Readings each Sunday Vanderbilt lectionary library and Textweek

Christ the King Last Sunday of Pentecost 22 Nov 2015

Peter Humphris

Christ the King Last Sunday of Pentecost 22 Nov 2015 webpage
Christ the King Last Sunday of Pentecost 22 Nov 2015 mp3
Christ the King Last Sunday of Pentecost 22 Nov 2015 pdf

2 Samuel 23: 1-7; Psalm 132: 1-12; Revelation 1:4b-8; John 18: 33-37

John in his gospel has Jesus state very clearly that “My kingdom is not from this world”; that is, ‘no, I am not Christ the king in any way that you would understand ‘king’.

Pilate, like us, still not sure of what Jesus is actually saying then asks again; “So you are a king?”

And the response is certainly not a yes; rather Jesus reveals that his purpose, his very being, is to reveal truth.

“The Truth is out there”, and we are called to be seekers of that truth, faithful witnesses, and like Christ, we are called to make manifest a new rule of life that is not grounded in earthly power, but rather that seeks to live from a place that is beyond the fear of our own egos.

Perhaps we are “the firstborn of the dead”.

 

Twenty Fifth Sunday after Pentecost 15 November 2015

Peter Humphris

Twenty Fifth Sunday after Pentecost 15 November 2015 webpage
Twenty Fifth Sunday after Pentecost 15 November 2015 mp3
Twenty Fifth Sunday after Pentecost 15 November 2015 pdf

1 Samuel 1: 4-20 ;Psalm Song of Hannah; Hebrews 10: 11-25 ; Mark 13:1-11

Proper 28B/Ordinary 33B/Pentecost 25 November 15, 2015 Textweek

Hannah’s ‘miraculous’ birth, her giving or bringing into birth, like Mary’s immaculate conception, points toward a new creation, and so to a new appreciation of life itself.

The first reading gives us a pre-Advent narrative that provides us, well in advance, with an appreciation of the lineage of David. Hannah’s life might be read in either direction; but Hannah’s orientation and its associated bringing to birth provides a turning point that will be realised much later. ‘Once in royal David’s city’ begins here!

The second reading gives us an appreciation of another turning point; the movement from the sacrificial service administered through the order of priests into the realisation of our covenanted Christ-likeness.

“But say whatever is given you at that time”; we are being called into an awareness of our present orientation, be attentive to “whatever is given you at that time”.

We cannot imagine the contribution that we are called to make, but with prayer we can attend to our orientation in the present and perhaps we too can all bring to birth from “whatever is given us at that time”.

Twenty Fourth Sunday after Pentecost 8 November 2015

Michael Jessup

Twenty Fourth Sunday after Pentecost 8 November webpage
Twenty Fourth Sunday after Pentecost 8 November 2015 pdf

Mark 12:38-44; 1 Kings 17:8-16; Psalm 146; Hebrews 9:23-28

Proper 27B/Ordinary 32B/Pentecost 24 November 8, 2015 Textweek

Listening with gladness and delight, could they be a core faith starting point for each of us as we seek to discover the presence of the Divine in our daily life?

Our ability to reach out to such people in love, with justice and compassion requires us in our Christian churches to be the visible and practical expression of a living gospel presence in the real world frequented by the widow and the orphan.

There is something within the Nepalese or perhaps it is the primarily Hindu culture that fosters respect for the other person, it appears to be held by all in the knowledge that the other will respect me.

There are clear contrasts between human plans that inevitably fail because they stand in stark contrast to and in opposition to God’s plans for justice for all which is true justice and equity for the vulnerable, the have nots, and the disadvantaged across our community.

In essence we as the children of God are called to be the living expression of the Divine presence where ever we may be. So I can confidently pray, “We praise the Divine, who lifts up our hearts – towards a world community full of compassionate Justice for all.”

1 November 2015 All Saints

Peter Humphris

1 November 2015 All Saints webpage
1 November 2015 All Saints mp3
1 November 2015 All Saints pdf

Isaiah 25:6-9; Psalm 24; Revelation 21:1-6a John 11:32-44

All Saints B November 1, 2015 Textweek

... we might take this ‘All Saints’ opportunity to question our beliefs, to question what “saints’ might actually represent for us; and as we engage such questions, we might then explore the very shape of our faith.

The orthodox position points us backwards; and so blinkers our very sense of vision, it deters us from looking toward tomorrow, yet alone seeking the mystical orientation of eternity echoed in the Scriptures.

Isaiah sees God’s activity as a process that will be realised, rather than a process that has been realised. And for us, what is our engagement and our participation in the unfolding of divine activity?

The Psalm asks if we will engage Isaiah’s vision, it asks if we are ready for the unorthodox orientation that he suggests for us.

...the third reading from the Book of Revelation, we are being encouraged even more into the vision Isaiah has drawn for us for we are given a dream of a new reality.

In the gospel narrative, the story of Lazarus grounds the dream of revelation into the ordinary and every day setting of human life. Lazarus is the reality of the “Alpha and the Omega, the beginning and the end”; for in his end, his death, is found his beginning, his resurrection; an orientation toward eternity that is more fully underlines in the Easter narrative.

4 October 2015 Nineteenth Sunday after Pentecost

Peter Humphris

4 October 2015 Nineteenth Sunday after Pentecost webpage
4 October 2015 Nineteenth Sunday after Pentecost mp3
4 October 2015 Nineteenth Sunday after Pentecost pdf

Job 1 and 2 ; Psalm 26; Hebrews 1 and 2 ; Mark 10:2-16

Proper 22B/Ordinary 27B/Pentecost 19 October 4 Textweek

The wisdom, insights and the real value of the Scriptures are all distorted when we ascribe to them a context that is both primitive and childish.

