The Ten Commandments! - such a foreboding name. In fact, it's not a very good name for them. The Hebrew means: The Ten Words, The Decalogue. It is the revealed Word of God.
A little bit of context: the Israelites have been in the wilderness for three months after being freed from slavery in Egypt. During that time God has provided them with fresh drinking water, and sustained them with manna and quails to eat. Now on the day of the third month, God asks Moses to get everyone ready to encounter God at the foot of Mt Sinai. God will come in a cloud and speak to Moses so that everyone can hear and trust him.
We can understand from this context that the decalogue was addressed to the people as a whole psyche, and each individual is addressed as well. The community has responsibility as a whole, and the individual has responsibility. In fact, there is an ancient Jewish myth that these words were offered to the entire world at the same time and was interpreted into all languages of the earth. And that Israel is the only nation to accept it. This myth illustrates that the Words are universal in application.
I’ve been thinking - am I the salt of the earth? Or am I salting the earth?
In Matthew, the author records that Jesus calls us to be the salt of the earth. The flavour and depth of our communities. The salt of the earth is such an evocative, grounding call, isn’t it?
And yet, salt can be so destructive. Salinity hinders plant growth, causes corrosion, and erodes masonry. From ancient times into the 19th century, there are stories of conquered lands being sowed with salt to make them unusable for agriculture and building, and to force their people out. Whether a historical fact, or symbolic curse, the practice of salting the earth speaks to a power to hinder, stunt and corrode..
As someone who has recently come out as a transgender person (part of which story can be found here), I have been greatly blessed recently by expressions of love and support by many people. Not least among them has been the reception I have had from the Milton Anglican church community. Indeed I was overwhelmed by the positive greetings of both lay and clergy leaders and deeply touched by the words and actions of others. Some told me moving tales of their own lives and families and which have drawn us more closely together. This has been a reflection both of something special in the life of this Christian community and of something also stirring deep within other church communities...
For many marginalized communities, the importance of the cross is that it is the location where Christ chose solidarity with the world’s marginalized. Christ becomes one with the crucified people of his time, as well as with all who are crucified today on the crosses of racism, sexism, classism, and heterosexism. These crosses are places of violence, littered with broken lives and bodies. Jesus’ solidarity with the world’s failures and the world’s powerlessness points to the God of the oppressed. Here is the importance of the cross. God is not the God of those who crucify, only of those who are crucified. The paradox of the cross is that, in spite of what it symbolizes, there is resurrection.
This quote from ethicist Miguel de la Torre is confronting. God is not the God of those who crucify, only of those who are crucified. What does this mean for us? God is a God of the margins; therefore, the church should be a movement organically grown from crucified communities particularly as we acknowledge Reconciliation Week, the crosses of racism...
It was such a delight to share in Sanctus last night - the first gathering of our new contemplative community for Brisbane - with a beautiful space, lovely music and brief but evocative readings, sensitivity and silence, and some great wine, cheese, refreshments and conversation afterwards. Check out Penny's brief keynote reflection. We meet again on 27 May @5 pm with a Reconciliation focus...
In our journey through Lent into Easter we meet in many places, the desert, the wilderness, by wells of water, in temples, on the cross, in the tomb. We explore a myriad of environments telling dramatic encounters between heaven and earth. We explore a tapestry of God moments: moments of heaven breaking loose into the world. Culminating in the ultimate event of the resurrection of Jesus Christ...
Are you longing for more space in your life, just to be, just to listen to your deepest self and the call of the mysterious depths of life? If so, then our new monthly gathering Sanctus may be just what you are looking for. You do not need to hold any particular belief and you certainly do not have to fit into any human-made 'box' ! (all are welcome just as we are, whatever our age, background, sexual or gender identity, or giftedness)
The name 'Sanctus' just means 'holy' and the idea is to set aside some 'holy ground' to sit with God and listen. Initially we are planning a gathering that will happen once a month on the last Saturday of the month. The first one will be on
Saturday April 29 at 5pm
at the Chapel of the Holy Spirit, St Francis College,
233, Milton Road, Milton.
So what will happen and what could you expect?
At the heart of this gathering will be reflection and silence. That interval of silence will be supported by gentle music and chant, words from Scripture and from the world's great spiritual teachers, and a brief, thoughtful reflection. We aim to create a space of hospitality for all, in which we can be real with one another and with the reality many call 'God'. The contemplative gathering will be for about forty-five minutes, after which you are welcome to sit longer in the peaceful atmosphere, or join us in an adjoining space for some light refreshments and a chance to enjoy the company of others.
Sanctus is for those seeking simplicity, depth, and stillness.
We look forward to welcoming you as our community grows.
If you would like to know more
please call the Revd. Penny Jones on 0477444095 email@example.com
There are positive outcomes associated with faith and spirituality for parents of children with special needs. What you might find surprising (unless you are a parent of a child with special needs) is that being involved in church and religious activities can however be associated with increased parental stress and depression if we do not approach this well (Ekas, Whitman and Shivers, 2009). Ann Edwards reflects...
Over Lent we hear of Jesus standing on the precipice of the wilderness looking to the future, seeing visions of an alternative narrative to ‘reality’. This week too, we stand on the precipice. Only instead of the literal sense, this precipice is a well. A life-giving construct that contrasts the desert/wilderness with imagery of life-giving water...
Gungor's song 'Beautiful Things' is a wonderful modern anthem for Ash Wednesday. For it is possible to regard this key date in the Christian calendar as a gloomy day, overly obsessed with sin. death, and other aspects of human finitude. It is certainly a time for facing up to ourselves and our world, our limitations, failings and lack of ultimate control. Yet this should only be in order to be re-charged with faith, hope and love, through the grace of God. For Ash Wednesday is about renewing our participation in God's love in solidarity with others. In the midst of our personal and wider struggles, it is a message not to despair but to take fresh heart. As Gungor put it:
All this pain
I wonder if I'll ever find my way
I wonder if my life could really change, at all
All this earth
Could all that is lost ever be found?
Could a garden come out from this ground, at all?
You make beautiful things
You make beautiful things out of the dust
You make beautiful things
You make beautiful things out of us
Hope is springing up from this old ground
Out of chaos life is being found, in you...
Jo Inkpin, Penny Jones, Peter Jeffery, Ann Edwards, Elizabeth McConnell