Transfiguration Sunday – 26 February 2017

Preparing for this week’s services I read, again, in “Seasons of the Spirit”, “Clouds, shining faces, voices from the sky… young children readily accept the extraordinary stories in the Bible and receive them alongside stories of talking animals and magical lands. But then a healthy and age-appropriate skepticism changes how we hear stories like Jesus’ transfiguration.”

How sad it is that for the most part we expect our children to grow out of “wonder” and trust/belief in what the scientific, analytical, adult mind would deem supernatural or unnatural… and impossible.

How incredibly sad because it is within the realm of the “supernatural” that we are most likely to encounter God… or recognize and trust in such an encounter. It is in letting go of what we can touch and see, and prove that we are likely to hear and feel the presence of God.

No wonder Jesus says ‘Truly I tell you, unless you change and become like children, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven.’

At the very moment when we need reassurance of the reality of God we become adults who reject signs of an otherwise unseen world, in favor of scientific proof!

Many believers have told me that they have never had a “mountaintop experience” in the presence of God… a life changing moment of clarity and utter belief! Perhaps they are looking from the wrong perspective? Perhaps a change of lenses might enable us to observe the world (and life) from the perspective of innocent childhood.

Then again, we may, ourselves, be transformed by the events in life, seeing the world through the lens of Jesus love and teachings. Perhaps others are more likely to see the changes in us as we are transformed by the power of God in our lives.

I pray for you, many mountain top experiences and encounters with the wonder of God! And, if the encounters are quiet and gentle, never the less, I pray that the power of God may overshadow and continue to transform you so that you are seen and known as bearers of His light.

Seventh Sunday after Epiphany

The call of Jesus in Matthew is a hard call unless we start to think of the world in the way Jesus seemed to think of it. The economics of Jesus were the economics of abundance not scarcity. To give someone your cloak was for Jesus an act of giving out of abundance. For him, everything belonged to God. Life and all the earth were gifts to be shared not once but over and over. The culture in which we live is one where we too often we are frightened that what we have will be taken away.

What if we were to give as Jesus gave? We give because God gives. It’s as simple, as radical, as life-changing and as world-altering as that!

How would our faith communities be transformed if we decided to live in Jesus’ economy, to give and share out of the abundance of God’s goodness, secure in the certainty that God has provided enough for all?

Sixth Sunday after Epiphany

Over the last few weeks, as I have returned from holidays, I have had quite a few invitations to “come and have a coffee”, or “lets catch up for lunch”.

The drinking and eating have not been the purpose of the invitation – rather each one has been from someone who expressed a desire/need to catch up in order to talk through some issue or concern.

We do have a need for the nourishment of food and liquids in order for the sustaining of life – but there is also a deep need in each one of us to communicate and be in relationship with people we trust and respect – who also trust and respect us.

For a relationship of any sort to give “nourishment” to those involved there must be two-way communication and a sense that each one is equally invested in the relationship.

In my private prayer time this week I was reflecting on this as I read John 4:1-15 about Jesus’ encounter with the Samaritan woman at the well.

I have always seen this as a wonderful passage about Jesus unconditional offering of “living water” to all but it struck me that Jesus began his conversation with a request for a drink. He had no bucket so he asked for her to give him a drink.

Jesus begins with a need that this woman can fulfill! Interesting – we often begin our prayers with thanksgiving to God and regularly move on to requests – without thinking that there might be something that we can give to Jesus.

Have you ever thought that Jesus might be waiting for you to invite him along for a coffee and chat?

I begin each day with a cup of tea … and this week I decided I should offer to share that tea and time with Jesus… inviting Jesus to sit with me a while and chat. I’m glad I did. You might think I’m crazy, but Jesus accepted my invitation and I have felt Him beside me, off and on through each day.

Why not invite Jesus to join you for coffee/tea and a chat? I’m sure he would say yes as he is longing to spend time with you.

Fifth Sunday after Epiphany – 5 February 2017

Often in cartoons, when a person has a new idea, a light bulb appears above their head. What if, in all the ways we could think about people of faith being light in the world, we thought of light as the dawning of new ways of thinking about our faith, hope, and love? What if our communities were places that sought out, fostered and treasured new thinking about the world and people? What would that look like in our faith community? What if our community was the new-and-innovative-ideas-light of hope and love in the world?

I say this because; over the last few weeks I have spoken with people who are in fear. I have spoken with people who see no hope. Even on Wednesday morning, as I visited my doctor (an Australian citizen – born in India) about an health issue, she spoke to me of her concerns because of recent world events.

Jesus says (Mathew 5):

You are the light of the world. A city built on a hill cannot be hidden. No one after lighting a lamp puts it under the bushel basket, but on the lampstand, and it gives light to all in the house. In the same way, let your light shine before others, so that they may see your good works and give glory to your Father in heaven.

As children of God, walking in the steps of Christ our brother, we have a responsibility to bring hope to those who live in darkness. We ourselves must hold to faith, hope, and love. It is not for us to judge the hearts and motives of others or be drawn into the media maelstrom of fear mongering and hatred. For Jesus also says:

For I tell you, unless your righteousness exceeds that of the scribes and Pharisees, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven.

So let us resolve to pray for those in leadership and remember that God still holds the world and its people firmly in loving hands.