Readings each Sunday Vanderbilt lectionary library and Textweek

14 December 2014 Third Sunday in Advent

Peter Humphris

Advent 3B Dec 14, 2014 Text week

14 December 2014 Third Sunday in Advent webpage
14 December 2014 Third Sunday in Advent pdf

In the first reading we hear that Isaiah realises that “the spirit of the Lord GOD is upon him [me]” and he also knows of his own Divine anointing.
What Isaiah doesn’t know is that we claim the very same for ourselves in our baptism.

Both of these texts are full of illustrations of the Divine activity, the dynamic reality of God; and both refer to the part we play in creating freedom, comfort and sustenance for ourselves and for all; they ground the giving of God, the giving of God’s self is earthed in us.

And the outcome, for Paul, in engaging these aspects of his appeal is to find ourselves ‘entirely sanctified’

These three readings also have another common thread; Isaiah, Mary and Paul have an orientation beyond themselves; they participate in the future of others, they are part of, and live for, the communion of humanity.

But these are texts, words of life for each and for all of us.

Mary is not the mother of Jesus, she is an icon of us, bearers and birthers of the Divine.
Isaiah is not some ancient man who saw into the future, he gives us the orientation of vision, inviting us to awaken that vision that takes us beyond our 20-20 vision.

And John the Baptist, is our icon for initiating our truest self, our truest being…. Moving from the shadow of disguise that we create around us, John invites us into all that our baptism claims….

And finally let’s hear again Paul’s affirming appeal to the Church; this time in the words of
Winnie the Pooh

There is something you must always remember. You are braver than you believe, stronger than you seem, and smarter than you think.

7 December 2014 First Sunday in Advent

Peter Humphris

Advent 2B Dec 7, 2014 Text week

7 December 2014 First Sunday in Advent webpage
7 December 2014 First Sunday in Advent pdf

So we need to contemplate further and consider what these readings are really proclaiming, “prepare the way” for what?

Peter, or the writer of 2 Peter, invites us into a deeper appreciation of ‘time’; and in turn that invites us into a very different appreciation of everything.

2 Peter however speaks of another understanding: “one day is like a thousand years, and a thousand years are like one day”; does that suggest a glimpse of eternity?

What do we need to be, or how do we need to live, as “we wait for new heavens and a new earth, where righteousness is at home”? Are we being encouraged to discover ourselves, and each other, as made in the image of God?

My mind withdrew its thoughts from experience,
extracting itself from the contradictory throng of sensuous images,
that it might find out what that light was wherein it was bathed...
And thus, with the flash of one hurried glance,
it attained to the vision of That Which Is.
Saint Augustine

30 November 2014 First Sunday in Advent

Peter Humphris

Advent 1B Nov 30, 2014 Text week

Isaiah 64: 1-9; Psalm 80; 1 Corinthians 1: 3-9; Mark 13:24-37

30 November 2014 First Sunday in Advent webpage
30 November 2014 First Sunday in Advent pdf

Advent is a season of becoming; it is the pregnancy of tomorrow; a time for us to prepare for all that is to be revealed; a time for us to gestate the revelation of our Divine being.

And even at this lamentable point, Isaiah has a glimpse, a hope of for tomorrow: “Yet, O LORD… we are all the work of your hand…… we are all your people.”

As we start the new year, and as we prepare for our encounter with Christmas, we too might remember “we are all the work of your hand…… we are all your people.” And so discover that the narrative of Christmas, the nativity is all about our Divine birth.

The second reading also provides an affirmation we should take with us on our Advent journey, in verse 7 we read: “you are not lacking in any spiritual gift as you wait for the revealing of our Lord Jesus Christ.” Only when we forget, or deny the reality of our gifts do “We all fade like a leaf”; and so it is important for us, at the outset of our journey to be aware and to awaken our spiritual gifts.

But do we also, with the same certainty “know that he is near”?

Our journey through Advent concludes with the revelation ‘the Word become flesh and dwelt among us’; that reality, the nearness of God’ is an eternal reality.

2 November 2014 26th Sunday after Pentecost

Peter Humphris

2 November 2014 27th Sunday after Pentecost webpage
2 November 2014 27th Sunday after Pentecost pdf

It seems that this narrative, this ancient story has been embraced by so many, and all seem to understand a divine origin that identifies only themselves as the chosen and promised ones.

However, the narrative can only make sense, in reference to a Divine origin, when it is truly applied universally. In other words, when we read the text not about one particular group of people; Israelis, Germans, Brits, Indigenous Australians or non- Indigenous Australians; rather seeking in the text a universal truth for all peoples.

The first verse in the reading provides us with some universal reminders;

“The Lord said to Joshua, "This day I will begin to exalt you in the sight of all Israel, so that they may know that I will be with you as I was with Moses.”

The work of Moses and the prophetic enlightenment of Moses are not about “Moses”; rather they speak of an actualised Divine Blessing that goes beyond Moses, there is continuity.

It seems obvious, but in our modern world where the “I” is all important we can so easily lose sight of the “We”.

A movement to the edge of the water, what does the water’s edge signify? The Genesis account of creation has the waters as the chaos from which a new order is birthed, could this be a new starting point in the continuity of a journey.

Our life journey has a sense of continuity; it also holds the promise of new beginnings in every moment.

As we contemplate this dreamscape, listen to this well-known quote of George Bernard Shaw:

Life is no "brief candle" for me. It is a sort of splendid torch which I have got hold of for the moment, and I want to make it burn as brightly as possible before handing it on to future generations.

The drive of economic consumerism in our world promotes “you” as the primary reference point, and perhaps that is the source of most of today’s problems…

Be aware of the reference points you choose to author your life.

 

26 October 2014 25th Sunday after Pentecost

Peter Humphris

26 October 2014 25th Sunday after Pentecost webpage
26 October 2014 25th Sunday after Pentecost pdf

‘Who is Jesus’ is not a question that seeks a doctrinal response, nor is it an opening for some slushy emotional invisible friend phenomena; rather, like today’s ‘who is the Messiah’, the question invites us to discover who we really are.

And that invitation to discover leads us to an even more ancient enlightenment:

“You shall be holy, for I the LORD your God am holy.”

Matthew’s dialogue however suggests that the early followers of Jesus received again, and bore witness to this ancient enlightenment. And in today’s gospel it is presented not as prophetic insight, but as revealed insight. The “You shall be holy, for I the LORD your God am holy” that Christ revealed, and that is captured in again by John in the reality that “the Word became flesh’, was glimpsed by those early non-traditionalists that listened to and lived with Jesus.

