Showing posts from May, 2018

Midweek Musing. On the long neglected Spirit.

We don't talk about the Spirit much in church. We have this day, Pentecost, when we celebrate the Spirit coming. But for the majority of our words – we give them to Jesus and God.

Now, Jesus, fair enough. We follow the Way of Jesus, through whom we understand God to have renewed God's relationship with creation.
Last week I related that through Jesus we gain a new understanding of God: Creator/Father; Word/Wisdom; Holy Spirit.
So we do talk about Jesus a lot.
But I wonder if we don't look through Jesus to the Divine – Holy One, Holy Three – quite enough?

We give a lot of words to 'God', too. I am becoming more and more dissatisfied with the way we use the name 'God', however. In creeds and songs and prayers we use the name 'God' to speak of the Holy Three, or the elements of the Three we also call Father, Maker, Creator.
I find it clearer to use 'God' for the Three together.
My concern is that to equate 'God' with only one 'perso…

Diary of a chronically exhausted vicar. Part 2

I slept for the three days I was ordered to rest. Took it easy on the return to work for two days. Then Sunday I preached twice, and was pretty tired, but not as ill and unsteady on my feet as I had been the previous Sunday after the two services.

I got myself some takeaway for lunch. I think part of what I like about that particular one is the going for a drive to get it. Not a long drive. 15 minutes each way, but it's kind of nice to take a bit longer to get home after church, letting go time or something.

Ate my takeaway watching netball. I miss playing netball, but watching the top flight players doesn't make me sad for what I miss because as a casual social player, I am not in their league at all!

Chatted with family on skype for Mother's Day, which was lovely, but they all seemed as tired as me, which is saying something.

Then I was at an ecumenical church service for the World Council of Churches' Week of Prayer for Christian Unity. I was reading the gospel. Par…

Midweek Musing: Moving from resurrection to living

These were my thoughts for the Wesley congregation, worshipping at 9 am and 10:30 on Sunday 13 May. 
Biblical stories: The Ascension of Jesus from Juke 24:44–53 and Acts 1:1–11 

I am not so much interested in the empirical details of what may or may not have happened in the ascension of Jesus to heaven. I am interested in what the disciples felt, what they understood, and how that changed their empirical, actual, living and being. We get a sense of that in the breathless quality to this story, as with so many of the stories of Jesus resurrected. We also get a sense of the impact on the disciples in the very fact of the story being told for long enough that it became part of the foundational stories of the Christian faith movement.

More to the point, however, I am interested in what we feel, hearing this story, and how our encounter with the story, and with God, with Jesus, through the story, will change our living and being. This is a story of transformation and of action.

The story o…

Diary of a chronically exhausted vicar. Part 1.

It's Thursday. This time last week I came home for lunch after spending the morning at the church as usual, and I slept. For three hours.
I had been having a great week: nice drive to Yass (an hour away) on a lovely sunny Monday; productive day Tuesday planning worship, finishing off a translation of a portion of Acts, pastoral visit and a walk to the post office in the afternoon; a long walk and a hearty breakfast with church folk Wednesday morning, lunch with more church folk, and more work on the translation in the afternoon.
Thursday was an early start for the midweek prayer service, but I can usually perk up after coffee. I yawned my way through the whole morning, feeling myself skidding towards a crash.

I have written of the chronic exhaustion that plagued me throughout the PhD years. Debilitating financial stress a major culprit, and for many years before those three alone. No doubt 20 years of living with depression didn't help, either.
Muscles, inflamed, ached through…

Midweek Musing: To bear fruit is to love

Reflection: Sunday 29 April 2018 – Easter 4
Sarah Agnew | Wesley and St Aidan’s Uniting Church

Acts 8:26-40
1 John 4:7-21 and
John 15:1-8

To bear fruit is to love. It is to feel love. To show love. To do love. And how are we to bear fruit – to love? We are to remain with Jesus.

That is the focus of this portion in John, not the burning of the non fruit bearing branches in apocalyptic anger and damnation. Not an anti-Jewish polemic that situates Jews as the non fruit bearing branches to be cast off. Not an anti-Judas rhetoric, either, that casts off a disciple Jesus did not himself condemn.

The Greek words for ‘cut off’ may carry some violent overtones, however, but I understand from those who have witnessed the pruning of vines that it is devastatingly more than simply trimming a branch or two here and there. I was watching Chris trim the bushes in the children’s courtyard this week, and that was heavy, hard, you could almost say, violent, work. Airo, one of the greek words translate…