Pentecost

Ezekiel 37:1-14 Ever felt like a dry bone? In Ezekiel’s day, the people of Israel certainly did. Not long before they had been part of something exciting, something vital; they had been part of the people called to be the people of God, and it had really meant something. They’d been a nation of that […]

Ascension

Luke 24:44-53 I’ve always found the story of the ascension rather odd. As with many of the accounts of Jesus after the resurrection, the imagery used by the gospel writers is a strange mixture of the real and surreal. Jesus, Luke takes pains to tell us, presented himself to his friends as alive, with many […]

Communion

Exodus 12:14-20 | Luke 22:7-23 Different Christian groups, you’ve probably noticed, can be quite different. Within Australia, we have a wide variety of Christian churches, worshipping God in their different way, with different music, and styles of prayer, different understandings of the Bible, different buildings… even different types of tea after the service. Even here […]

After the resurrection

John 20:19-31 What do you say after the resurrection? The gospel writers each spend a large chunk of their work on the days leading up to the death of Jesus, to the crucifixion itself, and to the events of Easter Sunday, the miracle when death ran backwards and Jesus was alive and with them again.

Triumphant Humility

Mark 1:1-11 | Philippians 2:5-11 And so we draw towards the end of Lent. Ahead of us lie the last supper, the Garden of Gethsemane, the betrayal of Jesus by Judas, the trial, Peter’s denial, the crowd crying for the release of Barabbas, the crucifixion, the thief on the cross next to Jesus, his death, […]

Jesus’ Prayer

John 17:20-26 This week I was at a Synod event, organised by UME, Uniting Mission and Education, at which a surprising number of the organisers, and a high proportion of those attending, were recent arrivals from other denominations – mostly Baptists and Anglicans, many of them former leaders in their denominations, but now identifying with, […]

Sorrow and Joy

John 16:16-33 The disciples’ confusion at what Jesus is trying to tell them continues to deepen as we read through chapter 16 of John’s account. And no wonder, as Jesus seems to have fallen into speaking in riddles: A little while, and you will no longer see me, and again a little while, and you […]

In my love

John 15:12-25 Perhaps in the last couple of weeks you’ve noticed that I slipped quietly over some of the more difficult phrases that Jesus spoke. Last week, for instance, we heard him say “They who have my commandments and keep them are those who love me; and those who love me will be loved by […]

Not orphans

John 14:15-31 Unlike some other traditions within the Christian faith, we in the Uniting Church don’t tend to give a great deal of attention to the Holy Spirit. Other than at Pentecost (of course), and Trinity Sunday (if the preacher doesn’t avoid the subject of the Trinity entirely) the spirit very much takes a back […]

Imposter Syndrome

John 13:21-38 This year for Lent I’ve decided to move a little bit away from the lectionary readings, and instead to focus in on a single aspect of Jesus’ final week.

Transfigured

Mark 9:2-9 The transfiguration has always felt a little bit odd to me. It’s a story so richly packed with imagery and allusions – the archetypal mountaintop experience, the figures from the history of the people of Israel, the clothes dazzling white, the cloud, the voice – that even as we enter into the story […]

Moving On

1 Corinthians 9:16-23 | Mark 1:29-39 Last week, in the gospel reading that comes immediately before today’s, we heard that, having set a man free from whatever it was that bound him, Jesus’ fame began to spread. Jesus, we read today, followed the accepted pattern of life for an observant Jew of his day; he […]

A new preacher

Mark 1:21-28 A new preacher walked into town. Perhaps some people knew him from his childhood days in Nazareth, a little hamlet in the nearby mountains, but he’d been a wanderer of late, spending time further out in the wilderness.

Reign of Christ

Talents and Value

Luke 19:1-10 | Matthew 25:14-30 This week we have returned to two stories today that I suspect we’ve all heard many times – the story of Zacchaeus, and the parable of the talents. In Luke’s gospel they are placed immediately after one another, but this being the year of Matthew we’ve heard his version of […]