So today, we are again given an opportunity to follow the well-trodden path of the Pharisees, providing only doctrinal answers, or no answers, and also asking no further questions; or we can take another path and seek to discover the Messiah, the Son of God, the image of God, the Word made flesh and seek to encounter ourselves in the prophetic tradition, to know for ourselves that “You shall be holy, for I the LORD your God am holy”
Who we are, each and all, is echoed in the mantra “We are the Body of Christ”, however is that a Pharisaic uttering, or a reality that we actually know? Matthew leaves us to ask the question for ourselves, and so to discover our calling, a calling that embodies the Word made flesh.
In our discovery our world changes, for then like Paul we are drawn and driven to lead a life “lead a life worthy of God”, a life lived in the image of God..

There are only two ways to live your life. One is as though nothing is a miracle. The other is as though everything is a miracle. -- Albert Einstein

 

19 October 2014 25th Sunday after Pentecost

Peter Humphris

19 October 2014 25th Sunday after Pentecost webpage
19 October 2014 2th Sunday after Pentecost pdf

Following this strange dialogue Moses is only allowed to see God’s back. However this narrative is only bizarre if we consider it as an actual event instead of seeing it as a contemplative encounter for Moses. The narrative, when seen as a dreamscape, invites us into the same contemplative space in which Moses found himself.

This question calls into question the life orientation of Jesus;
To what do you contribute?
In what and who do you invest?
Are you confined by and/or obedient to the ways of the world?
Do you comply with cultural norms?

Of the three circles, the ‘me circle, the ‘world circle’ and the ‘God circle’ which one is more filled by our time, which one receives our talents and where have we invested our money?

Perhaps we were articulating the reality of resurrection , the life we can live when we can let go, and give less to the emperor and more to God…

This is love: to fly toward a secret sky, to cause a hundred veils to fall each moment. First to let go of life. Finally, to take a step without feet.
Rumi

12 October 2014 18th Sunday after Pentecost

Peter Humphris

12 October 2014 18th Sunday after Pentecost webpage
12 October 2014 18th Sunday after Pentecost pdf

In the first part of this parable we might become aware of what keeps us from the divine invitation to live our life in the celebration of Divine abundance and love. It is an important awareness for those who do not accept the invitation, those who are wedded to their homes and their work shall only find death and destruction.

The invitation in the first part of the parable invites us to contemplate life choices, and to discover for ourselves that which keeps us from the Divine wedding banquet.

Our movement into the wedding banquet, our invitation to live a life within the Divine abundance, requires an active change on our part.

And that’s where there is a delightful link with the first reading; for if Moses had left it all in God’s hands, then the people would have been destroyed. Both Moses and Jesus share a common enlightenment, they both engaged in an active dialogue with the Divine and lived out an understanding that went beyond the common understanding of their respective traditions.

So let’s think again, and look at changing, for Moses and Jesus give us an opportunity to realise ourselves as the guests at the banquet, we are sharers and participants in the celebration of Divine abundance….

14 September 2014 14th Sunday after Pentecost

Peter Humphris

14 September 2014 14th Sunday after Pentecost webpage
14 September 2014 14th Sunday after Pentecost pdf

A part of us is the faith filled army of Israel that follows the Divine hand that separates the seas of chaos to offer a path forward.
A part of us chooses the journey forward seeking and striving for a return to the dwelling place of God.
And a part of us is the determined army of Egypt wanting to hold on to all that it has; afraid of losing what it already owns, determined to maintain the status-quo of enslavement.

What movement does this identify for us, what creative activity of ours opens the chaos before us and makes clear a pathway to freedom?
The dream of Exodus is a life-dream, and it only holds insight for us if we can find ourselves in a similar landscape.

A primitive understanding of life sees death as an endpoint, and as a point of entry into another ‘life’, the hereafter. What we find in the dream of Exodus is an entry point into life’s eternal fullness that is on a continuum with today, and entry into eternity that is beyond the enslavement of death.

Again, we must look at the dream, we do not die on one shore of the sea and find ourselves resurrected on the other shore. In the Exodus dream of life we find our way to God’s dwelling place with intention, by the movement of our hand, by a separation of chaos, and choosing an orientation aligned to one of life’s mighty forces.

If we are waiting for death as a changing of the order of life we are but cabbages on the shores of the Red Sea.

If we seek life, we too must set our faces toward Jerusalem, lift our hands to separate the sea and discover that life that is not bounded by death.

For to this end Christ died and lived again, so that he might be Lord of both the dead and the living.

 

7 September 2014 13th Sunday after Pentecost

Peter Humphris

Exodus 12: 1-14; Psalm 149; Romans 13: 1-10; Matthew 18:10-20

Proper 18A/Ordinary 23A/Pentecost +13 September 7, 2014 Textweek

7 September 2014 13th Sunday after Pentecost webpage
7 September 2014 13th Sunday after Pentecost pdf

So how do we and how can we make sense of the Scriptures?

Going back to the first reading and the narrative of the Passover, what we might look for is a reflection of today in the story: we seek a parallel for ourselves that engages the process that is being illuminated through the narrative.

Contemplate your own journey toward freedom, the journey back to the Divine dwelling place, and in that process we discover our enslavement, or perhaps hold tight to our delusion.

As we contemplate our own journey toward freedom, we can discover both our delusions and our enslavements.

As we continue to reflect through the narrative we might then determine when and within what family our journey to freedom will begin; what food we will need for our journey.
Where will we start, what doorpost will mark our point of movement and how will we mark that place for ourselves.

The ask of us is that we “be subject to the governing authorities” for “the authorities are God's servants”; we should therefore become aware of the influences that serve the Divine purpose, and also of those that take us away from that purpose.

Today we hear that the commission is given to each and every one of us

“Truly I tell you, whatever you bind on earth will be bound in heaven, and whatever you loose on earth will be loosed in heaven.”

As we contemplate our own journey toward freedom; as we become aware of the influences that we are and seek to be subject to, so we also bind and loose

31 August 2014 12 Sunday after Pentecost

Peter Humphris

Exodus 3: 1-15; Psalm 105: 1-6, 23-26; Romans 12: 9-21; Matthew 16:21-28

Proper 17A / Ordinary 22A / Pentecost +12 August 31, 2014 Textweek

31 August 2014 Twelfth Sunday after Pentecost webpage
31 August 2014 Twelfth Sunday after Pentecost pdf

And within the story we learn the identity of God, and are given an icon that also identifies the nature of God; this is very much an abstract appreciation of God, perhaps designed to encourage us away from the primitive personification of God as a wise old man living in the heavens.

In the second reading Paul provides us with some clear guidelines, affirming how we might be and act as we live out and make real our calling as the ‘body of Christ’, there is nothing abstract in Paul’s language, rather we have tangible and understandable directions for life.

