Group reflection: Listen to him!

A group of people meet in a carpark (thanks, COVID), and hear an ancient story in which Jesus’ followers see their teacher, Jesus, standing with Moses, who represents the law, and Elijah, who represents the prophets, on a mountaintop. And a cloud, aka the presence of God, envelops them, and they hear a voice saying, ‘This is my son, the Beloved; listen to him.” Suddenly when they look around, they see nobody with them anymore, but only Jesus. So, what do the people in a carpark notice? Continue reading “Group reflection: Listen to him!”

In the face of chaos, a new story

As the Black Lives Matter protests unfold, let us remember an ancient life-giving story, given to a people who were also invaded, removed from their land, forced into slavery and subject to state sanctioned violence. (Listen.)

Explanatory note: Many scholars agree that the sea is an ancient symbol of chaos, and that Genesis was written during the Babylonian exile.

Imagine: Your country is invaded. An army rampages through the landscape, killing men, women, children, even babies: Their heads are dashed against the rocks. Barns are burned; homes flattened; towns looted; cities destroyed. Continue reading “In the face of chaos, a new story”

#13: Follow the children

People were bringing little children to him in order that he might touch them; and the disciples spoke sternly to them. But when Jesus saw this, he was indignant and said to them, “Let the little children come to me; do not stop them; for it is to such as these that the kingdom of God belongs. Truly I tell you, whoever does not receive the kingdom of God as a little child will never enter it.” And he took them up in his arms, laid his hands on them, and blessed them (Mark 10:13-16). Continue reading “#13: Follow the children”

Prayer Walk: When you pray, move your feet!

Thanks to the long weekend, the Folkie, camping trips, work deadlines, sickness and visiting friends, we had a super-small turn out tonight. So we ditched the usual service, and instead used our Liturgy for a Prayer Walk, something we keep up our sleeve for quiet Sundays. We listened to the Scriptures, and prayed, then went walking. Some of us walked the neighbourhood (described here); some did the prayer labyrinth (here); some blessed the earth with their feet (here). This is what we noticed: Continue reading “Prayer Walk: When you pray, move your feet!”

Walking the labyrinth

The labyrinth is an ancient spiritual tool. It is found all over the world, in diverse religious and spiritual contexts. It is not a maze or puzzle. Instead, the labyrinth has one path in and out, and following the path is a way of going deeply into what we might call the heart of life. In my experience, walking a prayer labyrinth is always absorbing, always surprising, and often very moving: things deep within me seem to shift, rearrange and reveal themselves as I walk and pray. Continue reading “Walking the labyrinth”

Jesus Christ, the apple tree, and me

Indigenous and Christian ways of the seeing reveal a world fully alive, animated by the spirit, and wanting to communicate. (Listen.)

While we were away with our sister church recently, Phil went for a walk. When he came back, Uncle Den wandered up for a chat: “I saw you come back from a bit of a walkabout just now.” “Yep,” said Phil, and he told Uncle Den how much he loves being outside by himself, and how he finds peace and rejuvenation there. Uncle Den asked him, “So do you talk to the birds that you see? Do you stop to listen to what they might wanna say to you? How ‘bout the trees? They’re always talking; do you listen to them, too?” Continue reading “Jesus Christ, the apple tree, and me”

Climate march and other prayer walks

As we continue our journey through the season of creation, I’d like to introduce you to another method of prayer. Prayer is a way of deep listening. Yet when our minds are busy and distracted, we cannot listen well; and so we need methods to still our minds. One of these is to go for a walk! The repetitive rhythmic movement, and the regular intake and exhalation of breath, can help us find that still centre: the space where we notice the spirit bubbling up and gently prompting us. Continue reading “Climate march and other prayer walks”

#35: Welcome children: #40ways40days

People were bringing even children to Jesus that he might touch them; and when the disciples saw it, they sternly ordered them not to do it. But Jesus called for them and said, ‘Let the little children come to me, and do not stop them; for it is to such as these that the kingdom of God belongs. Truly I tell you, whoever does not receive the kingdom of God as a little child will never enter it.’ (Luke 18:15-17)

Reflection 1: As a child, I have nearly always been a part of the congregation at church. I can recall at South Yarra when the adult congregation first acted upon Jesus’ instruction to ‘let the little children come to him’, however I think that I remember being intensely bored the first time we were brought into the service. I didn’t really understand church politics and I hadn’t read the bible, being about 4 years old, but I thought it was good to be a part of the service as I felt like one of the big kids, a stage I’m sure every child can relate to. Continue reading “#35: Welcome children: #40ways40days”

#17: Listen: #40ways40days

A woman in the crowd raised her voice and said to him, ‘Blessed is the womb that bore you and the breasts that nursed you.’ But Jesus said, ‘Blessed rather are those who hear the word of God and obey it!’ (Luke 11:26b-27)

Listening is a gift we all can develop and use. In fact, listening is probably one of the most important things we do in our daily lives, in growing, and in developing relationships. Listening to those who choose to talk with us and share their thoughts, observations, and ideas can really enhance our lives. This is a gift each of us can give to others, and truly be a friend to them. Continue reading “#17: Listen: #40ways40days”

#6: Leave and follow: #40ways40days

Jesus said to Simon, ‘Do not be afraid; from now on you will be catching people.’ When they had brought their boats to the shore, they left everything and followed him. (Luke 5:10b-11)

 I stood at my local train station in suburban Melbourne, waiting for the train to take me to Bible study, but I never made it to Bible study that night. There were a number of other passengers waiting to board the train that would soon arrive at the station; however, this evening, one of them was considering jumping in front of the train. Continue reading “#6: Leave and follow: #40ways40days”

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