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”

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Returning to the Source of Life

The first followers of Jesus read their Bibles differently. Based on their experiences, they read their Bibles with new eyes and connected with the stories of their faith in new ways. Over the last week, as I was reading the parable of the prodigal son again, I found myself doing the same thing: connecting with the story in a different way, and putting myself into the story in a different way. Continue reading “Returning to the Source of Life”

Satisfying the Hunger Within

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What are you hungry for? What are you craving? Food? Friendship? The dulling of the pain? An end to loneliness? The lighting up of the darkness? The warm embrace of love? To be hungry is to be human. To feed ourselves is to be human. And we live in a ravenous age. We are all barraged daily with advertising for things which promise to sate our hunger, to quench our thirst, to satisfy our desires, to heal the pain, to end the craving, to fill the emptiness within. Continue reading “Satisfying the Hunger Within”

Group Reflection: Testing Scripture

On Sunday we reflected as a group on Luke’s account of the temptation of Jesus (Luke 4:1-13). We noted that the devil / enemy quotes Scripture at Jesus, and so we focused on on two questions:

  • Can you think of a time Scripture has been used to misdirect, oppress or trap you or somebody else? Or of a time you yourself have felt dishonest in your use of Scripture?
  • How then do you test whether Scripture is being truthfully (lovingly, appropriately) applied?

Continue reading “Group Reflection: Testing Scripture”

Going deeper at work with Jesus

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Close your eyes, and consider your workplace: the place where you put regular time and effort; the place which demands your experience and skill. It might your home, where you raise children, cook and clean. It might be a classroom, where you teach or learn. It might be an office, where you negotiate and communicate. It might be a garden, where you help things grow. It might be a courtroom, or a library, or a factory, or a studio, or a hospital. Wherever it is, whatever you do: consider your workplace. Imagine yourself there. Continue reading “Going deeper at work with Jesus”

Let’s Make a Splash!

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Baptism. It’s something John offered, and something Jesus underwent, and something his disciples are told to do. It’s got something to do with water and washing and sin: but what is it, actually? What are we doing, what are we declaring, who are we becoming when we are baptised? What does it all mean? Tonight’s story offers a few clues, but to explore the depths, we’ll first need to zoom out a little. Continue reading “Let’s Make a Splash!”

A Revolutionary Abolitionist and our Cloud of Witnesses

Last Thursday, we gathered for All Saints’ Day. We ate, sang and spoke of people in our ‘Cloud of Witnesses’ – those who have passed on and who have inspired us and our faith. Their names were added to the blackboard that stands over us year round, and those of us who wished to told a story about the soul whose name they had added. I had not attended this service before, and had not really understood what Alison had meant when she said it was a way for us to be reminded of and acquainted with death, and brought in community with our cloud of witnesses (that’s how I remember her explaining it anyway).  I had thought that meant it was a kind of memorial, anniversary-like, and was okay with that. But sitting there, saying the prayers, singing the names, reading the people on the board and hearing the stories about them – it created an awareness for me that those who have died and we who are living are not ‘us’ and ‘them’: we are collectively the Body of Christ, and His Spirit is with us. Continue reading “A Revolutionary Abolitionist and our Cloud of Witnesses”

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