With these two texts we should therefore have some IKEA–like instructions that will enable us to construct our lives in integrity with the Divine image of our creation; however the gospel reminds us that it’s not as easy as it looks.

The gospel reading opens us to the third section of Matthew’s gospel, the opening words “from that time on” introduce a turning point, a movement from the day-to-day ministry and activity of Jesus, to a focus on death and resurrection, dying and rising are the climax of all that has been revealed. “From that time on” identifies for us that we are now looking at a new creation, a new insight and a new enlightenment.

Once you see the burning bush your prayers change
No longer can you pray to God, for you know he is not there!

Once you take off your shoes and feel the holy ground on which you stand
You burn with a divine fire!
You feel yourself aflame, and yet no longer consumed by life

Once you know yourself in the image of God
You no longer creep through life toward death!
For now you seek to rise toward eternity….

“those who want to save their life will lose it, and those who lose their life for my sake will find it.”

Once you are the burning bush, you realise life is not to be saved! For life is not consumed!
Rather life is a gift and it is a gift that calls to be given
For it is in giving that we receive.

24 August 2014 Eleventh Sunday after Pentecost

Peter Humphris

Exodus 1: 8-2:10; Psalm 124; Romans 12: 1-8; Matthew 16:13-20

Proper 16A / Ordinary 21A / Pentecost +11 August 24, 2014 Textweek

24 August 2014 Eleventh Sunday after Pentecost webpage
24 August 2014 Eleventh Sunday after Pentecost pdf

I invite our warden’s, Chris J, Rodger P, Michael (Joan is away), and also Don as a representative of Parish council to come to the front and present the St Paul’s appeal.

“I appeal to you therefore, brothers and sisters, by the mercies of God, to present your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and acceptable to God, which is your spiritual worship. 2 Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your minds, so that you may discern what is the will of God--what is good and acceptable and perfect.”

It is an appeal that asks that we change; and it reflects a sharing of Paul’s own experience and insight as he realized what Christ has revealed; it enabled Paul to grow beyond the confines of his primitive tradition and discover a new creation, a new sense of himself and a new reality for the whole of humanity.

If we are to hear this appeal, and even more so if we are to respond, we will, like Paul need to “be transformed by the renewing of [y]our minds”.
We will have to look again at ourselves, our tradition and our sense of place and purpose in the whole scheme of things.

What is delightfully illustrated in the Exodus narrative is the ability of individuals to overcome the fear based policies of those who are creative of oppression.

The freedom, the movement out of slavery that the book of Exodus narrates is not something achieved through the magical and divine powers of Moses, rather we see in today’s readings how individuals make a difference and change the course of history as prescribed the King, the mother who defied Pharaoh, the sister who watched protectively as the basket floated on the Nile, and Pharaoh’s daughter who adopted him. The midwives Shifrah and Puah who earlier disobey Pharaoh’s order to kill the male babies…

Much of today’s creative activity, around the world is being birthed out of fear, and so the insight of Paul’s appeal is still very much relevant for us; “Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your minds, so that you may discern what is the will of God”

Today’s first reading gives us an insight into our path to freedom, freedom from fear and freedom to realize the Divine promise of abundance; the divine promise to Abraham and to the multitudes that followed after Abraham..

In the second reading, Paul appeals to the early church, to the Christian community and to us, he asks us to know our part in the unfolding of Divine promise. It is not presented as an option , but rather as an act of living in integrity; in his words: “we, who are many, are one body in Christ, and individually we are members one of another”.

Finally in the gospel, we have the example of Peter’s realization, it is not Jesus seeking to resolve an identity crisis, it is an illustration that when we truly see what Christ reveals then (and perhaps only then) we are the foundation, the catalyst for a new creation.

Three readings that call us into the freedom of God’s divine abundance…..
Three readings that affirm that we all have a part to play and that we all play a part

Three readings that question everything we do and all that we are…..

“May you discern what is the will of God what is good and acceptable and perfect.”

3 August 3 2014 Eighth Sunday after Pentecost

Peter Humphris

Genesis 32: 22-31; Psalm 17:1-7,16; Romans 9: 1-8; Matthew 14:13-21

Proper 13A / Ordinary 18A / Pentecost +8 August 3, 2014

3 August 2014 Eighth Sunday after Pentecost webpage
3 August 2014 Eighth Sunday after Pentecost pdf

The setting for this encounter is significant, it takes place at “the ford of Jabbok”; the ford is a place of crossing over, and the stream is a place of separation.

Jacob has had to create the place of being alone, it didn’t just happen; and it is a different place from that which is usually described as ‘lonely’.
He separates himself from his family; he finds the place where he is not a parent, nor a child, but an adult; and in the darkness of that place he wrestles.

And that moment of realisation is iconic of all that Christ reveals; God becomes man and at the same time man becomes God, humanity and divinity are there together and inseperable.
Here Jacob finds the reality of our Divine genesis; ‘made in the image of God’ is not a dream, nor a promise, it is a reality that is to be found for ourselves.

There is a stunning parallel, for Jesus, fully human and fully divine, equates with the wrestling duo in the first reading; and his coming back into the crowd from a deserted place and from being alone, gives us the story of the feeding of the 5000.

In both stories today we see the outcome of wrestling with God, in the process of wrestling we discover “blessing”, and in the discovery of blessing we are opened to the reality of abundance.

From the abundance of God creation was birthed – that’s the opening chapter of Genesis, the first Word of the bible. The rest of the books in the bible seek to enlighten us so that we truly see ourselves in the image of God…

Abundance is our reality, and when we realise that we are blessed with divine abundance, we can perform miracles, we can feed the 5000….

27 July 2014 Seventh Sunday after Pentecost

Peter Humphris

Genesis 29:15-28; Psalm 105:1-11; Romans 8: 26-39; Matthew 13:44-58

Proper 12A/Ordinary 17A/Pentecost +7 July 27, 2014 Textweek

27 July 2014 Seventh Sunday after Pentecost webpage
27 July 2014 Seventh Sunday after Pentecost pdf

What changes the worldviews that provide such different acceptable norms for the different love stories of Jacob and Rachael/Leah, Romeo and Juliet, and Peter Fraser and Gordon Stevenson, the first same-sex couple to marry in Australia?

How, who, in what way, and when are the dynamics of change brought into being?

We can see that Paul’s worldview leaks into his understanding and appreciation of God, and so too provides the lens through which he sees all that was revealed in, and through, Christ.

What if the dynamics of change are very much the fruit and labour of our own hands, and what if our realisation of that truth is the reality of living into our baptism?

Change is the outworking dynamic that is associated with the activity of God. It is a complex but simple insight, glimpsed by Paul but also obscured by his tradition.