When Christ teaches “Suffer the little children to come unto Me”, we are being called to drop the safety blanket that distorts the ‘Word’ and to approach the Divine with an open mind and a sense of wonder, seeking to discover what we might be when we grow up.

We also have to reread the story without a focus on the individuality of Job, and see his character as representative of humanity in its wholeness.

Karma is not balanced to the individual, if it was our selfishness would ensure we only do good; however, as we are learning from global warming our actions do contribute to the karma of the whole.

As we move beyond a literal individuality, we see in the story of Job a Christ-like figure, a figure who had integrity with the Divine, and yet who suffers greatly; and a suffering to the point of despair; “my God my God, why have you forsaken me?”

[In Paul] As with the Book of Job, when we take the focus off the literal actuality of Christ, we find a universal icon of humanity represented both in the person of Christ and so too in the teachings of Christ; it is not about him, rather he is revealing us to ourselves; and that creates a completely new reading to the orthodox primitive version. reflection on this reading leads us into the question; are we “the reflection of God's glory and the exact imprint of God's very being?”

How many marriages have you encountered where the couple realized themselves as ‘one flesh”, and what would that look like?

A fullness of male and female realized in one flesh, no dominant partner, no dependent partner, no possessive partner, no parent/child relationship, but one flesh.

...perhaps what is being illustrated here is that there is another realization of marriage, one that is counter-cultural and yet to be realized….

27 September Eighteenth Sunday after Pentecost

Peter Humphris

27 September 2015 Eighteenth Sunday after Pentecost webpage
27 September 2015 Eighteenth Sunday after Pentecost.pdf

Esther 7 and 9; Psalm 124; James 5: 13-20; Mark 9:38-50

Proper 21B/Ordinary 26B/Pentecost 18 September 27, 2015 Textweek

What is valuable however, is that with a questioning mind we might be led to consider how relevant the broader worldview and practices of the Hebrew traditions are to our spiritual evolution; we might in fact be tempted into landscape of heresy.

And it is that sort of questioning that is helpful for us in getting some real perspective on what we are doing; here we are seeking to realise our becoming as the mystical ‘Body of Christ’ and we take time to read a novel from Persia that describes a feast day from a past tradition, why?

What we do, that which our hand causes; and where we go, that which our foot causes, and what we see, our worldview, that which our eye causes these are all shaped by our actions.

Christ reveals a new paradigm to that of the orthodox Jewish tradition, and even for the disciples, for John and the disciples and for James, it proves hard to grasp; it is a movement beyond ‘worship’ of God, to embodiment of God.

The Gospel, and the questions we encounter in reading the scriptures, call us to look at our own Saltiness, for we do, each and all, season life itself. And perhaps we need to identify our own beliefs and doubts if we are seeking to add flavour to life and to creation.

20 September 2015 Seventeenth Sunday after Pentecost

Peter Humphris

20 September 2015 Seventeenth Sunday webpage
20 September 2015 Seventeenth Sunday pdf

Proper 20B/Ordinary 25B/Pentecost 17 September 20, 2015 Textweek

Proverbs 31: 10-31; Psalm 1; James 3: 1-12 ; Mark 9:30-37

Certainly since the 1950s there has been a movement toward a different understanding of the value, nature, role and the ‘being’ of both wife and women in many, mostly western, societies.
And in the 23 countries that have reached the enlightenment of same-sex marriage the idea of “a capable wife” is no longer gender specific.

So what do these changes illustrate for us in relation to our faith, our understanding of the scriptures and our theology, our appreciation of God?

We are each in our wholeness both Adam and Eve, and that leads us to an appreciation of integration rather than enslavement.
We are each tempted by the tree of life and also ready to deny that temptation in the face of God.

The gospels lead us into deeper understandings enabling us to find in Adam and Eve a relational understanding that point us toward integration and wholeness, and lead us into an appreciation of husband and wife that is relationally based rather than procreation based.
Marriage itself becomes a symbol for unity, integration and wholeness and a microcosm of humanity itself; it illuminates a being together that leads us into the community of all humanity.

“There is no longer Jew or Greek, there is no longer slave or free, there is no longer male and female; for all of you are one in Christ Jesus.” Galatians 3:28

Sixteenth Sunday after Pentecost 13 Sep 2015

Peter Humphris

13 Sep 2015 Thirteenth Sunday after Pentecost webpage
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Proper 19B/Ordinary 24B/Pentecost 16 September 13, 2015 Textweek

Proverbs 1: 20 -33 ; Psalm 19; James 2: 18-26 ; Mark 8:27-38

Still wisdom cries as she encounters what emerges from the background and becomes clear; a small three year old boy lying face down on the beach.
The tide of war washes over the boy, and the tide of life ebbs away.

Who is this wisdom, this naked woman?
Is this the face of God beyond and before the image of the Almighty father?
Perhaps this is the very Word of God’s creation crying into the chaos of life and crying into the grief of life’s dying.

Momentarily the veil is lifted, the door of our simplicity is opened and we glimpse beyond the confines of doctrine’s blinkers.
Perhaps her eyes and her seeing, her voice and her crying are ours also.

The lyrics of the anthem start to take root in our thoughts and as the chorus echoes;

We desire to live in love, and in accord with the Divine Glory

‘Faith’ and ‘works’, not different, but illustrations and aspects of the same; and what if we reverse the order?
What if my works are the reality that describes and determine the reality of my faith.
What religion do my works describe and what teacher, what guru and what Christ is reflected in my works?

It can be quite devastating when someone you know and love is suddenly cast in a different light; for we all hold on to that which we know and love..

Wisdom’s cry is for us, for we all (like Peter) can be rebuked for “setting our mind not on divine things but on human things”

Fifteenth Sunday after Pentecost 6 Sep 2015

Peter Humphris

Fifteenth Sunday after Pentecost 6 Sep 2015.webpage
Fifteenth Sunday after Pentecost 6 Sep 2015.pdf

Image of Drowned Syrian, Aylan Kurdi, 3, Brings Migrant Crisis Into Focus New York Times

“Even if you give me all the countries in the world, I don’t want them. What was precious is gone.”

