Friday, December 13, 2013
Thanks Graham for this informative piece. Like him I would have started with Jesus. it is interesting to read that maybe we need to start somewhere else. I can live with that, as long as we end up with Jesus I guess.
Thursday, December 05, 2013
his week we confirm three members of our Parish. For a long time confirmation was seen as a completion of baptism. As todays gospel reading describes the elements, you got the water when you were sprinkled as a child, and then the Holy Spirit when you “confirmed” the promises made on your behalf as an “adult”. Today baptism is understood as complete in and of itself. You don’t need anything else. So what is confirmation? Our church describes it as a sacramental action that offers an opportunity for a public and personal profession of faith; a commitment by individuals to a life of discipleship and ministry; and with the episcopal laying on of hands, a new reception of the Holy Spirit for this life. It also reminds us that we are part of the wider church, not just this parish.
While I was preaching about peace last Sunday, the Merivale Community was learning of the death of Lance Scullin. Lance was not a saint, but he was someone who cared deeply about his family and community, and worked hard for both. His loss is deeply felt by the whole community including the Whanau Aroha Childcare Community. They are a community in shock and grief. As part of our discipleship and ministry we hold them in our prayers
As we continue our journey through Advent, the theme for this week is hope. Lance’s death and the grief experienced by the Merivale community reminds us this hope cannot be just a nice idea, it has to offer something to this pain.
In today’s readings we are offered some amazing images of hope, especially in Isaiah; images of both predator and prey lying together in peace. Given the events of this week this seems so distant. And yet we are called to be a people who live out of this hope despite the evidence.
In the reading from Matthew we are given the image of being re-rooted. My fruit-salad plant is in an outside pottery pot. Over the last year it has grown enormously. We discovered it had re-rooted itself out of the pot and under the house. Not great for the house, but awesome for the plant. Sadly for the plant it has been re-rooted back into the pot.
Advent is a time to ask ourselves what pots we are currently rooted in and how they help or hinder our life in God. It offers us a time to open ourselves to the possibility of being re-rooted out of those pots and into God’s peace, hope love and joy (the themes for Advent). The gospel reading we heard finishes with the images of winnowing forks, threshing floors, wheat being gathered into the granary, and the chaff being burned with unquenchable fire. This image is not about individuals being sorted out but aspects of each one of us. Within us is the capacity to be both predator and prey. Within us are roots that lead to attitudes and actions of peace, and attitudes and actions of conflict and violence. These need to be placed in the fire as chaff. Lance’s life was full of these contradictions. But he is remembered for his compassion and actions for peace. Some of his roots led him to hope big things for his family and community, and to live these hopes out despite the evidence. Because of that his community deeply mourns. We are called to follow that example.
Like last week, I invite you to take time at the end of each day to reflect on and give thanks for ways God brought hope into your day. I also invite you to reflect on the roots in your life that allow you to respond to that hope and that leads you to live peace. How might you feed these roots? Finally I invite you to reflect on in what ways you need to be re-rooted, and to weed out the roots that cause you to lose hope and lead you to bring or add conflict in your day.
Sunday, December 01, 2013
Gate Pa – Year A - Advent 1 2013
Hebrew Scripture: Isaiah 2:1-5
Psalm: Psalm: 122
Epistle: Rom 13:11-14
Gospel: Matt 24:36-44
What I want to say:
Advent is time to reflect on what we wait for and how we wait and watch
Ask “what are we waiting for the Advent?
Watching for peace is more than hoping that all will be well
it is an active watching – getting involved in God’s peace - living is such a way that we live as if God’s reign of justice and peace is now.
