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What is this time of preparation about?

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This week marks the beginning of Advent, when we begin our journey towards Christmas. Advent is a time of preparation, and we usually think this is about preparing for the coming of Christ at Christmas. And it is. But there is more. Advent is a time of preparing for and celebrating the coming of Christ in history (Christmas) mystery (now) and in majesty (when God’s will be finally done on earth as in heaven). That is why we have the gospel reading from Matthew ( 24:36-44 ). It invites us to look forward to when the reign of Christ is fully established, and all God is working for comes to be. It also reminds us that in our worship and in our lives, we are the means by which Christ is present in mystery in this world today. Biblical scholar Bill Loader [1] 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 wh

Christ our King? - some rough notes from Sunday's sermon

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You can listen to this sermon here  Gate Pa –  Christ the King Sunday and/or Aotearoa Sunday - Year C - 2022 Readings: Psalm -              The Song of Zechariah (Luke 1:68-79)  First Reading -  Jeremiah 23:1-6 Second Reading - Col 1:11-20 Gospel:            Luke 23:33-43   What I want to say: Where does Christ the King Sunday come from, and in light of that discuss ·        What images or words of Christ’s kingship come to mind? ·        What is unhelpful about Christ the King? ·        Where do we look in the bible for our images of Christ the King? ·        What does Christ the King offer us? Christ the King is complicated and contested. It means different things to different people and can be used to justify some appalling things. One of those is the shameful story of the creation of Te Pihopa o Aotearoa. And yet the reign of God prevailed, and we have had our radical constitution for 30 years which involves self determination and co-governance. In the reign of Christ what do we

Some Troubled Thoughts about Christ the King Sunday, with a nod to Aotearoa Sunday.

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This Sunday is Christ the King or the Reign of Christ Sunday. Which means we are at the end of another church year and are finishing our time in Luke’s Gospel. Advent beckons. To be honest I struggle with this Sunday. It was instituted in 1925 by Pope Pius XI in response to rising anticlericalism and nationalism across Europe. The image of king is very male and quite European – not helpful when talking about God. It was intended to make the reign of God the means by which we understand the purpose of government, but I wonder how many of our preconceived ideas about “king” shape how we understand Christ as king. Too easily we forget Jeremiah’s words of condemnation to those who in the name of God sought power and wealth for themselves and left the poor even more impoverished, the widows and orphans unprotected, and the community broken with division. In contrast Luke offers the image of a crucified king – an image of powerful powerlessness.   The temptation is to jump away from this

What are we Paying Attention To?

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You can listen to this sermon here Gate Pa – 33rd Sunday in Ordinary Time- Year C - 2022 Readings: Psalm -                      Isaiah 12:2-6   (God Is My Salvation)             First Reading-            Isa 65:17-25                                            Second Reading-         2 Thess 3:6-13                                  Gospel-                       Luke 21:1-19     What I want to say: Begin by reminding ourselves that the questions we ask, what we look for and how we look, determines what we see, even when we read scripture. What questions are being brough to the gospel, and what might Jesus in Luke be inviting us to see? What I want to happen: What stood out, what did you hear and see, and so what? The Sermon      1.      Post-modernity Talked a lot about how the maps we use to understand how to be church no longer work And how we have moved from modern world to postmodern world -          Philosophical underpinnings have radically changed Long

Paying Attention

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Here we are, almost at the end of this church year and our year in Luke’s Gospel. Endings are themes in this week’s readings from Isaiah 65:17-25 and Luke 21:5-19. They ask what we give our attention to and what distracts us. The passage from Luke is part of Jesus last words before the events of Good Friday – in Luke’s gospel the end is near. These are part of Jesus’ final words of encouragement to those disciples in the story, to Luke’s community, and to us. And we are all told to not be distracted. Not to be distracted by ostentatious displays of wealth and might – even when they are dedicated to God. Not to be distracted discerning the meaning of ongoing historical events, no matter how traumatic, nor by threats of our own doom. None were signs of the end of time. Jesus in Luke was not too interested in spending time worrying about such things. These are all distractions! Where we look is where we put our energy. Where we look shapes the direction of our lives. Where we look means

All Souls - a Time to Grieve, A Time to Imagine

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On Sunday at St. Georges we join the ancient celebrations of All Saints and All Souls. We will join with Christians around the world who have or will light candles and remember those who have died over the last year or two. These are days that allow us to celebrate both the great saints and those we have known and loved and who, for better or for worse, have helped shape who we are. We give thanks for their lives and acknowledge our grief at their passing. It is a moment to be still, to know our loss, and to give thanks. As we do this, we take another step in letting them go trusting that they now rest in God, as they have always. Our gospel reading from Luke 6 is a wonderful restating of God’s faithfulness both to the covenant with Israel, and through that to the promises of restoration and the wholeness of creation – shalom; already acclaimed by Mary in her song in Luke 2, and by Jesus while reading of the scroll in Luke 4. After being on the mountain choosing his new apostles, Je

Feeling Uncomfortable with Zacchaeus

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You can hear this sermon here Gate Pa –31st Sunday in Ordinary Time- Year C - 2022 Readings: Psalm -                         Ps 119:137-144                                                             First Reading -             Habakkuk 1:1-4; 2:1-4                     Second Reading  -       2 Thessalonians 1:1-4,11-12          Gospel -                       Luke 19: 1-10                                     What I want to say: Using Amy-Jill Levine I want to retell the story of Jesus and Zacchaeus a couple of different ways to open up the option of more than one way of reading a parable. How do we feel when we read this story? Do we read verse 8 in the future tense, as something he will do in response to Jesus wanting to come to dinner, or in the present tense as a defence of against the grumbling. Or both? The Greek goes either way. What echoes of other stories in Luke do we hear? What uncomfortable questions does it ask of us? What I want to happen: Where is the challenge in this st