God is the creator, God is love and love is the activity of divine creation.

It is the prophetic eye, the eye that sees with Divine insight, that initiates change; and we, the Church seek to nurture the gifts and honour the gifts of prophetic insight.

We see beyond the bread and wine and into the reality of Gift, giver and given.

We see beyond the gospels and into a reality where divine becomes human.

We see beyond the agendas of today’s acceptable norms to that which calls all into oneness and holiness.

And we see ourselves as part of the body that gives voice to “I AM making all things new”.

20 July 2014 Sixth Sunday after Pentecost

Peter Humphris

Genesis 28:10-19; Psalm 139:1-11, 23-24; Romans 8: 12-25 Matthew 13:24-43

Proper 11A/Ordinary 16A/Pentecost +6 July 20, 2014 Textweek

20 July 2014 Sixth Sunday after Pentecost webpage 20 July 2014 Sixth Sunday after Pentecost pdf

“16 Then Jacob woke from his sleep and said, "Surely the LORD is in this place--and I did not know it!"”

When Jacob awakes, he sees the world as a different place, the unseen is now visible to him and that changes everything.

We each have some insight into the ‘movement’ of God, albeit not necessarily up and down ladders. Our faith, our awareness of God, our own individual and corporate encounter with the Divine is like a dream for it is outside of time. Our spiritual life, the truest reality of our being, exists in eternity, not in the visible 24/7 timescale that only serves to link birth with death.

And so like Jacob, we too have our Divine dream and our faith might well be represented as a ladder or bridge between two realities, the realities of heaven and earth, the realities of divinity and humanity, eternity and mortality.

The awakening of Jacob is the enlightenment that is later revealed through Christ: “the LORD is in this place”; and that for us changes the whole tradition on which our faith is founded. Like Jacob, when we are awake to the reality of the Divine dream, we will perceive the whole world in a different way.

The readings today are full of encouragement, and they also ask much of us….

We must awake to the reality that we live in Bethel – the house of God, it is not in heaven, and there is no ladder to climb, “the LORD is in this place”….

6 July 2014 Fourth Sunday after Pentecost

Peter Humphris

Genesis 24:34-67; Psalm 45: 10-17; Romans 7: 15-25; Matthew 11:15-30

Proper 9A/Ordinary 14A/Pentecost +4 July 6, 2014 Text week

Fourth Sunday after Pentecost webpage Fourth Sunday after Pentecost pdf

Paul was someone well-grounded in his religious tradition, the same tradition that was underlined in the first reading, however we read in his letter that Paul has seen beyond that tradition; he has a new understanding, a new worldview and a vision that goes way beyond the confines of that first reading worldview.

Paul sees that Christ calls into question the very understanding of “God’s chosen people’, he offers “a new way, a living way through the curtain, through his own body”[Hebrews 10:20].
It is this new vision that Paul wrestles with; he wrestles with being alive in Christ, with the very reality of his own, and our own, Christ-likeness.

To be fully alive to the glory of God asks of Paul that he be free from himself, free from his “body of death”.

Paul serves as an example, and an invitation to share our struggle, to share the wrestling with our faith and in that sharing, in our self-giving, so to be rescued from our “body of death” and so birthed into the eternity of Divine truth

11 May 2014 Fourth Sunday after Easter

Acts 2: 42-47; Psalm 23; 1 Peter 2: 1-10; John 10:1-10

Easter 4A May 11, 2014 Textweek

Peter Humphris

Fourth Sunday of Easter webpage Fourth Sunday of Easter pdf

The grass withers, the flower fades, but the word of our God will stand forever.[Isaiah 40:8]
Amongst all the differences that experience encounters there are constants; generations come and go, but eternity remains constant and it is in the frame of eternity that we find life’s ever present constants.

Jesus says “I am the gate” I am the opening, the enlightenment, the light in the darkness, and if we can enter that gate, we are both shepherd and sheep.

As shepherd we have a good example to help us to appreciate the shepherding that is required of us: “I am the good shepherd. The good shepherd lays down his life for the sheep.”

Those who continue to see “The Lord is my shepherd” are left standing at a street corner in Berlin, watching the green man lit up, but locked into the same place that they were when the red man was alight.

Those who see the green man walking as an invitation to move forward, enter into a New creation, they are themselves the green man walking…

Resurrection is the opening to a different world view, and engaging that new world view we see ourselves, each other and God in a new light.
Jesus says “I am the gate”, are we going to accept the obvious invitation?

Easter Day

Peter Humphris

Easter A April 20, 2014 Textweek

Easter Sunday webpage  Easter Sunday pdf

We claim ourselves as “the Body of Christ”, not the watchers, nor anniversary celebrators of Christ… We are the ones who have seen the sign of resurrection….

And now the green man is walking… right from the very tomb of death, and that is asking a response an action from us.

The response of seeing resurrection is realised in the activity of giving.. we have to give of ourselves in order to find ourselves alive in a “A new Creation”. That is the Easter sign, it is the self giving of Christ on the cross, that’s the red man stopped dead in his tracks, in order for the green man to emerge walking in the Easter garden.

Most of us, most of the time live in the world as consumers, Easter asks that we be consumed; giving ourselves into the Divine reality that life is a Divine oneness, an eternal gift that is made real in giving.

Dom Bede Griffiths, a catholic monk, saw the sign of resurrection:

“God had brought me to my knees and made me acknowledge my own nothingness, and out of that knowledge I had been reborn. I was no longer the center of my life and therefore I could see God in everything.”

Phillips Brooks, an American clergyman and author, during the early 1890s saw the sign of resurrection

The great Easter truth is not that we are to live newly after death - that is not the great thing - but that...we are to, and may, live nobly now because we are to live forever.

Palm Sunday 13 April 2014

Isaiah 50: 4-9a; Psalm 31: 9-16 ;Philippians 2: 5-11 ;
Gospel: The Reading Of The Passion Of Our Lord According To St Matthew

Peter Humphris

Palm Sunday webpage Palm Sunday pdf

For centuries the Church has only seen itself in the Palm Sunday crowd, watching Christ play out the drama of the passion.

But those who look closely, those who ‘zoom in’, they will see themselves in the face of Christ, and they will see the true church in that same face…

If we claim to be the body of Christ then today is our day on the donkey, this is our entry into the passion of Easter, and it is not a spectator sport.

During Holy week we have a road map, and we have signs that will lead us to the Easter Mystery, but we also need to find our part, and take our place on the path that is mapped out in the gospel.

