Readings each Sunday Vanderbilt lectionary library and Textweek

Last Sunday after Pentecost and Christ the King 20 November 2016

Peter Humphris

Last Sunday after Pentecost and Christ the King 20 November 2016 webpage
Last Sunday after Pentecost and Christ the King 20 November 2016 pdf
Last Sunday after Pentecost and Christ the King 20 November 2016 mp3

Jeremiah 23: 1-6; Psalm - Benedictus or Song of Zechariah; 1 Colossians 1: 11-20; Luke 23:33-43 from Vanderbilt

Christ the King / Reign of Christ C November 20, 2016 from Textweek

... the early disciples saw in Jesus the fulfilment of this traditional expectation; Jesus was the expected king that the Hebrew people were waiting for, this was the promotional ‘spin’ that the early church used in order to sell the message of Christ to those who were steeped within the Hebrew tradition.

As we leave behind the simplicity of the early Church logic and lectionary spin, we have an opportunity to consider the reading in the context of today, the end of the Church year.

And as we come to the end, so also we come to a beginning, and therefore a reference to Easter becomes quite insightful.

For as we know from the Easter narrative the old must die in order for the new to rise.

Now of course we can ‘save’ ourselves; we can hang on to what we have...

And in that ‘saving’ process, we can almost delude ourselves into thinking that nothing has changed, we are safe; yesterday and today and tomorrow; same, same, same, saved!

But we will also miss the true gift of Christmas, the process of Easter, the reality of dying and rising into a new a new creation; we will not even follow the criminal who hangs on the cross. If we hang on to what we have, our hands and our hearts cannot be open to the possibility of ‘paradise’.

In the week ahead we enter the in-between and we will feel the equal forces of yesterday and tomorrow; we have an opportunity to hold on and we have an opportunity to let go, an opportunity to remember and an equal opportunity to dream.

Twenty Sixth Sunday after Pentecost 13 November 2016

Peter Humphris

Twenty Sixth Sunday after Pentecost 13 November 2016 webpage
Twenty Sixth Sunday after Pentecost 13 November 2016 pdf
Twenty Sixth Sunday after Pentecost 13 November 2016 mp3

Isaiah 65: 17-25; Psalm - A Song of Isaiah ;2 Thessalonians 3: 6-13 Luke 21:5-19 from Vanderbilt

Proper 28C / Ordinary 33C / Pentecost +26 Nov 13, 2016 from Textweek

For Sunday by Sunday we come together to know God, to become mindful once again of the Divine, we come to seek God and to receive strength, rekindle trust and understanding and to remember and appreciate the Divine presence, a real presence, with us in all that disturbs.

This week, both in the news we have received and in the scriptures we are reading, we are being reminded that tomorrow is not a given; yesterday and today do not equal tomorrow, rather, they point us toward the newness of tomorrow.

So the “new heavens and a new earth” of Isaiah: the rising of creation, offers a new and different paradigm and

“the former things shall not be remembered or come to mind.”

We are each and all the “I” that features in Isaiah’s vision, and perhaps, in Paul’s terms, it is only when we are “living in idleness” that the vision remains unrealised.

As we journey together into a new creation, I invite you to use Isaiah’s vision as a point of reference, and consider that death, divorce and retirement can all inform that which disturbs our ego-centric vision, and they each invoke a deeper intimacy.

However let’s consider resurrection as the primary reference point for change, for in resurrection our deepest being, our Divine nature is brought to birth and we become a part of the promise:

“I am about to create new heavens and a new earth”.

Twenty Fifth Sunday after Pentecost 6 November 2016

Peter Humphris

Twenty Fifth Sunday after Pentecost 6 November 2016 webpage
Twenty Fifth Sunday after Pentecost 6 November 2016 pdf
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Haggai 1:15b-2:9;Psalm 145: 1-5, 17-21; 2 Thessalonians 2:1 5, 13-17 ; Luke 20:27-40 from Vanderbilt

Proper 27C / Ordinary 32C / Pentecost +25 Nov 6, 2016 from Textweek

In the first reading Haggai gives voice to an enlightenment that is much later reiterated in Christ:

“I am with you, says the LORD of hosts”,

and

“My spirit abides among you; do not fear”

even Luke himself misses the very enlightenment that is an integral part of his argument;

“Now he is God not of the dead, but of the living; for to him all of them are alive”.