As its father’s day we’ll take the opportunity to look at the symbol of ‘father’ within the context of our faith.

Now seek to bring the same process into our understanding of God, if we can free ourselves from a childish encounter with God, we know we are looking through the icon of father into a more whole reality; perhaps that’s why the ‘Trinity’ of Father, Son and Holy Spirit became so attractive, it was a step beyond the childish literal ‘father-god’ into a more whole Divine reality.

Rather than confined into ‘Son of God’ Jesus represents the reality of every child, for every child, given the chance, becomes in their own right the father and mother of the tomorrows that are their creation.

Rather than confined into ‘Son of God’ Jesus is the same wholeness that is God – “I and the Father are one”.

Here in the father’s day gospel, we have a narrative for humanity, the Son is the Father.
Be Opened

30 August 2015 Fourteenth Sunday after Pentecost

Peter Humphris

30 Aug 2015 Thirteenth Sunday after Pentecost webpage
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Song of Solomon 2: 8 - 13; Psalm 45; James 1: 17-27 ; Mark 7:1-8,14-23

Today’s readings speak to us as a two-faced people, and they address the two faces of our being; the Pharisee and the Beloved.
As we read, and re-read them we can become aware of these two aspects of ourselves, become aware of our inner natures and so can also seek to find our wholeness, the face we had before we were born.

The Song of Solomon is a love song, pure and simple... in reality it is a love song, nothing less.

Its true delight is finding ourselves within it as ‘beloved’; in the song between lover and loved we seek to apprehend ourselves as the song itself. God and us are not two voices, rather we are a song of love, for we are both lover and loved and so we are on.

The movement from Pharisee to beloved is the movement into wholeness; as Pharisees we might know the words of the song, and may even know some of the traditional tunes; but as ‘beloved’ we are the song.

In the week ahead, in every day, each time you drink a cup of coffee, be mindful of the direction offered by James; “Religion that is pure and undefiled before God, the Father, is this: to care for orphans and widows in their distress, and to keep oneself unstained by the world.”

Slowly churches around the world are becoming empty; to fill them all that is required is for us to reflect a “Religion that is pure and undefiled”; and to do that we need to “be doers of the word, and not merely hearers who deceive themselves”

23 August 2015 Thirteenth Sunday after Pentecost

Peter Humphris

23 Aug 2015 Thirteenth Sunday after Pentecost webpage
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1 Kings 8:22-30, 3: 41-43; Psalm 84; Ephesians 6: 10-20 ; John 6:56-69

Solomon, in prayer, articulates a refreshingly open appreciation of God.

Solomon’s prayer does not display a certainty of knowing about God, and does not require that foreigner’s be assimilated or converted into any established system of beliefs; rather Solomon prays that the foreigner be heard and that what the foreigner asks be responded to.

The first reading and the poetry of the Psalm provide us with an introduction to reflect on the place of our own ‘dwelling’; and to question for ourselves where do we ‘Abide’.

Jesus is speaking about ‘abiding’, and says;

“Those who eat my flesh and drink my blood abide in me, and I in them.”

Jesus is speaking of life’s purpose and so again we might ask of ourselves ‘what is the purposeful life in which we abide?’

In a very general sense we live in the world and seek to be happy, and paradoxically we live with an expectation of decay into death.

What if we live with an orientation toward wholeness rather than happiness and with an expectation of fullness rather than decay into death.

Hugh Mackay, author of The Good life, wrote:

“The crucial test of a life well lived is the quality of our responses to the needs of others. Everything else is peripheral and mostly trivial.”

Our coming together speaks of wholeness, and embraces the other, it is an act of selflessness in which we each contribute or give to the real needs of each other.
It is an act of giving thanks, and again that has an outward orientation, giving from ourselves into the wholeness of all.

9 Aug 2015 Eleventh Sunday after Pentecost

Peter Humphris

9 Aug 2015 Eleventh Sunday after Pentecost webpage 
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2 Samuel 18: 5-33; Psalm 130;Ephesians 4: 25 – 5:2; John 6:35,41-51

However, as we walk into the narrative, we begin to feel the truth(s) that this story illustrates; we can appreciate that wars forever pit father against son, for we are all of one Divine family.
However the conflict of war not only takes place outwardly between nations; the conflict between father and son, between parent and child is also an inner conflict within ourselves; a conflict between our different natures; an inner conflict perhaps between our divine selves and our human selves.

In each and every act of communion we do in a symbolic action accept the invitation into that paradigm that gives life; we turn from the fate of Absalom toward the life of Christ.

We seek to consume and be consumed “by the bread of life.”

When Jesus says “I am the living bread that came down from heaven, Whoever eats of this bread will live forever; and the bread that I will give for the life of the world is my flesh”, he is not inviting us to a communion service, we are being invited into a paradigm of new life.

The anguish of David is for a humanity that finds death from the place of ‘in between’; the desire of David, and the revelation of Christ is toward life from that same place and that is accomplished in Paul’s language with the simple call to “be imitators of God”.

2 Aug 2015 Tenth Sunday after Pentecost

Peter Humphris

2 Aug 2015 Tenth Sunday after Pentecost webpage
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2 Aug 2015 Tenth Sunday after Pentecost mp3
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2 Samuel 11:26-12:13a; Psalm 51: 1-12; Ephesians 4: 1-16; John 6:24-35

Stories like that of David and Nathan in the first reading were initially taken as illustrations of karma, and of justice; however they might have more far reaching implications.

What if karma really is one of the fundamental laws of life, but instead of being operative on the individual, it is operative on the whole?

