A newcomer was sitting with a circle of women as they reflected on the sermon after the service. Suddenly she said, ‘Wow! I’ve never seen THAT before!’ I asked her what she noticed. She gestured to the men heating food and setting the table for our common meal. ‘Everywhere else, men talk and women serve,’ she said. ‘Not here,’ I replied. ‘Here, people take turns. And if you stay for the meal, you might see men doing the dishes afterwards!’ Continue reading “Luke | Martha Made Whole”
Our deepest liberation can set a city free.
A few years ago, when my kids were a bit younger, the movie Frozen would often be playing in my house. As kids often do, they liked to enjoy the same story again and again. I must have watched it several times myself. And sitting there watching it with my children I was drawn in. A girl called Elsa has a magical ability: she can magically create ice and snow, sending it streaming from her fingertips. And for this she is judged to be dangerous – a danger to her little sister, a danger to anyone around her. So she is locked away in her room and hidden away from everyone else in the city. Continue reading “Luke | Back to the city”
Rejected by the worshipping community, blind Bartimaeus has true insight into Christ and is commended for his faith. (Listen.)
He was slumped outside the city gates: because he wasn’t allowed inside anymore. He used to be there. But for his blindness or diffability or autism or trauma or gayness or questions or outspokenness or doubt or some other issue, he was criticized, then judged, then driven away, then erased. He was ordered not to mingle with the inside folk: and they were warned. Hanging out with him would taint them, might even lead to them being thrown out, too: so they carefully avoided him; they never returned his calls. Continue reading “Bartimaeus | Rejected by the worshipping community, commended for his faith”
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”
Yes, Jesus calls a woman a dog. It’s not his finest moment. But the bitch slaps back: and he listens, and learns, and grows. (Listen.)
‘Bitch.’ It’s a vicious taunt. Every time I hear it, I’m left enraged, gutted, and gasping, which is exactly what the taunter wants. It’s meant to silence: and mostly, it works. It tells me that the speaker doesn’t see me as fully human. There seems no point in continuing the relationship: so I shut my mouth, and move away. Continue reading “Mark | The bitch slaps back”
An enfleshed God unites us with the community of all creation and points us to urgent climate action. (Listen.)
There are two kinds of eating, says Jesus; two kinds of food. One, we eat of the created goodness, plants and animals which we rip into with our teeth, and chew and swallow; they are absorbed into us so that we might live. This is the food which perishes. The other, we eat of Christ, ripping in with our teeth, chewing and swallowing. Christ is absorbed into us that we might live beyond simply being alive: this is the food which endures. The first food provides vitamins, minerals, calories, fats; the second, transformation, wholeness, wisdom, healing. The first grants fullness of stomach, here and now; the second, fullness of life in time beyond time. These ways of eating are intimately related: and they point to the care of the whole earth. Continue reading “John | For the life of the world”
Are we in lockdown? Are we not? Can we have visitors to our home? Are we in the classroom, or are we teaching and learning remotely? Are we worshipping in person or on Zoom? How many people from my house can go to the grocery store today? When the news says ‘Melbourne’, does it include regional Victoria? Can my daughter come home for her sister’s birthday? Can my husband go to his office? If we’re allowed to gather in a group, can we sing?
Continue reading “Psalms | How Psalm 86 changed a terrible, horrible, no-good, very bad day”
The pain is the terror which wakes you in the small hours. It’s the sweat rolling down your brow; it’s desperate prayer beyond words; it’s abandonment by friends who cannot bear to watch. It’s the gut-wrench of betrayal; the hollowness of a false kiss. It’s the scourge of the whip; the agony of thorns; the spear thrust in the side. It’s God-forsakenness, for God is nowhere to be found. This is the unbearable pain of crucifixion; in the suffering, something must die. Continue reading “First the pain, then the waiting, then the rising”
After a recent service, members of the congregation had a long conversation about chronic pain, sharing resources, techniques and encouragement. In response, I invited people to reflect on the intersection of faith and pain in their lives. Here is Ollie’s story. Thanks, Ollie!
I only had a short time of suffering chronic pain. A few years ago, when I went part time at work and became primary carer part time, I would get these episodes where my ankle would become extremely painful for a few hours at a time. At the start it would just go away after a while or with mild medication. Continue reading “Chronic pain changes everything. So does chronic love”
Christ breaks down the walls between all peoples, then unites them together in love. (Listen.)
Male + Female. Gay + Straight. Trans + Cis. Black + White. Neurodiverse + Neurotypical. Progressive + Conservative. Catholic + Protestant. Believer + Unbeliever. And I could go on with the binaries. We live in a world which loves to label people. Sometimes, labels can be incredibly helpful; they can provide a lens to understand ourselves and other people. But all too often, labels are used to make insiders and outsiders; they are used to exclude and condemn. Continue reading “Ephesians | Friends beyond any binary”