So give it some thought… we can carry on and die as per our tradition or we can embrace the reality of the gospel:

“Indeed they cannot die anymore, because they are like angels and are children of God, being children of the resurrection.”

Twenty Fourth Sunday after Pentecost 30 October 2016

Peter Humphris

Twenty Fourth Sunday after Pentecost 30 October 2016 webpage
Twenty Fourth Sunday after Pentecost 30 October 2016 pdf
Twenty Fourth Sunday after Pentecost 30 October 2016 mp3

Habakkuk 1: 1-4, 2: 1-4 ; Psalm 119: 137-144; 2 Thessalonians 1: 1-4, 11-12 ; Luke 19:1-10 from Vanderbilt

Proper 26C / Ordinary 31C / Pentecost +24 Oct 30, 2016 from Textweek

And the contemplation of icons gives us an opportunity to contrast and compare, the relative priorities that we willingly make an engagement with; and that in turn might ask us to question our attentiveness to God, and our engagement with divine things.

As we ponder even further, do we really ‘try to see Jesus’ , do we make an effort, or do we just stand in the crowd and wait for Jesus to pass by?

...clearly the tree that Zacchaeus climbed, that which took him away from and above the crowd was the place in which he was divinely seen.

In the Old Testament tradition; the same revelations are given voice through the icon of the prophet and in answer to Habakkuk’s anguished cry, the oracle that is revealed is one of clear instructions: write the vision, make it plain, and live by faith.

These prophetic instructions might well serve us when we have fully contemplated the icon of Zacchaeus; for if we can look beyond the crowd, and if we seek vision and purpose then what follows is to commit to that which we see, and live it.

The gospel icon tells us that we are recognised in the same place, the very same position that we find Christ crucified, and that is the place of our truest and most Divine birth.

Twenty Third Sunday after Pentecost 23 October 2016

Peter Humphris

Twenty Third Sunday after Pentecost 23 October 2016 webpage
Twenty Third Sunday after Pentecost 23 October 2016 pdf
Twenty Third Sunday after Pentecost 23 October 2016 mp3

Joel 2: 23-32 ;Psalm 65 ; 2 Timothy 4: 6-8, 16-18 ;Luke 18:15-30 from Vanderbilt

Proper 25C / Ordinary 30C / Pentecost +23 Oct 23, 2016 from Textweek

In some mystical sense, the ‘Word of God’ travels; it moves around within us seeking to bring our diverse natures into one divine and universal wholeness.

Joel reflects a post-Easter insight; he imagined a destination as yet not advertised, “You shall know that I am in the midst”; Joel like Jesus brought God into the very manger of humanity.

The underlined ‘shame’ in the reading from Joel is that we think we are really moving and really travelling ...., our truest shame is that we are passengers on life’s journey when really we are called to be pilots.

Most will sit uncomfortably on the plane and trust in a pilot they do not know; unaware that Christ, the airline CEO invites us to fly the plane and to take others with us beyond the confines of worldly gravity…

What a shame that we cannot let go, and it is to our common disgrace, our embarrassment, dishonour and humiliation that we are unable to share our wealth and to bring life to others as we journey through life.

If we remain passengers on life’s journey then we will remain uncomfortably in our seats, we will take off and leave behind only the hungry, the poor and the refuges; hoping that the pilot will take us to some splendid place with a nice hotel; heaven.

However, if we face our shame, and take the controls in both hands, leaving behind, our self-interest and worldly investments, then we can truly fly and we can make true the Air Asia company logo; “Now everyone can fly”

Twenty Second Sunday after Pentecost 16 October 2016

Richard Whereat

Twenty Second Sunday after Pentecost 16 October 2016 webpage
Twenty Second Sunday after Pentecost 16 October 2016 pdf
Twenty Second Sunday after Pentecost 16 October 2016 mp3

Jeremiah 31: 27-34;Psalm 119: 97-104; 2 Tim 3:10 – 4:5 Luke 18: 1-14 from Vanderbilt

Proper 24C / Ordinary 29C / Pentecost +22 Oct 16, 2016 from Textweek

A new covenant or agreement that God would forgive and restore our relationship with God if we turn our hearts to God.

God calls us to act in justice ways, in right ways in all of our lives. The parables today call us to be humble, to pray and to stay right with God which chosen did not always do. Nor do we as part of our human nature is to be selfish and self-centred.

To learn from the past, from biblical history and the way God has dealt justice with God’s own people and to be in tune with the new covenant, we should read the stories and connect and trust in God in prayer.

