Friday, July 19, 2013

Being Free to Choose the Better Way

 Gate Pa – Pentecost 9 2013

Hebrew Scripture:      Amos 8:1-12  
Psalm:                         Psalm 52
Epistle:                        Col 1:15-29     
Gospel:                        Luke 10:38-42                        
What I want to say:
explore this story as being about how offer hospitality in house church (only kind of church) – who carried the brunt of that.
can’t be read in isolation from Jesus actions at last supper

What I want to happen:
what is the good part we are to choose? 

The Sermon

      1.      Introduction:

This is kind gospel reading that can get preacher into lot of trouble.
            need tred carefully here.
Pauline told story on Tuesday down wellington
            where woman usually very quiet
            having listened to priest talk about need focus Jesus rather than on mundane things like morning afternoon teas
            spoke up about how she and few others went out every Sunday made morning tea
                        left end tidy up
                        what really appreciate help and support instead pious nonsense
very easy be very patronising towards Martha
all those work as Martha did
truth is our communities fail without them
where are you in this story
            what questions have?
            what like to say Jesus about that?

      2.      Gospels

before we start, we need to note already head story about Mary and Martha this year -> from John’s gospel
            big differences
These differences remind us Gospels are NOT history books
books theology
            who is Jesus
            who is God
            who are we
            how do we follow Christ in way of love – Paul describes it
using and reinterpreting stories Jesus
some differences are
            where sits in story
            no mention Lazarus – Martha welcomes Jesus and entourage to her house
                        no man about
            Mary keeps her hair hidden and oil away.
            John – about cost oil Mary used and how given to poor.
            story heard today issue is about roles of 2 sisters in providing hospitality
as read need keep in mind all church were house churches
            each time met burden hospitality on house owner
            one level addresses issue – who should carry the burden of that hospitality?
This story understood at whole lot levels
lets explore some of them.

      3.      2 Sisters

basic level story of two sisters.
            one feels responsible for providing guests needs
            feeling very annoyed at fact sister is not helping – wants Jesus intervene
sure few you sympathise, both Mary and Martha on that.
            very human situation

       4.      Stress and Pressure

at another level this is about stress and pressure
language around Martha is one of noise, tumult, uproar
             -> impression given is that she is greatly distracted by her roles
            distraction is blinding her to everything else
two dimensions to this
overwhelmed by anxiety of what is required
so consumed by task at hand that lose sight bigger picture
here are some examples
seems that we Anglicans can at time get so concerned about getting words liturgy right and people doing right things at right time
forget liturgy about entering space where we met by life changing God
            we are being shaped and moulded to be a people join in God’s mission
words and actions not important in and of themselves
important because they are vehicle by which God acts
sometimes we get so consumed what happens on Sunday
            becomes measure of parishes life
            forget importance of what happens on Sunday
                        how shape how live life rest week
remember talking to parishioner at Ngongotaha when first decided become local shared ministry unit
said so consumed fund raising pay stipend vicar forgotten what there for
            now look be people mission
too often we keep church going for sake keeping church going
when do that loose sight what church about
God’s mission
become like Martha
Martha so consumed everything right
forgotten point of it was offer hospitality to  Jesus
turns out maybe Mary was one truly offering hospitality – by staying with men and listening.
Not is not to say that what Martha was doing was unimportant
            she forgot why she was doing it

       5.      Last level at play in this story.

sometimes read this story in terms Martha trying to protect sister from ridicule and abuse for taking role of man
            sitting feet teacher as disciple
none commentators read suggested this reading
focus instead is on how Jesus accepts her presence and honours her.
talked a lot about how society Jesus lived clearly divided
            people divided those in  and those out
Jesus modelled radical new way of all being in
            based on all being loved by God
            all included in new community – based on God’s undeserved love
            rather than dominant ethnic, social, religious and moral grounds for inclusion or exclusion
Jesus talked about this
modelled it who accepted meals from
modelled it in last supper
remember every time we gather at this table
all are welcome at God’s table because all are God’s people
here Jesus goes further
breaks down walls locked people into the roles allowed to play
Martha saw her role as provider of hospitality who could not be a disciple
Mary saw her role as disciple who offered hospitality
Jesus honoured that
in doing so frees Mary, 
            also frees Martha,
            and all disciples from social and religious expectations locked them into certain roles and certain ways of being.
something models again last supper when he acts as servant
we are all freed to be disciples
we are all freed to be servants
we are all freed to offer hospitality

