Baptism: A primer

A quiet bend in the river has been chosen, complete with resident platypus, a Bible has been ordered, a wetsuit has been arranged: all because a young person in our midst has responded to God’s call on her life and is ready to be baptised. And so, in a few weeks, we will do one of the most exciting things a church can do: hear her vows, and baptise her into the body of Christ.

Continue reading “Baptism: A primer”

23: Ways of knowing #Lent2021

The sky tells the glory of God; the firmament proclaims God’s work … God’s teaching is whole, restoring to life; God’s pact is steadfast, making the fool wise. (Psalm 19:1, 7)

The Creeks (or Muscogees) already had a spiritual path laid down in the very beginning, given by the same Creator who inspired the Bible. We have our stories, our songs, rituals and ceremonies that celebrate and praise God as well as instill within us an awe of the mystery of life.

Continue reading “23: Ways of knowing #Lent2021”

Mailbox communion ~ Christ among the couch cushions

SHELLEY WRITES: We did the communion tonight and it was great. We weren’t sure if it was going to happen for a while there because one member of our family, who is very fond of fruit boxes, hid the Blood of Christ underneath some cushions. She denied it three times on Saturday night but confessed in the bright sunshine of Sunday morning.

But how did it get there? Well, one constant of COVID-19 for me has been thinking about communion. Way back in March, when we were first shutdown, I explained why we wouldn’t be sharing communion via Zoom; you can read it here. Then shutdown eased, and we were permitted to meet in groups of twenty. Being a small enough church, we dreamed up Carboot Communion: that is, multiple outdoor gatherings by RSVP for prayer and the eucharist. So we met in groups on the first weekend of June, July and August. It was wonderful, if rather chilly at times … but then we went back into shutdown. And I wondered, Must we cancel communion again?

Quite honestly, I couldn’t face it. At our carboot communions, with the people of Israel we had asked, ‘Can God set a table in the desert?‘: the answer was a resounding ‘Yes!’ Now we were faced with another shutdown wilderness. The people continued to be hungry for physical signs of God’s presence; yet communion via Zoom feels artificial to me. And some of our people cannot access Zoom. For this pastor, if communion is to be a meaningful gathering of the body of Christ, it has to include everyone.

I put on my thinking cap, and realised that, if we take seriously the mystical communion of saints, which unites us across time and space, then, as a congregation, we can take communion in our homes at any time in a way which affirms our connection with the wider body of Christ.

I realised then that food delivery drivers are permitted to go to people’s doorsteps: and that’s when Mailbox Communion was born. It’s a liturgy, a juice box, and a pack of crackers, home delivered by a highly sanitized facemasked pastor who knocks, steps back, and asks, ‘RUOK?’ when you open up.

So that’s how the Blood of Christ found itself tucked among the couch cushions. And when I think about how much Jesus loves little children, I have no doubt that he would have laughed wholeheartedly at the sight, and given that young juice box lover an enormous all-encompassing hug.

Peace,
Alison

PS – If you’re interested, you can find the various liturgies here.

Emailed to Sanctuary, 16 September 2020 © Alison Sampson, 2020. Image credit: Mathyas Kurmann on Unsplash.

Coffee

If this post stimulated your thinking or restored your equilibrium, why not share it on social media? And why not flick a double shot coffee our way, to support our ongoing thinking, writing and praying. We are a small young faith community seeking to revitalize tired faith. Your contribution helps keep us awake.

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A prayer for handwashing

I don’t know about you, but in this house we’re washing our hands like we’ve never washed them before. We lather up, sing Amazing Grace (one verse), Sizohambe Naye (both verses) or God is loving and love is giving (twice through), then rinse and dry thoroughly. It’s lovely to sing as we scrub, but given shutdown has made it impossible for us to experience many of the usual physical rituals of our faith, I wondered how we could turn handwashing into a more intentional spiritual practice. Continue reading “A prayer for handwashing”

Forgiveness as a household practice

Last week, I suggested some practical actions to help move towards forgiveness. This week, I’ll focus on forgiveness as a household practice, drawing heavily from a little book by Carol Luebering, The Forgiving Family (now sadly out of print). Luebering observes that it is in the family that most of us first learn to love, but that love must be cultivated and practised. One of the disciplines which cultivates love is, of course, forgiveness. What follows are four suggestions for forgiveness within a household; of course, most of them are helpful in other relationships, too. Continue reading “Forgiveness as a household practice”

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