As we mature in spirit the teachings of Jesus Christ should be ingrained in our lives each day of the week which will put us in good stead with God in this life and the next.

Three Questions to reflect on!
What did you understand of God when you first came to understand anything about God?
What do you understand of God now, today?
What will you understand of God on your last day in this life?

Twenty First Sunday after Pentecost 9 October 2016

Gerry Costigan

Twenty First Sunday after Pentecost 9 October 2016 webpage
Twenty First Sunday after Pentecost 9 October 2016 pdf
Twenty First Sunday after Pentecost 9 October 2016 mp3

Jeremiah 29:1, 4-7; Psalm 66:1-12 ;2 Kings 5:1-3, 7-15c;2 Timothy 2:8-15  Luke 17:11-19 from Vanderbilt

Proper 23C / Ordinary 28C / Pentecost +21 Oct 9, 2016 from Textweek

And the key point of the story is not that the Lepers were healed but that one of them came back to say “thank you”.

It is interesting that Luke says the returning leper was “eucharistos”, that is, “thankful”. By the time he wrote, Christians were beginning to the word eucharist to describe their celebration with bread and wine.

Some bible based teaching is that we are all sick, just as Saul (Paul) was “sick” when he persecuted Christians and had to be healed.

I think it is more creative today for us to recognise that we the worshipping people are called to be “the tenth leper”.

We are gathered here because we are the people who have turned back to say thank you.

In some ways we are called to be a sign pointing the way to God.

And in our giving thanks we proclaim God’s love for us and others. We pray for and on behalf of God’s world.

Twentienth Sunday after Pentecost 2 October 2016

Peter Humphris

Twentienth Sunday after Pentecost 2 October 2016 webpage
Twentienth Sunday after Pentecost 2 October 2016 pdf
Twentienth Sunday after Pentecost 2 October 2016 mp3

Lamentations 1: 1-6;Psalm 137;2 Timothy 1: 1-14; Luke 17: 1-10 from Vanderbilt

Proper 22C / Ordinary 27C / Pentecost +20 Oct 2, 2016 from Textweek

A questioning that hints at the value or purpose of engaging in the process of lamentation; a process of discovery and encounter; for here in our lament, we engage the griefs that we experience; and although grief always has an arrow to the past; the discovery of grief can bring wholeness and reality to the present.

Once again, tribal laments also have a place and purpose for recognising what is lost and what we grieve when we move. When we leave home, or leave family, leave to emigrate or even change jobs; when we leave work, move house or move into a retirement village we change tribes and so echo the Psalm’s lament and become aware of the demands that confront us in our ‘new land’.

Paul’s prayer for Timothy is no longer a lament and a longing for the past, rather, Paul points toward the future and the lament becomes a longing for fulfilment with joy.

When we discover the place of our lament, the grief of the past, and the loss we know within; there too we can seek and find our true future longing; or in the terms of Paul’s prayer we can seek and find our wholeness and our purpose:

“the promise of life that is in Christ”,

and the rekindling of

“the gift of God that is within you”; “a spirit of power and of love” and “a holy calling”

In the first part of the gospel the value of ‘forgiveness’ is being underlined; a value that is further underlined when Jesus spoke of prayer; “forgive us our sins and we forgive those who sin against us”

Perhaps forgiveness is the key that turns the arrow of lamentation into the rekindled longing for our fullest realisation.

And then the gospel goes on to reignite the promise and potential of faith: "If you had faith the size of a mustard seed, you could say to this mulberry tree, 'Be uprooted and planted in the sea,' and it would obey you.”

When we look with the potential of promise, a natural outlook for children, then we look to a future that is beyond belief, and that is the very treasure of our faith

Nineteenth Sunday after Pentecost 25 September 2016

Peter Humphris

Nineteenth Sunday after Pentecost 25 September 2016 webpage
Nineteenth Sunday after Pentecost 25 September 2016 pdf
Nineteenth Sunday after Pentecost 25 September 2016 mp3

Jeremiah 32: 1-3, 6-15; Psalm 91: 1-6, 14-16; 1 Timothy 6: 6-19 ; Luke 16:19-31 from Vanderbilt

Proper 21C / Ordinary 26C / Pentecost +19 Sep 25, 2016 from Textweek

Jerusalem is besieged, Jeremiah is imprisoned; the instinctive reactions of fight or flight would have already kicked in for most, if not all, in the audience.

