When we moved from inner city Melbourne to regional Victoria, we really noticed the absence of insects. Our garden in Brunswick was dancing with butterflies most of the year, and every shovelful of dirt brought up a mass of worms. Here, there are almost no butterflies and worms are a scarcity. So I’ve planted butterfly-attractors and caterpillar foods, and slowly improved the soil: and I am gradually seeing life return. Still, the absence is striking. Continue reading “Consider the insects”
On Tuesday evening, some of us gathered for a time of guided prayer and silent listening to what God might be saying to us about climate. We are deeply concerned; yet we do not want to run around frantically doing a hundred futile things, nor do we want to be so overwhelmed that we bury our heads in the sand and do nothing. There many things which are good to do, but we must discern what is good for us to do: and we can only discern that when we are grounded in prayer. Therefore, we prayed, and between now and our next meeting on 5th October, we ask you to continue to pray daily, laying before God the issue of climate and asking God to reveal what God would have us do. Continue reading “Listening for God in creation”
At our house, we have a simple mealtime ritual. We pause, then someone says, ‘Thank you, God, for this food, for the farmers, and for the cook.’ Then they add whatever else is on their heart. One night, we might give thanks for mathematics and minecraft. Another time, it might be for horses and sisters and … can’t we just eat now? Continue reading “A mealtime ritual: Pause, give thanks, pay attention”
We love the idea of a powerful God who reaches out to organise events to our satisfaction: and right now, we could really use a God like this. A God who ends world hunger, ensures justice for every situation, waves a hand to make climate change and the pandemic simply disappear, and all without us doing a thing. Unfortunately, there doesn’t seem to be much evidence of this God in Scripture. Continue reading “My soul refuses to be comforted”
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.
Looking around at our congregation, I see so much joy. Just in the last month we’ve seen people attending church, even taking communion, for the first time in decades; children literally running to services; a young person being baptised; and two wonderful extended social gatherings. But alongside this overwhelming joy, I also see so much pain, woundedness and brokenness.
This Sunday we will be baptizing one of our young people into the church and, like so many churches do at a baptism, we will present her with a Bible. However, a Bible is a big scary object, full of millions of words and some very alarming stories. How, then, shall we encourage our newly baptized member to keep opening it up? How shall we encourage her to keep bringing her questions, fears and dreamings to this book? How shall we point to the Word of Life we have found in its pages, when there are so many words and so many pages to navigate?
My friend from Adelaide called as I was walking into my driveway. ‘Hang on,’ I said, ‘I’ll just take off my face mask.’ There was a slightly stunned silence, then, ‘That doesn’t sound much like you!’ she said. ‘It’s the LAW!’ I replied, and she burst out laughing. She doesn’t have to wear a mask, you see; and she had forgotten that those of us living in Victoria do. For a moment there she had thought I was wearing a mudpack which, to those who know me well, seemed very unlikely indeed.
‘Do I not fill the earth?’ says God (Jer. 23:24b).
Our ancestor Jacob woke from his sleep and said, ‘Surely God is in this place, and I didn’t know it!’ (Gen. 28:16). Like Jacob, people have sensed God’s presence in creation for millennia, and perhaps this is why Jesus so often prayed outdoors. What follows is a simple grounding exercise to help you observe God’s presence in the place where you are. Move through the steps in order, or float between them: they are just a tool. And remember, like all spiritual exercises, it gets easier with practice. Continue reading “Sensio divina: Attending to the presence of God”
Amidst all the crazy, we gathered in the carpark and paid attention to the presence of God: A prayer.
We stand with each other: We share a common earth.
We share birth and suffering: We share love and death. Continue reading “God among the echiums”