Luke | Promises, paradise, and the vastness of love

Jesus rescues and redeems all people, and draws them into the presence of love. (Listen.)

Last week, the Baptist Union of NSW/ACT voted to effectively disaffiliate LGBTIQA+ affirming churches and disaccredit such pastors. It will also disaffiliate churches and disaccredit pastors who are committed to traditional Baptist values of freedom of conscience and congregational governance, and who on these grounds refuse to affirm a statement of marriage as the basis for affiliation. Continue reading “Luke | Promises, paradise, and the vastness of love”

Isaiah | The city of joy

Good health, good work, and good relationships come together to form a city of joy, and a people of delight. (Listen.)

A city of joy, its people a delight: this is what God promises through the prophet Isaiah. Sounds wonderful! So, what are the elements of this joyful city? First, says Isaiah, health and wellbeing. No child will die young; no senior die prematurely (Isa. 65:20). And we can imagine it. There are no coal-fired power stations; no rampaging wildfires; no unprecedented floods. There are no smouldering rainforests; no record-breaking heatwaves. No children or elders are struggling for breath through air thick with particulate matter; no one is sick from herbicides or forever chemicals because these are strictly banned; nobody is collapsing from extreme heat. Continue reading “Isaiah | The city of joy”

Isaiah | Peace and plenty for everyone

This week I (Alison) am on leave. So heres a little something from the archives relating to the local landscape. Perhaps it will inspire you to reflect and write something for our 2023 Lent Book, which will be a collection of prayers and readings rooted in the land.

Twenty years ago, Cudgee was a depleted paddock. Now, it’s an oasis. Families have built sustainable homes and are raising their children there. People have planted countless Indigenous trees, grasses, and shrubs. The creek is overhung by eucalypts; blocks are lined with wildlife corridors; koalas grunt and roam. There are organic gardens and orchards; happy chooks; contented ducks; an Indigenous plant nursery; and the best garlic in Victoria. Continue reading “Isaiah | Peace and plenty for everyone”

Luke | But I thought it was all about peace!

The paradox of God’s peace. (Listen.)

‘Do you think I have come to bring peace to the earth?’ asks Jesus. Well, yes, I do. When he was born, angels sang that there would be peace among those in whom God delights: so it seems reasonable to think he brings peace. But in tonight’s reading, he says ‘No!’ In tonight’s reading, Jesus says that he brings fire to the earth, he brings division, and that households will be torn apart. So, were the angels wrong? Did Jesus really come in order to wield fire and destruction, to generate conflict, to destroy relationship? Continue reading “Luke | But I thought it was all about peace!”

Slow reading | A promise to sick and tired people (and everyone else!)

On Sunday, more than twice as many people sent in apologies as showed up. If it wasn’t so serious, it would be comic. But we are surrounded by sickness, exhaustion and anxiety. Many of those who aren’t currently sick are worried about becoming sick, or sick again; while many of those who are sick are worried about the long term effects, as yet unknown. Continue reading “Slow reading | A promise to sick and tired people (and everyone else!)”

Isaiah | Cudgee dreaming

Today I’m in Ballarat at the Intergenerate Conference, where I’m giving a workshop on a practice we developed during lockdown: telling stories in the landscape. As you might remember, for a while we could meet outside in groups of 20, so I drove around to various places for outdoor communion served from our family van (temporarily christened the Manna-Mobile). This story, which I am sharing at the workshop, describes one such event. I hope you enjoy it! 

Imagine: Kirrae Wurrung country. A large paddock fringed by manna gums. Continue reading “Isaiah | Cudgee dreaming”

Luke | 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 “Luke | 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”

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