Worship at home

Worship is so physical. In ordinary times, we gather at Sanctuary: a gentle, colourful, comfortable space. We greet one another with a hug, a clap on the back, a touch on the arm; we choose our favourite chair or sprawl on our favourite rug. We look at the paintings on the wall and wonder what they mean; we see the story box come out and wait with anticipation as the lid slowly opens. We sing, listening as we find the point of harmony, separate voices melding into a beautiful whole. We move to the prayer stations and light candles, push twigs into sand, or plant teaspoons as we pray. We stand around the communion table, anticipating the touch, taste and smell of fresh warm bread and sweet red wine. And how much more physical things get during Holy Week, when we would usually kneel to wash one another’s feet on Thursday; crowd into a small dark room on Friday; and gather around a eucalyptus-scented campfire on Sunday in the cold light of dawn. Continue reading “Worship at home”

#37: Smoking ceremony

An account of the genealogy of Jesus the Messiah, the son of David, the son of Abraham … Read it here. (Matthew 1:1-18). Note that Ahaz was a horror, as were several others in the list. Rahab was a prostitute. Ruth was not Hebrew, but Moabite: an enemy. Bathsheba was Uriah the Hittite’s wife, but King David slept with her, then arranged to have Uriah murdered to cover up Bathsheba’s illegitimate pregnancy. And so on: this is a dodgy bunch of ancestors. Continue reading “#37: Smoking ceremony”

#30: Entering another’s pain

In this story, Jesus ‘had compassion’ on the crowds. At least, that’s how it’s usually, politely, translated. A more accurate translation is that his ‘guts wrenched.’: Then Jesus went about all the cities and villages, teaching in their synagogues, and proclaiming the good news of the kingdom, and curing every disease and every sickness. When he saw the crowds, he had compassion for them, because they were harassed and helpless, like sheep without a shepherd. Then he said to his disciples, ‘The harvest is plentiful, but the labourers are few; therefore ask the Lord of the harvest to send out labourers into his harvest. (Matthew 9:35-38) Continue reading “#30: Entering another’s pain”

#24: The faith of friends

And after getting into a boat he crossed the water and came to his own town. And just then some people were carrying a paralysed man lying on a bed. When Jesus saw their faith, he said to the paralytic, ‘Take heart, son; your sins are forgiven.’ Then some of the scribes said to themselves, ‘This man is blaspheming.’ But Jesus, perceiving their thoughts, said, ‘Why do you think evil in your hearts? For which is easier, to say, “Your sins are forgiven”, or to say, “Stand up and walk”? But so that you may know that the Son of Man has authority on earth to forgive sins’—he then said to the paralytic—‘Stand up, take your bed and go to your home.’ And he stood up and went to his home. When the crowds saw it, they were filled with awe, and they glorified God, who had given such authority to human beings. (Matthew 9:1-8) Continue reading “#24: The faith of friends”

COVID-19: Physically apart, spiritually together

Sanctuary is not gathering in the flesh for now. For details of our online gathering, email us.

So COVID-19 is roaring across the earth, my facebook feed is loaded with graphs, and government advice keeps changing. As I write, we still would be permitted to meet on Sunday. However, that could change any moment and, given the imperative of flattening the curve, the leadership team has decided to we should NOT meet. Therefore, we will stop gathering in the flesh on Sundays effective immediately. We believe this closure is necessary to prevent any possibility of becoming a centre for an outbreak; it is also a sign of our willingness to sacrifice our own desires for the common good. Continue reading “COVID-19: Physically apart, spiritually together”

#18: According to your faith

As Jesus went on from there, two blind men followed him, crying loudly, ‘Have mercy on us, Son of David!’ When he entered the house, the blind men came to him; and Jesus said to them, ‘Do you believe that I am able to do this?’ They said to him, ‘Yes, Lord.’ Then he touched their eyes and said, ‘According to your faith let it be done to you.’ And their eyes were opened. (Matthew 9:27-30) Continue reading “#18: According to your faith”

#6: Binding and loosing

Truly I tell you, whatever you bind on earth will be bound in heaven, and whatever you loose on earth will be loosed in heaven. Again, truly I tell you, if two of you agree on earth about anything you ask, it will be done for you by my Father in heaven. For where two or three are gathered in my name, I am there among them. (Matthew 18:18-20)

I had bought a pair of large wire cutters. I should have got a pair of small bolt cutters. It was harder than I thought. Continue reading “#6: Binding and loosing”

#1: I couldn’t decide

Now in Jerusalem by the Sheep Gate there is a pool, called in Hebrew Beth-zatha, which has five porticoes. In these lay many invalids—blind, lame, and paralyzed. One man was there who had been ill for thirty-eight years. When Jesus saw him lying there and knew that he had been there a long time, he said to him, “Do you want to be made well?” The sick man answered him, “Sir, I have no one to put me into the pool when the water is stirred up; and while I am making my way, someone else steps down ahead of me.” Jesus said to him, “Stand up, take your mat and walk.” At once the man was made well, and he took up his mat and began to walk. (John 5:2-9a) Continue reading “#1: I couldn’t decide”

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