Posted in Lectionary Yr B, Uncategorized

Cosmic love, Advent 4, Luke 1:26-38

Scan_20171222

Luke 1:26-38

The last reflection in Advent for me is that of Love.. That moment when Mary finds out that she is with child from the angel Gabriel. Not just any child but a cosmic child that would impact throughout history. An ordinary woman in a simple place, a no body..

I got to see the new star wars movie this week and there is a line in it where someone says “you are nothing, you have no important bloodlines, you are a nobody, you are nothing to this story..”

It got me to thinking about how often God chose the nothing, ordinary people to play such an important part in the story. Even the listing of the lines of Jesus includes a bunch of women who were not from the best blood line. See God does not see who or where we have come from, but sees what we choose to do with where we find ourselves. Are we humble, are we adaptable, do we act in love? When we don’t are we willing to try again and learn from that. Money, power and privilege are hard things to put aside. Yet God came to save everyone..

That, is love.. A cosmic love that is so great it is beyond our vision and comprehension. It comes to us from the creativity that began the Universe and has a hope for the whole of creation; people, creatures and the planet.  We see it in the ordinary, that mystical moment of creation when cells divide and it eventually takes form to something amazing. God steps into this, this grotty, sweaty, ordinary world and trusts human beings with something important..

God still trusts us now, the young, the nobodies, those from obscurity. God trusts us with the most precious thing, life and love. When we have courage and trust ourselves into God’s hands, God changes the world. In the ordinary that we do every day..

So as you wait , still (has this baby not come yet!!!!!) may you see the love that is offered in the ordinary. A son who cleans up without asking, a husbands compassion, a daughter who in a moment calms down and chooses not to fight but to listen, a friend who reconnects unexpected, may they richly bless your heart as they have mine. In your moment of waiting I pray you see the love you are surrounded with even if you are alone. If it is not around you, maybe you could be that for another.

Merry Christmas friends. Love eternal is yours, mine and ours. How blessed are we!

 

 

Advertisements
Posted in Uncategorized

Natvit – toy.

Scan_20171217 (2)

Today in Church our fab team got the kids to help tell the story by dressing up their toys.. It was so ridiculously cute I tried to doodle it! Didn’t have alot of time but it was so much fun and super cute. Joseph was Iron Man, never thought of him as a bit of a super heroe before but I think that he was! After all he was given the guardianship of God’s child!

Posted in Lectionary Yr B

Lovely Day, Joy and John the Baptist, Advent 3B, John 1:6-8,16 – 24

Scan_20171215

 

 

John 1:6-8,16-24

Still in the season of waiting, I have had to do alot in the last week. Waiting in traffic, waiting in shopping centres, waiting for important people to arrive and then here we are back with John the Baptist again, two weeks in a row!! More waiting!! It can be so frustrating to have to wait, don’t people know I am important and have important things to do! It has been a great reminder that in Advent it is about waiting and looking out! So I have been trying to intentionally use my waiting time for looking out and rebooting myself in those moments of frustration!

This week we are in the week of joy.. Where is Joy with John the Baptist? It’s funny the whole time I was drawing this week’s doodle I was singing Lovely Day by Bill Withers..  When I read about John and I wonder about Joy, this is what comes to mind..

The good news John was singing out about is to remind us that we are loved and held with God. Forgiven for any transgressions and everyday is a new day.. When we repent, turn around from a life of selfishness ( I want to translate that into individualistic consumerism) it gives us time and space to appreciate the lovely day we have to be part of every day..

Just one look at God and everything is alright, no matter how hard the challenge, it will be alright.. This is the joy we find as we rise out of the water, washed clean and fresh.

Then I look at you
And the world’s alright with me
Just one look at you
And I know it’s gonna be
A lovely day
A lovely day

Thanks God!

Posted in Lectionary Yr B

Taming the wild angry beast, Advent 2B, December 10. Peace.

Scan_20171207Mark 1:1-8

“The beginning about the good news of Jesus.” This is how the text starts this week. It’s funny how you remember text differently. I had always thought about John being a bit judgemental and Jesus was the compassionate one. Yet here we are reading the text of John in the week of Peace. What does John tell us about peace? How does judgement bring peace? So I went back again, read it again and it begins with saying up front in Mark, this is about the good news of Jesus.

John is out there living a simple life in poverty. What is he offering that is so attractive to people? That is when I found it. That beautiful treasure I had so often skipped over in my reading of the text. “repentance for the forgiveness of sins”. I had often heard the repentance but I had forgotten that even John was about the forgiveness of sins.. actually so was the law.. God has always been trying to give people a chance to do it better. It would seem the disease of guilt has been an issue through all of history.