Not only does that context make more sense, it also resonates with our actual experience; acts of injustice, contribute to global injustice rather than coming back to the individual or the initiator of the act. Many suffer from the actions of a few and there are therefore many examples of injustice, but the law of karma continues to be operative.

Once we appreciate that each and every action, and attitude adds or subtracts from the wellbeing of the whole, we then have real cause to look at each and every action we engage with.

Do we make “every effort to maintain the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace”?

Paul’s letter gives us an opportunity to hear the insight that encouraged the early church, and to hear for ourselves a call into being members of that body that makes manifest the gift and the giving that is the very unfolding of creation.

The whole of creation, life itself is a gift, and we, each and all of us, are made in the image of the giver; we therefore are creators of life, and givers of life’s gift.

Again, we can hear these words as spoken to us and again hear that we are urged to a new orientation: “Do not work for the food that perishes, but for the food that endures for eternal life”.

We are the body of Christ, we are the bread of life; and so

“lead a life worthy of the calling to which you have been called”

26 Jul 2015 Ninth Sunday after Pentecost

26 Jul 2015 Ninth Sunday after Pentecost webpage
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The psalm is a lament, a whinge, that everyone and everything is not right; “there is none that does good, no not one.”

It is a voice of despair, grief, depression; and also a voice of self-righteousness for the writer does not seem to be included in the “they” that have “all alike become corrupt”.
It is perhaps helpful for us to know and acknowledge that part of our own inner landscape from which we too can hold that same one-sided perspective of hopelessness.

Thankfully, in the story of David from the first reading we have the contrast of Uriah; and that enables us to see two sides of the story; it gives two worldviews; and that in turn enables us to appreciate that we also have access within ourselves to quite different perspectives.

What if, miracles, rather being stunning events are actually a perspective, a seeing of reality beyond what we see?

So the first action in the narrative of the miracle is to adopt the attitude of Christ; to know ourselves in that very same position.

John’s gospel has profound insight, it is not a documentary on the life of Jesus and nor is it a created story to show how Jesus was God’s only son; it is a telling of what Jesus revealed about us, and all of humanity.

The only question we need to contemplate as we finish the gospel reading for today, is when are we going to walk on water?
And for that we will need to explore and overcome our fears!

19 Jul 2015 Eighth Sunday after Pentecost

Peter Humphris

19 Jul 2015 Eighth Sunday after Pentecost webpage
19 Jul 2015 Eighth Sunday after Pentecost pdf

19 Jul 2015 Eighth Sunday after Pentecost mp3
19 Jul 2015 Eighth Sunday after Pentecost m4a

Within the first reading and through the prophetic word of Nathan we have an understanding of the dynamic of God, an orientation of the Divine that is actioned in giving.

We see that only when enemies are defeated, only when all the people are given a house, planted in an appointed place, only then is the true Kingdom established and the true relationship between God and king, Divinity and Humanity, realised.

We hear in the gospel that the healing that takes place in that deserted place, the place of inner reflection, is birthed in compassion.

We should therefore mind the gap, and be mindful of the gaps; more than that we might become aware of the unconscious and unthinking view, the ‘David view’, which looks compassionate and yet camouflages another reality.

Where do we each sit in the gap between rich and poor; how often do we speak of our poverty without realising the reality of our wealth?
When we become mindful of the gaps, we see the primitive nature of a binary world view, we see only the compass of North and south or East and West.
Revealed in Christ is the world that is seen from the singularity of eternity; rather than seeing the poles the wholeness and the roundness of life is discovered in our being “one new humanity”.

Paul glimpses a world in which “the whole structure is joined together and grows into a holy temple in the Lord; 22 in whom you also are built together spiritually into a dwelling place for God.”
Paul sees what Christ reveals, and we; perhaps if we could reach and “touch even the fringe of his cloak”; we too might be healed

12 Jul 2015 Seventh Sunday after Pentecost

Peter Humphris

12 Jul 2015 Seventh Sunday after Pentecost webpage
12 Jul 2015 Seventh Sunday after Pentecost pdf
12 Jul 2015 Seventh Sunday after Pentecost mp3
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The image from the first reading of King David, near naked, “leaping and dancing before the Lord” is an image of Divine delight. It evokes for us an image of the king, free, open, empowered and inspired; a king completely exposed before God and the people; a king who dances at one with his people, as an expression of sheer delight in placing God in the centre of the kingdom.

Every life is part of the universal unfolding that is creation’s dance… And so by our choices we too shall either dance with David and “distribute food among all the people” or behead the Word of God and display it on a plate to our guests..

Paul writes, in his introduction, to the Ephesians “by the will of God” and without any intentional pun goes on to talk about inheritance; “In Christ we have also obtained an inheritance…… according to the purpose of him who accomplishes all things……. so that we, who were the first to set our hope on Christ, might live for the praise of his glory.”

What is the inheritance we have received? What dance have we been invited to join?
And what is the inheritance we plan to leave? These are confronting, but important questions for each and for all of us.

A recent speech from Ban Ki-moon, like the letter of Paul, encourages us to dance the dance of David:

“An African proverb teaches that “fine words do not produce food”. That wise counsel is foremost in my mind as leaders gather in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, for a pivotal global financing conference to put the world on course to end poverty and protect the planet.”
'We can be the first generation that ends poverty'
Ban Ki-moon

5 Jul 2015 Sixth Sunday of Pentecost

Peter Humphris

Sixth Sunday after Pentecost 5 Jul 2015 website
Sixth Sunday after Pentecost 5 Jul 2015 pdf
Sixth Sunday after Pentecost 5 Jul 2015 mp3
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2 Samuel 5:1-10; Psalm 48; 2 Corinthians 12: 2-10; Mark 6:1-13

The first part of the gospel provides us with an orientation toward community, encouraging us to go beyond family and beyond the confines or safety of our home; “Prophets are not without honour, except in their hometown, and among their own kin, and in their own house." 5 And he could do no deed of power there”

The activity of the disciple, and so the realisation of our fullest humanity, has an orientation toward community and to those beyond our own kind.

