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.
Most of us are addicted to achieving results and success, and it is crippling us. Jesus leads us towards an unexpected and almost unrecognisable freedom.
It is with the love of Christ taking charge of us, that we can venture into combat with the wrongs of our time without being dragged down by the very same demons that we oppose.
Jesus possesses an astonishing freedom in God and will not be used to justify causes of nation, religion, status quo, or even his own family and friends.
I acknowledge the Traditional Owners of the land on which we meet today. I pay my respects to their Elders, past and present, and emerging. I pay my respects to any who may be here today. I’m not sure if you know this but I read this week that Australia Day as a celebration of the founding of this nation only became…
Where are the signs of the emerging culture of God?
What is God challenging you to return to? Will you be a witness to the joy and love, and the possibilities of the alternative world heralded by Jesus?
Jesus models for us a willingness to listen, learn and grow rather than a domineering certainty that insists on knowing who’s right and who’s wrong.