Esther, empire and the hiddenness of God

Esther shows that when insecure fools are in charge, even the most disempowered person may trigger a radical policy reversal. (Listen.)

Esther is not a love story; it’s a story about powerful men. Esther is not a love story; it’s a story of faithfulness and courage. Esther is not a love story; it’s a story about the hiddenness of God. And yet ‘love story’, even ‘beauty pageant’, is the interpretation of Esther that many of us were taught. So today, we’re going to blow that reading out of the water: then we’ll look more closely at what it’s really about. Continue reading “Esther, empire and the hiddenness of God”

With Christ as our centre and source, we too become bread

The church is the body of Christ, and so it is our joy to be broken and shared to feed a hungry world. (Listen.)

Do you feed on success, or achievement, or excellence? How about winning, or seeing your team or country win? Do you feed on other people’s approval or praise or pity or love? Do you feed on wealth and power, or being followed on social media? What about the dopamine hit of other people’s ‘likes’? Do you feed on beauty? Do you feed on titbits of gossip, or righteous anger or outrage? Do you need to win every argument? Do you feed on being needed? Do you feed on your wounds? What do you feed on? Continue reading “With Christ as our centre and source, we too become bread”

The strongest one

Jesus exorcises voices of family, church and society. A metaphorical mix up of demons, dwellings, and healing. Note: Beelzebul is the demon king, and also the demon of the dwelling place. (Listen.)

When I first introduced the man who was to become my husband to my extended family, not one but two different people said to me, “Wow! We never thought you’d meet anyone, let alone a Collins Street lawyer.” Never mind that my husband’s office was on Queen Street; the message was clear. All my life I’d been told by family, church and society that no man wanted an outspoken wife. I was insightful, articulate, prophetic, forceful: great qualities in a man or, perhaps, a celibate single professional woman. But if I wanted to ‘catch’ a good husband, I would need to dumb down and shut up, because the person God had made me to be was unattractive and unlovable, and would make a dreadful wife and mother. Continue reading “The strongest one”

32: My employer #Lent2021

Before I formed you in the womb I knew you, before you were born I set you apart; I appointed you as a prophet to the nations. (Jeremiah 1:5) + You did not choose me, but I chose you and appointed you to go and bear fruit—fruit that will last. Then the Father will give you whatever you ask in my name. (John 15:16)

For three nights and three days I was unable to sleep, because I was thinking so much about what decision I should make. On the third night, I woke Grace up during the night. I said, “Can you pray for me, I would like to receive Jesus Christ, because my heart is torn apart.”

Continue reading “32: My employer #Lent2021”

31: Release captives #Lent2021

“The Spirit of the Lord is upon me, because he has anointed me to bring good news to the poor. He has sent me to proclaim release to the captives, and recovery of sight to the blind, to let the oppressed go free, to proclaim the year of the Lord’s favour.” (Luke 4:18-19)

I particularly identify with Luke 4:18-19 and have experienced this as a call on my life. From the age of 15 I wanted to be a lawyer to help people and because I was fascinated by institutions. I started a theology degree part time during the last year of Law School and continued it over the next 8 years while I started work as a lawyer. A couple of years into my career I was asked to help in a case to assist a victim of abuse to seek justice from an institution.

Continue reading “31: Release captives #Lent2021”

26: Plans for good #Lent2021

“I know the plans I have for you,” says the Lord, “plans for good and not for evil, to give you the future you hope for.” (Jeremiah 29:11)

The scripture verse above continues to guide my journey through each day. I first happened upon this verse in 1980, during a time of depression and uncertainty. I had it ‘posted’ onto my fridge door for decades, but it got lost in the couple of house moves we had. However, I never lost the essence of those words and the way they made me feel.

Continue reading “26: Plans for good #Lent2021”

24: Hope made flesh #Lent2021

In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was in the beginning with God. All things came into being through him, and without him not one thing came into being … And the Word became flesh and lived among us. (John 1:1-3a, 14a)

What does it mean to both me and my reader not only that I was born into a Christian missionary family, but also that I’ve consciously and deliberately chosen to live out my life as a person of faith? How does that shape what I write?

Continue reading “24: Hope made flesh #Lent2021”

14: Being known #Lent2021

You shaped me first inside, then out; you formed me in my mother’s womb. I thank you, High God—you’re breathtaking! Body and soul, I am marvellously made! (Psalm 139:13, MSG)

So this is my first time making a Lent Story. God is the spirit which helps a lot of people at the same time. Most of you would know me well. I am great at video games and that’s what I’m natural at. In this story, I was quite wise and knew what was right. I needed to follow my dreams and that. I like to be free. I want to have the privileges/rights everybody else my age has. But I am not allowed to make my Youtube videos public, I am not allowed to walk down the street by myself, I don’t really get to choose what my life is like, I didn’t often get to play after school and etc. But it’s not that bad and my life is quite good.

Continue reading “14: Being known #Lent2021”

12: Word made flesh #Lent2021

And the Word became flesh and lived among us, and we have seen his glory, the glory as of a father’s only son, full of grace and truth … From his fullness we have all received, grace upon grace. (John 1:14, 16)

When I was in training, I encountered many theories about what a pastor is and does. Nouns flew around: shepherd, leader, manager. Verbs, too: healing, guiding, sustaining, reconciling. Sometimes it sounded like I was supposed to be a CEO; other times, a badly trained therapist; still other times, a salesperson for the gospel. I was told to work out where I fit in the APEST model—apostle, prophet, evangelist, shepherd-pastor or teacher—and was told, simultaneously, that the church has no need for pastors or teachers these days. I explored Biblical metaphors—struggling Jacob, raging Jonah, and Simon’s mother-in-law, whose healing led to ministry—but the powers that be told me these reflections were irrelevant, even faintly ridiculous.

Continue reading “12: Word made flesh #Lent2021”

11: The general direction #Lent2021

Jesus said, ‘Consider the wildflowers, how they grow. They neither toil nor spin, yet I tell you, even Solomon in all his glory was not clothed like one of these. But if God so clothes the grass of the field, which is alive today and tomorrow is thrown into the oven, will he not much more clothe you, you of little faith? Therefore, do not worry … Strive first for God’s culture and God’s justice, and all you need will be given to you as well.’ (Matthew 6:28b-31a, 33)

I lived once in the same house as Fr Patrick Treanor, a Jesuit astronomer, a small man with a large brain and the face of a child.

Continue reading “11: The general direction #Lent2021”

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