As we reel at the horror of yet another school shooting, and the obscenity of self-described Christians insisting on the right to carry semi-automatic weapons, it is clear that the sacrifice of children to idols is not a quaint Biblical problem. Instead, it’s a contemporary outrage which causes intense grief to God. But how do we speak, and thus think, of this God? Continue reading “Psalms | Womb of life, our Sovereign”
Paul writes, “Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good.” (Romans 12:21)
A television news report. A case of American domestic terrorism. A government building bombed. Many people killed. The trial had been held. The accused found guilty. The reporter was doing a vox pop with those waiting outside the courthouse to hear the sentence handed down. Continue reading “39 | enough #Lent2022”
The poet sings, “The steadfast love of the Lord never ceases, his mercies never come to an end; they are new every morning; great is your faithfulness.” (Lamentations 3:22-23)
I remember my grandfather as a man of gentleness and grace. When I walked into a room, his eyes would light up. He showed his affection with a warm pat then a rub of the forearm, followed by a gentle squeeze; we still call it ‘The Snell Pat’. He always had projects on the go, and would potter around humming “psalms, hymns and spiritual songs” while he worked; every now and then, he’d break into full song. Continue reading “23 | reflection and reckoning #Lent2022”
Alone, few of us can love an enemy, perpetrator or abuser; in community, we can do it. (Listen.)
“Love your enemies, do good to those who hate you, bless those who curse you, pray for those who abuse you. If anyone strikes you on the cheek, offer the other also … Forgive, and you will be forgiven.” These words of Jesus are all very well if you are a six-foot male and built like a truck, or a burly fisherman, perhaps, with eleven brothers behind you. But too often these words are spoken to victims of violence in ways which cause terrible harm. Continue reading “Enemy-love, community, and the healing of the world”
Military violence never ends, but Jesus’ way leads to true and lasting peace. An insight received one Remembrance Day, while standing at Armageddon. (Listen.)
To get to Armageddon, known in Hebrew as ‘Megiddo’, we drive past an airfield. Our Israeli guide tells us about the Syrian fighter pilot who defected there in 1989. He was flying a Soviet-made MIG-23, which provided Israel with valuable military intelligence—and it feels like nothing ever changes. Continue reading “Revelation at Armageddon”
A local retelling of Mark’s little apocalypse, since the apocalyptic tradition is “both profoundly contextual and transferable.” (Ched Myers). (Listen.)
So Joshua and some of his mates caught a train to the little city. They wandered up from the station, and soon found themselves at a crossroads. Here, they saw a magnificent cathedral; there, a church on the hill. “Wow,” said one of his friends, “What incredible buildings! What spires! What stonework! What domination of the streetscape!” Continue reading “The little apocalypse”
In his capacity as school principal, Sanctuary member Dave first shared this reflection with the students of Warrnambool College at their ANZAC Day assembly. He writes:
I know that on ANZAC day we’re supposed to sit quietly and in reverent memory of those who sacrificed so much, so many years ago, so we can live lives of relevant freedom today. We absolutely need to show our respect to those that have fallen. Yet this year I find myself wondering whether we are truly honouring the legacy and gift that our ANZAC brothers and sisters have bestowed upon us over the past 106 years.
In Christ we discover no judgement, only paradise: so why is condemnation such a feature of Christianity? A potted history. (Listen.)
It is a mystery to me why so many Christians spend their lives condemning people. It is a mystery to me why so many Christians spend their lives feeling guilty and condemned. And it is a mystery to me why I spend so much time condemning myself.
Love one another: It lies at the heart of who we are and what we do as a church. And we are called not just to love those like us, but to love across human boundaries: male and female; gay and straight; rich and poor; adult and child. What this means, however, is that we are loving across power imbalances: and so we near to be clear about love.
As we’ve read through Exodus, we’ve switched switching between Egyptian and Israelite identities – but it all comes to a head in this story. The Egyptian army is destroyed; and when the Israelites see their bodies washed up on the shore, they sing and dance for joy. If we don’t celebrate when justice is done, we don’t care enough; but if we celebrate when people suffer, we lose our humanity. How can we celebrate when hurtful people receive justice without losing our humanity? Continue reading “Cartalk / Tabletalk 15: Celebrate justice, grieve suffering”