Category: Uncategorized

The last 40 years!

The last forty years haven’t been particularly good for organised religion in Western countries. Mainline churches have ceased to belong in the centre of society as secularisation and religious pluralism have advanced. But . . .

Peace be with you

Not only are we to receive peace but we are called to share peace, to give peace away, to be sent out and to be peacemakers, forgivers, and those who seek to work towards justice and hope.

World Environment Day

Take a moment to pray for our planet and those that impact on it. Pray for a change of heart for those who have given up because the problem seems too great and our leaders too distracted or uninterested in making any real effort to change.

Pray for Manchester

“Each one of us can respond to this horror by working to build communities which oppose those who wish to divide us. We should seek to defeat terrorism not by violence but by the power of love. A love which Christians celebrate in the teachings of Jesus.” 
(A statement by UK religious leaders)

‘A reinstatement of hope’

“To draw boundaries that sharply delineate between those who are ‘in’ and to whom justice and fairness applies, and those who are ‘out’ and to whom justice and fairness does not, is to deny justice at all.” (Caz Coleman, Acting Executive Officer, ACRT)

Living stones

Something happens in the establishment of a physical grand edifice that can change the location of the household of God away from the people to the building. The building becomes sacred space, and the role of the people is described as ‘going to church’. But the church is not the building. Together as ‘living stones’ we make the space where people sense the presence of God. Can you see how this changes the dynamic entirely?

Money and Faith

‘In placing household economy at the very centre of faith…Christianity (can reclaim) the material substance of its spiritual message’ (Jonathan Cornford, ‘Coming Back to Earth’). In other words, integrating how we understand the Gospel, how we make decisions about how much we earn, spend, work or volunteer, and how we advocate to Government about what this looks like is all part of living a faithful life.

On the road, on the way…

They talk about life – about all these things that had happened, and without them even noticing, Jesus came among them. Jesus is present in our conversations – in our deep sharing about our own experiences, of love and loss, sorrows and struggles, and when suffering and fragile hopes overwhelm the possibility of joy and transformation. This is part of being church – where two or more can meet to talk and to share deeply, to name our deepest realities in our human journey.

‘The language of promise’

The resurrection is not complete until the real presence of the risen Christ is felt, is taken on, and is experienced in our lives, by faith, and we allow Christ to meet us personally and call our name, as he did for Mary, as he does for us. Christ is risen!

Celebrating risen life

We are called to be God’s celebrative companions—to say “yes” to life in all its complexity, contrast, and beauty. To rejoice in birth and rebirth. Christ is Risen, today, and every day! Hallelujah!

The in-between time

The Easter story moves ahead towards resolution and resurrection, but for many the reality of the future is unclear and uncertain, just as it was for the early disciples and followers that Easter Saturday. An in-between time, a place of paralysis in the midst of confusion, when the chasm of despair or hopelessness seems sometimes all too close, when all we can do is wait…

Good Friday – ‘it is finished’

What happened to Mary’s song of freedom and liberation, of justice and mercy. What happened to the hope that things could be different? What about the reign of God that Jesus spoke about so often? Mary’s song now becomes the song on our own lips, of longing for the day when things will change, when the reign of God will be seen in the way people can live together with freedom, justice and hope, and be embraced by the Love we name as God and share that Love with friend and foe.

Faith in the ordinary

“Before the eyes of the world, in the dead of night they came, seeking passage between their lands of desolation and the possibility of a better life.” Good Samaritan Sister Marie Casamento takes us on a journey from Palm Sunday to the Resurrection

In the aftermath of TC Debbie

We pray for those who are enduring the devastation and destruction of cyclones and flooding, and wisdom and strength for all who seek to help, and that through this emergency, people and communities may be drawn more closely together in service to one another.

18c and social cohesion in Australia

As representatives from Indigenous and culturally diverse backgrounds have pointed out, the proposed change to section 18c is being advocated predominantly by people who have no idea what it’s like to endure racial discrimination in Australia.

‘Everyone Belongs’

Harmony Day March 21, 2017: ‘Everyone belongs’. Migration stories challenge us to consider how and when and where we experience God. Is God to be found in the promised Land or in the pilgrimage journey? How and When and Where do we worship? When Jesus and the Samaritan Woman have their long and famous encounter, this becomes a central part of their conversation. (A sermon by Rev Dr Amelia Koh-Butler)

#Be Bold For Change

International Women’s Day (Wednesday 8 March) is calling on women to be bold for change in 2017, and urging people to help forge a more gender-inclusive working environment and world.

The Uniting Church in South Australia is home to many strong, female leaders. New Times asked two of these leaders, Dr Deidre Palmer and Rev Sandy Boyce, to reflect on leadership, change and gender parity in the Uniting Church.

Love your enemies!

Recently we have celebrated the 75th Anniversary of the Fall of Singapore and the consequences that flowed from that for the many who were imprisoned and forced to labour for the Japanese.

A place of friction

Find a point of friction, find your flint. It could be involvement in social politics, it maybe your workplace, caring. A place of friction could also be a place of love, justice, of hope or pain, worry, help.