Let the same mind be in you that was in Christ Jesus,6 who, though he was in the form of God, did not regard equality with God as something to be exploited,7 but emptied himself, taking the form of a slave, being born in human likeness. And being found in human form,8 he humbled himself and became obedient to the point of death-- even death on a cross

Let the same mind be in you that was in Christ Jesus

Then he took a cup, and after giving thanks he gave it to them, saying, "Drink from it, all of you”

"Drink from it, all of you”

Fifth Sunday of Lent 6th April 2014

Ezekiel 37:1-14 ; Psalm 130; Roman 8:6-11 ; John 11: 1- 45

Peter Humphris

Fifth Sunday in Lent webpage Fifth Sunday in Lent pdf

[The seven signs} reveal to us that which Christ reveals; today’s narrative illustrates what is voiced in v25: “Jesus said to her, "I am the resurrection and the life. Those who believe in me, even though they die, will live, 26 and everyone who lives and believes in me will never die. Do you believe this?"

The reality of resurrection, is a reality of new life, it is a new creation, a new appreciation of life that is found in the ordinary time of now…. And it is our pathway out of the wilderness.

Lazarus is:
The grieving widow lost without her partner
The family lost in their million dollar mcmansion
The grey nomad booking their third cruise to nowhere
The parish priest binding a couple in holy matrimony unaware of divorce
The voter who knows his tick in the box will change nothing
The self-funded retiree watching the rise and fall of interest rates
The gay teenager afraid to come out into a world of hate
The refugee imprisoned, entombed, without trial
The bored face in the old peoples home
The blank face that is lit only by the TV screen.
The couple who no longer hear each other for they can finish every sentence
themselves
The church that moves toward another Easter, unaware of its reality.

Lazarus is just “a certain man… of the village”.… in other words You and Me!

“Jesus said … "I am the resurrection and the life. Those who believe in me, even though they die, will live, 26 and everyone who lives and believes in me will never die.”
“Do you believe this?"

Fourth Sunday of Lent 30th March 2014

1 Samuel 16: 1-13; Psalm 23; Ephesians 5: 8-14; John 9: 1-41

Peter Humphris

Fourth Sunday in Lent webpage Fourth Sunday in Lent pdf

“7 But the LORD said to Samuel, "Do not look on his appearance or on the height of his stature, because I have rejected him; for the LORD does not see as mortals see; they look on the outward appearance, but the LORD looks on the heart."”

A distinction is made between Divine sight and how we mortal see; for the LORD does not see as mortals see; they look on the outward appearance, but the LORD looks on the heart.

And we might therefore consider the question for ourselves; does God see differently to how we see?
Certainly for the initial audience, the answer without hesitation would be of course there is a difference; God sees everything; and that answer is still the answer for many who consider that same question today.

Teresa of Avila and Meister Eckhart both have quite a different understanding of God than the writer of 1 Samuel, and perhaps that’s indicative of their appreciation of Christ’s revelation.
Christ reveals to us the place of overlap; the Word made flesh, an insight into a humanity that is fully human and fully divine.

And that place as revealed in Christ is our true place of being; which we all know at some level for together we claim to be ‘The Body of Christ’.

And so we can now contemplate another question; do we have ‘divine sight’ and/or can we develop it?
It is an opportunity to consider “what we see”, and as we explore the whole idea, we so easily appreciate that our eyes are much more than a lens through which we observe the world around us.

What if we can find, in the wilderness of Lent, that same place of overlap, what if we can open ourselves, open our eyes to Divine sight?

Perhaps the starting point is for us to be attentive to those things that we do see; asking of ourselves to what do we give our attention; and in the process becoming aware of our blindness.

“awake! [open your eyes] Rise from the dead, and Christ will shine on you."”

23rd March 2014 Third Sunday of Lent

Exodus 17: 1-7; Psalm 95; Romans 5:1-11.; John 4: 5-45

Peter Humphris

Third Sunday in Lent webpage Third Sunday in Lent pdf

So as we engage the first reading we might consider ‘where are we at’ on our Lent journey, and ‘where are we at’ on our life journey.

They were the "first of the nations" to make war against Israel (Numbers 24:20).
So have we also reached a place where battles need to be fought; and do we find ourselves ready defeat the forces that attack us?

It might be that some have lost a sense of journeying through life, for in our modern world, there is a point at which ‘age’ changes our life orientation. One of the life giving things we can glean from the first reading is that life is a divine pilgrimage, lived in stages, but with a divine orientation.

The story invites us to recognise our thirst; a thirst, or desire, for continuing our pilgrimage toward promise…. At the point of giving up, we somehow still know that we thirst… The Easter mystery will bring us (as it did Jesus) to the same place… On good Friday we have the same cry echoed from the cross; I thirst!.

In the wilderness of Lent we become thirsty; a thirst for companionship, a thirst for acceptance, a thirst for immortality, a thirst for end to suffering, and a thirst for relationship with God.

Perhaps that ‘thirst’ we experience in the stages of life, is a thirst for the water of baptism; a thirst for that very first taste of a life orientation toward God and “in Christ”.

“What shall I do” is a question for each and for all of us, imagine what we might discover if we can ask this question from within the place of our wilderness and with a desire to satisfy life’s thirst. Imagine if our AGM became a sharing of our answers, a collective reorientation toward Divine promise, and a movement away from life’s complaining challenges.

In Exodus, God tells Moses to strike the rock so that the water may flow.

In the gospel story we know that Jesus himself will be struck with blows and rods and ultimately with nails. But in complete integrity with the orientation of baptism, the living water of life will flow.

Our thirst, in the wilderness, our thirst in the place of life’s battles and our thirst when life is lifted to the cross is to quenched.
And it is quenched not by our complaining, nor by our turning back to the slavery of the past, but rather by contemplating one of the deepest questions we can address in prayer “What shall I do”?

Second Sunday in Lent 16 Mar 2014

Genesis 12: 1-4a, Psalm 121, Romans 4: 1-5, 13-17, John 3:1-17

Peter Humphris

 Second Sunday in Lent webpage Second Sunday in Lent pdf

Go from your country, your kindred and your father’s house to the land that I will show you; that is quite an ask!

The fear of change, of movement and of leaving and loss; the fear of going alone into the unknown; these fears will already be working overtime to switch us off from truly hearing this Divine word of enlightenment. But let’s try and stay with the text.

“Go from your country” invites us into a universal worldview, it asks that we let go of our nationalistic prejudice; it asks us to break open our fear created barriers of ‘border protection’ and embrace ourselves and all ‘others’ as one; not Israel, nor Australia, but all, “a great nation”.

“Go from your father’s house” invites us beyond the lineage of our birth into our place as part of a common humanity. When at our death we are returned to the soil, very few will return what they have into the hands of humanity, for in our culture we seek to keep things ‘in the family’, we accumulate wealth for ourselves. That has resulted in the “85 richest people [in the world being] as wealthy as poorest half of the world”.**

To go from our father’s house takes us away from our primal belonging and enables us to see ourselves, with every other, as children of the one heavenly father.

