#40: Receive spiritual power: #40ways40days

[After the resurrection] Jesus opened his disciples’ minds to understand the scriptures, and he said to them, ‘Thus it is written, that the Messiah is to suffer and to rise from the dead on the third day, and that repentance and forgiveness of sins is to be proclaimed in his name to all nations, beginning from Jerusalem. You are witnesses of these things. And see, I am sending upon you what my Father promised; so stay here in the city until you have been clothed with power from on high.’ Then he led them out as far as Bethany, and, lifting up his hands, he blessed them. (Luke 24:44-50)

 You should not wait until God comes to you

and says, ‘I am.’

A God whose strength is vouched for, proved,

is senseless, mad.

Yet you must know, though, that God blows through you

since time began,

and when your heart glows warm and remains true,

He works His plan. Continue reading “#40: Receive spiritual power: #40ways40days”

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#3: Resist privilege: #40ways40days

John said to the crowds: ‘Produce fruit in keeping with repentance. And do not begin to say to yourselves, ‘We have Abraham as our father.’ For I tell you that out of these stones God can raise up children for Abraham. The axe is already at the root of the trees, and every tree that does not produce good fruit will be cut down and thrown into the fire.’ ‘What should we do then?’ the crowd asked. (Luke 3:8-10)

Apologies to all those on a Fodmap diet who may find this reflection upsetting but the thing about good fruit, is that when you taste it, you can’t get enough. I wonder what type of fruit the ‘fruit of repentance’ is?  Mass produced, cool stored for the export market? Or heritage variety, organically grown for the local market? Continue reading “#3: Resist privilege: #40ways40days”

#1: Sing in the new: #40ways40days

When Elizabeth heard Mary’s greeting, the child leapt in her womb … And Mary said, ‘My soul magnifies the Lord, and my spirit rejoices in God my Saviour, for he has looked with favour on the lowliness of his servant …’ (Luke 1:41a, 46-47)

Reflection 1: When I chose this reading I’ll admit I hadn’t looked closely at the topic. Alison told me later that it’s called sing in the new because it’s a story of joy as two women await the arrival of their babies. And of course all over the world and in our own lives this is often the case. My youngest sister is expecting her first baby in June. One of five children, I have seen the arrival of many blessed babies and shared in the joy of the occasion. But I have never myself experienced this joy. Continue reading “#1: Sing in the new: #40ways40days”

Seeing through God’s eyes takes practice

Listen here.

Here we are, forty-one days after the hype of Christmas and just beginning another year at kinder or school. We are a group of lovely ordinary people with lots of children among us, and we are gathered tonight to worship God and receive a blessing, just as, two thousand years ago, like every other ordinary Jewish family, Mary and Joseph went to the Temple forty days after their firstborn son’s birth to worship God and receive a blessing. Continue reading “Seeing through God’s eyes takes practice”

Warm boulders and other blessings

So I’m back! I’ve spent the last two weeks travelling in Jordan, Israel and Palestine, and I’m full to brimming with the sights, sounds, scents, conversations and reflections I absorbed there. It was a wonderful experience, which I suspect will thrum behind much that I say and do over the next few years. There were many moving moments: sailing on a wooden boat on the Sea of Galilee; seeing the hideous wall blockading Bethlehem; being shown through the Holocaust Museum by a man whose entire extended family was murdered by the Nazis; thinking about the meaning of peace for Israel and Palestine; and singing with friends in a stone tomb in Petra. I fell in love with Jerusalem, that lively, colourful, historic, contested and conflicted city; and again and again Psalm 122 came to mind; although as for how Jerusalem will find peace, like so many others I do not know. Continue reading “Warm boulders and other blessings”

Suffering: Who’s to blame?

Listen here.

There is a story in the gospel according to John which begins like this: Jesus was walking along when he saw a man who had been blind from birth. His disciples asked him, “Teacher, who sinned, this man or his parents, that he was born blind?” These days, we’re not quite so quick to blame people for being differently abled or ill. And yet when my mother, Ruth, had multiple sclerosis, I lost count of the number of people who became frustrated, even angry, with her. “But she’s such a good person!” they said, “How can she be so sick?” “But we’re praying!” they said, “Why isn’t she getting better? Is she praying, too?” Continue reading “Suffering: Who’s to blame?”

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