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

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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!

Posted in Easter, Lectionary Yr A, Uncategorized

Provocative comedy? Speaking out against injustice. Palm Sunday. Matthew 21:1-11

Palm sunday

Matthew 21:1-11

This is the second time now I have reflected on Palm Sunday. You would have seen the image on my welcome page.

So what did I notice this time? The story this week tells of how Jesus is coming from the Mount of Olives, the place to which Jesus would return and where things would not go so well for him. The question that arose for me was, does it matter where he came from? He was engaged in the city but did not actually stay in the city but trotted (literally) in and out of it making very public political statements. The first a critique of the Empire and the nature of how they use power and the second was the turning of the tables at the Temple.. The two key residents Jesus was intentionally antagonizing. It isn’t really surprising that they got to a point of wanting to take him out.

The second point that came to my attention was that there was a massive crowd who came in waving palms and laying cloaks but it actually created chaos in the city and people were wondering who this person was. I think when I have heard this story before I just thought everyone was on board, but here the text  is clear Jesus had his own crowd that were excited about his arrival. In this light it makes a bit more sense how the crowd turned to have him crucified. Maybe they were never with him and if all he did was come into the city and criticise and mock, almost goading a reaction from the leaders at the time, I wonder how the every day citizen of the city would feel as they tried to make out an existence in the dynamics that was their lives.

This week I am doing some training on leadership and political advocacy. It has raised for me some questions about how we critique those things that we think are contrary to God’s way and God’s will. Is Jesus model of trot into the city drop a couple of controversial public statements and leave, waiting on the outskirts for them to come and get him. I wonder if Jesus had considered other ways? I wonder if the lengthy discussions with the Pharisees and Sadducees along the way was a way of trying to speak into their world and situation. I wonder if the conversation as to who’s head was on the coin was a gentle attempt to educate? Sometimes people don’t want to listen or hear, even when we talk with them directly no matter the language we use or the examples we explore with them. Sometimes people can justify anything, or it just makes sense to them because that is how it has always been. I wonder if they got it when he went to the extremes? I wonder if Jesus frustration of hearing the suffering of the people had got to a point that it required some light relief. His frustration at the temple and the leadership there left him with no other way left? Maybe, maybe not..

What do I take away from this? The example of Jesus to speak out against the things around him that were causing harm to others, that were separating them from each other and from God. Honestly I struggle often to speak out against most things. The problem I have is that I can see things from both sides, and to the people involved it makes sense. But does it make it ok to harm others or stop others from connecting with God purely because of who their family is, their background, or where they come from? Is this God’s way? Jesus life would suggest otherwise, he even had to fight against his own cultural conditioning to remember this.  Sometimes the consequences of these actions are not good, and the truth be known I too am scared. But slowly I am working on my courage to remain true to myself and what I hear Jesus calling us to as a church and to speak out against injustice. Today we talked about fighting for justice is what love looks like in the Public arena, love cannot remain only contained in caring for the individual without dealing with what is causing thier suffering. So I begin with conversations, kind and gentle chats, going to vigorous discussions, maybe we will even make light about those things that get in between us or try to control us, I wonder if I too will need to turn over tables, I hope we can grow together long before then!!

May wisdom be your guide and the Spirit’s courage your companion.