       6.      Conclusion

so one way reading this story is hear Jesus rebuke Martha’s focus of providing hospitality
another reading this story hear Jesus say role of being disciple included Martha and Mary
not preserve of men
the role of providing hospitality was not Martha’s alone
belonged to whole community
for house churches Luke writing for
clear message that those whose house church met in were not overly anxious about offering hospitality
join all others prayers, singing psalms, breaking bread
when take this reading with Jesus other acts
            clear message role hospitality shared by all.
return question
where are you in this story
            what questions have?
            what like to say Jesus about that?
            what would you like to say to the rest of us?

Thursday, July 18, 2013

Rest Home Ministry

Today I had a meeting about ministry in Rest Homes. I missed a lot of it because when I put the thing in my outlook I clicked the wrong time. How annoying!!

One of the things that still surprises me is my growing respect for this ministry. Once a month I take a service at a Psychogeriatric and Dementia Hospital. When I first came here this was one the things I enjoyed the least. I saw the importance of it but did not enjoy it. I dreaded the day each month I was due up there. I felt really uncomfortable taking the service. I just did not enjoy being there.

A couple of months ago I was greatly surprised to find I now look forward to going. I am really not sure what changed for me. But I find ti a profound privilege to lead a service and to offer communion to some of the residents, to family members who are with them and to staff members as well. It is a privilege to offer words of hope, and pray God's blessing on all who live, visit and work there. God does work in mysterious ways.

No more Themes for the Week or Sermon Notes for awhile

This is my last Sunday before I  go on Sabbatical  to fulfil my obligations as Minister Provincial of the Third Order, Society of Saint Francis, Province of the Pacific. On Monday I leave for the Solomon Islands to visit Franciscan Tertiaries, (which make up half the professed in this Province), talk to bishops about the life of the Order, and chair various meetings. On August 8th I travel to Australia to spend a week on retreat with the Franciscan Brothers at Stroud. On August 17th I travel to Capetown to attend the Provincial Ministers’ meeting, with some sightseeing at the end. My first day back is Sunday September 8th. So there will be no sermon notes or themes for the week until Setpember 15th. I will I hope put up some posts about life on the road.

Theme for the week - The Rule of God

A couple of weeks ago we had our Regional Conference. A big part of the day was spent discussing how to be missional. In the group I was part of we talked a lot about “building the Kingdom of God”. We all agreed that being missional was about building the kingdom or rule of God. But there was a huge difference of opinion around what exactly is the kingdom.  For some the kingdom equals the church, and building the kingdom means getting people to come to and to be part of church. This is not the understanding of the kingdom we read about in today’s readings.

In Amos we hear the reluctant prophet denounce his society for the priority of those with wealth to attain more wealth at the experience of everyone else, and as a result its unjust treatment of the poor. In a week where welfare reforms are being instituted to save money with seeming little thought to the cost to the children of those involved, I wonder what Amos would say to us? The kingdom of God for Amos is when the poor are treated well and with respect, treated as God’s people, and not as a means to attain greater wealth. If we are missional, how might we work towards this kingdom?

For the writer to the Colossians (which might or might not be Paul) the rule of God through Christ is over all principalities and powers. It trumps Caesar (a very big call) and all the angels. God’s rule is found in Christ’s way of love. The church is the vehicle by which God will fill the universe  with love and goodness, will remind creation that we are all created by and in God to dwell in God’s peace, justice and goodness. The kingdom or rule of God is well beyond the church. We as the church are simply a significant means by which God’s rule is coming to pass in this world.

As we read these readings, what do they teach us about the rule or kingdom of God? What role do we at St. Georges, as part of God’s church, play in announcing the good news of the rule of God in this place? How might we live out God’s peace, justice and goodness?

