#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”

#23: Power in weakness

For it is the God who said, ‘Let light shine out of darkness’, who has shone in our hearts to give the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ. But we have this treasure in clay jars, so that it may be made clear that this extraordinary power belongs to God and does not come from us … So we do not lose heart. Even though our outer nature is wasting away, our inner nature is being renewed day by day. (2 Corinthians 4:6-7, 16) Continue reading “#23: Power in weakness”

#4: Blessed are those …

Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. Blessed are those who mourn, for they will be comforted. (Matthew 5:3-4)

Healing isn’t an easy road. Yes, there are times when miraculous healings happen and God moves in mysterious ways but for me when I think of healing I think of a lifelong journey of hard work. I have faith that is constantly shaking and hope that disappears at most hiccups along the way. I believe that God has the ability, strength and power to heal anyone and any thing but that sometimes the journeys of healing we go through are far more powerful than the instant miraculous healing that many search for. There is beauty is struggle. There is power in vulnerability. There is truth in imperfections. And there is healing in the stories of pain and trauma and heart ache … Continue reading “#4: Blessed are those …”

Leading out of weakness and not-knowing

Some days I feel utterly overwhelmed by what I don’t know. I don’t know how to plant a church. I don’t know how to run a Bible study. I don’t know how to include children in worship, and I don’t know how to disciple teenagers. I don’t know how to grow a congregation, or increase attendance, or begin a service while people are chatting or slowly drifting in the door. I don’t know how to free us all from cultural captivity. I don’t know how to truly serve the LGBTIQA+ community or other marginalised groups, or how to galvanize other Christians around climate change. I don’t know how to develop a five-year-plan nor write a sermon, and every week I walk the cliff edge of terror as I try to work the latter out. And as for truly loving and forgiving people: well, the older I get, the less sure I am of this as I become more aware of my frailty, sinfulness and hardness of heart. Continue reading “Leading out of weakness and not-knowing”

The gift of brokenness

I don’t know if it’s the season: perhaps it’s what happens after months of grey lowering skies. But so many of us are struggling right now: struggling with marriage, struggling with depression, struggling with our children, struggling at work. The temptation is to gloss over all these struggles and pretend things are okay; or to back away from church and each other and hide our mess. But the struggle continues: only now we’re struggling alone. Continue reading “The gift of brokenness”

Jesus of the scars

This week at Sanctuary we heard the story of Jesus appearing to some disciples in the locked room after his resurrection – meeting their astonishment and fear, and using his scars to assure them that he was real and well. Scars are often taken in our culture as a sign of strength, bravery, grit. My son proudly wears the scar on his head from a gash that had to be glued together, and the scar on his toe ‘when I didn’t even cry even though there was so much blood.’ Continue reading “Jesus of the scars”

#19: Fear not/Be known: #40ways40days

Jesus said to his disciples, ‘I tell you, my friends … Are not five sparrows sold for two pennies? Yet not one of them is forgotten in God’s sight. But even the hairs of your head are all counted. Do not be afraid; you are of more value than many sparrows.’ (Luke 12:4a, 6-7)

To be known is like the sun shining on the ground bringing light and life to things that need to grow. Continue reading “#19: Fear not/Be known: #40ways40days”

Predatory foxes and powerless hens

Listen here.

Please be aware that this reflection includes a description of family violence.

“Where was God?” a friend once wrote to me. “Where was God when my father was on the rampage, trying to break down my bedroom door? Where was God when I was hiding under the dining room table, shaking and terrified? Why didn’t God keep me safe?” There’s an old children’s song that goes like this: “My God is so big, so strong and so mighty, there’s nothing my God cannot do …” And when I think of my dear friend, who sang songs like this in religious education classes at school, and who begged God to keep her safe from her father at home, my heart breaks. Continue reading “Predatory foxes and powerless hens”

Nothing like a good yarn

Dear friend,

On Saturday 19 January at 7pm, we will hold our first yarn: an evening for people to gather and tell stories. The theme is epiphany: a moment when you realised something deep and true about yourself or the world. More about the event is here; guidelines for storytellers are here. But what’s the big idea behind it? Well, we are story people. The stories we tell and the stories we inhabit create deep patterns in our minds, shaping how we see the world, each other and ourselves. Yet we are surrounded by untrue stories: the story that there is never enough to go round (dismantled here); the story that suffering is a cosmic or divine punishment (dismissed here); the story that some groups of people threaten the smooth workings of our society (deconstructed here); the story that wealth is a sign of God’s favour (demolished here); and many others. Continue reading “Nothing like a good yarn”

Prayers for Epiphany 2019

Gathering Prayer 1: Send Us a King

Lord God, from times of old we have longed for a ruler, prince, president or prime minister, who is kind, merciful, gentle and just. We live on stolen land, and we do not know how to make things right. We see the rich get richer, while the poor cannot find their daily bread. We watch politicians favour their cronies, and single mums struggle to get by. Fear is cast over the nation; and person after person is shunned and despised. The land groans, victim of our violence and greed; the land floods and burns in protest.  Response: Send us a king who will put everything right.  Continue reading “Prayers for Epiphany 2019”

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