Isaiah offers image of instruments of war and death being turned into instruments of food production and life - more than just beating ploughshares – about learning whole new way of being
that involved unlearning ways of war in our households, personal relationships and how we see the world and learning that ways of peace
What I want to happen:
people to spend this week reflecting on what habits and practices of conflict do they need to unlearn and what practices and habits of peace they need to learn
how many went to see film “The Butler”
find someone who went – what their reflections
some of mine include:
- nearly all that in my lifetime
- appalling hatred and violence against black people which was seen and normal and tolerated, even expected by good church going white Americans
o what saddened me as I watch is that for many - their Christian faith undergirded their racism
America has come along way
like us it has long way to go
2. What is advent?
time of waiting
- what are we waiting for? (ask)
certainly – looking back to Christmas and preparing for celebration Christ’s coming in 25 days
todays reading reminds us that it is also looking forward to end of time
Christ’s second coming
Gods reign justice peace
reminded that in beginning is God
and in end there is God
and God brings accountability, justice, hope, and peace among the nations
all part Jesus final speech
final speeches were of huge importance – stature person relied on this last speech
final words of wisdom and instructions,
also when close death thought to be in a thin space – able to see and understand more rest life
one key parts reading is command to watch
and we are told to not be so busy that we fail to watch for this reign
that is what advent is all about
taking the time to watch
in particular we invited watch for God’s peace, hope, joy and love
4. Reading from Isaiah
set time when Israel and Judah were either at war or preparing for war
face of that Isaiah offers this audacious image
that they were to learn ways of peace
For us that means “Watching for peace”
that is more than hoping that all will be well
question from New Westminster about my involvement in justice issues
talk about them
read articles about them
sign petition on internet about some
hunch looking for more
hunch that watching for peace is more than this as well
it is an active watching
getting involved in God’s peace
living is such a way that we live as if God’s reign of justice and peace is now.
for me Butler example of that
young people who decided to live as if God’s reign of justice and peace
they sat in diners in place knew should be able sit
caught buses knew not allowed on
lived as it racism and segregation did not exist.
Isaiah asking hearers to do same thing
offers image of instruments of war and death being turned into instruments of food production and life
- more than just beating ploughshares
– about learning whole new way of being
where do we start then?
- being honest about how we bring conflict into our everyday life and find other ways of acting
- unlearning ways of war in our households, personal relationships and how we see the world and learning that ways of peace
this week invite you to take time end each day to
reflect on and give thanks for ways brought God’s peace into your day
reflect on in what ways you brought or added to conflict in your day, and to ask yourself and God what you need to unlearn, and what you need to learn to bring peace
Thursday, November 28, 2013
This week marks the beginning of Advent, when we begin our journey towards Christmas. Advent is a time of preparation, and we usually understand that to be a time of preparation for the coming of Christ at Christmas. Traditionally in Advent we focus our preparation on the themes of peace, hope, joy and love. Today we begin with the theme of peace.
The gospel reading this morning reminds us that this time of preparation also has a future aspect. Advent is not only about the first Christmas, it is a time of deliberate preparation for the second coming of Christ, however we understand that. It is looking forward to when the reign of Christ is fully establish and all God is working for comes to be.
This morning’s gospel also reminds us that this is not a passive activity where we sit around and wait for God. This is a time of examining how we are involved in living in such a way that we point to the coming reign of Christ. We are, as Matthew says, to watch. Biblical scholar Bill Loader suggests that it is unhelpful to read this passage as “an exhortation not to misbehave in case you get 'caught with your pants down', as they say, when Jesus comes.” Instead he says “It is about developing an awareness of what the God of the future is saying and doing in the present, to take a God perspective on the issues of the day and the future and to let that happen at all levels of our reality, from our personal lives to our international community.”
Last year we set one of our parish goals to be “living incarnationally in the community”. This first Sunday in Advent is a time to ask ourselves where we see God at work bringing peace into our world and our community. More than that, we are invited into active watching, to join in that work of peace making. How do we embody the peace of God in our community?
Advent is also the time for the Christian World Service Christmas Appeal. This draws our attention to issues facing some of the poorest and most vulnerable people and invites us to take a God perspective on the issues of the day in the international community.
