Saturday, 28 February 2015

Without ceasing

1 Thessalonians 5:15-22
See that none of you repays evil for evil, but always seek to do good to one another and to all. Rejoice always, pray without ceasing, give thanks in all circumstances; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you. Do not quench the Spirit. Do not despise the words of prophets, but test everything; hold fast to what is good; abstain from every form of evil.

Prayers like curses
muttered under our breath
spoken inside our head
filling our agitated brains
masking our less charitable thoughts.
Prayers like blessings
shining from our eyes
escaping through our smiles
shaking through our laughter or tears
rhythmic as our breathing.
The whole world
bathed in prayer.
Every morning
an exhortation.
Every evening
a benediction.
Pray - without ceasing.

Friday, 27 February 2015


Proverbs 3:13-16
The True Wealth
Happy are those who find wisdom,
and those who get understanding,
for her income is better than silver,
and her revenue better than gold.
She is more precious than jewels,
and nothing you desire can compare with her.
Long life is in her right hand;
in her left hand are riches and honor.

My newsfeed is full of weirdness 
- llamas on the Interstate
- dresses of indeterminable colour
(Something to do with Science)
And crime
- A terrorist being named
(And if knowing someone's name brings power,
hopefully he will soon be apprehended)
- one of my teenage pop idols
being convicted and imprisoned.
And sadness
- the death of Mr Spock
who refused to be defined by that role
but signed his final tweet with
Live long and prosper.
I'm still sifting
and dredging
to find wisdom
But it's out there somewhere.

Thursday, 26 February 2015


Ruth 1:16-17
But Ruth said,
“Do not press me to leave you
or to turn back from following you!
Where you go, I will go;
where you lodge, I will lodge;
your people shall be my people,
and your God my God.
Where you die, I will die—
there will I be buried.
May the Lord do thus and so to me,
and more as well,
if even death parts me from you!”

A soft heart that could not bear
to see another suffer?
Or a stubborn mind
that would not be moved aside.
The softness
and the steel
go hand in hand.
Caring demands tenacity,
singularity of purpose
the will to make a difference
and the stamina to go after the desired goal.
Anchored in a heart filled with love.

Wednesday, 25 February 2015

Second chances

Jonah 3:1-5
Conversion of Nineveh
​The word of the Lord came to Jonah a second time, saying, “Get up, go to Nineveh, that great city, and proclaim to it the message that I tell you.” So Jonah set out and went to Nineveh, according to the word of the Lord. Now Nineveh was an exceedingly large city, a three days’ walk across. Jonah began to go into the city, going a day’s walk. And he cried out, “Forty days more, and Nineveh shall be overthrown!” And the people of Nineveh believed God; they proclaimed a fast, and everyone, great and small, put on sackcloth.

Sometimes we resent it
when God gives second chances.
We've already judged and condemned,
passed sentence too.
And it doesn't involve another chance.
Fortunately God's mercy is not ours.
God's reservoir of grace overflows
even in the unlikeliest places.
Especially in the unlikeliest places.
And those expecting only condemnation
find themselves the recipients
of a gift so overwhelming
so transforming
that life can never be the same again.

Tuesday, 24 February 2015

Becoming like children

Matthew 18:1-5
True Greatness
​At that time the disciples came to Jesus and asked, “Who is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven?” He called a child, whom he put among them, and said, “Truly I tell you, unless you change and become like children, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven. Whoever becomes humble like this child is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven. Whoever welcomes one such child in my name welcomes me.

The qualities of children that often diminish with age.
Greatness involves recapturing that spirit 
of imagination
and exploration
that ability to find joy
in every new discovery
to expect the best
of experiences
and people.
To find toilet humour
in the gravest circumstance.
And to throw love
and compliments around
like confetti
- why?
Just because.
Greatness and humility
All wrapped up in a child.
Beloved of God.

Monday, 23 February 2015


Matthew 18:21-22
Then Peter came and said to him, “Lord, if another member of the church sins against me, how often should I forgive? As many as seven times?” Jesus said to him, “Not seven times, but, I tell you, seventy-seven times.

Jesus was a hard man
Took no prisoners
Called a spade a spade
Didn't let folk waffle
Was highly sensitive to hypocrisy
And spoke some harsh truth
But when he spoke of forgiveness 
And then went on
to practice what he preached
he raised the bar
way beyond 
what most of us 
are capable of reaching.
And it's not just about ability
It's about the will to forgive.
Quite frankly
Id rather go on living with resentment
than roll over and forgive
I'd rather hold on to that edge of anger
than gather the energy
to have another go at building a bridge.
The work of forgiveness
demands too much energy.
It seems easier just to move on
and chalk it up to experience.
But Jesus was a hard man.
He didn't simply roll over.
He didn't simply smile sweetly
and allow others
to go on hurting 
to go on betraying
He lifted forgiveness up to God
in an agonising cry.
"Father forgive"
And, if we can do no other...
If the time for building bridges is past
If the time for enduring more hurt has expired
We call on God to do the work that we can't
And we move on
singed, perhaps a tiny bit broken
and certainly scarred.
And we find our healing
in the love and forgiveness of God.

Sunday, 22 February 2015


Mark 1:12-15
The Temptation of Jesus
And the Spirit immediately drove him out into the wilderness. He was in the wilderness forty days, tempted by Satan; and he was with the wild beasts; and the angels waited on him.
The Beginning of the Galilean Ministry
Now after John was arrested, Jesus came to Galilee, proclaiming the good news of God, and saying, “The time is fulfilled, and the kingdom of God has come near; repent, and believe in the good news.”