When we “Go from our country and our kindred and our father's house” we go into the wilderness and as in Lent we go through the wilderness into “the land that I will show you”;
We move out into the garden that opens before us as the stone is rolled away on Easter morning, we go into the Garden of resurrection, and into ‘A New Creation’…

Some of us will need to be guided on this journey, and they shall find guides, for it is the only journey that takes us into tomorrow.
Others will not take the journey at all, keeping their investment in death fearfully in their hands…

First Sunday in Lent 9 Mar 2014

Genesis 2:15-17; 3:1-7; Psalm 32; Romans 5:12-19; Matthew 4:1-11

Peter Humphris

First Sunday in Lent webpage First Sunday in Lent pdf

The amazing paradox of Ash Wednesday is that the ‘imposition of ashes’, the shattering of our ‘being alive’ is actually a life giving ritual. As we receive the mark of the ashes on our foreheads we engage in the very same movement that ‘marked us with the sign of the cross’ at our baptism.
Both, invite us and open us into ‘A New Creation’.

Here is an underlining of our important insight; the world we see, and TOUCH, and eat (consume) is only one reality, and it is a reality that is bounded by death.
Our truest selves belong in the realms of the Divine, we are created ‘in God’s image’ and we are integral to and belonging in the eternal abundance of the Divine life.

Our journey through Lent is both a walk in the garden and a walk in the wilderness; and Lent’s invitation to ‘repent’, invites us to be of a new mind, to embrace a new insight and understanding of ourselves and so to participate in a new creation, the very promise of Easter.

Will we allow death to exercise dominion of our lives and so deny the very truth of who we are; or will we accept the abundance of grace and the free gift of righteousness?

Transfiguration Sunday 2 Mar 2014

Exodus 24: 12-18; Psalm 99; 2 Peter 1: 16 -21; Matthew, 17:1-9

Peter Humphris

Transfiguration webpage Transfiguration pdf

First we have to re-set our compass so that we can approach the narrative in a new light; we have to let go of what we know in order to open ourselves to knowing anew.

The gospels are therefore more correctly read as reflections for humanity, they seek to reveal to us who we really are.

Another re-setting of our compass, our approach to the scriptures, is to realise that they are not recorded events. Rather, they are revelations of wisdom composed at a time and within an environment whereby the audience was uneducated, unable to read and limited by the confines of a small world and a simple daily routine that allowed little opportunity for the exploration of deep space or for inner reflection.

Recorded accounts of history and scientific analysis provide us with descriptions of actual observable existence. The Scriptures seek to take us beyond existence and into the reality of eternity; and that is the movement from existing into living, and into life lived in a fullness that reflects the glory of God, the Divine activity of all life.

This is so much the same ‘process’ or ‘movement’ that Jesus, Moses and Elijah are apprehended together, as one.

Peter, James and John saw Jesus in a new light, a new creation, and Jesus reveals to them (and so to us) life lived in a new light.

Sixth Sunday in Epiphany 16 Feb 2014

Richard Pengelly

Sixth Sunday in Epiphany website Sixth Sunday in Epiphany pdf

The first topic is hate or harboured anger. Jesus is saying: the important thing is not just to resist violence, but also the hate which leads to it. It is not a condemnation of the feeling of anger, as the Gospel writers had no hesitation in speaking of Jesus becoming angry. It is what you do with your anger that counts. Anger turned to hate abuses people, often starting with words.

We still need that wisdom: don't gossip, don't just sit on it - deal with it. When Jesus said, "Blessed are the peacemakers", it is clear from Matthew's gospel, that he did not mean, blessed are those who sweep things under the carpet, or those who lie to themselves and others about pain. If it hurts, say so. Deal with it and help others deal with pain and conflict. Be a life-bearer, not a death-bearer - for others' sake and also your own. Matthew seems to have had a good understanding of what it meant to be church: it includes dealing with anger and conflict.

Reconciliation and healing mean dealing with these complexities of the mind and attitude towards which the gospel also points us. Our gospel commitment to marriage and relationship remains, but works itself out in ways that may sometimes see (agreed) divorce as the most creative way forward and may also have us recognising that marriages where adultery has taken place can be retrieved, revived, even to become stronger and more fruitful for having worked through the underlying issues.

Fifth Sunday in Epiphany 9 Feb 2014

Richard Pengelly

Fifth Sunday in Epiphany website Fifth Sunday in Epiphany pdf

This morning we are reminded to go a step further and actually BECOME that light or beacon of hope. Whatever our context, if we truly study, pray and strive to emulate the sermon on the mount, we WILL be lamps to those around us who suffer in any way. We are called to flavour or salt our families, communities and churches with the radical spices of blessing the lost, lonely and forgotten.

Last Sunday we heard again Jesus’ radical manifesto for the Kingdom of God – his Jewish code word for the way God would like the world to be. Jesus chose to identify with the rubbish dump dwellers of his day; the poor, disabled, despised and outcast. And his clarion call for justice that has echoed and inspired down the ages talks of blessings for the poor, meek, mourning and persecuted. That vision has been an oasis of sound, light, colour and hope for countless suffering ones ever since.

I wonder what the Australian equivalent of this observation might be? Certainly mercy seems to be in short supply for refugees and asylum seekers and justice goes begging for so many of the residents of the remote indigenous communities I visit with our students as part of our service programs. I have seen living conditions just as bad as the ones that I quoted in Judy’s piece about the rubbish dump of Phnom Penh in the town camps of Alice Springs and a number of communities throughout the Gascoyne, Pilbara and Kimberley.

At Christmas, in the form of a baby, he slides his vulnerable “tiny hand” into ours. On the mountain sharing God’s vision for love and justice he holds out his rough carpenter’s hand - offering to walk with us through both the rubbish dumps and oases of light and hope in life and into the deeper possibilities of God-love

Today we are invited to take that hand in ours. How easily we reverse the truth that we are in this life to “use things and love people”.

And so this hand is waiting for you and for me. Taking it requires courage. It means embracing a reality where the suffering deserve blessing, and we are often called to bear that blessing on God’s behalf.

Fourth Sunday after Epiphany 30 January 2014

Micah 6: 1-8, Psalm 15, 1 Corinthians 1: 18-31, Matthew 5:1-12

Peter Humphris

Fourth Sunday after Epiphany webpage Fourth Sunday after Epiphany pdf

The revelation of Christmas is the enfleshing of divinity, “God became Man”; “And the Word became flesh and lived among us, and we have seen his glory, the glory as of a father's only son, full of grace and truth.”[John 1:14]; creator and creature, one body revealed in Christ and to be realised in us.