Jeremiah is documenting an alternative to those primitive, instinctive, reactions; and it’s an alternative, in Jeremiah’s terms, associated with listening to

“The word that came… from the LORD”.

He sees beyond the turmoil, and he doesn’t just light a candle and make a wish; he actually sets a new agenda for himself and for those around him; and it is an agenda of re-creation:

“Houses and fields and vineyards shall again be bought in this land.”

If we look beyond the downfalls of the place we currently inhabit and resolve to participate in a new order; to invest in a new version of today; then we no longer see ourselves as left helpless in the swamp; but rather are once again moving with a principle and purpose that echoes the ‘Word of God’.

I learned a deep respect for one of Goethe's couplets:

Whatever you can do or dream you can, begin it.

Boldness has genius, power and magic in it!

Paul, like Jeremiah offers us an investment plan for a new future; his version of Jeremiah’s real estate transaction:

“18 They are to do good, to be rich in good works, generous, and ready to share, 19 thus storing up for themselves the treasure of a good foundation for the future, so that they may take hold of the life that really is life.”

Here, again, we are encouraged to look beyond the instinctive investment we make in ourselves, look beyond all that we take to fill our hands with; and we are encouraged to share, to give and so to empty our hands so that we might

“take hold of the life that really is life.”

And that finally brings into focus the chasm of the gospel; which is not a story about what will happen after we die; it is a story, like the previous two readings, about the re-creation of tomorrow a realisation of a time lived in accord with the word of God, the very breath of creation.

When we look toward tomorrow across the chasm that is the gap between rich and poor; and when we realise where we stand today, on the 1% side of that gap, then we might appreciate that it is us, it is our hands to ‘mind the gap’.

"The world is wonderful and beautiful and good beyond one's wildest imagination."

Eighteenth Sunday after Pentecost 18 September 2016

Peter Humphris

Eighteenth Sunday after Pentecost 18 September 2016 webpage
Eighteenth Sunday after Pentecost 18 September 2016 pdf
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Jeremiah 8: 18- 9: 1; Psalm 79: 1-9; 1 Timothy 2: 1-10 ; Luke 16;1-13 from Vanderbilt

Proper 20C / Ordinary 25C / Pentecost +18 Sep 18, 2016 from Textweek

So when we sit with the first reading we can discover the place of our lamentation; and from that place within we can speak with, feel and embrace God; we can know that within us, alongside the lament is also the light that can illuminate our path to fullness and to glory.

Here we are invited, like Paul, to look beyond our past traditions and to realise for ourselves that even today we are writing sacred texts and living sacred stories, we too are seeking to make manifest that which Christ revealed.

So it is with our lives. Those who choose to live in peace must help their neighbours to live in peace. Those who choose to live well must help others to live well, for the value of a life is measured by the lives it touches. And those who choose to be happy must help others to find happiness, for the welfare of each is bound up with the welfare of all.

The lesson for each of us is this: if we are to grow good corn, we must help our neighbours grow good corn

Seventeenth Sunday after Pentecost 11 September 2016

Peter Humphris

Seventeenth Sunday after Pentecost 11 September 2016 webpage
Seventeenth Sunday after Pentecost 11 September 2016 pdf
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Jeremiah 4: 11-28; Psalm 14; 1 Timothy 1: 1-2, 12-19 Luke 15:1-10 from Vanderbilt

Proper 19C / Ordinary 24C / Pentecost +17 Sep 11, 2016 from Textweek

In this first landscape we see God very much understood as a mighty power, in control, and judging the actions of the people; and creating destruction if they were ‘foolish’, ‘stupid’ or ‘doing evil’.

The Psalm leads us into a similar landscape of understanding with an image of an external God who again controls the fortunes of the world.

Next we fast forward to the New Testament reading from ‘1 Timothy’; and already we can appreciate a different tempo; a movement from “desolation”, “fierce anger” and “evildoers” “struck with terror” to a landscape of grace, mercy and peace.

Next, in the gospel reading we are exploring Paul’s change even further; for the gospels seek to illustrate the change that was revealed in and through Christ... the gospels are mapping out a new landscape, a new understanding of God.

There is an amazing shift of perspective, and the activity previously ascribed to the primitive God in heaven is now grounded in the person of the shepherd going out into the wilderness to seek, and also in the person of the woman who lights a lamp in order to seek.

