Today marked our final summer service here in the garden on Peek Wurrung country. Together we reflected on Isaiah 55 and good and bad fruit. While we sang, prayed and pondered, common swallowtails fluttered around the buddleia, billy buttons and sunflowers nodded their heads, dianella berries glowed a rich purple, and a large flock of corellas flew overhead. Then the wind turned. As the air was filled with a fresh salt breeze and the rumble of distant thunder, the poas shivered; and we people all unfurled. Continue reading “Group reflection: Good fruit needs a good gardener”
Jeremiah | The gift of God’s words in a world turned upside down
Like Jeremiah, we are all given God’s words to comfort, challenge and console. A reflection for back-to-school Sunday. (Listen.)
Over the last two years, our world has been turned upside down. We used to meet inside the building for church, but last week we were on Zoom; and this week here we, worshipping in the garden. We used to leave the house for school and work; but during the many months of lockdowns, most of us learned to work and study from home. Continue reading “Jeremiah | The gift of God’s words in a world turned upside down”
2 Chronicles | Group reflection: Aboriginal Sunday 2022
In 1940, Aboriginal Christian Leader William Cooper asked all churches to set aside the Sunday before January 26th as Aboriginal Sunday, a day of Christian solidarity calling for full citizenship rights to be granted to Aboriginal peoples. More recently, Common Grace has reclaimed this day and asked churches around Australia to mark it each year. We worshipped on the lands of the Eastern Maar nation using prayers by Aboriginal Christian leaders, and together reflected on one of many Biblical passages which link following God’s way with the health of the land. Continue reading “2 Chronicles | Group reflection: Aboriginal Sunday 2022”
Consider the sky: Lectio divina in creation
Sanctuary’s taking a summer break. This month, many of us are on leave and outside every day, so here’s a little something from the archives on prayerfully considering the sky in dialogue with scripture.
In Christian understanding, God is immanent. This means that, while God cannot be contained by anything, yet God is present in all things. In other words, creation is a sacrament: a sign of God’s presence which has an effect. Continue reading “Consider the sky: Lectio divina in creation”
Luke | Background briefing & script
This week we had a congregational reading of Luke 1:1-2:40, with songs (Luke: The Musical!). You can download the script (scripture, songs, prayers and questions) here. This is the background briefing, preparing us Gentiles to hear a very Jewish story.
The gospel according to Luke has often been described as the gospel for the Gentiles. At the very beginning, it is addressed to ‘Theophilus.’ Theophilus can simply be a name; but it means ‘god-lover.’ A god-lover was a Gentile who had come to know and worship the God of the Jews without converting to Judaism (i.e. without circumcision and without adopting Torah); and there were many God-lovers. Continue reading “Luke | Background briefing & script”
Need a New Year’s resolution? Read the Bible in a year!
Some of you call me a Bible nerd, and I’m totally fine with that. I love the Bible with all its poetry and promises, stories and visions, frustrations, contradictions and deep weirdness; and I love how, when I read, I so often experience comfort or challenge, guidance or encouragement. This shouldn’t be surprising. We believe that God speaks through scripture, and that, in the words of an old hymn, ‘The Lord has yet more light and truth to break forth from the Word.’ This love and this faith is why I read the Bible cover to cover every year: the good bits, the boring bits, and the bits I’d really rather avoid. In 2022, I invite you to join me! Continue reading “Need a New Year’s resolution? Read the Bible in a year!”
Farewell, Elephant: A Jewish man whose friendship was a gift to this Baptist pastor
You may not have known him, but last week Sanctuary lost one of its ‘people of peace’: Jon Yaakov Gorr, known to many as Elephant. He was killed while riding his beloved bicycle in Allansford, and perhaps you have driven past him on his regular ride down Hopkins Point Road into Warrnambool. Continue reading “Farewell, Elephant: A Jewish man whose friendship was a gift to this Baptist pastor”
Group reflection: From darkness to God’s peace
Another snap shutdown, a house blessing cancelled, a quick pivot to an online service, and things are feeling a bit grim. So we came to Jesus and sat with the story of Nicodemus. What follows are notes from our conversation about the darkness which surrounds us, as well as the spiritual practices which are helping us experience God’s peace. Continue reading “Group reflection: From darkness to God’s peace”
Pentecost | Be the church you want to belong to
This coming Sunday we celebrate Pentecost. On this day long ago, the Holy Spirit came down from heaven ‘like fire’ and touched a motley group of Jesus followers, simultaneously uniting them and empowering them to communicate with all peoples. As such, Pentecost has traditionally been celebrated as the formation and birthday of the church. But what the church looks like, that is, how people gather as communities of faith, must find new shape in every time and place.
Continue reading “Pentecost | Be the church you want to belong to”
Acts | Cut off from the church? Here’s good news for you (and a challenge to the church)
The baptism of the Ethiopian eunuch points to a faith which is radically accepting and inclusive. (Listen.)
The Ethiopian eunuch is cut off in every way. A precious part of him has been sliced off, and this loss defines him: for we do not even know his name. Instead, we only know that he’s a eunuch. And as a eunuch, he has been cut off from having children, and from establishing a family line.
Continue reading “Acts | Cut off from the church? Here’s good news for you (and a challenge to the church)”