Welcoming the stranger, encountering the divine

Emerging from shutdown is an opportunity to create space and time in our lives: but for whom? (Listen.)

So here’s old Abraham, dozing in the entrance of his tent in the heat of the day. Sarah’s inside, having a nap. The air is heavy; the afternoon is still. Somewhere, a fly buzzes. And the Lord appears to Abraham and he looks up, and sees three strangers down the road, emerging out of the shimmering haze. Continue reading “Welcoming the stranger, encountering the divine”

The uses and abuses of salt

Don’t be a moron. Be pure salt. And be ready to be sprinkled around. (Listen.)

Some of my mother’s health kicks were worse than others. I could cope with brown bread, more lentils, less cordial; and we’d never been allowed lollies or chips. But when she decided to eliminate salt, meals became unbearably bland. Flavours no longer melded together, but jostled up against each other; everything lost its savour. “You’ll get used to it,” she’d say. “You just need to retrain your tastebuds.” Continue reading “The uses and abuses of salt”

Christ in the classroom (and everywhere else)

On Sunday we blessed the children as they started a new year at school. A whole year since we did this last, and now we all stop to breathe and consider a whole school year ahead. For many of us, that thought can be quite daunting. A school day can be full enough of struggles, and a whole year of them? Yeesh. Thankfully we have a God who understands the whole breadth of human existence and struggles, including in fact the 21st century school year. Continue reading “Christ in the classroom (and everywhere else)”

Blessed are the school children, and other humble people

Jesus turns our assumptions about God’s blessings upside down. (Listen.)

Have you ever noticed how few people at this church drive a Porsche? Or how little time and money most of them spend on fashion? Have you noticed how rarely they go on big fancy trips? Or how often they buy things second hand or fair trade? Do you understand the choices that many of them have made? Continue reading “Blessed are the school children, and other humble people”

Climate march and other prayer walks

As we continue our journey through the season of creation, I’d like to introduce you to another method of prayer. Prayer is a way of deep listening. Yet when our minds are busy and distracted, we cannot listen well; and so we need methods to still our minds. One of these is to go for a walk! The repetitive rhythmic movement, and the regular intake and exhalation of breath, can help us find that still centre: the space where we notice the spirit bubbling up and gently prompting us. Continue reading “Climate march and other prayer walks”

#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”

#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”

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