The change that we read of in Paul, serves as an example, he is a prototype Christian; he experiences what Christ reveals, he turns from the old landscape of his tradition and walks into the future seeking his Christ-likeness… We have heard the same gospel; now all we need to do is to also turn from the past, turn from the familiar and actively seek that which we have lost.

Sixteenth Sunday after Pentecost 4 September 2016

Peter Humphris

Sixteenth Sunday after Pentecost 4 September 2016 webpage
Sixteenth Sunday after Pentecost 4 September 2016 pdf
Sixteenth Sunday after Pentecost 4 September 2016 mp3

Jeremiah 18: 1-11; Psalm 139: 1-6, 13-18 ; Philemon 1: 1-25 ;Luke 14:25-35 from Vanderbilt

Proper 18C / Ordinary 23C / Pentecost +16 Sep 4, 2016 from Textweek

If we could watch the potter at work, as if for the first time, with the innocent eyes of a young child

What would really captivate us are the process and the movement, the ever changing shape that is unfolding before our very eyes. We would be held spellbound by the constant motion of the wheel like a rhythm underneath all that is taking shape as hands and clay seem to wrestle together in forming an ever changing shape.

And our attention would only lapse once the process had finished; but even then we might wonder again at the delight on the face of the potter; an expression of sheer delight brought forth from the shape of the clay.

Together, potter and clay can represent the true dynamic of creation, fully human and fully divine touching together to give both shape and delight.

On the ever spinning wheel of life, clay and potter interact in the process of creation and it is in that creative unfolding and forming that creation’s delight is given shape.

The image of the potter and the clay might well serve to remind us today that the process of creation and the very touch of God is an ever present reality, the earth spins just as the potter’s wheel spins and all the time we are on that spinning wheel we are part of creation’s forming and re-forming.

Perhaps we’re better off staying with the child’s response to Jeremiah; ‘just like clay, I respond to your touch and bring delight to your face’; and as we grow into the full insight of that wonder-filled icon, we might then write the last three lines of the gospel for ourselves.

Fifteenth Sunday after Pentecost 28 August 2016

Peter Humphris

Fifteenth Sunday after Pentecost 28 August 2016 html
Fifteenth Sunday after Pentecost 28 August 2016 pdf
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Jeremiah 2: 4-13; Psalm 81: 1, 10-16; Hebrews 13: 1-8, 15-16 Luke 14:1-14 from Vanderbilt

Proper 17C / Ordinary 22C / Pentecost +15 Aug 28, 2016 from Textweek

Fourteenth Sunday after Pentecost 21 August 2016

Peter Humphris

Fourteenth Sunday after Pentecost 21 August 2016 html
Fourteenth Sunday after Pentecost 21 August 2016 pdf
Fourteenth Sunday after Pentecost 21 August 2016 mp3

Jeremiah 1: 4-10; Psalm 71: 1-6; Hebrews 12: 18-29; Luke 13:10-17from Vanderbilt

Proper 16C / Ordinary 21C / Pentecost +14 Aug 21, 2016 from Textweek

[the first image] draws us into seeing ourselves held lovingly in the arms of the one who brought us to birth.

There is no hint of ‘original sin’, ‘the fall of humanity’ nor ‘the need for salvation’; for these are all primitive constructions introduced by the early Church and embedded in our tradition; likewise no hint that the rules and regulations of the Old Testament are necessary requirements for any to become one of God’s ‘chosen people’.

The image is universal (and maybe that’s captured in the woman being a gypsy) and seems to quite clearly reflect the embodiment of God as revealed in Christ. The mother gives of herself into the birth of the child; and so here we see an echo of the text:

“9 Then the LORD put out his hand and touched my mouth; and the LORD said to me, "Now I have put my words in your mouth””;

the Divine word given, or birthed, into the mouth of humanity.

[the second image] we might contemplate for ourselves the call and response that is associated with God’s touch; and consider the action, or movement, on our part that is very much part of the divine touch within this narrative.

We see in this image beyond the literacy of the text, we see a story that is much more than a physical healing, and it invites us to contemplate our orientation. do we see ourselves face down to the earth, looking toward the place of burial, bent, almost weighed down; or do we find ourselves standing straight and aligned with the heavenly background?

[third image] we are invited into a new understanding of God that takes us beyond the all too familiar old man in the sky; here we are moved beyond a personification of a touching God and invited into the abstract and mystical contemplation of being consumed into the very fire of God.

