Today we return to 'in place' Sunday worship together, albeit with significant restrictions. With what spirit do we come?
There is a mixture of great joy at reconnecting with one another in person and with much of what is familiar. There are also continuing and fresh anxieties, not least learning to manage within COVID-19 restrictions - notably only having 17 places available in the Chapel of the Holy Spirit (due to the current Queensland 4 square metres indoor space requirement for each person), so that we have another 'pod' of people worshiping together in Old Bishopsbourne with others in the Chapel itself (see our COVID-19 Safe Plan here). We also bring griefs and gifts of the greater 'lockdown' period and a renewed awareness of our human fragility and need for solidarity. Above all, we come together more closely today with a deeper sense of our need to travel onward with the God who creates, redeems and gives renewed life. Penny's reflection today - see here - is a fitting one: drawing us into the mission of Jesus, which is a love for all, particularly for and with the oppressed, and a vision of fresh joy and strength. May the God who is in the midst of all trials and sufferings, bring healing, justice, and new life to all.
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..
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...
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...
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...
Jo Inkpin, Penny Jones, Jeni Nix, Peter Jeffery, Ann Edwards, Elizabeth McConnell