Our journey into the paradise that Paul was caught up in, is not a solitary journey; “He called the twelve and began to send them out two by two”, we need to walk with another, to share both the grace and the thorns that we discover in our becoming.

And finally, the real good news; “He ordered them to take nothing for their journey except a staff; no bread, no bag, no money in their belts”; it is not expensive!

Our movement into being, both as the body of Christ, and as seeker’s life’s fullness; is a movement of re-creation, and so is very much a part of the unfolding of tomorrow; it is not a selfish journey, for the way we live and an our orientation has an impact on everyone and everything.

May we all, like Paul, get caught up this week!

28 Jun 2015 Fifth Sunday of Pentecost

Peter Humphris

Fifth Sunday after Pentecost 28 Jun 2015 webpage
Fifth Sunday after Pentecost 28 Jun 2015 pdf

2 Samuel 1.1, 17-27; Psalm 130; 2 Corinthians 8: 7-15; Mark 5:21-43

And so, to finish off, four openings for you to explore;

“How the mighty have fallen!” an opening for us to look again at the part we play in the reality of life’s changing fortunes.

“Jonathan; greatly beloved were you to me; your love to me was wonderful, passing the love of women.” an invitation and encouragement to a fuller expression of life and love than that which the tradition has realized; an opening to seek more to life than what we already see with our limited vision.

“to excel also in this generous undertaking” prompts us to consider the undertaking we have as being church and how we might too excel.

And finally, “Talitha cum," which means, "Little girl, get up!" – the reality of resurrection is a lived experience, we are asked to ‘get up’, to awake, to leave the tomb of this world and live a divine life.

The readings today give us much to think about and to reflect upon.

Nativity of John the Baptist St John the Baptist June 21 2015

Peter Humphris

Nativity of John the Baptist June 24 2015 webpage
Nativity of John the Baptist June 24 2015 pdf

There is within everyone a desire, and a capacity, to overcome the forces that are a threat to life; and also a desire and capacity to defeat the forces that stop us from realising ourselves as a people of God.

However, we can also acknowledge within a ‘Saul’; and that too strikes a different chord.
Within us, we know also that voice that denies our desires and that diminishes our capacity; “You are not able to go against this Philistine to fight with him; for you are just a boy”.

The voice we chose to feed will grow stronger, and the voice that we listen to will determine the outcome of the dialogue. The narrative of the first reading gives us a landscape, or dreamscape in which we can see ourselves with some objectivity.

We can picture our inner David standing in front of the army of Israel, for David is our every dream, wish, opportunity, creative insight, divine inspiration; David is every prayer we utter, every possibility we imagine; and David is the voice of our integrity with God and with each other.

Paul’s letter reads like a series of experiential ‘beatitudes’:

And these culminate with the hall-mark of counter-cultural living:

as poor, yet making many rich;
as having nothing, and yet possessing everything.

“Jesus said to them, "Let us go across to the other side."”; this is a narrative about shifting positions, and it involves “leaving the crowd behind”; it invites us into that fearful place of being counter-cultural, we are invited into the very storm of life!

Perhaps we should ask; why anyone would write a story about only one person that God endows with power; for the obvious answer is, that wouldn’t and they haven’t; the story of David and the story of Christ, as realised by Paul; is our story.

And when we find the voice of David, then we can stop feeding the giant and perhaps discover that Christ reveals TO us who we really are.

14 June 2015 Third Sunday of Pentecost

Peter Humphris

14 June 2015 Pentecost 3 webpage
14 June 2015 Pentecost 3 pdf

1 Samuel 15-34-16: 13 Psalm 20; 2 Corinthians 5: 6-17; Mark 4:26-34

The image of the sower on the cover of the service sheet might well be an image of the Church, sowing the ‘kingdom’ of tomorrow, not Saul’s kingdom, nor David’s kingdom, but the kingdom of God.

In Octavia Butler's book ‘Parable of the Sower’ she shares some thought provoking ideas that again underline the enormity of our ‘being church’;

"God is Change, and in the end, God prevails. But God exists to be shaped. It isn't enough for us just to survive, limping along, playing business as usual while things get worse and worse."
"Why is the universe? To shape God. Why is God? To shape the universe."
"We are Earthseed. The life that perceives itself changing."

We will have an opportunity to share our understanding, ‘our image’ of being church; and it is helpful to share the images we each have so that we can more fully appreciate the common; for in communion we are very much in the place that is beyond our individuality; we are what we claim to be: the Body of Christ….

Second Sunday Pentecost 7 June 2015

Peter Humphris

Pentecost 7 Jun 2015 webpage
Pentecost 7 Jun 2015 pdf

1 Samuel 8: 4-11, 16-20; Psalm 138; 2 Corinthians 4:13-5:1; Mark 3:20-35

The first reading today asks us to consider where we place our sincerity, in what do we trust and that in turn enables us to consider how we choose to be governed in our lives.
Are we guided “by the grace of God”; or do we give away our sincerity and follow the ways of consumerism, the worldly wisdom relating to success, power and wealth.

The affirmation in today’s readings is that we are creators of the turning points in our lives, and so too creators of the turning points in history; “Indeed, this is our boast…… not by earthly wisdom but by the grace of God”.

In the week ahead, and certainly as part of our preparation for the AGM a simple exercise; consider the ‘arrow of life’; picture, even draw, a line representing your life and place an arrow head at one end; become aware of your life direction, and of our life direction as the ‘Body of Christ’. To what does that arrow point?

