Sunday, 3 November 2019

Do not hold on

John 20:16-17
Jesus said to her, “Mary!” She turned and said to him in Hebrew, “Rabbouni!” (which means Teacher). Jesus said to her, “Do not hold on to me, because I have not yet ascended to the Father. But go to my brothers and say to them, ‘I am ascending to my Father and your Father, to my God and your God.’ ”

It’s the most natural thing in the world
to want to hold on...
To hold on 
to whatever is in front of us
because who knows
what the future will bring
To hold on
to what we know
because we fear the unknown
To hold on
to what feels good
and to what brings challenge
because alternatives 
cause us to be anxious.
Jesus’ encounter with Mary
reminds us
that only by letting go
will we experience
whatever God offers next.
Only by letting go
will we be enabled
to follow
where Christ has gone
and experience
a new way of being
that comes from letting go.
God, enable me
to be present in every moment
To take my cues from you
To discern what is mine to do
and to let go of those things
that do not further your kingdom
And, in the releasing
or relinquishing
may I know 
growth not loss
peace and not yearning
and the sheer joy of knowing
that I continue to do your will
becoming exactly 
who you created me to be
For that is enough
I am enough

Saturday, 2 November 2019

Passing through...

Luke 19:1-7
Jesus entered Jericho and was passing through it. A man was there named Zacchaeus; he was a chief tax collector and was rich. He was trying to see who Jesus was, but on account of the crowd he could not, because he was short in stature. So he ran ahead and climbed a sycamore tree to see him, because he was going to pass that way. When Jesus came to the place, he looked up and said to him, “Zacchaeus, hurry and come down; for I must stay at your house today.” So he hurried down and was happy to welcome him. All who saw it began to grumble and said, “He has gone to be the guest of one who is a sinner.”

Passing through...
Jesus made a difference 
Passing through...
Jesus stopped
long enough to change a life
Passing through...
Jesus looked up
saw Zacchaeus
Engaged him
Broke bread with him
Showed him his place
in the kingdom of God
Passing through...
Jesus upset others
Challenging their sense of entitlement
Thwarting their notion of justice
Upending their picture of decency
Passing through...
Jesus brought into focus
the marginalised
the overlooked
the rejected
Passing through...
Jesus uncovered the hidden
Called forth truth
Pronounced forgiveness
Proclaimed salvation
Brought reconciliation
Restored community
All while passing through...
Thanks be to God

Thursday, 31 October 2019

Freedom and light

2 Corinthians 4:5-8
For we do not proclaim ourselves; we proclaim Jesus Christ as Lord and ourselves as your slaves for Jesus’ sake. 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. We are afflicted in every way, but not crushed; perplexed, but not driven to despair;

Sitting quietly listening
to the sound of the surf
crashing against the rocks beneath
Watching the pelicans
skim the waves
lifting their wings
just at the moment 
the surf breaks
gliding upwards
safe and free
Marvelling at the vastness
of the ocean
and the predictability
of the incoming tide
Wondering about the Creator
who, in the midst of such majesty 
makes room for us 
lavishing on us
such love and attention
bestowing gifts 
of freedom
and care
drawing us back
to that place
where we are held
between safety and risk
to be
the light of God

Tuesday, 29 October 2019

Shaking things up

Luke 12:49-51
Jesus the Cause of Division
“I came to bring fire to the earth, and how I wish it were already kindled! I have a baptism with which to be baptized, and what stress I am under until it is completed! Do you think that I have come to bring peace to the earth? No, I tell you, but rather division!

Lord, when we are conflict averse
Shake us up
When we want to please everyone
Drag us off the fence
When we choose harmony over truth
Disturb our conscience
until we can do no other
but blurt out
however ineptly
what is on our minds
and in our hearts
all that won’t be silenced
any longer
And then...
Then, O Lord
when the touch paper is lit
may we stay close to the fire
Close enough to see
what emerges
from the ashes
And in that emergence
may we be reborn
as our horizon expands
to embrace the new
in the knowledge
of your constant refining 
and renewing
your perpetual inclusion
the transformation
that cannot be manipulated 
or engineered
through subtle niceties
but only through the fire
of your reforming Spirit
And, in every iteration
may we respond
with joy and wonder 
to the life you reveal
forged in the bravery
of open hearts
and minds
and arms stretched out 
in embrace 
for all you have created
in your divine economy
of grace.

Friday, 25 October 2019

Reflecting forgiveness

Looking ahead to Sunday’s gospel.