This last week I watched the movie Moana with my daughter. I love it, it is one of my  all time favourite kids movies. Warning if you haven’t seen it I am about to ruin it for you.. (Still watch it though it is great!) The story is about Moana trying to return the heart of  Te Fiti ( a good goddess) to her that had been stolen. Along the way they are attacked by Te Ka an angry volcanic god who was determined to stop her on the way.. When they finally get past Te Ka they discover that Te Fiti is gone. It is at that point that Moana realises (this is where I am going to ruin it!) that Te Ka was Te Fiti but without her heart her gifts of creativity and life had turned into violence and anger.

I think that guilt is one of the creatures that can steal our hearts and leave us in a place of being angry destructive beasts. If it doesn’t make us angry it can make us lock ourselves away afraid and no longer sharing the gifts we have with the world. God is right to help us to find ways to transform us back from this place. When Moana returns her heart to Te Fiti she is at peace and is able to use her gifts again for good.

John was out in the desert. He was giving people a physical way to cleanse away the guilt that came with the mistakes we make in our lives, but more than that he gave them ways to turn them around, repentance. The physical act, the reminder of God’s love for us, the returning to who we were meant to be, it does truly bring a peace that is beyond understanding. But John knew there was more, there was one who was coming that would bring the Spirit.  One who not only returns us to how we were but one that amps it up to the next level , that shows us who we can truly be and works with us to spread that love, joy and new hope across the whole world. Just like Te Fiti when her heart was returned. Disney does an amazing job of the animation and to watch the life return accross the whole of the world is a beautiful thing..

My prayer for you this week friends is that you might find the peace that comes from repentance and that the life God has put in you, may spread across the whole of your world, restoring it to the beautiful creation God had in mind when you were knitted together in your mother’s womb.  Peace friends!

 

Posted in Lectionary Yr B

The final word is love.. Advent 1B Mark 13: 24- 37 December 3

Scan_20171201

 

Mark 13:24- 37

I must confess this week it has been quite difficult to make sense of the reading.. We have just arrived in Advent (the beginning of the Church year). Happy New Year! The theme for the week is Hope, yet when I read this reading I find it difficult to find hope. In this moment Jesus is very doom and gloom.  The sun will go out and the moon will stop giving off it’s light and the stars will fall from the sky.

Nobody knows the time when it will happen, not even the Son, only God, so be ready!! More than hope this just increases my anxiety level and kicks in my doomsday prepping plans!!

But after a week of struggling there are a couple of key words that have come to the fore.. In those days following that distress, or suffering, then all this stuff will happen. Things are going to get really bad before all this happens. Great I’m off the hook! Really???

We are in a time of great struggle and suffering and for those that are facing the worst of it I can understand that this reading would be a relief..

This week in the news Robert Mugabe was overthrown in Zimbabwe. The tension and chaos as the nation waited to see an end to a terrible reign, the relief when it was finally over, it was such a change and the country’s whole politic life will have the chance to start afresh..

In my own country this week, people who were and sometimes still are persecuted , were supported by the people of our nation to marry.  For some of these people it has been a lifetime of suffering to now get to  a place of  respect and freedom is an amazing relief.

These changes in both these places are so radically different to what was,the understanding of the world is totally flipped and can seem like it has all fallen from the sky.

Jesus steps into this place, on a cloud ( I wonder if it is witnesses) and the angels gather God’s people from the four corners of the earth and Jesus words will not wear out..

The call to love at all times and in all places and all situations, will never run out.. As we prepare for the story that reminds us that God steps into this crazy world of ours (or God’s actually) and remind us we are not forgotten, we must be sure that in all things and in all our actions even when it is truly difficult and feels like the end of the world.. We must remain as Love, embraced by it, embracing others with it,  scattering it like a farmer sowing seeds. We don’t know the time or place of change so just love!

 

Posted in Lectionary Yr A, Uncategorized

When did I do it? Matthew 25:31 – 46, Christ the King! November 26, 2017

Scan_20171123 (2)

Matthew 25:31 – 46

This is the 3rd week in a row that the Lectionary compilers are getting us to look at a lifestyle parable. Now sometimes when Jesus tells a funny story you just have to do funny things.. In case you can’t guess this is the parable of the sheep and the goats..

It is interesting what people take away from a parable.. I am surprised how many people focus on Jesus in judgement. For me what I notice is the whole discussion around the sheep and the goats.. Why sheep and goats I wonder? If you work with these animals I would love to know what you think about this and what insights you can share.. For me I hear about ordinary things that helped the people of the time live, they provided food, wool, milk.. It is interesting that sheep are seen to follow along, one goes and they all go. Where as goats most of the time I have seen them more as solitary animals.

But that is not the most interesting bit in the story for me. It is the response from both the sheep and the goats.. When Lord did I help your children and when didn’t I help your children? Neither knew what they had or hadn’t done, they just did or did not..

