Showing posts from October, 2018

Being Blind

My sermon on Sunday did not get written in any shape or form. Life was too busy, and I had to create it while preaching.It turned out ok. You can listen to it here. In it I try to explore how our images of God blind us to God and to each other.  Some questions then that mark the way - How did Job end up with that happy ending, and is it that happy really?  - Why did Job's friends not join him praying TO God, rather than trying to convince him ABOUT God? When do we do that? - How does Bartimaeus act as an icon to the disciples blindness both to him and to what Jesus was teaching them about God? Who are we blind to? Because October 28th is also the Day of Remembrance, when we remember the New Zealand Land Wars, John wonders how the British image of God allowed them to act as they did around their empire, and how that is still at work today.

Being Blind and Seeing

Seeing and not seeing are the big themes in our readings this week. Job’s friends were so busy defending their idea of God they became blind to Job and did not take the time to pray to God with Job in his despair. Job too is blind, basing his ideas of God on what he has heard. But he at least is willing to engage with God, and is rewarded with sight. Seeing God is dangerous stuff. It shakes him out of all he thought he knew and he recants all he said and all he held dear - they are but dust and ashes. The disciples too have been so blind. Since the first blind man was symbolically healed in Mark 8: 22-26,   they, like that man, have been seeing people walking like trees. Despite Jesus’ threefold teaching about his impending death and resurrection, Peter rebukes and is rebuked; James and John ask for greatness and power. Bartimaeus might be blind, but he can see Jesus for who he is. And he will not let those around him not see him. He cries out defiantly claiming his personhood. H

Annual Pet Blessing Services

While I was in America recently one or two people made mention of the annual pet blessing services,and their discomfort about them given Francis just gets associated with a nice man blessing animals, and the real Francis gets lost in translation. And that is so true. And yet one of my highlights is the annual Pet Blessing service. Last Sunday we had about 120 people in church, accompanied by their pets. Most of those there were not regular parishioners, but people from the surrounding community. People who do not normally come to church. And I got to talk to them about St. Francis and a Franciscan world view. And they were captive for that whole 8 minutes. You can listen to what I said here. And I got to bless all those pets. Even cooler. The SPCA also spoke about their work and we gave the collection to that work. and after we were all done, in maybe 45 minutes, we had morning tea together. A great time of socializing and a lot of fun. So my take is, if you are a Franciscan, hold a

God, free me of god

Last week, being my first week back from my time in the USA, was a pretty busy week. I did not really write my sermon, but on Sunday wrote out some wee notes. That is why I did not post anything. To be honest, this week is looking pretty busy with two funerals and my daughters 30th birthday party in Auckland on Saturday. I will write a theme, but don't get too hopeful for sermon notes. These are pretty rough notes, so the actual sermon may be a little different. You can listen to that here .   Gate Pa – Year B  29 th Sunday in Ordinary Time, Readings: Psalm                          Psalm 104:1-9, 24, 35c                                  First Reading :              Job 38:1-7, 34-41                                Second Reading :        Hebrews 5:1-10                                   Gospel :                        Mark 10:35-45                                                What I want to say: to explore the invitati

Job and the freedom of God

I read somewhere that within the rabbinic tradition of Judaism scripture was like a multifaceted diamond. You gaze, contemplate, read, discuss a passage from one angle, and then turn the diamond/passage a little and gaze, contemplate, read, wrestle with, discuss from another. How far we have come from that understanding. Today churches are pulled apart over the one right way to read scripture. And so often our way of reading is shaped by our world view, our hopes and dreams for ourselves and those we love – no the other way around. Even the disciples were not immune to that. James and John in today’s story were pretty sure they were being biblical and they were right – despite everything Jesus had been saying about his impending death. There were some big themes is Jewish scripture. One is: because God is moral and just, God will reward you if you are good with long life, wealth and children; and if you are not good, then the opposite. James and John were simply looking for the

Some Reflections on Slavery in the USA and what that has to do with our story in aotearoa-New Zealand.

Bonnie and I have been in the USA over the last couple of weeks. For the first five days we were in New Orleans, and then three days in Washington DC. The final 2 days were spent in Philadelphia before I went off to a TSSF meeting. New Orleans was great. We did a couple of tours and learnt some of the history. This history is important. This year is the 300th anniversary from its founding as a French colony under Louis XIV. From New Orleans the French controlled the hugely important Mississippi River which provided an excellent transport system for the many properties that spoke wheeled off it. Louisiana was French and Catholic. The colony was built on huge numbers of European colonists - all of whom had to be catholic by law, and slaves. The Catholic church taught that black people have souls. And although France and Spain (who took over Louisiana in the 1760's) took part in the slave trade, those slaves had the right to buy their freedom and live as free people of colour with