Be mindful, as you trace along the length of that line, of the turning points that you have taken and also of the turning points you have missed, the moments of dreams, possibility, the leaps you never took, the flying you never did; we all have them.
Be mindful of how you have chosen to be governed, the au

The unfolding of life revealed through Christ gives us an orientation away from the arrow of gravitation; and that takes us into a new realm;, the gospel narrative shows Jesus with a completely new understanding of family, unrestricted by the gravity of genetics and reaching beyond self to embrace all.

Finally, if we are to win the battle that is now going on around the world between freedom and tyranny,
Now it is time to take longer strides
which in many ways may hold the key to our future on earth.
And, like JFK: I believe we possess all the resources and talents necessary.

thorities you defer to; identify where you have been bounded by gravitational forces.

31 May 2015 Trinity Sunday

Peter Humphris

Pentecost 31 May 2015 webpage
Pentecost 31 May 2015 pdf

Isaiah 6: 1-8; Psalm 29; Romans 8: 12-17 ; John 3:1-15

To get a perspective on ourselves, to determine our position, where we are at, and to discover our direction and our movement, are very much a part of our seeking God, and also provide us with an appreciation of our part in the unfolding of tomorrow.

The appearance of fractal geometry gives us a new language for exploring the Trinity; and that is only one example of listening to ‘other’ languages to improve our understanding; icons provide another entry point for us to contemplate and explore.

Rublev’s icon gives another view of the ‘Trinity’, it is another language, and rather than focusing on definition, icons somehow invite engagement and exploration…

Whatever language you speak, be encouraged this Trinity Sunday to seek an encounter with the Trinity, knowing that “What you seek is seeking you”.

The unfolding of the future, and the reality of eternity, the life of resurrection is only realised in and by our attending to it; we are part of a Divine whole, and if we are drawn into the living embrace of the Trinity then (and maybe only then) will we share in the hospitality of angels.

24 May 2015 Pentecost

Peter Humphris 

Pentecost 24 May 2015 webpage
Pentecost 24 May 2015 pdf

Acts 2: 1-21; Psalm 104:26-36; Romans 8:22-27; John 15:26-16:15

So there are a number of traditions and practices associated with Pentecost and when we ask “What is Pentecost” we can appreciate that it has changed over time.

Starting with the gospel we have John’s account of Jesus teaching the disciples about what we call, and celebrate as, Pentecost; “Nevertheless I tell you the truth: it is to your advantage that I go away, for if I do not go away, the Advocate will not come to you; but if I go, I will send him to you.”

It is a teaching to inspire the disciples, to stimulate, motivate, stir, encourage, enthuse, move, and arouse the disciples.

Luke, in the reading from Acts, provides us with a dramatic account of what Jesus has spoken about; and that’s exactly what it is, a drama that has been crafted for those early listeners to fully appreciate the reality of what Jesus had taught them.

And woven into that drama, as we engage the unfolding story, we too find the inspiration that was handed on through the teaching of Jesus.

The Spirit is illuminated not by the flame but in the ability to communicate with all; and communication by definition requires more than one; and so we are drawn out of individualism into a discovery of relationship, the “I” becomes the “We”.

And we should remember; the enlightenment of Pentecost is made real when “they were all together in one place”; no one is left out, there are no refugees in this new worldview; this is your day and my day and our day.

When the Spirit of truth comes[when the penny drops], we will know we are enlivened “in Christ”, and the future is entrusted to each and every one of us, and to each and every word we utter.

That future will find us together in one place… no one is left out, there are no refugees in this new worldview.

Be Inspired – and be an inspiration.

10 May 2015 Sixth Sunday after Easter

Peter Humphris

Easter 6B May 10, 2015 Textweek

Easter 6B May 10, 2015 webpage
Easter 6B May 10, 2015 pdf

Acts 10: 44-49; Psalm 98; 1 John 5: 1-6 ; John 15:9-17

.... in our post-Easter experience we too are asked to consider for ourselves what has been revealed; what astounding revelation is made real through the whole Easter experience.

What if he had paused and asked himself if this was what Jesus had spoken about, what if he had realised that it was not the Jewish people that were God’s chosen, but that each and every one was of God’s divine image.

What Peter saw, and was astounded by, is that the divine nature is not the preserve of one particular tradition, and Jesus embodied that as a completely new way of appreciating ourselves in relation to the world; in John’s language, he illuminates for us, and for all, what it means to be “born of God”.

Easter is a game changer; it takes us out of the ‘Christian Club’, it takes us beyond the doctrines and dogmas of a past tradition and invites us into resurrection.

[A question was asked ... ] was Christ naked when he came out of the tomb into the garden?Before we dismiss the question as trivial; it firstly; invites us to ‘know’ for ourselves the resurrection experience, and then we might ask for ourselves what was revealed for us in this experience.

... so why don’t we do something astounding and look beyond that tradition.

The early ‘Jewish’ disciples interpreted Easter as about Jesus, because they wanted their expectations fulfilled; if you read the book again, you’ll discover that Jesus, his teaching and his being is all about us.

3 May 2015 Fifth Sunday after Easter

Peter Humphris

Easter 5B May 5, 2015 Textweek

Easter 5B May 5, 2015 webpage
Easter 5B May 5, 2015 pdf

Acts 8: 26-40; Psalm 22:26-32; 1 John 4: 7-21; John 15:1-8

What is really helpful with this list is knowing where it comes from; and it’s from a recipe book; and that knowing already helps us make sense of the list, but it is only the ingredients, not the full recipe.

However, the end result we would all readily appreciate if we saw and tasted it; Crepe suzette

With the taste of this analogy we can look back to the readings as another set of ingredients, and in order to realise their fullness we need to discover what book they are from, and what function they perform.

The ‘crepe suzette’ of scripture is the realisation of ourselves in the image of God; this is the delicious dish to be enjoyed when the recipe has been followed.

Into the tomb of the oven go the raw materials and from the tomb, emerges something quite different and unrecognisable to that which went in.

