Showing posts from January, 2019

Diary of a chronically exhausted vicar. Episode 20

It's been a while between diary entries. I had another infusion of iron at Christmas - the 12 month supply injected into my blood stream last June only lasted six. I had a couple of weeks home at Christmas, enfolded in the embrace of my family. This combination seems to have restored some energy and a sense of well being. There is still a way to go.

I am learning to embrace the life I have, to see in this illness an invitation more than a burden. The invitation I see is to a contemplative life, to a counter-cultural life, to a life perhaps of prophetic witness.

A slower pace is necessary for my health. I want, however, to make use of the stillness, to take from my rest some nourishment. So, while on occasion I need a day of clocking out entirely and binge-watching a whole season of Call the Midwife (this past Monday), most days I can pay more attention as I rest, can listen and learn while I am still.

As I move into this new year, I am seeking to adjust my habits and my daily rhyt…

Midweek Musing. On sport and grace.

To the side of the spotlight, not quite in the shadows, but not entirely in the light, stand two 'losers'. Behind them, off court and far from Melbourne already, are others. Tennis players who are not showered with glory, but who have shone, none-the-less.

The two 'losers' on finals weekend stood in their mixed emotions with honesty and with generosity. Clearly disappointed not to have won this final match, they had the presence of mind, the generosity towards themselves and their teams, to see and to name what they had, indeed, won this fortnight.

They had overcome injuries severe enough to bring with them the fear of losing the gift of tennis altogether.
They had been accompanied by teams, loyal, courageous friends, families, mentors, enduring tough times with hope.
They had been cheered on by crowds here in Australia, and around the world.
They had won renewed respect of their colleagues, the some-time opponents, companions in this strange and fierce world they inha…

Midweek Musing. Better together, better different.

I offered this reflection at Wesley Uniting Church, Canberra, this Sunday 20 January 2019. Biblical portions were John 2:1-11 and 1 Corinthians 12:1-11. 

I was at a gathering of Christians to pray together this week; an ecumenical gathering, a multicultural gathering. For a prayer gathering, it felt to me quite wordy; for a worship gathering, it felt to me rather full of protocols, they seemed to need to thank everybody. The theology we sang used language I generally don’t prefer. Things were not done how I would do them, nor in a way that met my expectations, shaped by experience. I was often not really comfortable.

This was a Christian gathering, and it was me, a member of the church in Australia, a Uniting Church person and ours is one member of the global body of Christ. But if I expect every worship gathering I attend to express ideas about God like mine, in language that suits me, and to be structured according to my preferences and expectations – well, wouldn’t that be expectin…

Midweek Musing. Remembering

How do we remember who we have been, to honour the work, the moments, the learning and growing, while continuing to grow, learn, inhabit the moments, work for our present and future?

As a person who appreciates the symbolic - rituals, gestures, signs and symbols - I place symbols about my person.

On several occasions, in quiet moments together these past two weeks, my three-year-old niece has asked, ‘Aunt Sarah, what is that on your arm? Where do your rings come from? What about your earrings?’ And I reply, what does it look like? The picture on my arm looks like a feather, as does one of the rings, another is a butterfly. They come, the rings, from Santa Fe and Scotland, Adelaide, England, and Prague.
I don’t tell her yet, but I am certain I will as her already sound understanding grows even more, that the feather ring and tattoo are symbols of the season in which I stood confidently, embracing my identity and role in the community as storyteller-poet-minister. The Scotland rings con…

Midweek Musing: A new year has begun.

And what have we learnt from the one we’ve left behind?

Christmas 2018 was the first Christmas without their mums, for three friends from childhood / youth. I have learnt, again, to treasure those we love. Two weeks before Christmas, my mum turned 70. I was able to fly home to spend the day with her, as a surprise. To be with her, just enough extravagance to make the day feel special, without going overboard: that was the best gift to give. I was home for Christmas, too, and have been back on two other occasions, both for birthdays as it happens, in this first year living in Canberra. I’ve had two visits from family members as well. Presence. I was able to put more money towards gifts this Christmas than I have for the past three or four combined; but it’s the being present that is even more valuable than the quality gifts. Presence. Family. Love. I learn over and over how profound are these gifts. Hold them close.

January 2018 ushered in a new decade, a new season of life.
This seaso…