Plagues, and other signs and wonders: A story for our times

A story of plague, empire and pyramids is truly a story for our times. A reflection, followed by a congregational conversation. (Listen to the reflection part here.)

Once upon a time, long long ago, there was a nation whose gods shaped it into a pyramid of power. At the top was one man: Pharaoh: the semi-divine son of the sun god Ra. And as happens to everyone, Pharaoh was made in his god’s image. Dominating. Enslaving. Murderous. Turning the things of life—midwives, the Nile—into instruments of death.

Continue reading “Plagues, and other signs and wonders: A story for our times”

Dear Hagar: Letter from a white woman

The stories of Sarah and Hagar have been appropriated by white colonial peoples to devastating effect. Here is one white woman’s acknowledgement and response. (Listen.)

Dear Hagar: Today I read the stories about you, and Sarah, and Abraham. All my life, I’ve been taught that Sarah is the matriarch and great-grandmother of my faith; but I pretty much ignored her story. And yours. But today I read them, and this is what I saw: Sarah never once used your name; you’re just ‘the maidservant’ or ‘that slave.’ She forced you to sleep with her husband because she needed a son. But when you got pregnant, she was so threatened that she accused you of being ‘uppity’ and she abused you. Continue reading “Dear Hagar: Letter from a white woman”

This 26 January, pray for an invasion of light

Land of Zebulun, land of Naphtali, land of the Eastern Maar nation: Jesus comes to bring light and healing to occupied territories and colonised people. (Listen.)

Once upon a time, the land was fertile and good. Sparkling rivers threaded through it; lakes teeming with birds dotted it; and on its edge the sea thundered, shimmering with fish. The people of the land tended it for millennia, creating intricate patchworks of forest and field. They enriched the soil and made it friable; they selected plants for abundance and ease. The people caught fish; they hunted and traded; they tended their crops. They built houses and raised children; they passed on law through story and song. Continue reading “This 26 January, pray for an invasion of light”

Prayer of confession for white settler churches

Garry Deverell is a trawloolway man and Anglican priest from trouwerner (Tasmania, Australia). He has written a prayer of confession for use in white settler churches in the face of ecological catastrophe. This week, as country burns, people, wildlife and ecosystems are killed, and we all choke on the smoke haze, let us pray this prayer and dwell on it deeply; and may the Holy Spirit work through it to heal and transform our hearts, our economics, our lives, and the land. Continue reading “Prayer of confession for white settler churches”

A bracing antidote to Christmas chaos

The prophet John provides a bracing antidote to Christmas consumer chaos. (Listen.)

It’s the second week of Advent, a time of preparation, and many of us are indeed preparing. We’re negotiating with families over who gets Christmas lunch, and who gets only Boxing Day. We’re arguing over whether to buy presents for everyone, or just the kids, or no one. We’re wondering if we can do handmade or recycled gifts, knowing we’ve left it too late, and that an avalanche of plastic is heading our way. We’re ordering hams and Christmas puddings; we’re decorating the house; we’re making lists and checking them twice. We’re juggling end-of-year events, and wading through Santa songs and pre-Christmas sales. Continue reading “A bracing antidote to Christmas chaos”

#32: Forgive: #40ways40days

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”

#3: Resist privilege: #40ways40days

John said to the crowds: ‘Produce fruit in keeping with repentance. And do not begin to say to yourselves, ‘We have Abraham as our father.’ For I tell you that out of these stones God can raise up children for Abraham. The axe is already at the root of the trees, and every tree that does not produce good fruit will be cut down and thrown into the fire.’ ‘What should we do then?’ the crowd asked. (Luke 3:8-10)

Apologies to all those on a Fodmap diet who may find this reflection upsetting but the thing about good fruit, is that when you taste it, you can’t get enough. I wonder what type of fruit the ‘fruit of repentance’ is?  Mass produced, cool stored for the export market? Or heritage variety, organically grown for the local market? Continue reading “#3: Resist privilege: #40ways40days”

#2: Repent: #40ways40days

The word of God came to John son of Zechariah in the wilderness. He went into all the region around the Jordan, proclaiming a baptism of repentance for the forgiveness of sins. (Luke 3:2b-3)

Once a little boy wrote a poem called ‘The Monster Who Was Sorry.’ He began by admitting that he hates it when his father yells at him; his response in the poem is to throw his sister down the stairs, and then to wreck his room, and finally to wreck the whole town. The poem concludes: ‘Then I sit in my messy house and say to myself, ‘I shouldn’t have done all that.’’ Continue reading “#2: Repent: #40ways40days”

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