Here is also illuminated the reality and the mystery of the Eucharist, our communion of thanksgiving whereby we give of ourselves into the fire of common humanity and receive for ourselves the very fire of God that is the promise of Pentecost.

Three images that invite us to contemplate the Divine, to see ourselves birthed, touched, healed and consumed; three images that invite us to place ourselves into the picture and to find ourselves no longer bent over with our faces to the ground, but rather looking heavenward and becoming aware of life’s true passion

Thirteenth Sunday after Pentecost 14 August 2016

Peter Humphris

Thirteenth Sunday after Pentecost 14 August 2016 webpage
Thirteenth Sunday after Pentecost 14 August 2016 pdf
Thirteenth Sunday after Pentecost 14 August 2016 mp3

Isaiah 5: 1-7; Psalm 80: 1-2, 8-19; Hebrews 11: 29-12:2; Luke 12:49-59 from Vanderbilt

Proper 15C / Ordinary 20C / Pentecost +13 Aug 14, 2016 from Textweek

It is perhaps helpful for us to appreciate that Luke has presented us with five sayings attributed to Jesus; this is not one piece of teaching but a collection that the gospel writer has brought together.

The first saying is quite confrontational

the ministry of Jesus is revealed, he came as a divine Word to refine the past religious traditions, to purify the temple that no longer reflected the Word of God in the culture and society of the day; he came to bring about change!

The second saying does in fact reinforce the sense of ministry

The ‘refining fire’ of the first saying speaks of a practical, on-the-ground ministry; the day-to-day reality of working to bring about change; and the ‘water of baptism’ of the second saying provides an orientation toward “being raised again”; it identifies that our ministry, our working for the refining of creation, has a value and purpose that goes beyond our allotted life-span.

.. we are given two more sayings; one that underlines the “stress’ associated with our refining work, and the other that again brings time into focus.

Jesus speaks of disturbing the ‘peace’; of unsettling the settled; his vision opens a new paradigm that takes us beyond the primitive understanding of ‘family’ that we still hold on to.

We’ve yet to embrace this gospel, we still hang on to our settled past; and yet somehow we know that the outcomes of what we hang on to are not what we want. The troubled world of today, like it was when the writer of Luke’s gospel gathered these sayings together, is very much in need of a refining change; and today we’re invited to contemplate our part in it.

Jesus paints a negative and uncompromising view of the Old Testament God and compares that view with a clear imperative that we “judge for yourselves what is right”.

We are asked to “make an effort to settle the case”; whether that case is global warming, the gap between rich and poor, or the selfishness of tribal inheritances, whatever the case we are asked to “make an effort to settle” it.

Luke gives us five sayings to contemplate, and they are quite clearly related to our ministry, our belonging and the unfolding of the future

Twelfth Sunday of Pentecost 7 August 2016

Peter Humphris

Twelfth Sunday of Pentecost 7 August 2016 webpage
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Isaiah 1:1, 10-20; Psalm 50: 1-8, 23-24 ; Hebrews 11: 1-3, 8-28; Luke 12:32-40from Vanderbilt

Proper 14C / Ordinary 19C / Pentecost +12 Aug 7, 2016 from Textweek

The question is; “was it a good thing for the Church or a bad thing for the Church that Emperor Constantine became a Christian?”

Isaiah’s vision was also pointing to that future in which Jesus was alive and well and doing his theology studies; and amazingly, Isaiah’s vision still points from today toward tomorrow, for it is a vision of Divine unfolding rather than a prediction of what happens next.

Isaiah sees beyond the self-righteous faithfulness of Judah and Jerusalem and offers another reality by which to create a future

As we are now living in Isaiah’s envisioned future we might ponder the consequences he spells out and consider them in relation to the present.

Isaiah has provided two clear options: “you shall eat the good of the land” or “you shall be devoured by the sword”.

The very first part of Jesus’ teaching that we read in today’s gospel is perhaps the most crucial and the starting point; “Do not be afraid”.

Isaiah and Jesus both speak of an enlightenment that moves beyond these early progressions in evolution, they do not seek to move us toward equality and all having the same, rather they point toward equity, even-handedness, fairness, impartiality, justice, justness, parity and fair-play.

And as we ask ourselves what did Constantine becoming a Christian really mean, so too we might ask the same of ourselves and each other.