Luke 18:9-14

The Parable of the Pharisee and the Tax Collector
He also told this parable to some who trusted in themselves that they were righteous and regarded others with contempt: “Two men went up to the temple to pray, one a Pharisee and the other a tax collector. The Pharisee, standing by himself, was praying thus, ‘God, I thank you that I am not like other people: thieves, rogues, adulterers, or even like this tax collector. I fast twice a week; I give a tenth of all my income.’ But the tax collector, standing far off, would not even look up to heaven, but was beating his breast and saying, ‘God, be merciful to me, a sinner!’ I tell you, this man went down to his home justified rather than the other; for all who exalt themselves will be humbled, but all who humble themselves will be exalted.”

Lord, remind me
that following you
is not a competitive sport
My sin is not diminished 
because I deem another’s sin as greater
My perceived righteousness 
does not lessen 
my need of your grace.
Once again
You queer our binary world
pitching up with grace 
In the prayer of confession
and in your words of absolution 
may I experience your grace 
as powerfully
and as vitally
as in the gift of the Eucharist.
Let the experience of your forgiveness
change the way I encounter others
softening those hard edges
that make me quick to judge 
smoothing out the abrasions
that foster harshness
May the knowledge of your infinite, healing love
encourage me to risk being hurt
again and again
as I live into
that part of you that dwells in me
and connects with your image in others.
May humility consist in recognising
the sheer wonder of  your creation 
shining through us
bringing glory to you
And may we live into 
and live out of 
the  forgiveness we receive
from you.

Tuesday, 22 October 2019

Using my words

Psalms 139:13-15 (The Message)

Oh yes, you shaped me first inside, then out;
you formed me in my mother's womb.
I thank you, High God—you're breathtaking!
Body and soul, I am marvelously made!
I worship in adoration—what a creation!
You know me inside and out,
you know every bone in my body;
You know exactly how I was made, bit by bit,
how I was sculpted from nothing into something.

There comes a time
when we must reclaim our words
A time
when we must stop allowing others
to define what we mean
when we speak
and who we are
in anything other than
the beautiful
Creator God language
of the divine image
visible in all of God’s creation
A time
when our words
(like the queen in Alice in Wonderland)
mean whatever we say they mean.
So today, I’m reclaiming disciple
a word, not just for the theologically conservative 
but a way of living
into which Jesus calls all:
Male, female, cis, trans, gay, lesbian, straight, curious
to name but a few!
I am a disciple 
And, while I’m at it - 
I’m reclaiming power
a word feared and resisted by many
particularly sisters...
When not abused or corrupted
Power is a force for good,
a thing of beauty.
I have power
And, on a roll,
I’m reclaiming vagina
No longer will I define myself
(as some others define me)
as not having a penis
and therefore disqualified
from certain roles
but as a woman
who has a vagina
I have a vagina
And, right there, is a creation of God
Fearfully and wonderfully made:
A woman called to be a disciple, 
A woman, with a vagina, 
called to use her power
as a gift from God
a force for good
for all of creation 
And, in reclaiming these words
I recognise
the privilege that is mine
and pledge
to also stand up and fight
for all whose words
are lost
or diminished
or redefined
by others.
Until they too
are heard when they say
Body and soul, I am marvellously made!

Thursday, 17 October 2019

God - the tenacious woman

Looking ahead to Sunday’s gospel:

Luke 18:1-8
Then Jesus told them a parable about their need to pray always and not to lose heart. He said, “In a certain city there was a judge who neither feared God nor had respect for people. In that city there was a widow who kept coming to him and saying, ‘Grant me justice against my opponent.’ For a while he refused; but later he said to himself, ‘Though I have no fear of God and no respect for anyone, yet because this widow keeps bothering me, I will grant her justice, so that she may not wear me out by continually coming.’ ” And the Lord said, “Listen to what the unjust judge says. And will not God grant justice to his chosen ones who cry to him day and night? Will he delay long in helping them? I tell you, he will quickly grant justice to them. And yet, when the Son of Man comes, will he find faith on earth?”

That lesser know spiritual gift:
Harnessed by God as a widow
who knows her rights
Who knows that the arc of justice
is stacked in her favour
that, as a widow,
her rights are protected
in an ethical culture
harnessed to challenge 
ethics ignored
and rights denied.
A spiritual gift 
required today
for all who long to see
justice done
and God’s way upheld
Tenacious God
may we never let up
until your way prevails
in the prayer 
and action
in the tenacity
of your people.

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