Posted in Easter, Lectionary Yr A, Uncategorized

Advocate, helper, friend, comforter. Mary Poppins, Tonto, Dr Who’s companions. Easter 6 John 14:15-21

holy Spirit

John 14:15-21

This weeks reading is about the Holy Spirit, it was interesting that across the translations there were 4 different words used to try and explain what the Gospel writer was trying to say.. Comforter, advocate, friend and helper, I think I have read the word companion as well, each of these words give us a different understanding of the relationship and the purpose of the Holy Spirit.

This got me to thinking about what would be some of the more current equivalent to these roles. The truth is this week I really wanted to draw Mary Poppins, Tonto and the companions of Doctor Who . (I am a whimp, I thought some of you might find it a little disrespectful, not my intention mind you! ). Two characters that are quite well known who were companions and a few more that I am willing to help you out with.

I was pondering what do these characters tell us about the human desire to have partners, helpers in our lives? The first thing that it tells me is that there is still a longing in humanity to have someone come alongside us and stick with us through the thick and thin.

Let’s start with Mary Poppins, oh how I would love someone who could come in and clean up my messes with the blink of an eye! or to have a travel bag light enough to carry but able to fit just about anything in. The truth is she was a companion who was tough but also kind in a time when things felt really out of control. Someone who walked alongside those children reminding they were loved and how wide and rich the wonders of the world are, even amongst the chaos.

I am a mad Johnny Depp fan so I will be talking about his version of Tonto (sorry for you older readers). Early in the movie the Lone Ranger is so busy being right that he doesn’t take time to listen and figure out what is really going on, later Tonto finds the Lone Ranger almost dead and does all he can to bring him back to life, he is his conscience and the vioce of wisdom (or craziness) in his ear that talks through the options. He always has his back in a fight.

In Dr Who the companions are the ones who inspire his adventures and help him see things as though for the first time, they are his conscience and keep him on track when ocassionally he would prefer to walk away or rage to a point of utter distruction.

As I ponder these companions, helpers, friends, compassionate ones I gain a whole new insight into how the Holy Spirit has played a massive role in my life, the compassionate one who sticks with me through the chaos, is kind but tough, who pulls out a bag of tricks that is both surprising and sometimes seems impossible. I feel like the  Spirit always has my back, offers wisdom and insight. The Spirit mocks me as I sit in my own importance of being right and waits till I am willing to hear the whole story , (I think too there are days it feels like the Spirit sends me on wild goose chases!) It is the Spirit who has led me on amazing adventures I would not have embarked on without her leading and she shows me things in a new light as though for the first time. The Spirit is my conscious and holds me to account when I want to walk away or rage to the point of distruction.

This pondering on companions got me thinking about the importance of physical companions and what it is they show us about ourselves and life. We trust them with so much, the Spirit often uses them to be the physical presence of God we need. I pray you may have great ones around you as well!

Blessings beautiful people!

modern holy spirit

Posted in Lectionary Yr A, Uncategorized

In my Father’s House there are many rooms. John 14:1-14, Easter 5

inmy fathers house there are many rooms

John 14:1-14

I don’t know about you but often when I have heard this reading in the past I have thought of God having a massive hotel and all the rooms were exactly the same you checked in and there you had it. This time when I read the reading I wondered what would an ideal room to God look like? I got to thinking  how my idea of a room and everyone elses idea of a room would be different.  Which of course changed the whole design of God’s house, because I don’t think God is limited to only my experience.  The more I played with this idea, the crazier it got, Asian architecture, African, Indian, Pacific islands.

Then I got to thinking why does it matter to us or to the reader about where God has room for us? For me it is about belonging, Jesus and God are making room for us, they are helping us, making their home our home, for the rest of eternity. I was thinking about how different each of our concepts of home would be, from what we eat, to the habits we have. God has space for us and our world in God’s world, I am guessing because I love the diversity of what the human race is, God would love it even more so, not something to be wiped clean so you have a clinical hotel room but a rich and beautiful homely place that we belong.

As if that is not enough Jesus says you don’t even have to worry about how you are going to get there, Jesus will meet us and show us the way so we don’t get lost. The entrance would be easy with ramps and lifts because everyone is welcome. It’s just about trusting Jesus.

It can be really scary going to  a new place, might be fun for a visit but if we pick up everything and move there, there comes a time where you just need your Vegemite! Jesus tells us not to worry, God knows our needs and is with us all the way. This trip is really worth investing in!

As you colour today you might like to draw your idea of home in the gap at the front.  I would love to see it!

Posted in Uncategorized

Eco Theology, Genesis 1:26-31, What a wonderful world!

eco sermon

Genesis 1:26 – 31 NIV

Genesis 1:26-31 Message

This week we have a bonus doodle as a friend of mine is running an eco theology sermon competition and I thought it would be fun to doodle on it..

It  is unusual for me to include two versions of the reading I am looking at but it might surprise you to know, I often do read multiple versions of the reading before I start.. The bible was not written in English and I don’t beleive that one translator has it perfectly correct, but together we gain a better understanding.