The voice of Micah would have been a familiar voice to Jesus and the Jewish community he inhabited, and we might therefore speculate that he also contemplated the text:

“what does the LORD require of you but to do justice, and to love kindness, and to walk humbly with your God?

Another version, or a paraphrasing of the Beatitudes was posted on the discussion group this week, it comes from a program run by Philip Newell:

"Blessed are those who know their need for theirs is the grace of heaven."
"Blessed are those who weep for their tears will be wiped away
"Blessed are those who are humble for they are close to the sacred earth."
"Blessed are those who hunger for earth's oneness for they will be satisfied."
"Blessed are the forgiving for they are free."
"Blessed are the clear in heart for they see the Living Presence."
"Blessed are the peacemakers for they are born of God."

Third Sunday after the Epiphany 26 Jan 2014

Isaiah 9:1-4; Psalm 27:1-9; 1 Corinthians 1:10-18; Matthew 4:12-23

Peter Humphris

Third Sunday after Epiphany webpage Third Sunday after Epiphany pdf

The gospel serves to remind us just how difficult it is for us to make changes within ourselves, and yet the same gospel also invites us to follow a different path.

Together these two each offer us a glimpse of enlightenment:

The people HAVE seen a great light
Light HAS shined
the kingdom of heaven HAS come near

for they speak of a reality not of some future utopia…….

The call to repent is the call to live in light of this very reality, it is not a call to hope that by waiting for death and being good you will be whisked off into a place called heaven.

The call to repent is the call to live in light of the reality that the kingdom of heaven HAS come near; and our baptism is our symbolic alignment with this enlightened insight.

"Repent, for the kingdom of heaven has come near.", or as Gandhi paraphrased the same insight: “You must be the change you wish to see in the world.”

Today we are offered the invitation of Christ,

Don’t worship me,
Follow me.

Second Sunday after the Epiphany 19 Jan 2014

Isaiah 49: 1-7; Psalm 40: 1-11; 1 Corinthians 1: 1-9; John 1:29-42

Peter Humphris

Second Sunday after Epiphany webpage Second Sunday after Epiphany pdf

Isaiah’s prophetic voice is a voice of Divine vision. And it is the same ‘Word” that is enfleshed in the nativity of Christ.

It is perhaps the true voice of humanity, a voice, a Word that each and all can echo.

However wherever and whenever, that voice is spoken it encounters a struggle. It encounters an outward struggle, one that leads to crucifixion; and, as we see in the first reading, it also encounters an inner struggle, an inner questioning, such that Isaiah perceives himself as “one deeply despised, abhorred by the nations, the slave of rulers”.

Both these outward and inner struggles are universal phenomena, they are like the force of gravity, they weigh us down and restrict our freedom, our ability to rise up.

As we encounter the force of gravity and engage the struggle, we are reminded to stay grounded in prayer.

The vision, the enfleshed Word, and so too the enfleshed world is more than a voice can express; this is the reality known by the prophets and made manifest ‘in Christ’. It is not what we may say, rather our encounter with struggle will be found in what we do.

Another underlining of living our life with a Divine orientation; living into the very image of God.
The prophetic knowing, that delights in the promise of that comes from living in the Divine truth. We are called to be enfleshed in the Divine Word, to find our nativity; not to be weighed down by the fear, the weight of forces unseen; rather we are called to ‘arise and shine for your light has come’…O my God, I long to do it, your law delights my heart.
x

Baptism of our Lord 12 January 2014

Isaiah 42: 1-9; Psalm 29; Acts 10: 34-43; Matthew 3:13-17

Peter Humphris

Baptism of our Lord webpage Baptism of our Lord pdf (Adobe..use free reader other formats on request)

Matthew had encountered Jesus, his being, his life, his work and his teaching all spoke of a much closer relationship with God than that of ‘servant’. Matthew encountered someone empowered by love, someone free to forgive, and he encountered ‘an inheritor of the Kingdom of heaven’, he encountered a ‘son’ and not a ‘servant’.

What is revealed in the Nativity, is today revealed again in the person and ministry of the Jesus that Matthew and Peter encountered.
They did not see a supernatural Son of God, rather they found the Advent of Isaiah enfleshed for all people.
The servant of Isaiah is you and me.
The baptism of Jesus reveals the birth inherent in the whole of humanity.

What we might now consider is where to from here… will we cross the threshold of revelation and bring to birth a New, and divine creation.

Now is the time for us to fulfil the expectation of Advent, and I came across an example of how there is a tendancy for things to remain unchanged when we fail to embrace the prophetic vision of tomorrow and fail to participate in a new creation….

Isaiah looks to us saying “here is my servant”
Christ reveals us, and all, as beloved
So as we cross the threshold we should be prepared to be
a light to the nations,
to open the eyes that are blind,
to bring out the prisoners from the dungeon, from the prison those who sit in darkness.

Epiphany 5 January 2014

Isaiah 60: 1-6; Psalm 72: 1-7, 10-14 ; Ephesians 3: 1-12; Matthew 2:1-12

Peter Humphris

Epiphany webpage Epiphany pdf

Is the gospel we read and hear the same gospel that Matthew sought to tell?

Do we find an insight into the life, the person and the revelation of Christ? Do we find insight and wisdom?
And in particular, in the season of Christmas and on the threshold of a new year do we find a sense of direction, or an insight into the new creation that is heralded in the nativity scene.

The star symbolises an orientation to that which sheds light in the darkness, the guiding provided by that which is a light in the heavens.
And the wise ones, the Magi, suggest that illumination and realisation will come from beyond our own tradition.
The manifestation of the reality of Christ is to be recognised and seen by those outside of the Church tradition - they will bring us enlightenment; and they will therefore bring us out of our orthodoxy, out primitive worldview.

“opening their treasure chests, they offered him gifts of gold, frankincense, and myrrh. 12 And having been warned in a dream not to return to Herod, they left for their own country by another road.”

This surely is a reflection by humanity of the very act of Divine birth, God the creator empties godself and gives birth, God gives all of godself into the manger of humanity…
The Magi respond by undertaking the same Divine activity for themselves, they empty themselves, they give their wealth, their gifts, into the manger of humanity, and by that very action, Christ is revealed to the world.

In the giving of ourselves we will make manifest Christ in the world….

First Sunday after Christmas 29 Dec 2013

Isaiah 63:7-9; Psalm 148 ; Hebrews 2:10-18; Matthew 2:13-23

Peter Humphris

First Sunday after Christmas webpage

Stephen is the first martyr, he was stoned to death; and St Stephen’s day offers an important realisation for us; the self-giving of God that is represented in manger of birth is now paralleled by Stephen in the giving of himself.
The very process revealed through the Christmas narrative is the creative activity of ‘giving’, an orientation of humanity toward the Divine activity of the creator, the giver of all.