Eleventh Sunday of Pentecost 31 July 2016

Peter Humphris

Eleventh Sunday of Pentecost 31 July 2016 webpage
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Hosea 11: 1-11;Psalm 107: 1-9, 43; Colossians 3: 1-11; Luke 12:13-21from Vanderbilt

Proper 13C / Ordinary 18C / Pentecost +11 Jul 31, 2016 from Textweek

Hosea provides a delightful reflection on the intimate relationship between God and humanity, and it speaks of a ‘turning point’

The psalm is a song of thanksgiving for the power of Divine love that creates change in a universal and inclusive manner

Colossians again illustrates a universal turning toward the higher things in life

Finally the gospel, the un-heard gospel of Luke,

"Take care! Be on your guard against all kinds of greed; for one's life does not consist in the abundance of possessions."

The church may not yet have heard this gospel message, however, what we hear and appreciate from Stephen Hawking is that a the Director of Research at the Department of Applied Mathematics and Theoretical Physics has just discovered the very essence of Luke’s gospel message, and so the possibility for change, the turning point of Hosea is very much a reality that might unfold.

Article from “The Guardian” (Money/opinion)

Our attitude towards wealth played a crucial role in Brexit. We need a rethink Stephen Hawking

Tenth Sunday of Pentecost 24 July 2016

Peter Humphris

Tenth Sunday of Pentecost 24 July 2016 webpage
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Hosea 1: 2-10;Psalm 85; Colossians 2: 6-19 Luke 11:1-13 from Vanderbilt

Proper 12C / Ordinary 17C / Pentecost +10 Jul 24, 2016 from Textweek

A prophet seeks to give voice to an awareness of the world within the context of the Divine; a world view from a God given perspective.

The prophet seeks to look beyond the obvious of the everyday world and see the becoming of creation in relation to the Divine potential of creation; the prophetic voice seeks to name the unfolding of God in creation.

Hosea makes visible the ‘God-view’ of life; and perhaps in each and every one there is an opportunity to experience such a view; to look at the world and at ourselves from a divine reference point.

Likewise the second reading speaks of a movement from “dead in trespasses” to “alive together with God”, and again the movement is described in Paul’s primitive framework of understanding, yet it also resonates with what is revealed ‘in Christ’.

For prayer is formed in the oneness of creation, the voice of the divine speaks not to Hosea , nor to Paul, it is enfleshed in all of creation.

Can we really change the world? Yes we can, and yes we do; for we are given every opportunity to be "Children of the living God", “alive together with God” and we also retain the everyday option of not changing as well.

Ninth Sunday of Pentecost 17 July 2016

Richard Whereat

Ninth Sunday of Pentecost 17 July 2016 webpage
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Amos 8:1-12; Psalm 52 ; Genesis 18:1-10a; Psalm 15Colossians 1:15-28; Luke 10:38-42 from Vanderbilt

Proper 11C / Ordinary 16C / Pentecost +9 Jul 17, 2016 from Textweek

Amos decried the injustice of the rich in the towns and at the gate of the royal shrine at Bethel where he said God was not pleased with their worship, the politician’s were corrupt. And the poor were suffering. Money had become the people’s first concern.

If we were to step in to Paul’s letter to the Colossians we hear about the Supremacy of God and Paul’s willingness to commit to God and become a servant willing to suffer for the sake of the good news for everyone’s benefit.

Mary has chosen the better part, to listen and be transformed. I would suggest that most of us would prefer to be distracted and do what we would choose to do then to listen and be transformed.

The Third Way is nothing new. It is what many are already doing.

That is to engage in a peaceful way to recharge, to be forgiven, to be guided, to be transformed into a mature human being. As Mary chose!

Then to engage in the world around us being a light in the world, a caring person and one knowing something more about themselves and about God.

The Third Way is to engage in both and to consciously move between the two

Eighth Sunday of Pentecost 10 July 2016

Peter Humphris

Eighth Sunday of Pentecost 10 July 2016 webpage
Eighth Sunday of Pentecost 10 July 2016 pdf
Eighth Sunday of Pentecost 10 July 2016 mp3

In today’s world we are most familiar with the ‘prophetic voice’ when we hear it from the stars and superstars that the media brings on to the stage; and we can all recognise that voice when we hear it.

Some examples we might all be familiar with:

Nelson Mandela:

Education is the most powerful weapon which you can use to change the world.

Barack Obama:

Change will not come if we wait for some other person or some other time. We are the ones we've been waiting for. We are the change that we seek.

Angela Merkel:

Wherever it is possible, we must lower the entry hurdles for those who bring the country forward.

