14 | never rough or sharp #Lent2022

Paul writes, “Be imitators of God, therefore, as dearly loved children, and live a life of love, just as Christ loved us and gave himself up for us as a fragrant offering and sacrifice to God.” (Ephesians 5:1-2)

A man can bless a woman abundantly without even knowing it. A female client with a history of chronic and violent sexual abuse shared this story. She was afraid of men and of church, since that’s where much of her abuse had occurred. After several years of counselling sessions with me, she wanted to go to church again. She attended every Sunday, sitting in the back, arriving late and leaving early. After a few months, she told me about a family that sat in front of her every Sunday, a father, mother, and two little girls. Continue reading “14 | never rough or sharp #Lent2022”

Slow reading: The witness of women

Mark’s account of the resurrection is very odd, ending in silence, fear and a great big question mark: for the last word of the gospel account is ‘because …’ Most English translations are so uncomfortable with this ending that they drag the ‘because’ backwards, using it to explain the women’s behaviour. Thus we often read, ‘They said nothing to anyone, because they were afraid.’ This is not Mark’s wording. A more accurate translation ends with ‘They said nothing to anyone. They were afraid, because …’ – inviting you, the reader, to enter into the story, and wrestle with the question and the sense of unknowing. With current events in mind, I invite you to dwell on the story, the women, the fear, and the dangling question, as you slowly and prayerfully read and wonder how it continues to speak into our world today. Continue reading “Slow reading: The witness of women”

Being virgin is a superpower

Mary’s virginity has nothing to do with passivity or innocence. Instead, it’s the independent attitude which undergirds her prophetic power. (Listen.)

The first time I heard the word ‘virgin’, I was in primary school. I was confronted by a mean little gang who asked hungrily, ‘Are you a virgin?’ The way they said it, it was clearly a dirty word, and so of course I said, ‘No.’ They howled with laughter, and I felt so ashamed. I asked them to explain the word, but they just snickered some more, then ran off to the next poor sucker.

Continue reading “Being virgin is a superpower”

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”

Witnesses to the light

‘There are no final proofs for the existence of God; there are only witnesses.’ Abraham Joshua Heschel. (Listen.)

Like you, like me, John was not the light. Instead, he was sent as a witness to testify to the light which is the life of the world, and he does this in three movements: through his identification with Scripture; through particular activities; and through grounded self-knowledge. Before we hear somebody else’s witness, let’s take a closer look. Continue reading “Witnesses to the light”

Benjamin Lay: Quaker vegan revolutionary abolitionist

A Quaker vegan revolutionary abolitionist shows us how to live. A story for All Saints … thanks, Lucy.

Benjamin Lay was an early 18th century Quaker, and ‘a class-conscious, race-conscious, environmentally conscious ultraradical.’* If that’s not a big enough mouthful, he was more specifically a revolutionary abolitionist vegan with a disability (dwarfism) who boycotted all slave-produced commodities and lived in a cave.

Continue reading “Benjamin Lay: Quaker vegan revolutionary abolitionist”

Every church needs a saint like Lindsay

Lindsay was a pillar of the church. He had been there for over fifty years, and was the longest-serving member. And he was a good and faithful servant. Every week, hours before anyone else arrived, he unlocked the building. He set out the chairs higgledy-piggledy, drew the curtains, and otherwise prepared for worship. Then someone else turned up and rearranged things just so.

Continue reading “Every church needs a saint like Lindsay”

Cartalk / Tabletalk 11: Being a gift

Sanctuary has just turned 4! And so this week’s cartalk / tabletalk is going off lectionary as we reflect on how Sanctuary is a gift to the world: ‘salt’ and ‘light’ in Jesus’s terms. When we wondered about this during the service, people observed that Sanctuary is a place to be authentic, to be accepted, to be yourself. It’s a place to share the journey and nourish each other; it’s a place of protection and refuge; a place to be loved. And it’s a place with challenging Bible teaching! Continue reading “Cartalk / Tabletalk 11: Being a gift”

Pentecost | Reaching beyond the gathered church

During shutdown, many of us long to gather like the first disciples “all together in one place”; but the Spirit of Pentecost pushed them, and pushes us, to reach far beyond the bounds of the gathering. (Listen.)

Did you feel the poignancy of that first line? ‘When the Feast of Pentecost came, they were all together in one place.’ How I long for us to be all together in one place, gathered into one body, singing, praying, and sharing bread and wine, food and drink, hugs and handshakes. But we cannot. Instead, we remain separate, compelled by the pandemic to huddle in our houses and maintain physical distance. The reality of being gathered all together in one place feels a long way away. Continue reading “Pentecost | Reaching beyond the gathered church”

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