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”

14 | never rough or sharp #Lent2022

Paul writes, “Be imitators of God, therefore, as dearly loved children, and live a life of love, just as Christ loved us and gave himself up for us as a fragrant offering and sacrifice to God.” (Ephesians 5:1-2)

A man can bless a woman abundantly without even knowing it. A female client with a history of chronic and violent sexual abuse shared this story. She was afraid of men and of church, since that’s where much of her abuse had occurred. After several years of counselling sessions with me, she wanted to go to church again. She attended every Sunday, sitting in the back, arriving late and leaving early. After a few months, she told me about a family that sat in front of her every Sunday, a father, mother, and two little girls. Continue reading “14 | never rough or sharp #Lent2022”

9 | one day … #Lent2022

Give for charity [alms] that which is within you; and see, everything will be made clean for you. But woe to you Pharisees! For you tithe mint and rue and herbs of all kinds, and neglect justice and the love of God; it is these you ought to have practiced, without neglecting the others. (Luke 11:41-42)

This is where I fall short on my obligations to the rest of the world in a big way. But what are those obligations? What is charity? When charity is thought of as ‘love’ I’m good at that. My favourite part of a church service is called ‘The Peace’ when you embrace your neighbour on the pew, which, it’s true, is a bit more social than godly if you already know them, but if you don’t you feel a wonderful sense of kinship with all humanity. You feel, ‘We’re all in this strange world together, mate, and we’ll make the best of it, you and I.’ … Continue reading “9 | one day … #Lent2022”

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”

No authority but Christ

When the church operates from a position of power and wealth, it has no authority. (Listen to a much earlier version here.)

I have a confession to make. As I prepared to travel to Canberra and preach on this story, that is, a story where disciples are sent out carrying no bag and no change of clothing, I panicked. I hadn’t been to this city before, let alone this church; and I suddenly realised two things. One, my usual op shop clothes probably wouldn’t cut it; and, two, my only good pair of pants had moved to Melbourne earlier this year with my oldest daughter. So I ran out and bought myself a new pair of pants, and shoved them into my already overflowing bag. Continue reading “No authority but Christ”

36: Be still #Lent2021

“Be still and know that I am God; I will rise up among the nations, I will rise up from the earth.” (Psalm 46:10)

The thing that I have been learning this year is to ‘Be still and know that I am God’. It has been a year of learning to slow down, listen, muse and write. For example, I got thinking about the story of the healing of the demon possessed man in Mark 5, and wondered if it could say anything to us today. So I reset the story in our culture and our time to see how it looked. Here it is:

Continue reading “36: Be still #Lent2021”

Human violence, and the foolishness of the cross

To those reeling from another week in the patriarchy, the cross offers only foolishness: but in that foolishness we find healing and companionship. (Listen.)

Like so many people, I feel overwhelmed by the events of the last few weeks. Parliament House is revealed to be a hotbed of sexual violence; and our Prime Minister cannot imagine it matters until, we are told, his wife prompts him to think of his own daughters. Then the attorney general is named in allegations of historic rape. Meanwhile, the head of the defence force instructs young cadets that they should not make themselves ‘prey’ to predators, and that they can do this by, among other things, avoiding being ‘attractive.’ All this while our training grounds for power, that is, Sydney’s private schools, are publicly revealed as manifestly unsafe places for young women.

Continue reading “Human violence, and the foolishness of the cross”

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