Pentecost: An invitation to linguistic humility this #NRW2020

Ngata (hello). Last week I met some women who were speaking language. Their conversation sounded like sunlight on a gently rippling stream, like good earth made soft with ash. As they turned to include me, I asked the elder how many languages she speaks. ‘Nine,’ she said, ‘plus English. Usually five around the kitchen table at my house.’ Then she apologised for speaking language in front of me. ‘Should be speakin English,’ she said. Continue reading “Pentecost: An invitation to linguistic humility this #NRW2020”

Holy Spirit: Defence lawyer, healer, friend

A testimony to the work of the Holy Spirit in my own life, and a promise to all who have been judged and found wanting. (Listen.)

I grew up in a hypercritical atmosphere. I know my mother loved me deeply; nevertheless, I was told every day that nothing I did was good enough. I’d wipe the kitchen bench, and be screamed at for holding the sponge carelessly or for knocking a few crumbs on the floor. I’d sweep, and she’d shout that I was doing it all wrong; when I changed how I held the broom, things only got worse. Once, I dropped a drinking glass; amid sobs and shrieks I was accused of destroying something precious and irreplaceable. Of course, I became a timid, anxious, furtive kind of child; and a cripplingly self-conscious adolescent who was so defensive and so filled with rage that there were times when I could barely breathe. Continue reading “Holy Spirit: Defence lawyer, healer, friend”

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”

#38: The whole truth

And a large crowd followed him and pressed in on him. Now there was a woman who had been suffering from haemorrhages for twelve years. She had endured much under many physicians, and had spent all that she had; and she was no better, but rather grew worse. She had heard about Jesus, and came up behind him in the crowd and touched his cloak, for she said, ‘If I but touch his clothes, I will be made well.’ Immediately her haemorrhage stopped; and she felt in her body that she was healed of her disease. Immediately aware that power had gone forth from him, Jesus turned about in the crowd and said, ‘Who touched my clothes?’ And his disciples said to him, ‘You see the crowd pressing in on you; how can you say, “Who touched me?” ’ He looked all round to see who had done it. But the woman, knowing what had happened to her, came in fear and trembling, fell down before him, and told him the whole truth. He said to her, ‘Daughter, your faith has made you well; go in peace, and be healed of your disease.’ (Mark 5:24b-34) Continue reading “#38: The whole truth”

#33: Wind of the spirit

The wind blows where it chooses, and you hear the sound of it, but you do not know where it comes from or where it goes. So it is with everyone who is born of the Spirit.(John 3:8). Note: The word translated as ‘spirit’ means ‘air-in-movement’ and is translated as ‘spirit’, ‘breath’ or ‘wind’ depending on the context. John 3:8 reads: “The pneuma blows wherever it pleases. You hear its sound, but you cannot tell where it comes from or where it is going. So it is with everyone born of the pneuma.” Play around with different translations and see how it sounds. Does this change how you understand other wind-spirit-breath passages in the Bible?  Continue reading “#33: Wind of the spirit”

A word of life to a nation in lockdown

Through the prophet Ezekiel, God promises life to a people cut off from everything they once knew. (Listen.)

The people were devastated. Family, friend and neighbour had been killed by an invading army. Bodies were abandoned, with no proper burial. Shops were shuttered; streets were emptied of life. Those who survived were in exile, and everything had changed. They could not worship in the usual places; they could not go to familiar shops or town squares; they no longer saw their friends. Continue reading “A word of life to a nation in lockdown”

Group Reflection: If you are God’s beloved …

In Matthew’s account of the temptation of Christ (Matthew 4:1-11), the tempter suggests that God’s beloved son will be satisfied, protected, and, for a small price, politically powerful. Jesus rejects these suggestions. Throughout his life, he identifies with those who are hungry, suffering, vulnerable, humble, and powerless (see, e.g., Matthew 25:31-46 among many other examples), and he teaches not that the healthy, wealthy, and powerful are favoured by God, but the sick, poor, suffering, and humble. Continue reading “Group Reflection: If you are God’s beloved …”

The gift of nothing(ness)

When I went to write this week, I just couldn’t think of anything to say. I simply had no thoughts or ponderings to share. It wasn’t an overwhelmed mind-blank, it was a pleasing peaceful break. Breathing space. This paradoxically got me thinking actual thoughts about nothing and I ended up writing the below prayer of thanks for nothingness. I share this with you now in the hope that you too, can feel some breathing space throughout this busy run to the end of the year. Continue reading “The gift of nothing(ness)”

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