Driven into the wilderness
Compelled  to follow the Spirit's prompting 
Driven to wrestle with temptation 
and the meaning of life
Communing with wild beasts
Waited on by angels
Newly affirmed by God
in the waters of baptism.
and forced to wait 
on the right time.
The right time 
to release the Good News
and preach repentance.
The right time 
to acknowledge
the Kingdom of God
is here.

Saturday, 21 February 2015

Savouring the moment

Matthew 9:14-15
The Question about Fasting
Then the disciples of John came to him, saying, “Why do we and the Pharisees fast often, but your disciples do not fast?” And Jesus said to them, “The wedding guests cannot mourn as long as the bridegroom is with them, can they? The days will come when the bridegroom is taken away from them, and then they will fast.

In any day
In any hour
If we are connected
If we are passionate,
Compassionate beings
We move through 
the whole gamut of emotions
Sorrow, joy, insight, bewilderment,
All out there
All within us
Ready to be embraced
or allowed to emerge
All full of health
Life giving
Unless we suppress our feelings
And then we are assailed 
by dis-ease
Living for the moment
brings a life of its own
and allows what is hidden
to emerge
and be changed by the light
when the time is right.

Friday, 20 February 2015

Getting it on

Isaiah 58:6-9
Is not this the fast that I choose:
to loose the bonds of injustice,
to undo the thongs of the yoke,
to let the oppressed go free,
and to break every yoke?
Is it not to share your bread with the hungry,
and bring the homeless poor into your house;
when you see the naked, to cover them,
and not to hide yourself from your own kin?
Then your light shall break forth like the dawn,
and your healing shall spring up quickly;
your vindicator shall go before you,
the glory of the Lord shall be your rear guard.
Then you shall call, and the Lord will answer;
you shall cry for help, and he will say, Here I am.
If you remove the yoke from among you,
the pointing of the finger, the speaking of evil,

It's sobering to realise
that our alcohol free Lent
doesn't make any difference
to the addict who has lost everything of value in life.
Or that our fasting leaves no impression
on the hungry
Our spending more time in the house of God
does not offer the homeless shelter
And our prayers do not bring about justice.
Our Lenten journey misses the mark
when we retreat into piety
and shelter in the Spirit
instead of stepping out
tentatively or boldly
on the path that God treads.
Feeding the hungry,
welcoming the homeless
speaking up for the oppressed
freeing those imprisoned
by hopelessness and depression.
Those are the tasks 
that make our Lenten journey worthwhile.
Going into those wilderness spaces
that folk endure every day
and seeing the footprints of Christ
who has travelled this way before us
and who shows us how to journey
caring for one another
sharing love and compassion
making a difference along the way.
That is what Lent requires.

Thursday, 19 February 2015

Losing it

Luke 9:22-25
“The Son of Man must undergo great suffering, and be rejected by the elders, chief priests, and scribes, and be killed, and on the third day be raised.”
Then he said to them all, “If any want to become my followers, let them deny themselves and take up their cross daily and follow me. For those who want to save their life will lose it, and those who lose their life for my sake will save it. What does it profit them if they gain the whole world, but lose or forfeit themselves?

Losing it - a term we use in all sorts of ways, from losing our minds to losing our youth, to losing our temper. However we use it, it's rarely in a positive sense.
Here comes Jesus, as usual, turning things around, encouraging us to think differently. To see losing as something positive.
For those who want to save their life will lose it, and those who lose their life for my sake will save it.
Why don't we like the feeling of loss? It speaks of lack of control. Whoa - and that's scary. To not be in full command. 
Jesus asks, even demands, that we put ourselves in that scary place - for God's sake!
It's not a surrender.
It's not a passive giving in.
It's a kicking and screaming, brakes on, full on slide into a place where we can stop struggling enough to know ourselves caught - and held - by one who brings life beyond our imagining, beyond our limited vision.
Losing ourselves in the love and grace and life of God.
Losing it - to find life.

Wednesday, 18 February 2015

Ash Wednesday

Joel 2:12-13
Yet even now, says the Lord,
return to me with all your heart,
with fasting, with weeping, and with mourning;
rend your hearts and not your clothing.
Return to the Lord, your God,
for he is gracious and merciful,
slow to anger, and abounding in steadfast love,
and relents from punishing.

The camera never lies
is no longer true
Everything can be edited
smudged out
Mistakes can be rectified
or turned into features
until the finished composition
bears little resemblance
to the original subject.
So is the potential 
for children of God today
to be recreated
in the likeness of God.
The smudge of ashes on our foreheads
a symbol of the potential 
of the transforming love and mercy 
of the Creator.
The repentance in our hearts
a beginning on the road to change 
that starts
with a single step.
Returning to God
whose editing is filled
with compassion and love.
Following Christ into the desert
to discern anew
our image and purpose
as children of the living God
at large in the world today.

Tuesday, 17 February 2015

Lent looms large

Shrove Tuesday, Pancake Day, Mardi Gras, call it what you will - it's the day before Ash Wednesday, the start of Lent, when we take time to contemplate Jesus' sojourn in the desert. Folk engage in all kinds of disciplines to help them mark the 40 days. This year,,I've put together a book of daily readings and reflections to help along the way.
It's available on the sidebar of the blog. I'll also post new reflections here each day of Lent.
However you choose to observe Lent, may you be conscious of the loving presence of God in your every day.

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