Sunday, March 30, 2014

Seeing Deeply

Gate Pa – Lent 4 2014
Hebrew Scripture:          1 Sam 16:1-13                   
Psalm:                                  23          
Epistle:                 Eph 5:8-14          
Gospel:                                John 9:1-41        

What I want to say:
use the gospel to ask who are the bind people, and offer the examen as a way of learning to see

What I want to happen:

The Sermon

     1.       Introduction:

Since last time – John way back Galilee from Jerusalem
                                                in Samaria talking marginalised woman
since then – returned Jerusalem for a festival of Jews
                healed lame person on Sabbath
then returns Galilee –
now back in Jerusalem for last time
This is a hard reading for us
things get in way
we bring our own assumptions about how things are
blind to many of the assumptions at work in the story
scientific and medical knowledge
know how eyes work
know what light is
                                kind of
                                looking particle – particle
                                looking wave – wave
certainly know light is not physical substance
                like darkness is not physical substance
                pretty clear – not reside within us and not shine out eyes allowing us to see
all about light on inside going into eyes
                know disease is same illness
                                being blind
                                - specific causes
                                                not due to sin
                                                can or can’t be treated
                                 not being cast out all social relationships
theologically it is hard
                don’t tend blame people for being blind
                                although we do at times seems to blame them for things like being unemployed
                                even sickness beneficiary           
It is hard to read these stories
we are blind to so much

Who is blind?

begin with question – who sinned
Jesus says no-one
                so that God glorified
then says that he is light world
                light the resides within and allows people to really see
heals man
                both blindness
                more importantly – restoring him family, community and to God
Then asked by Pharisees who healed him
                little titchy because this is on Sabbath
turns out still little blind
                doesn’t know who healed him
                where he is
ensuing conversation
                Pharisees turn out be blind as well
                                not willing to see Jesus as light allows them to see
“We know this man is a sinner – give glory to God”
                                blinded by adherence rules
Man previously known as blind man beginning to see
                becomes less co-operative
                “Here is an astonishing thing! You do not know where he comes from, and yet he opened my eyes. 31We know that God does not listen to sinners, but he does listen to one who worships him and obeys his will. 32Never since the world began has it been heard that anyone opened the eyes of a person born blind. 33If this man were not from God, he could do nothing.” 34They answered him, “You were born entirely in sins, and are you trying to teach us?” And they drove him out.”
Blind sinner is now one who sees
Ones who think they see become blind sinners
which made abundantly clear in final conversation with now seeing man
so where are we in this story?
“Surely we are not blind are we?
Last 2 weeks talked about prayer
ultimately said is listening
or translate into this week’s reading– about seeing
last week offered idea praying with scripture
                – sacred reading as one way listen
This week talk about daily examen as another way listening
                seeing ourselves
                seeing God at work in us and world we live in.


comes out teaching Ignatius Loyola
born in Loyola - Spain 1491 – into noble family
 grew up great ideas of being knight
1517 joined Spanish army
1521 – leg severely damaged by cannonball passing between legs
while recovered – long arduous process
wanted read lives great knights – daring deeds, battles fought, damsel rescued
                very few place resident
                                left him feeling dejected and sad
                lot of lives of saints
                                left him feeling joy and peace
end time vision baby Jesus in arms Mary
                confessed his many sins – vowed lived life service Christ
after further time spent prayer and confession in Benedictine monastery –
put sword on altar
took clothes beggar
pilgrimage to holy land
spent 11 years studying various universities Spain and France
living radical life prayer, poverty
                taking few beating, being expelled few cities
took notes of prayer life all experienced
during that time joined by small number other men
led him petition Pope Paul 111 in 1534 for official recognition for Society of Jesus – commonly known as Jesuits
of which Pope Francis is a member
Great gift was eclectic
                took thinking number writers spiritual life
                merged them into new framework by which understand life in God
developed directed 30 silent retreat
                where retreatant through set series of imaginative prayer experiences
                comes face sins,
                and then slowly invited reform themselves in God’s love found Christ
developed thinking around consolation – experiences being drawn towards God
                desolation – experiences being drawn away from God
In light of that did lot thinking and writing around discernment, making ongoing prayerful decisions, both big and small that been developed other thinkers, many Jesuits -
important part of this process was daily examen
                time spent each day asking – when have I been drawn to God
-          when have I been drawn away
not need to be big thing
helpful way to learn to see
                to see who we truly are
                                 people invited into God’s love
                                people who at times reject that invitation
                to learn to see God at work in us and in our world
way that like blind man we can be healed
invite you to ask yourself at end of each day
what am I most thankful for?
                how have I experienced God this day?

what am I least thankful for?
                how have I been led astray?

might want record your reflections
might want pray about what you see as a way of ending your day.