Saturday, July 06, 2013

Living in God

Gate Pa – Pentecost 7 2013

Hebrew Scripture:          2 Kings 5:1-14              
Psalm:                                  Psalm 30
Epistle:                 Gal 6:7-16                   
Gospel:                                Luke 10:1-11, 16-20

What I want to say:
explore what the gospel says about our money

What I want to happen:
people to hold lightly to money and grow in faith 

The Sermon

1.       Introduction:

ambulance story
rude Elisha and Naaman – God does the unexpected
                not confined by our attitudes and rules
                                even when think come from God

2.       Paul

same God meet in Paul’s writings (and gospel story with Jesus
                God does unexpected
                calls those seek follow to live the unexpected
                so today baptise Nada
                place her among people God
                follow God acts in unexpected ways)
same God meet in Pauls writings
struggling with those demand new converts circumcised
because that is what God expects
                                partly obedience law
                                partly help them avoid persecution from Jews

 3.       Sending out 70

certainly God meet Jesus life
Jesus breaks all kinds of rules
                especially rules divided his society
                socially, economically, politically, religiously        
                rules defined who neighbour and who wasn’t
                rules named some worthy attention and care
                rendered others as invisible and unworthy
everything he did understand along these lines:
                those ate with made visible and restored God’s community
                those healed sickness and possession brought in from outside
                those forgave restored as well
with each these acts God’s circle compassion widened
therefore rules excluded them confronted and rejected
those followed Jesus were to care as well
                treat them as people worthy treated as neighbour
                those us as people follow Jesus invited see all
                                treat all
                                worthy treated as neighbour
lot harder do than say.
Things that separate us whether like it or not
one of those things is money

 4.       Money

something founder other great mendicant order – Dominicans  Francis understood
in Dominic case – set out remove
As Franciscan this one readings need take note of
one readings Francis based own understanding responding to and living out gospel on
took these passages literarily
fortunately – Luke lot less clear
                not everyone told give all away poor
                great relief to all us sitting here today
story of missionaries
                compared life in US – poor conditions
                compared people lived around – rich
own experience in Solomons
These are issues that Francis and Dominic confronted
until 1200’s – no friars
just monks
live in monasteries
how monasteries worked
                individual vow poverty
                Order accepted land dowries and gifts
-          very wealthy and powerful
-                  why Henry 8th got rid of them
Dominic realised that this lead common people see clergy and religious as wealthy
                also meant they no understanding what like to be poor
                not standing amongst peasant
                                more inclined to listen to poor people – seen as heretics
so established Order of Preachers – university trained
                vows of poverty
                lived out amongst peasants
Francis just read gospel and obeyed
one level no planning involved
another level understood that his wealth – son very wealthy cloth merchant
                obstacle life of faith
                obstacle living out that life amongst people time
by removing money, removed barrier
as Franciscan seek to walk in his footsteps.
This is one passage shaped Francis attitude money
so passage Franciscans have to take seriously.
Jesus sent out disciples with no money, no means beg,
                no sandals, no cloak – comfort body
could no longer rely on their own resources
absolutely dependant on hospitality of others
absolutely dependant on God
social rules his time helped all this
wealthy homes, courtyards and hospitality
while wealthy ability offer that hospitality
all depend on how saw disciples
                see them as neighbours
                worthy being given hospitality?
good chance not offered hospitality
real possibility people should not be seen with offer
who do we offer hospitatlity to?
who offers hospitality to us?

5. my struggle as a Franciscan

have not given all money away poor
not taken vow poverty
instead my vows are for living simply, in love joy and humility.
-          avoid luxury and waste
-          stop worrying about money – reasonably easy for me cause I earn enough
-          seeing what I have as God’s and not mine
-          be generous as God is generous
-          try to live depending on God and not on my own resources and gifts and strengths
-          live in faith
-          struggle with each one of these
readings like this are hard
remind me of my calling
remind me I have long way to go to really live that out. 
talk to neighbour moment