Walking the labyrinth

The labyrinth is an ancient spiritual tool. It is found all over the world, in diverse religious and spiritual contexts. It is not a maze or puzzle. Instead, the labyrinth has one path in and out, and following the path is a way of going deeply into what we might call the heart of life. In my experience, walking a prayer labyrinth is always absorbing, always surprising, and often very moving: things deep within me seem to shift, rearrange and reveal themselves as I walk and pray. Continue reading “Walking the labyrinth”

Jesus Christ, the apple tree, and me

Indigenous and Christian ways of the seeing reveal a world fully alive, animated by the spirit, and wanting to communicate. (Listen.)

While we were away with our sister church recently, Phil went for a walk. When he came back, Uncle Den wandered up for a chat: “I saw you come back from a bit of a walkabout just now.” “Yep,” said Phil, and he told Uncle Den how much he loves being outside by himself, and how he finds peace and rejuvenation there. Uncle Den asked him, “So do you talk to the birds that you see? Do you stop to listen to what they might wanna say to you? How ‘bout the trees? They’re always talking; do you listen to them, too?” Continue reading “Jesus Christ, the apple tree, and me”

Climate march and other prayer walks

As we continue our journey through the season of creation, I’d like to introduce you to another method of prayer. Prayer is a way of deep listening. Yet when our minds are busy and distracted, we cannot listen well; and so we need methods to still our minds. One of these is to go for a walk! The repetitive rhythmic movement, and the regular intake and exhalation of breath, can help us find that still centre: the space where we notice the spirit bubbling up and gently prompting us. Continue reading “Climate march and other prayer walks”

#35: Welcome children: #40ways40days

People were bringing even children to Jesus that he might touch them; and when the disciples saw it, they sternly ordered them not to do it. But Jesus called for them and said, ‘Let the little children come to me, and do not stop them; for it is to such as these that the kingdom of God belongs. Truly I tell you, whoever does not receive the kingdom of God as a little child will never enter it.’ (Luke 18:15-17)

Reflection 1: As a child, I have nearly always been a part of the congregation at church. I can recall at South Yarra when the adult congregation first acted upon Jesus’ instruction to ‘let the little children come to him’, however I think that I remember being intensely bored the first time we were brought into the service. I didn’t really understand church politics and I hadn’t read the bible, being about 4 years old, but I thought it was good to be a part of the service as I felt like one of the big kids, a stage I’m sure every child can relate to. Continue reading “#35: Welcome children: #40ways40days”

#17: Listen: #40ways40days

A woman in the crowd raised her voice and said to him, ‘Blessed is the womb that bore you and the breasts that nursed you.’ But Jesus said, ‘Blessed rather are those who hear the word of God and obey it!’ (Luke 11:26b-27)

Listening is a gift we all can develop and use. In fact, listening is probably one of the most important things we do in our daily lives, in growing, and in developing relationships. Listening to those who choose to talk with us and share their thoughts, observations, and ideas can really enhance our lives. This is a gift each of us can give to others, and truly be a friend to them. Continue reading “#17: Listen: #40ways40days”

#6: Leave and follow: #40ways40days

Jesus said to Simon, ‘Do not be afraid; from now on you will be catching people.’ When they had brought their boats to the shore, they left everything and followed him. (Luke 5:10b-11)

 I stood at my local train station in suburban Melbourne, waiting for the train to take me to Bible study, but I never made it to Bible study that night. There were a number of other passengers waiting to board the train that would soon arrive at the station; however, this evening, one of them was considering jumping in front of the train. Continue reading “#6: Leave and follow: #40ways40days”

Gagging the nagging

Today is Ash Wednesday, and so Lent begins for the year. I have always struggled with whether and what to give up for Lent.  Any regular self-improvement kind of themes (no sugar, no booze, less screen-time) feel more like New Year’s Resolution Take 2 and don’t really seem to get to the point of preparation for Easter (for me anyway – though probably because I am yet to grasp the discipline of fasting). Continue reading “Gagging the nagging”

Dodging the non-religion dogma

One night in my late teens I found myself having a long, deep, 3am conversation with a friend of a friend I hadn’t met before. This young woman was in her mid-twenties and initially couldn’t get over the fact that I went to church (‘you’re religious?! re-huh-eeeallly?!’).  For me, I had recently heard someone making the neat distinction between being ‘religious’ (bad, apparently) and ‘a follower of Jesus’ (good). So the poor other girl got more and more confused when, throughout our conversation, I kept repeating ‘oh no I’m not religious though … I just go to church and read the Bible and try to live how Jesus taught us to.’ You won’t be surprised to hear she and I never hung out again. Continue reading “Dodging the non-religion dogma”

Nothing like a good yarn

Dear friend,

On Saturday 19 January at 7pm, we will hold our first yarn: an evening for people to gather and tell stories. The theme is epiphany: a moment when you realised something deep and true about yourself or the world. More about the event is here; guidelines for storytellers are here. But what’s the big idea behind it? Well, we are story people. The stories we tell and the stories we inhabit create deep patterns in our minds, shaping how we see the world, each other and ourselves. Yet we are surrounded by untrue stories: the story that there is never enough to go round (dismantled here); the story that suffering is a cosmic or divine punishment (dismissed here); the story that some groups of people threaten the smooth workings of our society (deconstructed here); the story that wealth is a sign of God’s favour (demolished here); and many others. Continue reading “Nothing like a good yarn”

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