It got me thinking about my life, when was it in times that I helped that I didn’t realise and when was I so caught up in other things that I missed the chance.. What I hear in this story is busy people like me trying to get on with their life, going about thier business and it was in that way that they got it or missed it. Again like last week I hear a challenge to think about how we live out these values all the time, being ready or prepared, but not as a chore but as a natural way that we live out our lives. We become so used to doing it that we no longer notice when we do it. We see the hungry and give them something to eat, see the thirsty and give them something to drink, meet strangers and invite them in,  see the naked and  clothe them, encounter the sick and look after them, know someone is in prison and go to visit. Because when these become second nature when it is a natural assumption that this is who we are, they are no longer as they are named. When you have an attitude of welcoming the stranger, no one is ever a stranger again they are just the yet to be met friend. When sharing a drink or some food is just having a meal with a friend. 

I wonder how often we read this reading as almost a welfare understanding of the world, I must do this good to help that needy person. They are the victim, I will be the saviour.  This reading is not about saviours it is about sheep hanging out together. It is interesting when you spend time with people who have hit hard times you realise very quickly this could be me. It could have been me that couldn’t pay the rent for whatever reason, who’s clothes are missing, who are sick or have ended up in gaol (yes it too could happen to us). They are not victims to be pitied or rescued but people who are loved and it is hard not to love them when you get to know them (well mostly sometimes God needs to help alot with this!)..

This is why I think the sheep don’t notice because these people aren’t naked or sick or hungry they are their friends who need a hand..

I feel for the goats, I feel for me on my goat days.. Those moments when I am too busy to see, too caught up in my own stuff to know. It is moments like this that I am so grateful it is Jesus on that throne, not me or others, because I would be in trouble. Jesus on the other hand taught us about grace.. So you might have had a goaty kind of day or maybe you have been a goat for a long time.. Good news if you are still breathing there is a chance to open your life to the world of generous hospitality.  The irony you’ll probably find yourself guest alot more often than you actually get to be host. I wonder who my next new friend will be ?

Posted in Lectionary Yr A, Uncategorized

Dig it up and hand it round! Matthew 25:14-30, Pentecost 24, 19th November.

Scan_20171110 (2)

Matthew 25:14-30

Another one of those challenging readings for the week! It’s funny how you can read a reading over and over again and it just doesn’t seem to make any sense then one day, it is like you see the story through a new lens and it makes sense.. It was like this for me with this reading.. I never understood why the master got mad at the guy who buried the treasure. In an economic sense, investing can always be a gamble, it is possible to lose money, as well as gain it.. So at least the guy protected what he had. The master ended up with exactly what he had..

Some people read this being about social justice.. The master was a hard man harvesting where he did not sow, some see that the servant was trying to give the master a lesson on what is fair and ethical.. Maybe, maybe not..

In the last couple of weeks I have had an interesting insight into this reading.. What if this reading wasn’t actually about money.. What if it was about treasure, the sort of gifts and treasures that we all have that God has given us.. and what if that treasure is not actually your treasure but God’s and in turn the communities.. It was left with the community, you are given stewardship of it but it isn’t just for your benefit it’s actually for the community’s benefit. By burying the treasure we might hold to the authenticity and integrity of the treasure but it’s true purpose was not served.

I would be really annoyed if that happened to me. If I gave someone a gift, trusted them with it, expecting that my generosity would be shared with others, like I had been generous to them and then they bury it or hide it or hang on to it so that we are the only ones  who benefit from it. What a waste!!! I would be so mad!! I finally get why the master was angry, the stewardship was not about taking care of the gift for only the master, but taking care of the gift for the whole community. Even if he had lost all of the money someone in the community would have benefitted or at least he had given it a go..

I wonder if this is what it is like for our faith.. We have this gift that we treasure so much we want to hang onto it soooo tight or bury it so that we can keep that special gift.. But buried treasure quickly loose their appeal and get forgotten or turn us into Golum..”It is mine unless you are just like me you can not have it!!”

The treasures from God are God’s not ours, we are merely given stewardship of them for our time.. So if they are God’s and God intends them for the benefit of all how can we lose? Because surely if it is God’s and we share it with all of God’s beautiful children it will grow and change and multiply. It will inspire others to share their treasure or maybe even help them find a treasure they did not even know they have. Life will be invested in and in God’s economy we cannot loose!

So friends dig up that treasure box, pass the gold around and see what God can do with your treasures when freed to change the world.. Be warned it will probably not end up looking the same as what it did when you buried it, but boy will the world be richer for sharing and so will you!!  I reckon that’s what really makes the Master happy, because all of a sudden you will be reaping where you did not sow and enjoying fruits from trees you did not plant, but that is what happens when we are generous!