And then, finally we have the experience of delight.

Perhaps we might explore for ourselves what it means to be a post-Easter community, and rather than reading lists of ingredients, let’s all have a go at cooking the book.

Peter Humphris

26 April 2015 Fourth Sunday after Easter

Peter Humphris 

Easter 4B April 26, 2015 Textweek

Easter 4B April 26, 2015 webpage
Easter 4B April 26, 2015 pdf

Acts 4: 5-12; Psalm 23; 1 John 3: 16-24 ; John 10:11-18

It is the movement of Good Friday, and it often brings us to a place of silence as we momentarily confront and contemplate our own dying.

In our composition of life, the movement into the tomb is the final movement.

The Easter narrative however, gives us a new orchestration, a new composition of life that goes beyond the requiem of death, beyond the final movement of a funeral dirge; it takes us beyond and into the resurrection.
And most who have listened to this new composition have an appreciation of ‘life after death’; a new movement in the composition of life; that Christians call hope and atheists call delusion.

John is so obviously not talking about ‘dying’ and then life after death; what John is talking about is resurrection as a lived reality.
“I lay down my life in order to take it up again. 18 No one takes it from me, but I lay it down of my own accord. I have power to lay it down, and I have power to take it up again.”

So we can forget the doctrine of atonement that says “Jesus died for us”; for if he died for us there would be no need for us to “to lay down our lives for one another.”

And what we therefore begin to see in John’s writings is that the ‘laying down of life’ is illustrative of the movement into resurrection.

And we begin to seek an understanding of resurrection as a lived reality.

Resurrection is the result of choice followed by actions that embrace a new life outlook and a very different journey.

It is a movement into the very depth of our humanity, a movement into our Christ-likeness and into our fullness of life and fullness of being.

Resurrection, like the discoveries of the quantum physicists, “can seem counterintuitive or even paradoxical”; however Jesus reveals it as the path to life; and as we come to appreciate the life revealed in and through Christ, then we will discover

“he laid down his life for us--and we ought to lay down our lives for one another.”

19 April 2015 Third Sunday after Easter

Peter Humphris 

Easter 3B April 19, 2015 Textweek

Easter 3B April 19 2015 webpage
Easter 3B April 19 2015 pdf

Acts 3: 12-19; Psalm 4; 1 John 2: 15-17, 3: 1-7 ; Luke 24;36-48

Rather than exploring resurrection, Luke [in Acts]goes back into his tradition and seeks to offer proof that Jesus is the Messiah, he is the one that the tradition has been waiting for.

Once again, Luke [in Luke] begins with a reality of resurrection, the healing of the man who could not walk, and then takes us off in a different direction to again offer proof of the Messianic identity.

To use the reality of resurrection as a proof of Jesus being the Messiah, is both missing the point of resurrection, and diminishing all that Jesus revealed by shoehorning it into the very tradition he sought to reach beyond.

The second reading from 1 John offers a very different perspective, and yet it is also seeking to clarify the reality of resurrection, the true teaching of Jesus to an audience that has been fragmented by different understandings.

What is important for us today is that we ask the initial question from the gospel for ourselves;
“Why are you frightened, and why do doubts arise in your hearts?”

As a post-Easter community, we, like the disciples, have an opportunity to encounter resurrection, and to live in the light of resurrection.

Jesus message, and his revelation, was not about him, nor was it about him being a saviour or liberator of a group of people; Jesus teaches us who we are and opens us to our becoming.

12 April 2015 Second Sunday after Easter

Peter Humphris 

Easter 2B April 12, 2015 Textweek

Easter 2B April 12 2015 webpage
Easter 2B April 12 2015 pdf

Acts 4:32-37; Psalm 133; 1 John 1:1-2; John 20:19-31

With the narrative of Easter still echoing we have an opportunity to contemplate, and to encounter, life lived in the resurrection.

Perhaps such a utopia is hard to imagine, perhaps you don’t believe that such a possibility could actually happen; but we should remember what it was like for those who knew the earth was flat, they also could not imagine a different worldview.

And with that distinction, together with John’s encouragement, we might look at the gospel with new eyes; and to help us ‘look again’, to help us look beyond the routine understanding, we might picture ourselves walking from the tomb of orthodoxy, walking from the tomb of tradition and walking into a new Eden.

You may have life in his name; you have an invitation and an opportunity to live in the resurrection.

“Whether or not God exists”
Michael Benedikt.

Whether or not God exists
is entirely up to us.
For God comes into being by what we do
and do not do.

25 Jan 2015 Third Sunday in Epiphany

John Shepherd

Epiphany 3B January 25, 2015 Textweek

Epiphany 3B January 25, 2015 website
Epiphany 3B January 25, 2015 pdf

Jonah 3: 1-10; Psalm 62: 5-12; 1 Cor 7: 29-31; Mark 1: 14-20

It was the same for the disciples. From the very beginning, they were kept in the dark.
What they were to be, and what they were to do, was revealed to them only bit by bit.
The first time they make an appearance, in the reading we have as today’s Gospel (Mark 1: 14-20), all that’s said to them is that they’re to go with Jesus, and that he would make them people who fish for others. Which tells them very little about what’s involved – only that instead of fishing for fish, they will fish for people.

What they don’t realise then is that that’s not all. Just imitating Jesus’ actions won’t be enough.
What’s yet to come for them is that they must be transformed, changed internally. They must become different people.
It won’t be enough simply to do what Jesus does. They must become what he is.

So they must become new beings, with new hearts, new attitudes, new understandings, new perceptions, bearers of the Spirit.

When we started out, the absolute requirements of discipleship were hidden from us.
And we thank God for this, for if we’d known what would
finally be required of us – that we must suffer as Christ suffered, we wouldn’t have been able to cope.
Mercifully, as with the first disciples, we only realise what’s fully required of us eventually, when it’s too late to avoid it.
So thanks be to this God, who leads us into all truth, but gradually, and makes us anew in his image, but gently, so that we can cope, always, and be neither afraid nor destroyed.