It is difficult, and requires a degree of intentionality to even hear an echo of the nativity ‘after Christmas’, yet alone to feel the import and yearning of the “new Creation’. Instead of deepening and developing the celebration of gift and giving, we are drawn by .the forces of our culture into the madness of another $15.1 billion of ‘getting’.

Matthew knows that Christ reveals ‘a new creation’, a whole new way of being in the world; however he frames his gospel iconically and symbolically in his past tradition…

No wonder our secular culture goes to so much effort to disguise the feast of St Stephen, what if we stayed with the gift and the activity of giving that is revealed by the firstborn of all creation?

Can you imagine how we might change the world?

There is little point in preaching such a message… for it has to be sought, and in seeking it is there to be discovered….
However a sense of perspective on where we sit in the world can help.

May we all continue to pursue theosis in the season of Christmas and thereafter….

“Theosis”,

In Christian theology, theosis (deification, making divine, or divinization) is the transforming effect of divine grace, the spirit of God, or the atonement of Christ. It literally means to become more divine, more like God, or take upon a divine nature.

It is the realisation that the word became flesh.

Fourth Sunday of Advent 22 Dec 2013

Isaiah 7: 10-16; Psalm 80: 1-7, 17-19; Romans 1: 1-7; Matthew 1:18-25

Peter Humphris

Fourth Sunday of Advent webpage Fourth Sunday of Advent pdf

Perhaps we might approach Christmas remembering that Christmas, in our society, “is a time for children”.

So what if we seek to encounter the nativity with empty hands and with that childlike desire for ‘something new’, for something that will satisfy that wanting desire that is woven into our DNA.

Can we look beyond our own tradition, can we look beyond ourselves….

The clocks of Advent give voice to a life that is ruled by time, and that same ruler confines us to the time between birth and death….

Christ reveals a timeless worldview, he knew the reality of eternity...

Reading the scriptures we can see the insights of one who knew his eternal being, the alpha and the omega, the wholeness of eternity.

Unshackled from past traditions, we can see so much more revealed in the nativity, for a new insight into who we are is given birth in the Christmas narrative.

When we come together for a night of thanksgiving on Christmas Eve, lets open ourselves to what is truly being illuminated under the star….

If this is the birth of the Messiah, then it is our birth.

If it is God’s giving all into the world, then let’s acknowledge the process and seek to give birth to the giving of ourselves.

When we look into the nativity, we look beyond our clockwork lives, and see what we are what we create and all that we are called to bring to birth.

Third Sunday of Advent 15 Dec 2013

Isaiah 35: 1-10; The Song of Mary - Magnificat ; James 5: 7-10; Matthew 11:2-11

Peter Humphris

Third Sunday of Advent webpage Third Sunday of Advent pdf

However prophetic voices and insights are quite different for they see, and seek to see what is beyond that obvious, unconscious instinctive worldview.. Prophets point toward a new creation and so seek not to hold on, but rather to become empty (the activity of giving) so that we might be free to grasp the unseen, another worldview, a new creation that is the reality of Divine promise.

The response is one of action, activity; it is an illustration of participating in the creation that was Isaiah’s vision. Prophetic vision does not point toward a future ‘New creation’ , rather it is an insight into the bringing about of a ‘New creation’.

John the Baptist over the last two Sundays has shown us a new way and calls us to participate in a new creation. However, the last line of today’s gospel sets a context for us in relation to John: “Truly I tell you, among those born of women no one has arisen greater than John the Baptist; yet the least in the kingdom of heaven is greater than he.”

John, as great as he was, only pointed the way to an even greater reality.

At Christmas we will celebrate “the word became flesh” – the future is enfleshed in what we actually do, and what we participate in today.

 

Second Sunday Advent 8 December 2013

Isaiah 11: 1 - 10; Psalm 72: 1 - 7, 18 - 21; Romans 15: 4 - 13 ; Matthew 3: 1 - 12

Peter Humphris

Second Sunday of Advent webpage Second Sunday of Advent pdf

Isaiah sees that the reality and the possibility for tomorrow is earthed and grounded in us.

When we read the full passage and see what Isaiah’s vision is, we will see that it is an un-Australian insight, it is a counter-cultural perspective for Isiah’s vision is not shaped by fear, self-interest or apathy; it is energised by equity, the honouring of diversity and finds a harmony in righteousness.

What is important for us as we seek to encounter for ourselves the mystery, the and the gift of Christmas, is that both Isaiah and Matthew see that the reality of a new creation is grounded and birthed with us.

Metanoia is therefore primarily an after-thought, different from the former thought; a change of mind….. and change of conduct, "change of mind and heart", or, "change of consciousness".

Advent is a valuable time to engage the process of Bringing to birth, and so is a valuable time for us to realise and bring to birth ourselves, the image of God and the creators of tomorrow.

The Nativity, is an icon of our birthing into a divine vision, and a divine reality of life, and it is a reality that forever asks us to be like John, and point beyond ourselves, to have an orientation to others, to realise that life is made Divine in and through our giving.

First Sunday Advent 1 December 2013

Isaiah 2: 1-5; Psalm 122; Romans 13: 11-14; Matthew 24:36-44

Peter Humphris

First Sunday of Advent webpage First Sunday of Advent pdf

As we embark on a new year, will we take up the invitation in the readings and participate in a new creation? Can we find within the Divine voice that forever speaks to every moment; “I AM making all things new’?

Isaiah’s prophetic enlightenment and the Divine energy he seeks to voice is illuminated for us when we read this text for ourselves and for all.

“In days to come” – The new year.
“the mountain of the Lord's house” – the community of faith
“shall be raised above the hills” - shall be seen, made visible
“all the nations shall stream to it.” – the community will be inclusive of all.

Isaiah invites us: “Come, let us go up to the mountain of the LORD, to the house of the God of Jacob; that he may teach us his ways and that we may walk in his paths.”

Paul invites us: “you know what time it is, how it is now the moment for you to wake from sleep…. Let us then lay aside the works of darkness and put on the armour of light”.

And Christ invites us: “Keep awake therefore, for you do not know on what day your Lord is coming…. be ready, for the Son of Man is coming at an unexpected hour.”

All of these invitations invite us into a new reality that wakes us up from the daydream of today into the imagination of tomorrow.

During Advent we are asked to consider what key we will live our life in, what song we will give voice to. Will we live our life with the repeat key, the redial, the replay or will we hit the enter key?