Housekeeping: A metaphor for church leadership

It’s time for us to start thinking about who will do the housekeeping for the next twelve months. Many churches call these people ‘deacons.’ The word comes from the Greek diakonos, which means ‘one who serves.’ We sometimes call it ‘church leadership’, but it’s a funny sort of leadership. It’s low status, usually thankless, and only noticed when it’s not being done: like housekeeping; and, like housekeeping, many of the tasks are mundane and require no special expertise beyond a deep willingness to serve. And, like housekeeping, it takes time each week to keep things ticking over. This is what it involves: Continue reading “Housekeeping: A metaphor for church leadership”

#31: Healing leads to ministry

The word translated here as ‘serve’ is translated as ‘minister’ elsewhere in the New Testament. How odd that male translation committees tend to do this when women are involved! Anyway … When Jesus entered Peter’s house, he saw his mother-in-law lying in bed with a fever; he touched her hand, and the fever left her, and she got up and began to serve him. That evening they brought to him many who were possessed by demons; and he cast out the spirits with a word, and cured all who were sick. This was to fulfil what had been spoken through the prophet Isaiah, ‘He took our infirmities and bore our diseases. (Matthew 8:14-17) Continue reading “#31: Healing leads to ministry”

Not Donald, not Boris, but you and me

In this time of global pandemic, closed borders, economic collapse, isolation, and loneliness, ordinary people like us are needed to do God’s priestly work. (Listen.)

It wasn’t Donald, as he boasted and blustered and bribed his way to the top. It wasn’t Vlad, with his iron fist and steely will and heart of stone. It wasn’t Boris, as he manipulated fear and stirred up trouble and tore people apart. And it wasn’t Scottie from marketing, with his smooth talking smugness at his own success. Instead, it was the one everyone forgot, the one rambling the hillsides, the one who stank of sheep. Continue reading “Not Donald, not Boris, but you and me”

#17: Speak plainly

They brought to him a deaf man who had an impediment in his speech; and they begged him to lay his hand on him.  He took him aside in private, away from the crowd, and put his fingers into his ears, and he spat and touched his tongue. Then looking up to heaven, he sighed and said to him, ‘Ephphatha’, that is, ‘Be opened.’ And immediately his ears were opened, his tongue was released, and he spoke plainly. (Mark 7:32-35) Continue reading “#17: Speak plainly”

Group Reflection: Sanctuary’s Treasure

Tonight we reflected as a group upon Jesus’ teachings not to be anxious; to strive for God’s kingdom; to know that it is God’s good pleasure to give youse the kingdom; to share what youse have with those in need; and to make for yourselves treasure in heaven, for where your treasure is, so is your heart (see Luke 12:29-34; and yes, Jesus is speaking to his disciples as a group: every occurrence of ‘you’, ‘your’ etc. is plural). So together we wondered what our common treasure is, where our common heart is, and how we might have already received the kingdom … and given it away. Questions and responses follow. Continue reading “Group Reflection: Sanctuary’s Treasure”

Martha Made Whole

Inviting Christ into your dwelling means being renovated from the inside out. (Listen.)

If ever there’s a story which makes women angry, it’s probably this one. Mary, that goody two-shoes, is lazing adoringly at Jesus’ feet; while I—well, I’m stuck in the kitchen washing the bloody dishes and making sure there’s food to eat. Because someone has to serve the guests, and someone has to clean up afterwards, and someone has to sweep the crumbs off the floor. And if everyone just lolls about listening to Jesus, we’d never eat a vegetable and the house would be a total mess. And yet … Jesus praises Mary. That bitch. Continue reading “Martha Made Whole”

Spirituality for the chaos of life

Most spiritual teachings assume solitude and silence, but the story of Elijah suggests that a healthy God-centred spirituality is grounded in the hustle and bustle of community. (Listen.)

Once upon a time, long long ago, when my kids were young, I felt for a while that my faith and spirituality had to go on hold. Life was so busy, and the kids were so demanding, and everywhere I went there were people. People needing a nappy change; people needing a story; people needing a cuddle; people needing a cuppa; people needing a neighbour; people needing a friend; people needing a volunteer; people needing a worker. Everything I had ever read about spirituality was about spending quiet time alone with God: yet quiet time alone was exactly what I never had. Continue reading “Spirituality for the chaos of life”

The Path to Christian Unity

When I first think of Christian unity, what comes to mind are those powerful commentators who are agitated by bedroom behaviours, who deal in moral absolutes, and who claim to speak on behalf of all Christians—and do so loudly, and often. Unfortunately, their attitudes and actions have led many in the wider community to perceive such people, and Christians in general, as puritanical, hypocritical, judgemental, reactionary, homophobic, sexist and fundamentally irrelevant. Yet when I look around at the people gathered here—faithful representatives of the combined churches of Warrnambool—I see something quite different. Continue reading “The Path to Christian Unity”

A Story of Courage and Freedom

The urgency and adventure in Acts can feel daunting to a small young church – so, where are we up to in our story? (Listen.)

The adventures of Paul and Silas are so very dramatic. Shipwrecks. Exorcisms. Courtrooms. Preaching. Beatings. Jails. Earthquakes. Freedom. And people turning to faith wherever they go. There’s such an urgency and a power in their activity that, when we hear their stories, we might be tempted to look around at our little congregation, so young, so busy, so distracted, so tired, and throw up our hands. Where is the urgency? Where is the power? Where are the conversions and the parties into the night? Continue reading “A Story of Courage and Freedom”

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