11 Jan 2015 Baptism of Christ

John Shepherd

Baptism of Christ 11 Jan 2015 Textweek

Baptism of Christ 11 Jan 2015 webpage
Baptism of Christ 11 Jan 2015 pdf

Genesis 1: 1-5; Psalm 29; Acts 19:1-7; Mark 1: 4-11

You sometimes hear it said that that the water of baptism symbolizes cleanliness – washing away sin, so that, being cleansed, we can start afresh. And you can see how people might think that. We use water to wash in, to clean dirty things.

But washing wasn’t the only action of which water was the symbol. Water also symbolised destruction, and when we look at it this way, we can see how it fits Mark’s gospel perfectly. Jesus getting into the water of the river Jordan was a symbol of his forthcoming destruction.

And so, Jesus’ baptism, and our baptism, is the symbol of our destruction, and our death - the destruction and death of our self-interest, self-obsession, self-absorption, self-everything, that prevents us loving.

And it’s only when we undergo this death, symbolized by immersing ourselves in water – the water of baptism – that we will be free to experience a new life on the other side of this death.

And what we must do about it is to submit to our own destruction, so that we’ll be free to accept our resurrection. We have to die before we can be raised by God.

28th December 2014 First Sunday after Christmas

Peter Humphris

Christmas 1B December 28, 2014 Textweek

Christmas 1B December 28, 2014 webpage
Christmas 1B December 28, 2014 pdf

Isaiah 61:10-62:3 ; Psalm 148; Galatians 4: 4-7; Luke 2:22-40

Isaiah looks, and sees, beyond the religious and socio-political paradigm of his time, he rejoices in the hope that is beyond the obvious, he looks beyond the boxing-day sales and rejoices in the unfolding of Christmas.

However this is not a prophet predicting a future Christmas, rather Isaiah speaks to a different ‘Christmas process”; in a time long before the gospel birth narratives, he speaks to the people of Israel and he speaks of a coming home from exile, and of a tomorrow that “shines out like the dawn, and … like a burning torch”

Although Isaiah’s message is for the people of Jerusalem, and is “for Zion's sake”; it goes beyond the status–quo and is for ‘all the nations’. It is prophetic in that it speaks with an insight into the reality of eternity…. And perhaps that’s why the gospel writers draw on Isaiah as they seek to document the revelation of Christ.

We can in reading such letters [Galatians] not only get a real feel for the emerging church and it’s theology, but also awaken our own emerging theology and find permission to challenge all that was previously understood.And then we come back to the ongoing ‘Christmas narrative of Luke’s gospel.

And that’s where we have theological knot!
On the one hand we have the son of God, immaculately conceived, and then we have Jewish boy who needs to undergo rituals in order to part of the covenant people….

Together the three readings today offer us a number of viewpoints, different perspectives for us to look at the unfolding of Christmas:
We can look prophetically and seek the beyond that is the invitation of the icon of the “Word made flesh, seeking to find ourselves in the image of God
We can wrestle with our past traditions and with what has been revealed in the coming of light and perhaps like Paul discover that we too are heirs to the estate of the manger.
And we can seek like Luke to make sense of the nativity with reference points from the traditions of the past, however again like Luke we should hold a purposeful intent on revealing a new creation, rather than justifying a long held self-righteous tradition….

May we all be together on our after-Christmas pilgrimage… and for those who did not hear the angel’s affirmation to be without fear, know that on our journeying together we will have a Shepherd.
And that’s a little segue to confirm that John Shepherd will be here next Sunday and we will all have a new opportunity to experience our movement toward Easter in a new way…

May we all make the most of this exciting time and this exciting journey…

21 Dec 14 Fourth Sunday in Advent

Peter Humphris

21 Dec 14 Fourth Sunday in Advent Textweek

21 Dec 21 Fourth Sunday in Advent webpage
21 Dec 14 Fourth Sunday in Advent pdf

2 Samuel 7: 1-11, 16; Psalm 89; Romans 16: 25-27; Luke 1:26-38

When we look at Luke’s gospel, we see that it also provides an insight into the process, and the struggle, of the early church, particularly when compared with the other gospels.

John’s is the last, the latest of the four gospels; and it is of a different nature to the other three in that it explores the abstract, it seeks to reveal the unseen and so reflects a deeper appreciation, perhaps a more sophisticated theology, and understanding in relation to Christ’s revelation.

John is very different; “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God”.

John’s gospel is not confined by either history or tradition; that said, he still has an audience to consider and he still has to ground, make real his insights for his listeners to appreciate and understand. The other three gospels seem more obvious, less abstract and narrate in a story-like fashion the life and events of Jesus and so can more readily be seen as literal accounts, which of course they were never intended to be.

So as we read Luke’s account today, we can do so, having already been awakened by John’s gospel to be looking for something more than the story.

The process of Christmas is to realise a new creation, to acknowledge ‘divine Birth, to actually discover the “Word made flesh”; the narratives invite such a movement, and yet the very writers of those narratives could not let go of their established tradition.

We too have within us the birth of new creation; we have within us, waiting for birth, “The Body of Christ”.
And we have fear, that which will keep us rerunning our past instead of creating a future, Mary had fear, our fear and so the assurance of the angel: “Do not be afraid”

Mary’s initial response, like ours: “How can this be”
And no matter how you want to frame your virginity we all respond the same way:
How can I change the world
How can I create a new future
How can I stop watching 97 hours of TV each month
How can I stop hanging on to all I’ve got
How can any of this be/

Mary encountered Christmas and changed her response; “let it be with me according to your word”.

Pray that we can do the same this Christmas

 

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 Second 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.

 

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