Nothing to be embarrassed about

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Tonight we reflect on a story from the second scroll of Samuel, when King David dances ecstatically in the street in a holy apron. He is heading up a procession of priests and  soldiers and musicians, bringing the Ark of the Covenant into the city. It’s like Mardi Gras; but when his wife sees him, she is filled with scorn …  Continue reading “Nothing to be embarrassed about”

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News Flash: King David: An undercover exposé!

Rumours abound that King David has been seen dancing in the raciest fashion. Shocked eyewitness reports describe the royal behind flashing in the sun. It is alleged that the King, heralding the arrival of the Chest of God to his city, danced ecstatically at the head of a carnival procession of musicians and soldiers, girded only in a priestly apron. He had the whole country on his side — with one exception. Continue reading “News Flash: King David: An undercover exposé!”

Bloody Hell

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Jairus is a big shot: he’s a deacon at the church on the hill. Everyone knows his name. He’s a Rotarian; he’s a member of the golf club; his photo’s always in the local paper. But he has a twelvie, a daughter, who’s really, really sick, so sick she’s about to die. So Jairus comes to Jesus and begs him: “Heal my daughter! Touch her, rescue her, let her live!” Jesus agrees, so they start walking to the house, the crowd pressing in; and in the crowd is a woman. Continue reading “Bloody Hell”

Into the Storm: A Script

Tonight we re-tell a story from the gospel according to Mark in which Jesus sleeps in a boat, a storm blows in, and the disciples panic. By way of background, Mark uses the image of a boat as a symbol for the gathered community of faith; crossing to the other shore suggests moving between Jewish and Gentile territories.  As you participate in the story, then, you might want to reflect on times when you have seen a faith community attacked: What provoked the attack? And what enabled the community to continue in its course of action (if it did)? Or you might want to reflect on your own relationship with Jesus: Are you a student, content to value his teaching? Or are you a disciple, who seeks to internalise his teaching?  Continue reading “Into the Storm: A Script”

Beloved Son: A Meditation

Tonight we re-tell a story from the gospel of Mark in which Jesus’ family think he’s crazy; the religious experts accuse him of being demon possessed; and Jesus talks in riddles, then questions family ties. The original text is dense, and easily obscured by our deeply held social values and longing for judgement. Therefore, I’ve expanded, adding commentary, in the hope that this re-telling sheds some light on the passage and leaves you with good questions to ponder. The simple refrain is included to give you an opportunity to sing gently and reflect on what the preceding paragraph reveals.  Continue reading “Beloved Son: A Meditation”

One Rule to Ring Them All

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Tonight we reflect on a story in the gospel of Mark, when a man with a withered hand reaches out to Jesus and is healed. Yet it’s the Sabbath, and so the Pharisees go ballistic. But first … another story. A Catholic woman I know grew up in St Kilda, with a synagogue at the end of her street. One Friday night, when the Sabbath was already underway, there was a knock at the door. Her parents were sitting around in their dressing gowns, reading, but her mother got up, and answered the door anyway. There she found a few of their neighbours, Orthodox Jewish men. “The lights are out in the synagogue!” they said. “We can’t turn them on [it was something they were forbidden to do on the Sabbath] … so would you mind coming and switching them on?”  Continue reading “One Rule to Ring Them All”

Birthed by the Spirit: Beloved by God

Introduction: Sometimes, we respond to the readings (John 3:5-8 and Romans 8:12-17)  with a sermon. Sometimes, we have a conversation. Sometimes, like last week, people testify to God’s action in the world and their lives. And sometimes, we have a guided meditation which invites you to enter deeply into the readings. Tonight it’s a meditation. Listen to the song below; then work slowly through the meditation. Be aware that the meditation uses gendered language for God, language which the Biblical writers used. There are times when we analyse and even question this language: but tonight, I invite you to let it be. Instead, just rest in the imagery, and see what emerges in the silence.  Continue reading “Birthed by the Spirit: Beloved by God”

Pentecost: A Primer

Let’s talk about Pentecost. We think of it as a Christian party, but behind it lies a Jewish festival which comes fifty days after the Passover. The Passover festival recalls the exodus from Egypt. It remembers when the Israelites were slaves in Egypt, when every Israelite household sacrificed a lamb, marked their doorposts with its blood, packed their bags, and roasted and ate the lamb. That very night, an avenging angel came and wrought havoc on Egypt, and Pharaoh was finally persuaded to let the Israelites go, freed from slavery at last.  Continue reading “Pentecost: A Primer”

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