Tuesday, March 25, 2014

It’s the end of the world as we know it, and I feel fine | First We Take Manhattan

Just when you thought that the global financial crisis is coming to an end, here we have a number of reports saying the worst is yet to come. As they say on star trek, "It's life Jim, but not as we know it." So if you are up for a cheerful read, and some interesting ideas on how we might survive, read this interesting little piece. 
What I like about it is the offer of hope in the face of hopelessness. Kind of reminds me of what Jesus did, offering hope in the face of calamity - this is how we will get through it, start doing it now.

Sunday, March 23, 2014

Listening Well

Gate Pa – Lent 3 2014
Hebrew Scripture:                          Exodus 17:1-7                   
Psalm:                                                  Psalm: 95                                                       
Epistle:                                 Rom 5:1-11                
Gospel:                                                John 4:5-42                 

What I want to say:
Explore story of Jesus and the Samaritan woman as an example of listening. Introduce the spiritual practice of sacred reading

What I want to happen:
People to learn to listen as did the Samaritan woman

The Sermon

     1.       Introduction:

lot wrong with gospel reading heard
                some ways makes story very improbable
                again – this is not history
                                -not biography
                gospels, like all books written like them
                                about divine truth revealed in and about Jesus

     2.       What is wrong?

those things that are wrong make this great story
what do you know about conservative middle eastern culture?
what is wrong?
·         Jesus and disciples move out Judea back Galilee – safer
                travel though Samaria – not in itself uncommon
                                find interesting that stop at Samaritan village
later stay in Samaritan town
·         Jesus talks to woman in public – not member of his family
·         status of woman – sinner or widow
o   story of Archbishop Roger Herft’s widow mother
§  serial relationships
§  widow/divorcee – scrambling to survive
·         fights drink at well of security
·         she leaves her implements with Jesus –
o   her means gaining access to water she needs to live
o   interesting display of trust and loyalty
§  really what belief is
·         she goes to public square
o   no woman can enter without male escort
o   no woman can speak
o   what she talks about is pretty dodgy as well

     3.       The woman

un-named woman is pretty amazing person
joins others, particularly other women
                who point to Jesus as One who truly is saviour of world
Nicodemus – insider
                sneaked to see Jesus at night
                got stuck on literal details
Woman – outsider
                brazenly talks in middle of day
                goes beyond literal details
                recognises Jesus as the one
in her encounter with Jesus something happens
                she hears
                she is changed
                becomes a new person
She is first hear the great “I Am” statements that punctuate John’s gospel
all reasons for her exclusion – race, gender, status
è set aside
è joins in his mission – reaping
given glimpse of what worshipping in spirit and truth are all about
all included in worship of Living God
not just pious male Jews who could afford the cost.

     4.       Prayer

Last week talked about prayer
offered a whole lot of definitions
ultimately I would say that prayer is listening
                not using words intercede for others or ourselves
                it is listening
                listening for God
we are invited to listen as this Samaritan woman listened
and to be changed as she was
How do we listen?
number ways
                paying attention to God’s activity in our life – examen
                talking to others (spiritual direction)
                sacred reading – lectio divina

     5.       Benedict of Nursia

term Lectio Divina comes from Benedict of Nursia
father of western monasticism
lived 480-550
translate much learning from desert mothers and fathers   
        (Egypt and Middle East)
established basic rule community living
        not a lot time solitaries and hermits
revolved around prayer, work and lectio divina

     6.       Lectio Divina

what is sacred reading?
most of us read for two reasons
that is how we approach the bible
                looking for information
                know more about
                looking for the meaning
sacred reading is not this kind of reading
                many people hard to get their heads around this point
to be clear, that kind of reading is needed when we are studying the bible
but this is not studying bible
another way of putting it is that we are praying the bible
sacred reading is slow repetitive reading
makes space for heart God
to speak to our heart
not exercise when learn more
understand more
often not think any new thoughts at all.
slow reading
sacred object
allowing living dynamic
revelation of God

     7.       How to do it:

as this is time prayer
everything said 2 last weeks about time, place, posture, silence apply here
need time day when most alert
                pay best attention
good books start with
good have bible
                easy read
                different version from normal one
                no notes
                no life applications
                plain text
Guiddo II writing in 1100’s offered four steps to this sacred reading
lectio – slow repetitive reading
meditatio – paying attention to our inner response
-          noticing what grabs our attention and staying with that
oratio or prayer
contemplatio – simply being in God

     8.       watch out young love

this kind of reading can be difficult
easy to be discouraged
easy to fall back into old ways studying
                looking for profound thoughts
Sacred reading is not interested in any of these.
wondering what Word of God is inviting me to this day
be content as small child is climbing into fathers lap and listening to the story.
this week invite you try sacred reading.