Showing posts from December, 2018

Christmas musing. So, this is Christmas. What next?

This is my Christmas Eve reflection for the joint worship of Wesley Uniting Church and Canberra Baptist Church. 

The Shepherd’s Story 
In that region,
shepherds lived,
watching over flocks
in fields.

On that night,
in those fields,
an angel standing
startled shepherds.

The angel spoke,
to calm their fear
with good news
of great joy for all.

A baby born
in David’s town,
your long awaited hope
he is: Messiah! See!

Go find the child,
wrapped up tight,
lying in a manger.

A multitude - a
sudden multitude
of singing, praising,
angels - Glory be
to Holy One, and peace
be known on earth.

A silence - a sudden,
still and shocking
silence fell
among the shepherds.

Then urgency, we
must go - now -
to Bethlehem, to find
this hope, this child.

On that night
shepherds left
their fields, their
flocks, and flew
into town in a flurry -

then fell to silence,
once again,
at the foot
of a newborn’s bed.

Mary heard,
Joseph heard,
everyone awake
heard the shepherd’s tale.

Angels and singing,
shock and running,
silence and awe and wonder.

Mary took the sh…

Monday Musing. On wondrous love.

Mary and Joseph, inspired by love. My reflection from worship at Wesley Uniting Church, Canberra, Advent 4. 

Mary’s Song: Holy Is
My soul sings in wonder,
with awe for Holy One.
My soul sings with joy, sings
the hope I know in God.

Holy One saw me and chose me -
see this gift, this blessing,
and sing with me in awe, for
Divine mysterious grace.

Holy is the Sacred Name,
great and worthy of praise.
Mercy flows from Holy one,
ever and ever unending.

Strength is in Holy One,
to scatter the proud of heart.
Just is Holy One to remember
the forgotten, downtrodden.

Kind is Holy One, to feed
the hungry delight upon delight.
Holy One remembers the people
made holy by the Sacred Name.

Mercy flows from Holy One,
a promise made of old;
mercy flows for Abraham’s family,
for Sarah’s kin in the Divine.

[Sarah Agnew, from Pray the Story]

My soul sings in wonder, with joy, sings the hope I know in God.

Mary’s response to this unexpected, disruptive, shame-bringing and untimely pregnancy is praise. Is jo…

Midweek Musing. On comfort and joy: tidings for whom?

God rest you, merry, gentlemen.  Ever looked past the patriarchal assumption and seen the grammar?  I hadn't, until I started to write new words to a tune I quite like. 

God rest you - rest as a verb, meaning keep. God keep you, or perhaps, God comfort you?  There is an argument for 'merry' as meaning 'mighty', but in today's terms, we would hear, 'joy', I think. God keep you joyful.   And thus the refrain: tidings (a message) of comfort and joy. 
And this hope or prayer for comfort and joy for 'you' or 'us' is an underlying message of many a Christmas carol. But I started to wonder, is the message of reassurance for 'us' - and my 'us' is a predominantly already comfortable, materially speaking, and in many other ways as well, community. Do I want to preach comfort to the already comfortable? Is there not a risk of inviting complacency if I do that?  Is the story of Jesus, of God born into humanity, not about presence wit…

Midweek Musing. Preparing for peace.

This week we celebrated the second week of Advent and its call towards peace. We heard from the gospel of Luke Jesus' cousin John calling to the people to prepare. We heard Paul's prayer for peace for his friends in Philippi. And I mused on the notion that we are none of us at peace until we are all at peace.

Emma Lazarus, 19th century American poet, most famous for the lines of her sonnet which appear on the Statue of Liberty, wrote on another occasion, these words to her fellow Jews – ‘we have not sufficient solidarity to perceive that when the life and property of a Jew in the uttermost provinces of the Caucasus are attacked, the dignity of a Jew in free America is humiliated. Until we are all free, we are none of us free.’

Today, this Advent 2 when we are invited to consider the theme of peace, I want to think about freedom in terms of peace; that living liberated is living in, with, at, peace. So that we might say, Until we all know peace, we none of us know peace.

Beyond t…

Diary of a chronically exhausted vicar. Episode 19.

I checked in with the GP this week, and it was a worthwhile visit.

I'd been frustrated again over the weekend with the fatigue quickly following any activity. I felt that very little progress was being made towards recovery. It was time to check in with the GP and ask, is it still only a matter of time, or is there more I or we can do to manage this illness?

Looking at the blood test results, she further qualified the diagnosis as post viral fatigue, rather than necessarily glandular fever itself again. I don't know that it feels any different for the patient, to be honest. But it did raise a bit more of a red flag warning for me that if we're into post viral fatigue, we're another step towards chronic fatigue syndrome, if indeed that's not already in the background of all that I'm experiencing already.

Hearing that I spent the two weeks after the last visit completely resting, and since then have returned slowly to work, a few hours a day 'at work' and…

Midweek Musing: What Mary knew.

Advent is here, so we enter the story of Jesus born into humanity again, and we will be immersed in holiday season songs and movies and gatherings. Midweek musings will take on an appropriate seasonal flavour. Enjoy.

This week, I have composed a poem inspired by twitter ‘public service announcements’ replying to the Christmas song, ‘Mary did you know?’, with ‘yes, she knew’ statements.

What Mary knew
the north is white,
the south is gold,
high and holy colours of the season

speakers everywhere
jingle bells and deck halls,
sing joy and Gloria, and as
they ask again did
Mary know?, we
shout back, but do you
know the story, know the
angels, the inquiring,
well-informed respondent
saying yes to God’s
               but then
again this question,
did you know?, may be
a question of ourselves,
of a story twinkling
merry bells obscuring
labour cries and baby tears,
our skipping down the Nile
and back before we recognise
the fear - do we know, do
we understand, the weight
that family …