2 Kings | The god of the land

A provocative retelling of 2 Kings 17 for NAIDOC Week. (Listen.)

Once upon a time, there was a cruel empire, formed in the image of its gods. Its navy patrolled the seven seas; its armies marched through foreign lands; its merchants controlled entire regions through trade monopolies and taxes. The empire grabbed and sold slaves and spices, sapphires and silks; it grew rich on stolen people, stolen wealth, stolen land. Gradually, it spread across the globe. One day it reached a strange new land, where mammals hop and giant birds run and bright birds screech and even the stones hum. Continue reading “2 Kings | The god of the land”

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”

Guided meditation: Jesus washes his disciples’ feet

A guided meditation. (Listen.)

Tonight, we are not physically gathered in a room. We cannot pass the peace with hug or handshake; we cannot wash each other’s feet. But our imaginations are not confined. So tonight, allow me to lead you in a guided meditation, and just as our Lord reaches out to us, let us meet one another in the communion of the Holy Spirit. Continue reading “Guided meditation: Jesus washes his disciples’ feet”

26 | love goes on #Lent2022

The lover sings, “Set me as a seal upon your heart, as a seal upon your arm; for love is strong as death, passion fierce as the grave.” (Song of Solomon 8:6)

When Paul told me, immediately after his diagnosis, to remarry after he died, it exemplified the way he would, throughout his illness, work hard to secure my future. He was fiercely committed to ensuring the best for me, in our finances, my career, what motherhood would mean. At the same time, I worked hard to secure his present, to make his remaining time the best it could be, tracking and managing every symptom and aspect of his medical care—the most important doctoring role of my life—while supporting his ambitions, listening to his whispered fears as we embraced in the safety of our darkened bedroom, witnessing, acknowledging, accepting, comforting. Continue reading “26 | love goes on #Lent2022”

19 | totally loved #Lent2022

Isaiah proclaims, “God called me before I was born, while I was in my mother’s womb God named me.” (Isaiah 49:1b)

[W]hen I asked Taj if he could remember a time in his life when he felt totally loved and affirmed as his authentic self, he told me about an experience he’d had in his UCCC congregation: The first Sunday I went back to my church after I came out at trans, I just remember standing in front of the table full of name tags, and staring at my name tag and thinking, “I can’t put that on.” Continue reading “19 | totally loved #Lent2022”

18 | its radiant warmth #Lent2022

Jesus says, “The greatest commandment is this: ‘Hear O Israel: the Lord our God, the Lord is one; you shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your mind, and with all your strength.’ The second is this: ‘You shall love your neighbour as yourself.’ There is no other commandment greater than these.” (Mark 12:29-31)

I once knew a very old married couple who radiated a tremendous happiness. The wife especially, who was almost unable to move because of old age and illness and in whose kind old face the joys and sufferings of many years had etched a hundred runs, was filled with such gratitude for life that I was touched to the quick. Continue reading “18 | its radiant warmth #Lent2022”

Christ, our mother hen

The power of Christ is seen in a mother hen: warm, vulnerable, disarming. (Listen.)

Where is God? We see Russian troops invading Ukraine and desperate people trapped; we hear of Rohingya Muslims being persecuted and Burmese protestors mown down in the streets; we watch Israeli settlers seizing more and more Palestinian land by force; we read of military atrocities and police brutality and institutional violence; we know the reality of domestic abuse; and through it all we wonder: Where is God? Why isn’t God protecting the innocent? When will God punish the violent and keep vulnerable people safe? Continue reading “Christ, our mother hen”

If you are God’s child …

Jesus’ resistance to the devil is grounded in knowing himself beloved. (Listen.)

*If.* It’s a very small word with a very big weight, and I hear it all the time. If only I prayed hard enough … If I were a good enough Christian … If I read my Bible more … If I just tried harder … If I really trusted God … How many times have I heard some iteration of this, sometimes from the people I listen to, sometimes within my own head? Continue reading “If you are God’s child …”

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”

Slow reading: You will know them by their fruits

Many will say “Lord, Lord”: and as the last week in politics demonstrated, as we head towards an election this clamour will become ever louder. But followers of Jesus shouldn’t be taken in by it. Instead, we are instructed to look at the effects of people’s words and actions and weigh up whether or not they are truly doing the will of the Father in heaven. Jesus tells us what this will is: “In everything, do to others as you would have them do to you.” By this rule, those whose words and actions marginalize, humiliate, manipulate, diminish, suppress, silence or harm others are not speaking or acting in God’s name, whatever they may claim. Continue reading “Slow reading: You will know them by their fruits”

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