Sensio divina: Attending to the presence of God

‘Do I not fill the earth?’ says God (Jer. 23:24b).
Our ancestor Jacob woke from his sleep and said, ‘Surely God is in this place, and I didn’t know it!’ (Gen. 28:16). Like Jacob, people have sensed God’s presence in creation for millennia, and perhaps this is why Jesus so often prayed outdoors. What follows is a simple grounding exercise to help you observe God’s presence in the place where you are. Move through the steps in order, or float between them: they are just a tool. And remember, like all spiritual exercises, it gets easier with practice. Continue reading “Sensio divina: Attending to the presence of God”

Walking between the waves

When a nation is founded on violence, and uses violence to ensure people’s ongoing submission and obedience, the forces of chaos will one day overwhelm and destroy it. (Listen.)

As we saw last week, our world is besieged by plagues and other signs and wonders. These are desperate times in which sin is a deep, ever-present, and continuing reality, which affects every person, and all life, on earth. Only a fool would claim that life is good right now.

Continue reading “Walking between the waves”

Plagues, and other signs and wonders: A story for our times

A story of plague, empire and pyramids is truly a story for our times. A reflection, followed by a congregational conversation. (Listen to the reflection part here.)

Once upon a time, long long ago, there was a nation whose gods shaped it into a pyramid of power. At the top was one man: Pharaoh: the semi-divine son of the sun god Ra. And as happens to everyone, Pharaoh was made in his god’s image. Dominating. Enslaving. Murderous. Turning the things of life—midwives, the Nile—into instruments of death.

Continue reading “Plagues, and other signs and wonders: A story for our times”

Midwifing God’s life into the world

Sunday’s story about Shiphrah and Puah drew out a wonderful spontaneous prayer from Ollie. In it, he named that true change does not happen from the top down, but emerges from within and below; he gave thanks for the midwives he sees around us: the shareholders of Rio Tinto, holding executives to account for the destruction of the Juukan Gorge caves; the basketballers in the US temporarily standing down over BLM; the Djab Wurrung peoples fighting VicRoads; and he prayed for each of us as we follow our various callings to midwife God’s life into the world in ways big and small. Continue reading “Midwifing God’s life into the world”

Aunty Sandra Onus, Lidia Thorpe, and a pharaoh with no name

We are all called to be actors in God’s great story of salvation, reconciling people, land, culture, and even trees. (Listen.)

On the other side of Gariwerd, along the Western Highway, you’ll find a camp. It’s the Djab Wurrung Heritage Protection Embassy. Elder Aunty Sandra Onus, Zellanach Djab Mara and others are there. They are protecting an 800-year-old birthing tree. They are protecting a 350-year-old directions tree. They are protecting 3,000 other trees: and by protecting these trees, they are protecting their dreaming. Continue reading “Aunty Sandra Onus, Lidia Thorpe, and a pharaoh with no name”

In the face of chaos, a new story

As the Black Lives Matter protests unfold, let us remember an ancient life-giving story, given to a people who were also invaded, removed from their land, forced into slavery and subject to state sanctioned violence. (Listen.)

Explanatory note: Many scholars agree that the sea is an ancient symbol of chaos, and that Genesis was written during the Babylonian exile.

Imagine: Your country is invaded. An army rampages through the landscape, killing men, women, children, even babies: Their heads are dashed against the rocks. Barns are burned; homes flattened; towns looted; cities destroyed. Continue reading “In the face of chaos, a new story”

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