Monthly Archives: May 2014

Christ descended … Christ ascended (The Sunday of the Ascension, Year A, 1 June 2014)

Readings
Ephesians 1.15–23
Luke 24.44–53

 

When we say the Apostles’ Creed, we say these words:

I believe in Jesus Christ,
God’s only Son, our Lord,
who was … crucified, died, and was buried;
he descended to the dead.
On the third day he rose again;
he ascended into heaven,
he is seated at the right hand of the Father,
and he will come to judge the living
and the dead.

‘He descended to the dead … he ascended into heaven.’

Please, do not ever get used to that! Don’t take it for granted, not for even one moment.

‘Jesus descended to the dead … Jesus ascended into heaven.’ Jesus went to the lowest depths, through a terrible death to the grave. And Jesus is now at the right hand of God. Jesus is Lord! I repeat: don’t take that for granted.

Jesus descended to the dead.

Jesus died, really died, on the cross. In his death, he identified himself with sinners—and with the victims of sin. He identified with those who suffer for their own sins, and with those who suffer because of the sins of others.

He did that so that when we suffer, he shows us that he is with us. Jesus is one with all people who suffer.

It doesn’t really matter what our suffering is. It may be the suffering of a failed marriage, of poverty, of unemployment.

It may be the suffering of grief, mental illness, disability or loneliness.

It may be the suffering of people locked away indefinitely in detention centres through the policies of successive Australian governments.

Christ suffered for us, and Christ suffers with us here and now. In the hells we endure here, he is with us. He has descended to the dead, to those who are dead in their own sins and those who are dead inside through the sins of others.

Jesus descended to the dead so that the dead may have hope. So that we may find the way, all the way back to the Father.

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Do not live with fear … (Easter 6A, 27 May 2014)

Thanks to St Catherine’s Anglican Church, Middle Park for your hospitality, and for allowing me to preach.

 

Reading
1 Peter 3.13–22

 

I have some good friends who are Uniting Church ministers in Melbourne; some of them were arrested just last Monday. One is a past national president of the Uniting Church. In Sydney, other ministers, nuns and priests were arrested. One was the current moderator of the Uniting Church in New South Wales.

How come these clergy and religious were arrested?

A spokesperson for them said:

Australian churches have been speaking with one voice in increasingly outspoken terms for many years in both this government and the previous Labor governments about their deep, grave concern for the plight of asylum seekers especially the 1,023 children currently in detention.

1023 children. It wasn’t about the Budget, even though it has caused many people to be anxious for their future. It wasn’t about climate change, though that concerns them greatly. It was about asylum seekers. Especially the 1023 children in detention.

It was about the effects that being in detention has on the psychological health of such people. It was about an approach that seems to emphasise deterrence so much that those people who have well-founded fears of persecution are being ignored.

So why were they arrested? Continue reading

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Exploring South America: 10 Chilean Moments (A Photo Essay)

Exploring South America: 10 Chilean Moments (A Photo Essay).

…some beautiful photography from my daughter in Chile.

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Meeting Jesus again and again (Easter 3A, 4 May 2014)

Reading Luke 24.13–35

… the Church is a pilgrim people, always on the way towards a promised goal; here the Church does not have a continuing city but seeks one to come. On the way Christ feeds the Church with Word and Sacraments, and it has the gift of the Spirit in order that it may not lose the way.

Paragraph 3 Uniting Church Basis of Union (1992)

The story of the Road to Emmaus is one of my favourite stories in all the scriptures. Before we talk about it, I want you to notice one thing: this story takes the shape of a service of worship—and that’s no accident.

It begins with people gathered with the Risen Lord. These people hear the Word of the Lord. Then they receive bread and wine from the Risen Lord. Just as we are now.

Let’s get to the story. Continue reading

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