Sunday, 20 September 2020

Breakfast encounter


 John 21:12-14

Jesus said to them, “Come and have breakfast.” Now none of the disciples dared to ask him, “Who are you?” because they knew it was the Lord. Jesus came and took the bread and gave it to them, and did the same with the fish. This was now the third time that Jesus appeared to the disciples after he was raised from the dead.

“Come and have breakfast”

An ordinary invitation

issued in an extraordinary time

A smidgeon of normality

in a world turned upside down

An invitation

to much more than breakfast

For as you nourished bodies

worn out from working all night

As you whetted appetites

dulled by grief and confusion

As you went about the ordinary tasks

of cooking and serving fish and bread

you also soothed troubled minds

and tenderly cared for bruised spirits

And, as the smoke from the fire cleared

so that your friends could see you

the wounds of your suffering

clearly visible

they knew you

their risen Lord

calling and commissioning them

to new life

characterised by radical love

and infinite compassion

calling and commissioning them

to feed others

and to care for their spirits

calling and commissioning them

to allow their wounds

to be means of healing the world.

Risen Lord,

if today

we should encounter you

accompanying us at breakfast,

making yourself known to us

in this strange and disorientating time

may we know our appetites whetted

and our doubts and confusion 

tamped down for a bit

at least enough for us to hear 

your call and commission to us

to feed your sheep.

And may our hope be reborn

and our passion renewed

for the healing of all creation.


Friday, 11 September 2020

A prayer for grace


God give me grace

Grace in bucket loads

Grace to deal with rules and regulations

that make no sense

Grace to deal with the closing in

that comes from an institution in crisis

Grace to recognise my own stress reactions

that exacerbate already difficult times

Grace to stop and breathe

so that, in the midst of conflict

I may exhale peace

And, in the heat of irritation

I may exude calm

God, shower me with grace

Grace that dissipates resentment

Grace that soothes hurt

Grace that brings courage

to speak truth calmly, with love

Grace that always looks for good intentions

rather than seeing annoying bureaucracy

Grace that chooses gentle humour

rather than aggressive confrontation 

Grace that finds a way

and doesn’t fall at the first hurdle

Grace that hunkers down

and calls forth love

Grace that confounds every effort

to diminish the spark of God

in one whom God declares beloved.

Grace - enough - and more

 

Wednesday, 2 September 2020

A new normal

 


1 Corinthians 13:13

And now three things remain: faith, hope, and love;  and the greatest of these is love.


What if there is no new normal?

What if this is it?

A constant surge here and twist there

What if we cannot find a new routine?

And all the stages of grief continue to assail us

from moment to moment?

How then shall we be pilgrims without way-markers?


There is an echo of something familiar

In constantly moving on, learning as we go

In adopting new ways, temporary rituals

The difficulty is that we like to nail things down

We like our establishment

We like to write tradition on tablets of stone

We like to frame our practices about with solid pillars

even if it makes their toppling all the more grievous 


The lightness of following

a whimsical God

who playfully calls us

to become like children

open to adventure

seeing every new day

as an opportunity

and being grateful for its potential

for the potential of learning new things

for the potential of discovering new wonders

for the potential of each day becoming “the best day”


What if we relearned

that our productivity is not the measure

by which we are judged

Nor our steadiness

or predictability

But, rather, creativity, gentleness, kindness, hope

become signs of health and wealth

And, our sharing of those gifts with those who struggle

bearing one another up on the days when we own our abundance

And being borne up on those days when we need the strength of others

Taking what we need, giving what we can

Co-creating temporary new normals together

and holding lightly to that which we may need to discard

when another new normal comes along


Called by God

to keep on moving

transformed and transforming

by faith

by hope

and by love.




Monday, 31 August 2020

Digesting the word


 Jeremiah 15:16

Your words were found, and I ate them,

and your words became to me a joy

and the delight of my heart;

for I am called by your name,

O Lord, God of hosts.

Still, today, O God

you prevail upon us

to eat your words.

And your call 

is every bit as uncompromising

unpalatable

bad for digestion

as it has been

in every generation.

With your law of love

tattooed boldly on our hearts

you call us to

vomit love

and belch compassion

to exude justice from every pore

And, when we are empty, 

in need of sustenance,

to return to you

sustainer of our being

to humbly seek

replenishment

so that your word

becomes life

as we live in the light 

of the God 

whose name is love

whose food

is the bread of life

broken and shared

for all the world

You offer us the nourishment

of bread freshly baked 

attracting us with the tantalising aroma

that whets our appetite

and draws us back

time and again.

You bid us take and eat

not crumbs from the table

but the fresh portion

that you offer daily

nourishing our souls

with bread

and with your love

in word and in action

that changes us

from the inside out

and then

called by your name

sustained by your goodness

you bid us share

that which you have freely given.


Friday, 21 August 2020

In their own right

 

Exodus 1:15-17

The king of Egypt said to the Hebrew midwives, one of whom was named Shiphrah and the other Puah, “When you act as midwives to the Hebrew women, and see them on the birthstool, if it is a boy, kill him; but if it is a girl, she shall live.” But the midwives feared God; they did not do as the king of Egypt commanded them, but they let the boys live.

Celebrating Shiphrah and Puah

Hebrew midwives who chose God over the king

Who chose love over fear

Who chose life over death

These powerful women deserve

not to simply be a prologue or a prequel 

to the life of Moses

or the story of the Exodus

these women demand

to be celebrated

for who they were

Today’s “nasty women”

Women who persisted

Women who refused 

to collude with power

or submit to oppression

and who used their gifts and skills 

to set in motion

a revolution

Shiphrah and Puah

Say their names

Celebrate their lives

Women of substance

in the mission of God.


Thursday, 20 August 2020

Who do you say you are?

 Matthew 16:13-15

Now when Jesus came into the district of Caesarea Philippi, he asked his disciples, “Who do people say that the Son of Man is?” And they said, “Some say John the Baptist, but others Elijah, and still others Jeremiah or one of the prophets.” He said to them, “But who do you say that I am?”


The masters tools will never dismantle the masters house. They may allow us temporarily to beat him at his own game, but they will never enable us to bring about genuine change. (Audre Lord: The Masters Tools Will Never Dismantle the Masters House)

Who do you say I am? asks Jesus

And, in our response to that question

lies the secret 

not just of our recognition

of the Son of God

but of our own identity

How we define the Messiah

belies how we define ourselves.

Are we prepared to embrace

Our power

Our vulnerability?

Are we prepared to voice

Our doubts 

and our certainty?

Are we prepared to be

the sassy

mouthy

provocative

beings

we were created to be?

Are we prepared to be too much for some

and not enough for others?

Are we prepared

to delight

and to disappoint?

Created in the image of God

who names us Beloved

and who calls us

to bring our whole selves

and nothing less

into the arena

The question: Who do you say I am?

demands that we answer

Who do you say you are?

And then step up

and step into

our change making role

holding space

for all our sisters

for the changing

and the healing 

of the world.

It matters!


Sunday, 16 August 2020

Nevertheless she persisted

 

Matthew 15:28

Then Jesus answered her, “Woman, great is your faith! Let it be done for you as you wish.” And her daughter was healed instantly.

The persistence of a woman

who refused to be set aside

who refused to settle for less

who refused to be silenced

And in her persistence

she expanded the notion

of mercy

and compassion

and justice for all

birthing a revolution

of access

to the kingdom of God

Even the Messiah

needed to be challenged

to reject the patriarchal default

of exclusion

and embrace

a new way

that says

Women matter

and

All are welcome

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