Have mercy on me, O God, according to your steadfast love; according to your abundant mercy blot out my transgressions. Wash me thoroughly from my iniquity, and cleanse me from my sin. For I know my transgressions, and my sin is ever before me. (Psalm 51:1-3) Continue reading “#34: Accept grace”
As long as we judge others, and preach that one criminal goes to heaven and the other to hell, we will not know God’s culture. (Listen.)
As is the way of things, whenever I meet middle class people, they ask me what I do for a living. When I say I’m a pastor, they almost invariably reply, “Oh, I don’t go to church—but I’m a good person!” And I think to myself, “Good on ya!” Because the older I get, the more certain I become that every single one of us has an incredible capacity for good—and an incredible capacity for evil. Continue reading “Sheepish goats and the scandal of grace”
Our Year of Luke is winding down, and I’m more in love with Luke than ever. Maybe it’s because Luke’s account is written for people like us: educated, professional, cosmopolitan, the sort of people who buy coffees out and who can confidently navigate a big city. The joy of Luke – and there’s a LOT of joy – is found when we allow God to confound our expectations and turn the world on its head. Hospitality is a big deal, and Luke teaches that we experience God’s hospitality when we welcome the stranger. Guests become hosts, outsiders know grace, the poor are blessed, and resurrection life can be experienced in this life now. Continue reading “Proclamation, parties and praise!”
One of the things we do at our house is say grace at dinner time. Generally, we take it in turns to pray, yet every now and then, when we are super excited about what’s on the table, we break out the ‘Superman Grace’! Continue reading “A simple prayer of radical love”
It takes deep humility to receive God’s grace. (Listen.)
As Jane Austen didn’t quite say, “It is a truth universally acknowledged, that a man in possession of a good fortune … needs absolutely nothing from God.” I regularly hear people tell me that their sickness and their sorrow is not worth praying about; let God first attend to other people’s need. While this all sounds very noble, as if God is a limited resource which must be carefully rationed, it strikes me that at least two things are wrong with this attitude. Continue reading “Prayer, pride and prejudice”
Oh, do not pray for easy lives.
Pray to be stronger.
Do not pray for tasks equal to your powers.
Pray for powers equal to your tasks.
Then the doing of your work will be no miracle
but you shall be a miracle.
Each day you shall wonder at yourself,
at the richness of life which has come to you
by the grace of God. Continue reading “Do not pray for easy lives”
Jesus said to his disciples, ‘Be on your guard! If another disciple sins, you must rebuke the offender, and if there is repentance, you must forgive. And if the same person sins against you seven times a day, and turns back to you seven times and says, “I repent”, you must forgive.’ (Luke 17:3-4)
Australia wasn’t really a place I’d always been dying to see. But the real problem was that, without knowing it, I had booked my Down Under speaking tour for the weekend when two of my parishioners were having their wedding—a wedding I had already agreed to officiate. Oops. Continue reading “#32: Forgive: #40ways40days”
Then Jesus said to his disciples, ‘I tell you, make friends for yourselves by means of dishonest wealth so that when it is gone, they may welcome you into the eternal homes.’ (Reading: Luke 16:9)
Before offering a brief personal reflection, I wanted to put down into words some of my musings and mutterings over this passage. Up front, let me say that I like Luke. Continue reading “#30: Choose your friends: #40ways40days”
Jesus said to them, ‘Strive to enter through the narrow door; for many, I tell you, will try to enter and will not be able.’ (Luke 13:24)
Where is this narrow door?
Is your door my door?
Is there one for each or one for all? Continue reading “#26: Enter through the narrow door: #40ways40days”