tiny little mincing steps. There was Ellen, who ignited in me a love for poetry. There was Keith, who turned the Bible upside down with gentleness and grace. Then there are all my other teachers: family and friends and people in churches: because everywhere I go, I find teachers.

Continue reading “Teachers like Jesus”

What is your next step in God’s story of liberation?

Moses lives; Moses dies; but God’s story continues – and we are all invited to participate. (Listen.)

It’s the end of the road: Moses is dead. So let us remember him. He was born into slavery, slated for genocide, yet saved by brave midwives, his sister, and Pharaoh’s own daughter. He grew up to be nothing much, a shepherd and a fugitive, when God called him into service. And despite his reluctance, his anxiety, and his stutter, God used Moses to set the people free. Continue reading “What is your next step in God’s story of liberation?”

Ten words, three strategies, and a never-ending flow of life

God gives the gift of freedom and Ten Words – three strategies – to help us resist the lies of empire. (Listen.)

Just imagine: You have been set free. Free from unreasonable expectations, casual contracts, and ever-increasing KPI’s. Free from the busywork of middle management and trivializing performance reviews. Free from the gnawing feeling that, no matter how many hours you put in, you will never know enough or do enough or be enough or have enough. Free from seeking other people’s approval; free from the need to be seen as helpful, powerful, successful, special, right, reliable, calm, happy or wise. Continue reading “Ten words, three strategies, and a never-ending flow of life”

Midwifing God’s life into the world

Sunday’s story about Shiphrah and Puah drew out a wonderful spontaneous prayer from Ollie. In it, he named that true change does not happen from the top down, but emerges from within and below; he gave thanks for the midwives he sees around us: the shareholders of Rio Tinto, holding executives to account for the destruction of the Juukan Gorge caves; the basketballers in the US temporarily standing down over BLM; the Djab Wurrung peoples fighting VicRoads; and he prayed for each of us as we follow our various callings to midwife God’s life into the world in ways big and small. Continue reading “Midwifing God’s life into the world”

Proclamation, parties and praise!

Our Year of Luke is winding down, and I’m more in love with Luke than ever. Maybe it’s because Luke’s account is written for people like us: educated, professional, cosmopolitan, the sort of people who buy coffees out and who can confidently navigate a big city. The joy of Luke – and there’s a LOT of joy – is found when we allow God to confound our expectations and turn the world on its head. Hospitality is a big deal, and Luke teaches that we experience God’s hospitality when we welcome the stranger. Guests become hosts, outsiders know grace, the poor are blessed, and resurrection life can be experienced in this life now. Continue reading “Proclamation, parties and praise!”

A Story of Courage and Freedom

The urgency and adventure in Acts can feel daunting to a small young church – so, where are we up to in our story? (Listen.)

The adventures of Paul and Silas are so very dramatic. Shipwrecks. Exorcisms. Courtrooms. Preaching. Beatings. Jails. Earthquakes. Freedom. And people turning to faith wherever they go. There’s such an urgency and a power in their activity that, when we hear their stories, we might be tempted to look around at our little congregation, so young, so busy, so distracted, so tired, and throw up our hands. Where is the urgency? Where is the power? Where are the conversions and the parties into the night? Continue reading “A Story of Courage and Freedom”

Let’s Make a Splash!

Listen here.

Baptism. It’s something John offered, and something Jesus underwent, and something his disciples are told to do. It’s got something to do with water and washing and sin: but what is it, actually? What are we doing, what are we declaring, who are we becoming when we are baptised? What does it all mean? Tonight’s story offers a few clues, but to explore the depths, we’ll first need to zoom out a little. Continue reading “Let’s Make a Splash!”

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