Patterning our lives

Perhaps the call for us is to disentangle ourselves from patterns and practices in our social relationships that don’t reflect the hospitality of Jesus, and from political patterns and practices that we find don’t reflect the commitment to peace, justice and the common good. The same may be said about disentangling ourselves from familiar economic patterns and practices that we have adopted as normative, with assumptions about how we acquire and use financial resources.

Beginnings and endings

Here in this moment, there is a new beginning, a calling, a vocation, a new path to tread, a new witness to justice and truth. When we have discovered that our baptism was the beginning of a vocation of service, ministry in the name of the One who was called by God’s Spirit and blessed by the descending dove, a sign of peace given to be shared with all. Both then and now we hear the call to a mission of reconciliation and new beginnings. Thanks be to God!

Building a future of hope together

“We seek a vibrant, diverse and inclusive society where all people feel valued. Now, maybe more than ever, we need leaders who will call us together to build this future in hope and love”. (Rev. Michael Barnes, Convenor of Relations with other Faiths, the Uniting Church’s national committee on interfaith relations)

Living Stones: A call for justice for the Palestinian people

“My voice will always be raised in support of Christian-Jewish ties and against the anti-Semitism that all sensible people fear and detest…But this cannot be an excuse for doing nothing and for standing aside as successive Israeli governments colonise the West Bank and advance racist laws.” Nobel Peace Prize laureate Archbishop Desmond Tutu

Seek the welfare of the city

‘Seek the welfare of the city; for in its welfare you will find your welfare” (Jer. 29:7). “Welfare” is a translation of the Hebrew word ‘shalom’. Shalom means peace and prosperity, or human flourishing.

Welcome to the Anthropocene!

The Anthropocene deserves to become part of our lexicon – a way we understand who we are, what we’re doing and what our responsibilities are as a species – so long as we remember that not all humans are equal contributors to our planetary maladies, with many being victims (Noel Castree)

Pokémon Go

In Syria, a media agency run by activists is capitalizing on the Pokémon Go craze to plead for help for children inside the war-torn country. Children are pictured hold signs in both Arabic and English with a Pokemon creature.

Keeping faith

even in these uncertain times:
love can conquer fear,
compassion can triumph over power,
and ordinary people can, will, and do survive.
Keep the faith…

What is God doing here?

Now it springs up, do you perceive it? (Isaiah 43:19)
“I want you to look around and see what God is doing in our midst,” says Stuart McMillan in the President’s 2016 message for the 39th anniversary of the Uniting Church in Australia.

A flourishing society. Your faith, your voice, your vote.

Our society flourishes when there is equity among all people, when we have a vibrant civil society and a political system that is robust and has integrity, when human rights are upheld and when we act with respect and care for the planet and the diversity of life that depends on its health and wellbeing
(Stuart McMillan, President, Uniting Church in Australia)

#Bring Them Here!

“Let not your hearts be troubled . . . .” (John 14:1-2). How can the hearts of those detained on Manus and Nauru be other than troubled? How can we go on about justice and love while these travesties remain?

The wall of separation

“Normally when we say the Lord’s Prayer together in English and Arabic, those saying it in English finish first. But on this day as we prayed while bulldozers uprooted olives trees that were older than the time of Christ, no one was able to finish the words of the prayer, we were so overcome with sadness.”

ANZAC Day 2016 Homily

One of the last ANZACs, Ted Matthews who died in 1997, reflected, “The whole point of ANZAC day has been lost. It’s not for old diggers to remember, it’s for survivors to warn young people against romanticising war.”

What sort of shepherd?

The Lord is my shepherd, I shall not want… This favourite psalm which will be read in churches across the world this week, offers a way into one of the collision points between governments and churches

Believe whatever you want

Believe whatever you want – in science, in proof, in reason.

In the power of story and the possibility of miracle.

These are precious gifts.

Believe what you want.

And – or but – or also: trust.

Jesus’ risen life means that ‘today we find ourselves in a world where the inevitable no longer seems sure, and we wonder what else is made possible because of the resurrection: what walls will be broken and what darkness will be destroyed; what death will be shown for what it is – the possibility for love to come again’. (Cheryl Lawrie)

The Love of Mary

The Gospel of John is not newspaper narrative. It is full of metaphor and symbol designed to open the reader to deeper meaning… We meet a call to spiritual depth, and its foil of shallow life, in the John 12 reading set for this week.

Sibling rivalry

Which son is lost? There are two sons, but only one is able to enter the house of his father. The other, estranged from his father, refuses to come in. And it’s not the prodigal son; it’s the “good” son who won’t come home!

Repenting Death

God is HUMAN … It is the great error of humanity to believe that it is human. We are only fragmentarily human, fleetingly human, brokenly human. We see glimpses of our humanness, we can only dream of what a more human existence and political order would be like, but we have not yet arrived at true humanness. Only God is human, and we are made in God’s image and likeness — which is to say, we are capable of becoming human. (Walter Wink)