#38: Take this cup: #40ways40days

Then Jesus took a cup, and after giving thanks he said, ‘Take this and divide it among yourselves; for I tell you that from now on I will not drink of the fruit of the vine until the kingdom of God comes.’ Then he took a loaf of bread, and when he had given thanks, he broke it and gave it to them, saying, ‘This is my body, which is given for you. Do this in remembrance of me. And he did the same with the cup after supper, saying, ‘This cup that is poured out for you is the new covenant in my blood.’ (Luke 22:17-20)

‘You know,’ Swami Jeff told me once, ‘God couldn’t care less about the church. We don’t understand the Eucharist, or that bread and wine live within us, so we ritualize the things that hold the mystery. We focus on the container and formalize the mystery. But you don’t have to do that.’ Continue reading “#38: Take this cup: #40ways40days”

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The scent of gratitude

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What would you spend a year’s wages on? A house deposit? A fancy car? A university education? How about some fabulously expensive perfume for a man about to die? In tonight’s reading, that’s exactly what Mary does. Jesus is visiting Mary, Martha, and their brother Lazarus, whom he had recently raised from the dead. While the men are reclining at the table, Mary brings in an eye-wateringly expensive jar of perfume and uses it to anoint Jesus. And then, in the gospel according to John, she wipes Jesus’ feet with her hair. Continue reading “The scent of gratitude”

Senator Anning vs Christo-Cannibalism and the New Community of Love

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For many years, our family shared Christmas lunch with friends and strangers. We’d put the word out, and eat with whoever wanted. One year, it was huge. Friends, and friends of friends, and friends of friends of friends, all turned up at our door. Some of them I knew and loved; others, I hadn’t met before. But gradually I came to realise: almost everyone there was gay. And almost everyone came from a religious family, which had rejected them because of their sexuality.  Continue reading “Senator Anning vs Christo-Cannibalism and the New Community of Love”

Eating Out-of-Bounds: The Culture of God

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Tonight we have a great story about food: and it makes me wonder: Who do you eat with? But first, the story. As a Jewish man, Peter will not eat certain foods; but in a vision God shows him all kinds of four-footed creatures and reptiles and birds, and tells him to kill and eat. And as prawn-cracker-crunching pork-chop-eating Gentile followers of Jesus, it’s easy for us to roll our eyes and say, Well, duh!! But we can only say “duh!” because we are beneficiaries of Peter’s response to this vision. For while he is still pondering what he has seen, he is invited to the house of Cornelius, a Gentile. On the basis of the vision, Peter the Jew accepts. Continue reading “Eating Out-of-Bounds: The Culture of God”

Hope, Love, and Laughter: The gifts that strangers bring

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Why do we listen to stories of old? Not just the Jesus stories, but the stories before his time. What do we do with them? Well, Jesus didn’t come out of nowhere. The older stories lie behind the Jesus stories; and they greatly enrich our understanding of his life and ministry. And so when we hear these older stories, we do well to use our imaginations: to listen to the story, yes, but also to wonder how it relates to or echoes or emphasises or reinterprets other stories that we know. And because we are Christians gathered as a worshipping community, our lens will always be Christ: we will always be seeking pointers to Christ, with whom and in whom we are gathered. With this in mind, let’s turn to tonight’s story. Continue reading “Hope, Love, and Laughter: The gifts that strangers bring”

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