 

 

Posted in Lectionary Yr A, Uncategorized

Just can’t keep my eyes open, Matthew 5:1-13,Pentecost 23,12th November 2017

Scan_20171111

 

Matthew 25:1-13

Whenever I read this passage in the past, I imagined it was about staying awake far beyond your bedtime! I envisioned a bunch of women with matchsticks in their eyes staying awake to meet the Bridegroom..  The message it gave, which for me as a woman was not a very healthy one, you have to be ready even if it kills you!

With a bit more wisdom, I come now to the text a bit differently.. It wasn’t that the other women went to sleep that was the problem but that they were not prepared.. They assumed this was going to be a quick problem to solve or more likely they just hadn’t really thought that much about it at all.. They were just excited and caught up in the moment..

I was trying to think of a modern example and thought of those people who line up all night for tickets to their favourite show or concert.. I am always so impressed with those people who are super organised with sleeping bags and beanies..

I wonder how this relates to our faith and being ready for the return of Jesus? I wonder how often our faith is about making sure we pull of those special moments, the impressive bits that we can get caught up in. The all night spectacular waiting for the concert tickets. I wonder if this parable is a reminder to us, faith isn’t just about that moment or that place but about the everyday faith. The one where we try to live it in the little ordinary things, being prepared to act in a God way whenever the opportunity arises.

So people put away the matchsticks, it doesn’t matter if you need to rest. It is important that when the moment happens where God asks you to show someone the way, you have enough oil in your lamp that you can show them..

Shine those lights you beautiful people – Our world sure could use it!

Posted in Uncategorized

Up, UP and away!

Hi lovely people, I leave for the UK tomorrow for 15 days.. I will be going to explore how different people live out their faith, and worship with integrity for them.. Some people call it Fresh Expressions..

So for the next couple of weeks a break from posting my doodles, may have a lot when I get back though!!

Blessings

 

Karen

Posted in Lectionary Yr A, Uncategorized

Keys, knots and where is that special brick? Matt 16:13-20 Pentecost 12

Scan_20170826

Matthew 16: 13-20

Have you ever noticed that there are keys in the Bible? This must of meant people could lock things up, doors, boxes, things that held special and sacred things.  Or they were also there to protect people.. Keys and locks always seem to be about keeping people out and special things in for those who are special enough to be allowed near it.

Our reading today is a conversation between Jesus and Peter, the topic – who do people say that Jesus is? Peter runs through the various theories that people are offerring, then Jesus says who do you think I am ? Peter who has been hanging out with him for a while says that he is the Messiah, Jesus says you are on the money and it is God who has shown you this. Then we get to the bit about the keys, Jesus hands over the keys to the Kingdom. Jesus trusts Peter the cornerstone with the way into Jesus and God’s sacred things. It is no longer about being kept out or away but opens the door for the Fisherman to come in..

Wow Peter is in…

Not only does Peter get handed over the keys but Jesus says that anything he binds on earth will be bound in heaven and anything he loosens on earth with be loosened in heaven. I wonder how often as Christians do we realise that we have the power to effect what happens in heaven.. Our attitudes and actions could be having an impact in the perception of the world from Heaven.. I don’t know about you but this is scary stuff, what a huge responsibility!

But hang on why would Jesus say that??  I do wonder if Jesus knew that over time the world would change and humanity would learn much about ourselves.. I wonder if this was Jesus acknowledging that what was said then needs to be considered in the context of now..

But wait there is more.. Peter is the cornerstone of the Church. In building a building the cornerstone is important. It sets which direction, how to line the house up. It is key.. But when was the last time you noticed the cornerstone of a building? When you see the building complete it fades into the great wall, a brick like any other. For one that was so important, it gets put together with many others and 2000 years later that cornerstone has created a church that impacts on millions.  Yet isn’t that the big picture of God? We belong to a greater calling, we seek a greater vision. How do we know what that is to look like? Let’s look to our cornerstones, Jesus, Peter, Paul all of them thier lives so transformed by love they would risk everything to be able to cut those keys and share them around.. Even to the point of death. The Kingdom of God no longer about keeping people out but about helping people get in.

As Christians how are we holding those keys? Do we use the power we have to control and keep out or are we using them to let people in.. We have those keys because God thought we would make good key cutters, not so we could hold onto it like a precious item never to leave the chain around our necks. What we have in the Kingdom of God is an incredibly precious treasure, unlike other treasures the more we share it the more we have.

May this week find you being generous and wise, as you carry the keys you have been given .May the responsibilty of the power God has given us, make us slow to judge and help us to continually line ourselves up with those cornerstones that set our direction. May you get a glimpse of the bigger picture we are part of!

Blessing people glad you are part of my wall!