Becoming Heaven on Earth

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Today is Mother’s Day. For some, it’s a day of celebration; but for many, it’s a day of absence. A day of remembering who has died, perhaps. A day of grieving what we never had because our own mothers were damaged, disappointing, and difficult. A day of thinking about the children we could not have, or the children we still long for. For those of us who find Mother’s Day painful, the hype and the sentiment can be a bit unbearable. So we come to church for comfort but, because we follow the lectionary, we get this weird story: One minute, Jesus is teaching his disciples; the next, he’s floating into the clouds and the last thing we see is a flash of his ankles. Is Jesus like Superman, flying up, up, and away? And is that where our mothers and all our loved ones who have died are now? Floating in the clouds? And what on earth do we do with our grief, for all that was, and is, and might never be?  Continue reading “Becoming Heaven on Earth”

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Life. Be in it!

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We have just listened to the Easter Vigil readings (listed below), which give a whistle stop tour of our faith. And there is something which runs through them. Did you hear it, echoing through the readings? Did you see it, lighting up the darkness? Did you recognise it, erupting from the horror? Life! But first … chaos.  Continue reading “Life. Be in it!”

Living Death, or Resurrection Life: You Choose

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Kathleen Norris tells a story of two women she knew, both of whom were diagnosed with terminal cancer. The first woman said, “If I ever get out of this hospital, I’m going to look out for Number One.” Despite the diagnosis, she survived, and went on to live only for herself—and, as Norris writes, “it made her mean.” The second reflected on the blessings of her life, despite some acute early losses. This woman read the Psalms, and said to Norris, “The one thing that scares me is the pain. I hope I die before I turn into an old bitch.” And that’s exactly what happened.  Continue reading “Living Death, or Resurrection Life: You Choose”

The Great Leader and the Gravedigger

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Here we are, at the end of Moses’ epic journey. He has led the people out of Egypt, through the desert, across the Red Sea; he has brought them out of slavery, and turned them away from idol worship and towards God; no one has ever shown such mighty power or performed such awesome deeds; he is the greatest prophet the world has ever known; and the promised land is in sight. If this were an ordinary story, we all know what would happen next: a red carpet unfurling, trumpets ringing out, and Moses riding a white stallion as he leads the people in triumph into the land. Except, this is no ordinary story.  Instead, Moses encounters a gravedigger.  Continue reading “The Great Leader and the Gravedigger”

Anatomy of a Murder

Whodunnit? It’s the question asked of every murder mystery. Perhaps it’s Colonel Mustard in the kitchen with the lead piping; or maybe it’s Miss Scarlet in the dining room with the candlestick. But “whodunnit?” is not a question that is asked very often about the death of Jesus: either we don’t think about it, or we assume that we know. But if we take a closer look, we might find that the answer to “whodunnit?”, that is, who demanded Jesus’ death, is not exactly what we assume; yet whodunnit has enormous implications for our faith. Continue reading “Anatomy of a Murder”

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