Sunday, 7 August 2022

Fair warning


Matthew 10:16

“See, I am sending you out like sheep into the midst of wolves; so be wise as serpents and innocent as doves.

You did not lure us in Jesus

with eloquent words

and empty promises

You warned us

Time and again - This won’t be easy

You told us how many times - and more

that we’d need to dredge the depths of forgiveness

for ourselves and others

You called us

To be wise as serpents

and gentle as doves

That wisdom has been hard won

For so often it is interpreted as submission

As turning the other cheek

and giving our fleece as well as our hoodie

There comes a time

when wisdom involves

calling a spade a shovel

and saying Enough. No more.

And that gentle as doves?

Means being gentle with ourselves

when the cost of resistance grinds us down yet again

as we speak truth to power

refusing to have our hurt explained away

and our resilience questioned

Or our narrative dismissed as idle tales

Wisdom and gentleness do go together

Just not always as imagined.

Saturday, 30 July 2022

Fresh wounds


Luke 23:34

Then Jesus said, “Father, forgive them; for they do not know what they are doing.”And they cast lots to divide his clothing.

Lord, if only we didn’t know what we are doing today.

Acting out of ignorance would be bad enough…

But acting in full knowledge of the grace we withhold 

and the hurt we inflict

is surely unforgivable

You who invited all

welcomed all

embraced all

You who shared bread and wine

with one who would betray you

with one who would deny you

with folk who simply “didn’t get you”

Sharing with all

Withholding from none

Offering your body

your blood

your all

Who are we to make distinction?

On days like this

Do your feet hurt

and your palms throb

and does the wound in your side

make itself known in protest

that your suffering was in vain.

Just like those today

who have borne the wounds

of their fight for inclusion

whose scars are ripped open

time and again 

as we find more ways to wound

For still we haven’t grasped

that love is love is love

And that all means all.

Still we imagine that we are in control

of a love and grace beyond our understanding

and of a sacrament offered freely to all

Father forgive.

Saturday, 16 July 2022

Both/And: Martha and Mary


From the book: Stories of the Well: Recovering Her Story (Liz Crumlish 2022)

Luke 10:38-42

Jesus Visits Martha and Mary
Now as they went on their way, he entered a certain village, where a woman named Martha welcomed him into her home. She had a sister named Mary, who sat at the Lord’s feet and listened to what he was saying. But Martha was distracted by her many tasks; so she came to him and asked, “Lord, do you not care that my sister has left me to do all the work by myself? Tell her then to help me.” But the Lord answered her, “Martha, Martha, you are worried and distracted by many things; there is need of only one thing. Mary has chosen the better part, which will not be taken away from her.”

Which is the better part?
For years interpretation has sought 
to divide Martha and Mary
determining that only one of them
can be commended by our Lord
that only one way
is important in the kingdom.
Yet truth be told
we know all too well
that we need those who welcome others
doing all the things necessary
to provide hospitality
as well as those 
who will take time to listen,
affording intimacy.
And in both women
we see the norms of the day
confounded yet again
turned on their head
by women refusing to conform.
Martha, welcoming Jesus boldly
as a head of a household might.
And Mary, sitting at the Rabbi’s feet
as a disciple might.
Both, in their own way contributing 
to the table fellowship they shared.
And, we can imagine Jesus
taking the fruits of Martha’s labour:
bread still warm from the oven
its aroma filling the room
and sweet, heady wine,
kept for just such an occasion
and, wrapped in the adoring gaze of Mary,
transforming those gifts
in the knowledge
that the portent of death
was not missed in this home
For here were two women
who simply got it
and, together, made room for the One
in whom everything made sense
Two women who demonstrated that love
does not consist in either/or
but in both/and.
Martha and Mary
who recognised
that the kingdom was near.

(Liz Crumlish 2022)

Saturday, 11 June 2022

Non-binary God

Before the world began

God enjoyed the chaos

And in the midst of that chaos 

God played around 

with light and dark

and earth and water

and sky and moon and stars

Loving the world into being

Breathing life into creatures

Bringing all together in a wonderful cacophony

of light and sound and music and silence

God moved through this spectrum

blending palettes, creating harmony

in an amazing spectrum

that reflects God’s very being

And still God

creator, redeemer and sustainer

smudges out the lines we draw

queers our binaries

breathes new life in the spirit

and invites us

to be Co-creators

in the glorious technicolour

that is the foundation of the earth

breathed into life by God 

who is light and life and love.

A Trinity defying definition

celebrating difference

realised in love.

(Liz Crumlish Trinity Sunday 2022)

Friday, 3 June 2022

Rainbow Spirit

 John 16:4

But I have said these things to you so that when their hour comes you may remember that I told you about them.

“I did not say these things to you from the beginning, because I was with you.

Jesus’ discourse - 

Feels a bit like he was cramming it all in

Making sure the unsaid is said

Filling in the blanks

Future-proofing the message

Last minute nerves?

Good try, Jesus, good try.

So much of faith has to be lived, not imagined.

How often do some things

only make sense in retrospect?

In the midst of the turmoil the spirit provokes

it’s hard to find the centre,

the still point of perspective

So, rather than resist

and risk losing out on the experience,

how about we surrender caution,

go along for the ride,

experience the turbulence

and trust the buoyancy of the Spirit

to bear us up and keep us afloat?

When our feet touch the ground

there will be plenty of time for sense-making

and space to reflect on the learning 

perhaps even time for navel gazing

about the meaning of faith.

In the meantime…

Let’s surrender

to the unpredictable Spirit of God

who blows where she will

conjuring up all kinds of happenings

that don’t exist even in our dreams

or wildest imaginings

And lose ourselves in the swirling rainbow hues

that emerge in the midst of the rain

Sometimes only a fleeting glimpse-

that signals God at work

in the life of the world today.

Tuesday, 31 May 2022

The meeting


Luke 1:39-45

Mary Visits Elizabeth

In those days Mary set out and went with haste to a Judean town in the hill country, where she entered the house of Zechariah and greeted Elizabeth. When Elizabeth heard Mary’s greeting, the child leaped in her womb. And Elizabeth was filled with the Holy Spirit and exclaimed with a loud cry, “Blessed are you among women, and blessed is the fruit of your womb. And why has this happened to me, that the mother of my Lord comes to me? For as soon as I heard the sound of your greeting, the child in my womb leaped for joy. And blessed is she who believed that there would be a fulfilment of what was spoken to her by the Lord.”

Two women





Carrying within them

Renewal for all the world

Between them

Birthing redemption for all people

Two women

Bearing power in all humility

Each recognising in the other

that in their wombs they nurtured

the hopes of generations

and the promise of God.

Thursday, 26 May 2022

Have we got this? Ascension 2022


Luke 24:50-52

The Ascension of Jesus

Then he led them out as far as Bethany, and, lifting up his hands, he blessed them. While he was blessing them, he withdrew from them and was carried up into heaven. And they worshiped him, and returned to Jerusalem with great joy;

Do you still think it was a good idea?

To pass the baton on to us?

Not sure, Lord, that that was one of your better plans

Sure - You did all you could

Preaching, teaching, showing us the way

You couldn’t have made it any clearer 

Or put it any simpler - Love one another

And, You promised

To be always with us

And sent us your Spirit

So how can we get it so wrong?

How can we surround ourselves

with guns and war

with poverty and injustice

with hatred and indifference?

What possessed you to imagine

that we’d be up to the task?

How long, O Lord?

May our creeds and confessions

And all our holy mumble jumble

be torn asunder

Forcing us out of our sanctuaries

and onto the streets

where humanity is broken 

May we make it simple

and keep it simple

By loving one another.

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