Slow reading: May God integrate y’all

In Acts 17:1-10, we learn that Paul and Silas went to Thessalonica and, in three days, convicted ‘some of the Jews’, as well as ‘a large number of God-fearing Gentiles and not a few prominent women’ to the way of Jesus Christ. However, others – both Jew and Gentile – saw the message as a threat, so they stirred up mobs, riots and legal accusations against them. Paul and Silas were hustled out of the city, leaving the brand new yet already persecuted church to fend for itself. The following is a word of encouragement written by Paul to the church—and to us now, especially those of us surprised by the new COVID restrictions. As you read, be aware that every occurrence of the word ‘you’ is plural here. In everything, Paul is addressing the Thessalonians not as individuals, but as a group. How does this affect your understanding of salvation-healing-wholeness? Continue reading “Slow reading: May God integrate y’all”

Slow reading: Do you want to be healed?

Of course everyone wants to be made well. It’s a no-brainer. Or … is it? Because healing means loss. It means letting go of dependency, taking up responsibility, and walking into a new future: a future often studded with conflict. As you listen to this story and dwell in the Word, you are invited to consider your own attitude to being made well. But first, imagine yourself in the beginning place: lying on a mat by a pool. You are comfortably dozing, and the sun is dancing across your eyelids … Continue reading “Slow reading: Do you want to be healed?”

Healing prayers: Integration and wholeness

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.

Continue reading “Healing prayers: Integration and wholeness”

Palm Sunday: The jester’s joke

Palm Sunday is not so much a triumphal entry as a profound anticlimax, a raspberry, a fart. (Listen.)

Some days, I’m flooded with awe. I look around and I see miracles. I see people affirmed in equal marriage, and victim-survivors acknowledged and believed. I see households working towards equitable arrangements, women in leadership, women in Parliament. I see small acts of justice raining down, and diversity appreciated in myriad ways: and I am filled with hope.

Continue reading “Palm Sunday: The jester’s joke”

22: Face to face #Lent2021

Love never ends … Now we see in a mirror, dimly, but then we will see face to face. Now I know only in part, then I will know fully, even as I have been fully known. And now faith, hope and love remain, these three; and the greatest of these is love. (1 Corinthians 13:8a, 12-13)

When I knew myself nothing but a prize fool in love, I took my pain and foolishness in both hands and quite simply offered them to God, whom I recognized through this last anguish to be the backcloth of my life and my eternal love.

Continue reading “22: Face to face #Lent2021”

20: Wholeness #Lent2021

O Lord my God, I cried to you: and you have made me whole. O Lord, you have brought up my soul from Sheol, restored me to life. (Psalm 30:2-3)

Neither the Benedictine community as a whole nor its individual members are expected to be working feverishly… Instead there is contentment with the familiar, the ordinary, the monotonous… It is insisting on the acceptance of each element in the person, each member of the community, each activity of the day as valuable and significant in its own right… A vision of relatedness binds the parts together into the harmonious whole… The monk moves between praying and studying and working with his hands, going in turn from chapel to library to kitchen to farm…

Continue reading “20: Wholeness #Lent2021”

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