The things that make for peace

Disciples praise his deeds of power and sing of peace; yet Jesus weeps. (Listen.)

Once upon a time, a baby was born. Angels announced it, and a heavenly host sang, “Glory to God in the highest heaven, and peace to God’s people on earth!” (Luke 2:13). The little one grew in wisdom and stature, and soon enough taught the ways of peace: good news for the poor; release for the captives; recovery of sight for the blind; freedom for the oppressed; and cancellation of all debt (Luke 4:18). Continue reading “The things that make for peace”

Jeremiah | Lament in a time of climate emergency

According to Jeremiah 12, injustice leads to land degradation and species loss. In an era of anthropogenic climate change, these words have new resonance and show us how to lament. (Listen.)

How long, O Lord, will the land mourn? How long will degraded topsoil blow away and riverbeds crack for lack of water? How many millions of frogs must die? How many fish? How many bees? How long will the evangelical industrial complex wield your name like a weapon, while passing laws and investing in industries which destroy ecosystems? How many bushfires, how many floods? How many environmental defenders must be murdered? Where is your justice, O Lord? How long must we wait? Continue reading “Jeremiah | Lament in a time of climate emergency”

Wisdom of Solomon | Cultural knowledge, language and healing

Biblical wisdom leads to understanding the particularities of place and the interconnectedness of all things, and is a source of hope for the healing of the earth. (Listen.)

Note: This reflection is by a white Second Nations person speaking with a white Second Nations congregation, with all the limitations this entails. Yet it seems to us better to fumble our way towards greater understanding than to give up altogether.

Acorn. Dandelion. Fern. Heron. Ivy. Kingfisher. Nectar. Willow. These are but some of the words which were cut from a revised edition of the Oxford Junior Dictionary a few years ago. A dictionary has only so much space, and the editors decided these words were irrelevant to the modern child. In their place, they added other words: attachment, blog, broadband, bullet-point, celebrity, chatroom, committee. Continue reading “Wisdom of Solomon | Cultural knowledge, language and healing”

The bitch slaps back

Yes, Jesus calls a woman a dog. It’s not his finest moment. But the bitch slaps back: and he listens, and learns, and grows. (Listen.)

‘Bitch.’ It’s a vicious taunt. Every time I hear it, I’m left enraged, gutted, and gasping, which is exactly what the taunter wants. It’s meant to silence: and mostly, it works. It tells me that the speaker doesn’t see me as fully human. There seems no point in continuing the relationship: so I shut my mouth, and move away. Continue reading “The bitch slaps back”

Proverbs | Better a dinner of greens

In lockdown some of us are appreciating the simple things and discovering, with the wisdom writer, that some choices are better than others. (Listen.)

If anything good came out of last year’s extended lockdown, it was this: My husband no longer lived in Melbourne part time; he was home every day of the week. I no longer had to operate as a single parent, ever. My daughters were always home, no shuttling to school or activities; and, being self-directed learners, they needed little supervision. No one came over; we didn’t go out. Free from the scramble of sole parenting, free from the drop-offs and pickups and workdays curtailed, free from commuting to Melbourne for work myself, free from activities and dinners and going away on holiday, with meetings cancelled and housework shared: I had time. Continue reading “Proverbs | Better a dinner of greens”

28: God’s shining face #Lent2021

The Lord bless you and keep you; the Lord make his face to shine upon you, and be gracious to you; the Lord lift up his countenance upon you, and give you peace (shalom). (Numbers 6:24-26)

I’ve always been fascinated by the phrase “The Lord make his face to shine upon you.” God’s blessing, God’s protection, God’s peace, God’s grace—all part of that same benediction—are great goods, and if I had to choose between them and God’s shining face, I might well opt for them. But God’s shining face outdoes them all. For God’s blessing, protection, peace, and grace concern the things that we possess, do, and suffer, while God’s shining face concerns our very being. It stands for God’s sheer delight that we exist and live before him. Yet I rarely “see” God’s face shining upon me, and given that I am an inveterate sinner, it is not easy to know exactly why God’s face should shine on me.

Continue reading “28: God’s shining face #Lent2021”

Group reflection: The Christmas story

Christmas Eve, and a group of people met in a carpark (thanks, COVID). Some are founding members of the congregation; others, first-timers visiting for Christmas. Some have been Christians all their lives; others are atheists who have never been in a church before. Together, we heard the stories of Christmas (Luke 1:26-2:20; Matthew 2:3-12) and reflected on how and for whom this story is good news, as follows … Continue reading “Group reflection: The Christmas story”

#32: Slow work

Is not this the fast that I choose: to loose the bonds of injustice, to undo the thongs of the yoke, to let the oppressed go free, and to break every yoke? Is it not to share your bread with the hungry, and bring the homeless poor into your house; when you see the naked, to cover them, and not to hide yourself from your own kin? Then your light shall break forth like the dawn, and your healing shall spring up quickly; your vindicator shall go before you, the glory of the Lord shall be your rearguard. Then you shall call, and the Lord will answer; you shall cry for help, and he will say, Here I am. If you remove the yoke from among you, pointing of the finger, the speaking of evil, if you offer your food to the hungry satisfy the needs of the afflicted, then your light shall rise in the darkness your gloom be like the noonday. The Lord will guide you continually, satisfy your needs in parched places, make your bones strong; and you shall be like a watered garden, a spring of water, waters never fail. Your ancient ruins shall be rebuilt; shall raise up the foundations of many generations; you shall be called the repairer of the breach, restorer of streets to live in. (Isaiah 58:6-12) Continue reading “#32: Slow work”

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