One body, not yet fully vaccinated

Just as the body is one and has many members, and all the members of the body, though many, are one body so it is with Christ. For in the one Spirit we were all baptized into one body — Jews or Greeks, slaves or free — and we were all made to drink of one Spirit. (1 Corinthians 12:12-13)

There’s a lot of talk these days about independence, self-sufficiency, and ‘my body, my choice.’ Whether people are referring to financial arrangements, homesteading, or vaccination, there is an underlying assumption that each person, or at most each family, is an individual unit, independent of anyone else and free to choose how to live. This is not, however, consistent with Christianity. Continue reading “One body, not yet fully vaccinated”

No authority but Christ

When the church operates from a position of power and wealth, it has no authority. (Listen to a much earlier version here.)

I have a confession to make. As I prepared to travel to Canberra and preach on this story, that is, a story where disciples are sent out carrying no bag and no change of clothing, I panicked. I hadn’t been to this city before, let alone this church; and I suddenly realised two things. One, my usual op shop clothes probably wouldn’t cut it; and, two, my only good pair of pants had moved to Melbourne earlier this year with my oldest daughter. So I ran out and bought myself a new pair of pants, and shoved them into my already overflowing bag. Continue reading “No authority but Christ”

Menstruation, miscarriage, and the multitude robed in white

Bleeding bodies and suffering selves are all gathered up in Christ. (Listen.)

Like me, my mother was an ordained Baptist minister; but unlike me, she had endometriosis. Among other things, this meant that her menstrual periods were excruciatingly painful, and came upon her without warning, in great floods. And so my childhood is studded with high stress memories of her period suddenly starting while we were out. There’d be an intake of breath, then a quick hissed exchange between my parents, then a frantic search for a public toilet before disaster struck. Continue reading “Menstruation, miscarriage, and the multitude robed in white”

Reset Faith: Empty

Grounded God,
you emptied yourself,
taking the form of a slave
and humbling yourself even unto death.
Empty us of our pride,
strip us of our self-importance,
and recall us to our limits.
Reconcile our circles of concern
with our circles of influence,
that we may stop loudly panicking
and start quietly working
towards your new creation
of reconciliation, justice and peace.
For we cannot solve everything:
but you resolve all things;
and it is not in grand gestures
but in humble service
that you are made known.
In the name of Christ, we pray:
Amen.

Continue reading “Reset Faith: Empty”

Human violence, and the foolishness of the cross

To those reeling from another week in the patriarchy, the cross offers only foolishness: but in that foolishness we find healing and companionship. (Listen.)

Like so many people, I feel overwhelmed by the events of the last few weeks. Parliament House is revealed to be a hotbed of sexual violence; and our Prime Minister cannot imagine it matters until, we are told, his wife prompts him to think of his own daughters. Then the attorney general is named in allegations of historic rape. Meanwhile, the head of the defence force instructs young cadets that they should not make themselves ‘prey’ to predators, and that they can do this by, among other things, avoiding being ‘attractive.’ All this while our training grounds for power, that is, Sydney’s private schools, are publicly revealed as manifestly unsafe places for young women.

Continue reading “Human violence, and the foolishness of the cross”

The simple cure

We like to make things complicated, but the faith which heals is simple. A word for our graduates moving away to university. (Listen.)

Naaman was hoping for a miracle. ‘Easy peasy lemon squeezy,’ said the prophet’s errand boy. ‘Go wash in the Jordan seven times, and you’ll be made clean.’ Then he ran back inside, narrowly avoiding a boot in the behind.

Continue reading “The simple cure”

The god made known in every child

Sanctuary’s taking a summer break, but here’s a little something from the archives reflecting on children as icons into the nature of God. (Listen.)

Did you hear it? God knows you, right down to your cotton socks. Before you were born, God knit you together in the womb: you are the product of divine handiwork. God watched as each bone took shape in secret; God saw your body grow in the depths. You are made in the image of God. There are no exceptions: every one of you is fearfully and wonderfully made.  Continue reading “The god made known in every child”

The best gift is your vulnerability ~ Theme for Lent Book 2021

Are you wondering what to offer the church next year? Of course, time and money are always welcome; they keep this boat afloat! But one thing we could really use more of is vulnerability. Because, as I said last week, whenever somebody makes themselves vulnerable, we grow in leaps and bounds. And one powerful way of sharing vulnerability is sharing our true stories. Continue reading “The best gift is your vulnerability ~ Theme for Lent Book 2021”

Vulnerability grows us in love.

When does the church grow? Looking back on our life together, I am struck by the growth which has happened each time someone has made themselves vulnerable. Perhaps someone wrote a Wednesday email or a Lenten reflection which was wholehearted and brave: and when you read it, you felt the spirit stirring within you. Perhaps someone spoke during a service, asking a question, naming a difficulty, giving a testimony or requesting prayer: and, when you heard them, you sensed the spirit’s rich honeyed presence. Perhaps someone emailed the list asking for help: and when you turned up ready to move a house, or hand over soup, or take a kid to soccer, or pray, you stepped into the presence of love. 

Continue reading “Vulnerability grows us in love.”

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