This year’s theme is Share Water, Share Life
Water is one of the most powerful symbols of the Christian faith and a constant throughout the Scriptures. It is a gift of God that sustains the whole of creation. But the water is running low and the costs of buying it rising. The changing climate means that farmers cannot rely on rains or the dry seasons they need to dry food for storage. Others experience massive floods, tsunami and hurricanes that kill and destroy. Cities draw much more deeply on underground aquifers or lakes and rivers for growing populations. Once clear water sources are contaminated with pollution or used for manufacturing and mass food production. Conflicts over control of water supply are intensifying. People are dying from disease caused by polluted water or thirst.
As we reflect on God’s peace, we are reminded that everyone has a stake in the management of the local water supply but who gets to make the decisions? Will some continue to miss out? What are we doing with the gift that God gives us to share? CWS partners are working hard to share water, share life. Please give generously to the 2013 Christmas Appeal to help them do their work.
Friday, November 22, 2013
Gate Pa –Christ the King Sunday, 2013
Hebrew Scripture: Jer 23:1-6
Psalm: Luke 1:68-79 NZPB Page 39
Epistle: Col 1:11-20
Gospel: Luke 23:33-43
What I want to say:
We need to be really careful about how we talk about and live out “Christ the King.” It is too easy to just replicate what the rest of society expects and look no different.
One way we can do that is to approach Christmas as a time of good news for all people, and to prepare in that vein, rather than as a family time
What I want to happen:
I want people to engage in a Fairtrade animal friendly giving kind of Christmas
What images, words, phrases come to mind when hear phrase – “Christ the King”?
It is a tricky phrase
comes with a lot cultural and religious baggage
resurrected Jesus the Christ
enthroned in heaven
Lord of all
so why have we this reading from Luke about crucifixion?
purpose of gospels –s answer very basic questions
who is Jesus?
from our year reading Luke – how is Luke answering that question?
for writers of our lectionary
and for Luke
crucifixion where Christ “kingship” is fully revealed
most of us not so keen on whole crucifixion thing
either way too much suffering
and for many we skip past singing happy songs about how Jesus died for our sins
whatever we mean by that
significant number of scholars and theologians suggest that this is the point of it all.
certainly for Francis – crucifixion with nativity are two pivotal points of gospels
where the one who had broken down boundaries that exclude so many people was himself declared ultimate outcast
death cross brutally painful and utterly demeaning – designed to be
warning to not cross Rome
declaration that all stood for was without meaning
if you believe anything this person has told you – this is where it leads
this way leads only to death
clear statement that truth and certainty was only found in Rome
through resurrection that is all turned on its head
all else is declared meaningless
life is found only in way Jesus
habit of looking to wider world for truth is declared bankrupt
pulled again back into story gospel find out who Jesus is
and who we are
and in doing so reminded that we are beloved of God whether we like it or not
invited to live that out
so why is it we then use images and titles from world declared bankrupt in crucifixion to understand kingship of Christ
how we see Jesus as king is some ways shapes how we live our lives
here is an example
4. Elizabeth of Hungary
Francis was someone who saw himself as follower of great King
lived his life in service to great king
unlike images of king seen this morning
for him Jesus is king on cross
sought to emulate the king in his own life
living amongst poorest as one poorest
breaking down barriers
honouring and blessing and making visible all he met.
Tuesday remembered one early and great Franciscan third order saints
Elizabeth of Hungary
talked about her two months ago
she is someone who was expected to live like a king with all trappings
but influenced by early Franciscans
sought to follow example of great king
sought to live simply
personally cared for poorest lepers and beggars
when learnt food served came two sources
- food grown on property
- food extorted from poor surrounding area
ð confined eating what she knew came from own property
to live in honour great king was to live in way honoured the claim of poor of the world on her
sought to live in way – did not add to their poverty
- alleviated consequences of that poverty
- addressed some of cause of their poverty
- central to all this recognising risen Christ in face poor.
WE are about to end the church year and enter season Advent
time preparation for Christmas
I wonder how understanding of Christ the King shapes was we are preparing for?
in light we take our images of Christ the king into that preparation
how do we prepare for Christmas in a way that does not add to the poverty of others
that does not add to the misery of animals
offers others hope?
to engage in a Fairtrade animal friendly giving kind of Christmas