I want to look today at the story Jesus told in today’s gospel reading. It’s a story set on the road between Jerusalem and Jericho, and apart from the usual interpretations we bring to it, it is for me a story about chance encounters and being open to what happens. I’d like to start by…
The lectionary reading I’ve decided to focus on today is the reading from 2 Kings 5:1-14. I’ll be honest I chose this passage because of its unfamiliarity. Because of its strangeness. In undergrad I studied anthropology, the study of cultures, be it subcultures within our own culture or cultures more foreign. There’s a saying in anthropology that describes much of what the…
The instinct to call down fire on those we perceive as God’s enemies is a “fruit of the flesh” that must be supplanted by the fruits of love.
The God revealed to us in Jesus and experienced through the Holy Spirit is so dynamic and multi-facetted that we may find it hard to believe that we are always dealing with the one God.
The new humanity formed in the death and resurrection of Jesus speaks a language of love and compassion that transcends linguistic and cultural differences and celebrates unity in diversity.
Whenever we are invested in the status quo, we are at risk of being caught up in seeing the liberation that Jesus brings as a threat to be opposed.
In Christ’s ascension onto the mysterious cloud, we are gathered together into his mysterious presence.
Following the living Jesus is the pathway to healing, integrity and life, and sometimes it comes into conflict with “following the Bible”.
Outrageous love is the most obvious characteristic of Jesus, and therefore it is the one thing that will make us recognisable as his followers.
We come to be followers of Jesus, not when we believe certain facts about him, but when we hear his voice and follow what it says (even if we don’t know where the voice comes from).
Conversion to the way of Jesus is not just a matter of belief, but requires a serious reckoning with our past complicity with attacks on his way.
When we crusade against the evil of others, we end up crusading against Jesus himself, for he asks us to become givers and lovers of life.
We have been drawn into an unstoppable rumour that keeps interrupting the dominant story of fear, hostility and death.
Jesus shows us that being overly cautious about the boundaries of personal space and touch can, especially in worship, risk excluding, stigmatising and humiliating people.
If you set yourself against the other, you also cut yourself off from the Father who loves you both. You diminish yourself, cut off the other, and break the Father’s heart.
Jesus sets out to reshape our view of the relationships between sin, repentance and disaster, and if possible, to call us out of our spiral into global self-destruction.
In a world that is hell-bent on self-destruction, Jesus calls us to gather to him and to love faithfully and vulnerably with him, rather than surrendering to the hate and fear.
Lent calls us to faithfulness to God and we need to assess the direction of our journey, our call to ministry and also to meet our own demons.
Acknowledging and appreciating Jesus is relatively easy, but we find it much more difficult to transform our lives in conformity with his teaching.
The call to love our enemies is not a new law to slave at, but a call into a culture of love so wild and free and strong that no one can hate it out of us.