Esther, empire and the hiddenness of God

Esther shows that when insecure fools are in charge, even the most disempowered person may trigger a radical policy reversal. (Listen.)

Esther is not a love story; it’s a story about powerful men. Esther is not a love story; it’s a story of faithfulness and courage. Esther is not a love story; it’s a story about the hiddenness of God. And yet ‘love story’, even ‘beauty pageant’, is the interpretation of Esther that many of us were taught. So today, we’re going to blow that reading out of the water: then we’ll look more closely at what it’s really about. Continue reading “Esther, empire and the hiddenness of God”

Healing prayers: Integration and wholeness

This coming Tuesday 11 May at 7.30pm will be the first of three evenings for healing prayers. Two weeks ago, I introduced the idea, and observed how healing in the gospels is intimately linked to teaching and community (here). This week, I will look more closely at what Biblical healing entails.

What does Biblical healing look like?
The gospels are peppered with stories of Jesus healing people, and he commissions his disciples to do likewise. This healing is always much more than a physical cure. The Greek word for ‘demonic’ means ‘tearing apart’; and so something which is demonic tears apart bodies, minds and spirits; people and communities; people and the wider creation; and people and God. Physical or mental illness, toxic and abusive relationships, racism, sexism, war, shame, greed: these are just a few of the demons which tear people apart.

Continue reading “Healing prayers: Integration and wholeness”

Palm Sunday: The jester’s joke

Palm Sunday is not so much a triumphal entry as a profound anticlimax, a raspberry, a fart. (Listen.)

Some days, I’m flooded with awe. I look around and I see miracles. I see people affirmed in equal marriage, and victim-survivors acknowledged and believed. I see households working towards equitable arrangements, women in leadership, women in Parliament. I see small acts of justice raining down, and diversity appreciated in myriad ways: and I am filled with hope.

Continue reading “Palm Sunday: The jester’s joke”

Lent 2020: Introduction

It is impossible to read the gospel accounts without being struck by the number of healing stories. Everywhere he goes, Jesus heals; and healing is central to his self-professed ministry. “Tell John,” he says, “that the blind receive sight, the lame walk, those who have leprosy are cured, the deaf hear, the dead are raised, and the good news is preached to the poor.” (Matthew 1:4-5). Later, Jesus commissions his disciples to engage in this same ministry—but what is it? Continue reading “Lent 2020: Introduction”

Healing: Bringing together things torn apart

Over the next few months, we’ll be looking at healing. Of course, healing takes many forms, but underlying them all is the experience of being made whole. The Greek word for ‘demonic’ means ‘tearing apart’; and so something which is demonic tears apart bodies, minds and spirits, people and communities. Physical or mental illness, damaging and abusive relationships, racism, sexism, war, shame: these are just a few of the demons which tear people apart. Continue reading “Healing: Bringing together things torn apart”

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