2 Timothy 1:1-14
Today’s reading from Paul’s second letter to Timothy gave me the perfect excuse to indulge in one of my favourite sermon-procrastinating pastimes – searching the internet for interesting quotes.
Don’t you just love it when Jesus praises dishonest behaviour?
I particularly like the way that many Bibles, choose to spin this as the ‘parable of the shrewd manager’. Yeah, ok, the guy acted shrewdly, but I wonder what you would call a man who, afraid he was going to be sacked for squandering resources, used his final day at work to abuse his position, and rip off his boss in order to buy himself friends for the future? Shrewd? Maybe. Dishonest crook, more likely.
Don’t you just love this parable? This image of God as the Shepherd who cares about the individual sheep, who seeks out the lost, who celebrates over the return of the wanderer.
Exodus 12:1-13 | Luke 22:14-20
So welcome to an episode of “what on earth are we going to do with this story”.
A story in which we are told of God committing an act of terrorism. Systematically killing the firstborn of every family in an entire nation, in order to get the political leadership to change their direction.
This week Sureka I celebrated our twenty second wedding anniversary. Now while many of the details of the preparations for the wedding have faded into the midst of time (actually, I managed to avoid much of the planning by still being in England when decisions had to be taken), one thing that does stick in my mind was the incredible process of making a seating plan for the reception.
Jeremiah 1:4-10 | Acts 2:14-18
I love the call of Jeremiah. Not for those famous opening words – “before I formed you in the womb I knew you” – with which God declares that Jeremiah was set aside for great things; nor for the way that God puts the words into Jeremiah’s mouth, appointing him to pluck up and to tear down, to build and to plant, to destroy and overthrow – just with words.
No, I love the call of Jeremiah because of his response.
Over the past couple of weeks we’ve been looking at the nature of the invitation that we have received, and in whatever way, responded to, in our own lives, the invitation that we have to share with the world around us.
Psalm 85 | Luke 11:1-13
Prayer is complicated. There is probably no part of the Christian faith that is at the same time so universally valued and respected, and at the same time so diversely understood, or openly not understood.
As we explore, over these next few weeks, this idea of the invitation, the invitation that we have received, from God, the invitation that we have to offer to the world around us, the invitation to taste and see that the Lord is good, to experience the love and welcome of Jesus Christ, we’re going to spend a bit of time just reflecting on what it is that we have ourselves received, what this ‘good news’ is that we have to share.
Hosea 11:1-11 | Luke 12:22-32
Hosea, along with the so-called minor prophets, is probably one of the less frequently explored books of the Bible. And that’s probably understandable – the minor prophets do have their odd characteristics, their strange characters speaking to situations which are very different from our, frequently using imagery which is very alien.
So two weeks ago in our reading from the letter to the Galatian Church we explored how Paul exhorted the followers of Jesus in Galatia to take seriously the freedom that Christ had won for them and the Spirit had gifted to them: freedom from the guardianship of the Law, that had existed to protect and guide God’s people until the day that they were set free to live according to the freedom of the Spirit – the freedom in which, he gloriously declared, releases us from those shackles of male or female, Jew or Gentile, slave or free.
One of the great temptations for the preacher, I believe, is to always choose to preach on the bits of the Bible that you are most comfortable with, that you find clearly and easily conforming to the overall narrative of the scriptures as you understand it.
Last Sunday, of course, was Pentecost. But you might have noticed that our readings left out perhaps the most famous part of the Pentecost story – the Spirit descending on the disciples like tongues of fire, and the miracle of language that followed, as everyone heard them proclaiming the good news of Jesus Christ in their own language.
Acts 2:14-21 | Romans 8:14-17
The disciples had been told to go back to Jerusalem and wait; promised that they would receive power from heaven, that they would be Jesus’ witnesses throughout Israel, Samaria, and to the ends of the earth.
So we come to the last week of our series on “Hope from the last book”, our reflections on the message of hope that the book of Revelation, though it was written for another people in another time, carries for us in modern day Australia.