I was talking to another friend this week about how we understand caring for our world from a biblical perspective, for me this reading in Genesis is the key. This reading provides both the reason for the trouble we are in and the hope for how things could be different. Let’s start with the trouble, if you look at the NIV version you can see it talks about God creating people to rule over creation and to subdue it. This is exactly what people are doing, they see that the earth and all that is in it, is ours to use and abuse as we please. If we were to simply look at these readings we are justified in just about everything we do to the world..

I suspect that when God talked to the author of these writings in a diffierent language to ours, God may have had something else in mind. I speak from a couple of experiences that have happened to me only this week where I had read something , as had others and we came up with a totally different understandings using exactly the same words. It was different because of the context of which we were coming from.

I am an ever hopeful person, I try very hard to see the best in people and it takes alot to go down before I remember that people can do some pretty horrible things as well as good. I wonder with this reading whether God was thinking the same thing.. “This mob we will make them just like us, we will give them the power to rule over and use this beautiful world just like we do. It will be fantastic.” I wonder whether God like I am, is bitterly disapointed when the hard ugliness of what human reality is, shows itself again as far less than that..

I am grateful for the grace that comes from Jesus entering the world, I feel like it is God’s honest reflection on humanity. Through Jesus entering the world, God says, I know you don’t get what you could really be, but I will continue to believe in that beautiful vision of the world and you in the hope you will become it.

Which brings me to the message, I think it gives a much better understanding of those words.. It begins by reminding us that we are made reflecting the very nature of God. What do you know of the nature of God, how does your humanity reflect this?  For me whilst God is powerful beyond imagination, flinging stars into the heavens, God does not Lord it over us, but works with us, making the most of who we are and what we can be..

The next line is key for me.. So they can be responsible.. Responsible is a very different word to rule over. Responsible reminds us that we are to work to the benefit of both, not merely use the item for our own benefit. This is where I think we have it wrong, we have been so busy using our world, and life, for our own benefit we forgot that we are responsible to benefit both us and all of creation.

The vision God had for the world was a beatiful thing, all the things we are blessed with, to benefit us is amazing!! At the moment I can’t draw them without being saddened by the reality we are living in. Maybe it is time to really work on those little choices we make to make a big difference. Switch off light switches and technology when you don’t need it, remember your bags, recycle, pick up your veges without the packaging, take a cup to get your takeaway coffee. Maybe it is time we all put our voices together, to let the bigger organisations who are letting us get away with this, please help us to be the  best of humanity we can be, set limits, curb greed.

As human beings God knew we had good days and bad days,  and I think we need to be gracious with ourselves and each other, God is, but lets make sure we are not just using that as an excuse to not have a go. To have this vision that God has as a reality is a beautiful thing, but more than that our future depends on it.

Posted in Easter, Lectionary Yr A, Uncategorized

Abundant life, Easter 4, John 10:1-10

good shepherd

John 10:1-10

Sorry I haven’t been online for a while, I had realised that the task had become more of a chore for others, rather than my way of connecting with God and the text in a deeper way.  It seems a break has helped! I hope you had a blessed Easter.

The reading this week is one I have heard a few times before. The story of Jesus the Good shepherd. I have heard from a couple of sources that the Shepherds of the time used to sleep accross the gate, to keep the animals in and to keep the predators out.  The reading highlights that Jesus is the gate to abundant life, there wil be others that will try and sneak in but they are thieves and robbers.

I was thinking about the things that seek to get our attention and rob us of the abundant life that God has visioned for us. Sometimes these things lead us to death, like the sheep who would have been stolen away by theives. Some of those things for me are wanting to achieve impressive things, being more concerned about the impression people get rather than building  solid relationships that are real and honest, being woried about the future and the changes that will happen in my world, whether they be economical and the need to have enough for when we finally retire which stops me from being generous now, or environmental and what will happen to our planet, the drive to keep everyone happy, the desire to provide my kids with the best opportunities. I haven’t even started on the being a good wife, daughter, sister, minister! As I reflect on these things the thing that motivates alot of them is to have an abundant and fulfilling life, yet all of them distract me from being at peace and living. I think this is the irony of this reading those things that rob us in life are the things that give false promises that they provide the key to an abundant life, but it is really Jesus who does.

It is the times when I have asked God what to do in a situation that I have taken time to hear wisdom, when I pray about the situation with my kids I don’t quite so easily get driven by the fears of not being a good parent (some days I still do!), when I start my work remembering it is actually Gods work I don’t feel quite so much the need to prove myself and I can be humble enough to make mistakes and learn, when I remember my call is to love my neighbour I care less about how my lawn looks and more about how I connect with the people around me, when I remember this is God’s world I take time to remember I am called to be a good steward with what I have and I take the time to switch off lights and devices and remember my shopping bags.

Jesus does give us the key to abundant life, God’s vision of life calls us to something much more richer and beautiful for all of life it is a pleasant change from the manic drive which can so easily consume us!

I realise I am a white middle class woman and these are my struggles, the line “first world problems” comes quickly to mind , tragically these first world problems stop me from remembering the plights of my brothers and sisters all around the world, if anything they create mind numbing guilt. I need to be honest about them so I can be part of the world that makes things better for everyone. I would love it if you were willing to share how Jesus moves you from the things that rob you to abundant life in the comments section!