Posted in Easter, Lectionary Yr B, Uncategorized

Missing the landmines of sin. 1 John 1 – 2.5 Easter 2B

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1 John 1:1 – 2.5

This might be a bit late but it has been an interesting reflection.. The section of the passage that has stood out to me was…  If we say that we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us. If we confess our sins, he who is faithful and just will forgive us our sins and cleanse us from all unrighteousness. 10 If we say that we have not sinned, we make him a liar, and his word is not in us.

Most of the time I have pretty good days. I think I work hard to be a person of compassion and honour and try to live a life worthy of reflecting this.. I may have been having one of these rather proud moments when this reading came up for me to reflect on.. In that same week I found myself twice in so many days being very tempted to gossip and bitch about a particular situation. Let me tell you it took all my strength to not get caught up in it and if I’m truthful words may have come from my mouth which were not uplifting.

In that same week, I heard of someone doing something totally inappropriate and it was as clear as day that they were threatened and acting out of that fear..

None of us can say we are free from sin and if we do we make Jesus a liar and his word is not in us.  The truth is all of us are broken people and as broken people our minds are set to go off like land mines or TNT, triggered by the trauma of the past.. Even good people, even people who love God, because no matter how much we seek to try to heal and let go of things and hand them over to God this is an eternal battle..

One of my favourite books and movies is called the Shack. If you haven’t come in contact with it  yet, it is very powerful. In the shack the key character is asked to forgive someone who has done something horrible to him.. Most human beings would say it is impossible but God meets the character where he is at and teaches him that it is a daily journey to forgive. A daily wrestling to let go of those who have harmed us..

It is a big ask of God that we must forgive and if that is not enough, to forgive seventy times seven, but seeing it in this movie I get it. It is a daily working to hand over to God those things, those hurts that cause us to react and hurt others.

I do not believe it is possible on our own, and even with God’s help it is hard, but if we can take that journey of handing over sin, both that which has been done to us and that which we do to others whether intentionally or unintentially, Jesus is able to bring something new. Our greed becomes generosity, our gossip ,prayer, our revenge, reconciliation, our desire to climb over others for power ,transforms to a bending over to help those who have fallen. That which is harmful is washed away and transformed into a new life, new growth, new hope.

For that healing to happen begins with a real acknowledgement of how our actions are harming others, if you can’t see it maybe it is time to sit and have a long chat with the Boss. It is a valuable conversation.

Have a great week sinner!

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Posted in Easter, Lectionary Yr B, Uncategorized

Easter Sunday – He is risen! Mark 16:1-8

Scan_20180325Mark 16:1-8

I was asked to do a lectionary doodle for Easter Sunday.  On reflection I wanted to be able to hold in tension the various understandings of what happened on Resurrection Sunday. It might be news to you that not everyone understands the resurrection of Jesus in the same way..

For some it is about Jesus being the substitutional sacrifice for us and our sin, you can see this on the right with the altar and the cage. This understanding believes that our sin has separated us from God and there requires a sacrifice for us to be connected with God again. Jesus makes this sacrifice so that there no longer be a need for sacrifice ever again.

For some it is that the gates of hell have been broken down. I read a beautiful reflection on Judas playing the role that God required, knowing that Jesus would be able to break down the barriers of hell that keeps us away from God and that Jesus actually went to retrieve him from hell.

For some it is that death has been overcome and that this life is not the end but the beginning of a journey with God that would last for all eternity. Thus the empty grave.

For some it is about having direct connection into heaven and that the gates were now open for all not just the special ones. Those streets paved with gold were now available for all, Jesus has the key.

For some this is the ultimate act of God reaching out to humanity. Helping us see, feel and know God’s love in a way that has never been known before. God touching into our lives and us knowing we are seen in love.

For some it is that the bondage of sin have been broken and that the concept of grace, breaks any restraint..  That humanity could do such horrible acts to the innocent in the name of power, greed and fear yet God’s response to this, is that this is not the end of the story.

For some that evil has been part of creation since the beginning of time and Jesus, the second Adam, stood against evil and conquered it, putting it to death.

For some through Jesus there is new life. It is through death in a wide variety of ways, to ourselves, to our sin, to those things that would seek to corrupt us, that the seed is cracked open and we bloom into the rich and full life that God imagined for us.

For some the resurrection is about the restoration of the whole earth.. A new vision of who we can all be together, for how we can be together in this beautiful created world.

Hope. Freedom, Peace.

I wanted to show some of the ways the Church understands what happened to Jesus because I think that all of them offer us an insight into the amazing moment that is contained on this day.. I don’t think anyone can speak with authority as to what was going down except God, but I do think that on that day God was trying to send us a message loud and clear..

Like the women in the garden it is ok if at first you don’t get it or believe it, it is ok if you are too scared to speak the truth, God is present with us even in those moments of deep doubt and fear. But God does not leave us there. God remains with us in love until we are ready to share what we have seen and know with others.

We don’t have to all agree with what happened on that day or what it meant, whatever we understand of it, God took care it. God did not stay with God’s back facing us but returned, in a way so profound and mindblowingly, amazing that it is difficult to believe. But somehow in that special moment the world, life and time was changed forever. Now God was / is and always will be here.

Happy Easter people, you are free, a new creation, loved, renewed, held and welcomed!

Thanks be to God!!!

 

Posted in Lectionary Yr B, Uncategorized

Cosmic love, Advent 4, Luke 1:26-38

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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!

 

 

Posted in Uncategorized

Natvit – toy.

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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 A, Uncategorized

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

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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.

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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

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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

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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!

 

Posted in Lectionary Yr A, Uncategorized

Shattering stereotypes. Did Jesus change his mind? Pentecost 11, Matthew 15:21-28

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Matthew 15:21 – 28

A couple of weeks back I shared my new understanding of original sin. That in fact every child is born into a culture and that no culture is perfect is an important reflection in the reading this week. It would seem that in the story Jesus changes his mind.

Whether we like to admit it or not he was a product of his culture.. The view he had fitted nicely into the box that he knew. The Cannanite woman shatters this. The view of God that meant the outsiders could see God but never really be close to God, cracks open and the love of God oozes through to all.

This woman was a desperate outsider, surrounded with suffering, sadness, pain and chaos.. When our children are hurting it is very hard not to hurt too and we want to do everything we can to make things better. And she had tried everything. and then she realised that Jesus had something that she had not known or experienced in anyone else. To my amazement in the midst of this terrible suffering this woman wore hope, she would not give up.

She reminded Jesus that even the puppies get to eat the scraps from the table.

We have two dogs. One only a year old and one much older. They are both very cheeky, they are quick and take any opportunity they are given to get what they need. I have a fussy eater in my family, so often there are scraps from our table.. It again raises the issue for me that sometimes those who are most blessed by God actually don’t appreciate what they have and take it for granted..

I wonder who the puppies and the children are in our time? and in our places? I wonder who has too much food to appreciate and who is so desperate, they will try anything to get it?  I wonder who I would like to feed from the table, hidden from the other important people but just as in need of food?

I wonder again about the cultural things we hold onto that actually blind us to the way of God that we think is God’s? If Jesus changed his mind I wonder if we can too? I wonder what boxes I have that need a few cracks in them??

I pray this week if you are hungry you are fed , if you are super blessed with too much you find a way to sneak stuff to those under the table who need it and if Jesus shatters your box you can be gracious enough  to change and not use the broken glass to harm but allow God to ooze through. Surely if Jesus did maybe we all could too.