Make a home in God, and God will make a home in you

People have wondered for millennia where God lives. So what’s the answer? An overview of the gospel according to John. (Listen.)

Where does God live? What does God’s house look like? Does God live at church? These are big questions often asked by small people, but I wish more big people would ask them. Because I reckon many big people haven’t really worked out the answers, even though the questions have been floating around for thousands of years. Continue reading “Make a home in God, and God will make a home in you”

Our lives, broken and shared

The Risen Christ is recognised when he takes bread, gives thanks, and shares it; just as when we take our own lives, give thanks, and feed others. (Listen.)

They recognise him when he takes bread, gives thanks, breaks it, and gives it away. He has always done this. When he was born, he was laid in a feeding trough. When he grew up, he catalysed picnics and ate at sinners’ tables and barbecued fish on the beach for his friends. He took bread and wine and made them special: and those who ate with him knew an abundance and a welcome they had never known before. Continue reading “Our lives, broken and shared”

Even scars become gift in God’s hands

The children of the COVID-19 lockdown will bear scars of this time for the rest of their lives; yet even scars become gift in God’s hands. (Listen.)

This week I read an article which said that the children of the COVID-19 lockdown will bear scars of this time for the rest of their lives. I watch my own children’s social lives shrinking or moving entirely online; I watch them trying to study without the support of being in a classroom with teacher and peers; I watch my youngest dash off her learning tasks, then fall down the rabbit hole of the internet while her older sisters and parents all work. Continue reading “Even scars become gift in God’s hands”

Trusting God’s life will prevail

The Apostle Paul said that if Christ had not been raised, then our faith is in vain. So what is resurrection faith? (Listen.)

Time after time after time it comes to this: Violence. Destruction. Despair. Death. This summer, Australia burned; yet the Victorian Government is logging state forests again. COVID-19 rampages the earth; countries are digging mass graves. Men murder their own wives and children, and are sympathetically described in the media. Powerful religious types support oppressive governments and corporations. Pell has his conviction quashed on a technicality. Millions die from tuberculosis and air pollution every year; vulnerable people are trafficked into slavery; and the world turns a blind eye. Violence, destruction, despair and death: they are never very far away. Continue reading “Trusting God’s life will prevail”

#40: Resurrection life

When Jesus arrived, he found that Lazarus had already been in the tomb for four days. Now Bethany was near Jerusalem, some two miles away, and many of the Jews had come to Martha and Mary to console them about their brother. When Martha heard that Jesus was coming, she went and met him, while Mary stayed at home. Martha said to Jesus, ‘Lord, if you had been here, my brother would not have died. But even now I know that God will give you whatever you ask of him.’ Jesus said to her, ‘Your brother will rise again.’ Martha said to him, ‘I know that he will rise again in the resurrection on the last day.’ Jesus said to her, ‘I am the resurrection and the life. Those who believe in me, even though they die, will live, and everyone who lives and believes in me will never die. Do you believe this?’ She said to him, ‘Yes, Lord, I believe that you are the Messiah, the Son of God, the one coming into the world. (John 11:17-27) Continue reading “#40: Resurrection life”

Yes, we are celebrating Easter as planned

So there’s a question floating around the churches: Should we celebrate Easter on the scheduled date this year, or defer? (see e.g. here). It’s a great question. We are all in some form of lockdown. Here in Australia, no more than two people can meet at any given time, and we are not able to gather physically as a church for the foreseeable future. As many have pointed out, ‘quarantine’ simply means ‘forty days’: and the timing of our enforced quarantine resonates beautifully with the current season of Lent. For Lent, too, is a forty day period. During this time, we enter into the story of Jesus being thrown into the wilderness alone. It is a time of fasting, testing, and learning to rely ever more deeply on God; it is a time of being stripped down to essentials; it is a time of acknowledging our loneliness and deep spiritual poverty; it is a time of preparation before life flourishes again. The echoes with quarantine are clear. Continue reading “Yes, we are celebrating Easter as planned”

This resurrection life

The church is called to embody a culture where women are no longer silenced, invisible or subjugated, and all people are called into community. (Listen.)

Every now and then, I get a letter addressed to Mrs Paul Holdway; and I reel. Once I’ve stopped reeling, I wonder who on earth this woman is. She sounds like a shadow, a cipher. She’s probably maternal, almost certainly matronly. I’m sure she’s a great supporter of her husband and good at housework. She probably darns other people’s socks, and I’m sure she makes things for cake stalls and fetes. I have no idea what she herself is like, or what she herself is really interested in, but I do know this: There’s something extraordinarily silencing about having my name obliterated in a letter which is ostensibly addressed to me. Continue reading “This resurrection life”

Remembering the cloud of witnesses

The night Great-Aunty Pete died, she came to my mother on the other side of the country and said goodbye in a dream. After Lindsay died, he came to my kitchen while I was cooking dinner. In his life, he had intellectual and emotional disabilities; when he appeared in my kitchen, he was wise and mature and laughing. He told me not to worry about him anymore: everything was just fine. And I’m sure many of you have similar stories, where the dead have presented themselves to the living, and provided words of love and reassurance. Continue reading “Remembering the cloud of witnesses”

Radiating resurrection

Peter raises Tabitha: for Christ lives on in his disciples. (Listen.)

How long, O Lord, must we wait? How long until a saviour comes and sweeps through this nation, and puts everything right? How long until the corrupt are thrown out of power, the violent are contained, the poor are cared for, and the earth is restored? How long until political leaders show compassion? How long until religious leaders repent for the damage they have done? How long until asylum seekers are freed from detention? How long until children in foster care find stable healthy homes? How long until Australia’s First Peoples receive recognition and justice? How long, O Lord, must we wait? Continue reading “Radiating resurrection”

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