39 | enough #Lent2022

Paul writes, “Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good.” (Romans 12:21)

A television news report. A case of American domestic terrorism. A government building bombed. Many people killed. The trial had been held. The accused found guilty. The reporter was doing a vox pop with those waiting outside the courthouse to hear the sentence handed down. Continue reading “39 | enough #Lent2022”

Luke | 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 “Luke | Christ, our mother hen”

8 | it was good #Lent2022

John writes, “We know love by this, that he laid down his life for us—and we ought to lay down our lives for one another.” (1 John 3:16)

In many ways this pandemic has shown me again and again that humans are, by and large, still essentially good people. We are willing to sacrifice quite a lot because we don’t want strangers to suffer. Some days in lockdown were really, really hard for me, but I would think of that goodness that was keeping us all united in our separateness—or separate for a united purpose—and to feel good, and know that others were good … well, it was good. So here’s a poem I wrote about our haphazard, messy way of doing the good, right thing during the last lockdown. Continue reading “8 | it was good #Lent2022”

7 | big dogs and belly rubs #Lent2022

Jesus says, “Blessed are the peacemakers, for they will be called children of God.” (Matthew 5:9)

At Gembrook Retreat where I work we have two dogs, Toby and Louise. They are mixed breed working dogs, lots of energy for racing cars along the fence line, barrelling up and down the slopes on our property and playing tug of war with a stick with melodramatic growls. They greet visitors with enthusiastic and slightly hysterical barking. Generally they just want to be allowed to meet them, and to receive appropriate pats and adoration. This gets more complicated if other dogs come to visit. Continue reading “7 | big dogs and belly rubs #Lent2022”

6 | I wouldn’t pull the trigger #Lent2022

Jesus says, “Love your enemies, do good to those who hate you, bless those who curse you, pray for those who abuse you.” (Luke 6:27-28)

When I was younger, I remember waking up early with dad to play one of my favourite games at the time, Battlefront 2 on the X-Box. For context, Battlefront 2 is a shooter game set in the Star Wars universe, and my family are diehard Star Wars fans. But that isn’t the point, the point is when I was playing the game I stumbled across an interesting situation. I had crouched down in a bush with a teammate, and suddenly a storm trooper (the bad guys) had found our hiding spot. He crouched down and shot my teammate, and then aimed at me. Continue reading “6 | I wouldn’t pull the trigger #Lent2022”

Luke | 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 “Luke | Enemy-love, community, and the healing of the world”

Jeremiah & Isaiah | 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 “Jeremiah & Isaiah | A tender shoot of love and justice”

Revelation at Armageddon

Military violence never ends, but Jesus’ way leads to true and lasting peace. An insight received one Remembrance Day, while standing at Armageddon. (Listen.)

To get to Armageddon, known in Hebrew as ‘Megiddo’, we drive past an airfield. Our Israeli guide tells us about the Syrian fighter pilot who defected there in 1989. He was flying a Soviet-made MIG-23, which provided Israel with valuable military intelligence—and it feels like nothing ever changes. Continue reading “Revelation at Armageddon”

The little apocalypse

A local retelling of Mark’s little apocalypse, since the apocalyptic tradition is “both profoundly contextual and transferable.” (Ched Myers). (Listen.)

So Joshua and some of his mates caught a train to the little city. They wandered up from the station, and soon found themselves at a crossroads. Here, they saw a magnificent cathedral; there, a church on the hill. “Wow,” said one of his friends, “What incredible buildings! What spires! What stonework! What domination of the streetscape!” Continue reading “The little apocalypse”

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