Mahatma Gandhi:

You must be the change you wish to see in the world.

Mother Teresa:

If you can't feed a hundred people, then feed just one.

In the play of Amos the prophetic star who walked on to the stage is revealed after the Church and the state have had their voice; “I am no prophet, nor a prophet's son; but I am a herdsman, and a dresser of sycamore trees”

It was not as Prophet, Church or State that Paul speaks rather he speaks as one who sought to follow the teachings and revelation of Christ, one among others, one part of the body that was brought to birth from the Easter tomb.

In the play of Amos, it is not the prophetic star at the start of the play, for that star like the advent star is only a pointer to the plays unfolding; rather it is the simple humble person toiling in the everyday that births the reality of tomorrow, one who was taken “from following the flock”.

Today we might seek to become more aware of the flock that we follow, the patterns and habits that shape our lives, and also become aware of our neighbour; not the person next door, nor the person who sits with us in church, rather the one who lies face down on the beach of despair, the one who dies in the darkness of today’s violence. For the voices of Church and State speak of many things, but in each of us there is a voice that cries for our neighbour… and our neighbour cries for us.

Seventh Sunday of Pentecost 3 July 2016

Peter Humphris

Seventh Sunday of Pentecost 3 July 2016 webpage
Seventh Sunday of Pentecost 3 July 2016 pdf
Seventh Sunday of Pentecost 3 July 2016 mp3

2 Kings 5: 1-14; Psalm 30; Galatians 6: 1 – 18; Luke 10:1-24 from Vanderbilt

Proper 9C / Ordinary 14C / Pentecost +7 Jul 3, 2016 from Textweek

One of the things yesterday could learn from today, is that the future is grounded in cooperation and not competition; although each of today’s readings comes from a different time and place, they all seek to illuminate a common tomorrow, they resonate with each other rather than against each other; and so let’s leave yesterday behind, and seek to more fully embrace the process of creation that is being illustrated today.

They do not walk alone, they go out as companions into the whole world, the world of re-creation; unlike yesterday there is no mention of border security and no fear of aliens, for they are being sent

“where he himself intended to go.”

When we open our eyes beyond the borders of self-interest we will see that there is plenty for us to do, we each and all have a valuable part to play in the unfolding of tomorrow.

And for a deeper understanding here we need only remind ourselves, or read through, the story of Naaman, from the Old Testament reading. .. it tells a story of the rich and powerful,

“the wise and the intelligent”,

those with negatively geared mortgages and tax off-set superannuation packages; and it identifies their dis-ease; and it tells of those who bring life, new life and who cleans from dis-ease, the servants; and these are the “infants” who hold tomorrow in their hands.

he [Paul] offers us a discerning consideration as we now contemplate the path of re-creation, and the unfolding of tomorrow; it is a consideration that fits well both Saturday’s process and Sunday’s process;

“Do not be deceived….. for you reap whatever you sow.”

Sixth Sunday of Pentecost 26 Jun 2016

Peter Humphris

Sixth Sunday of Pentecost 26 Jun 2016 webpage
Sixth Sunday of Pentecost 26 Jun 2016 pdf
Sixth Sunday of Pentecost 26 Jun 2016 mp3

2 Kings 2: 1-14 ;Psalm 77: 1-2, 11-20 ; Galatians 5: 1, 13-25 ;Luke 9:51-62 from Vanderbilt

Proper 8C / Ordinary 13C / Pentecost +6 June 26, 2016 from Textweek

The writer of this, 2 Kings 2: 1-14 and the related biblical books of the ‘former prophets’, was seeking to make sense of changing times and their place and part in the unfolding of creation; they were seeking the enlightenment of faith to bring light into a troubled world.

Elijah and Elisha identify for us a different path; they illuminate the orientation of Easter, and they empower us toward a fuller more enlightened appreciation of the world.

Elisha serves as an illustration of orientation, a compass for humanity, he wants serve and to give in the same measure and more as his master and teacher; he seeks not for himself but rather for the spirit that will enable him to participate in the unfolding of God in humanity.

In the Gospel..

It might look like an orientation to the place of death, but at the same time it is an orientation toward the dwelling place of God and beyond death into a future that is no longer bounded by death.

In setting his face to Jerusalem, we see an orientation toward a completely new reality; it is a reality free of material possessions..

and a reality that reaches toward the future and not to the past, no matter how much the past calls to us

The compass of Elisha and the compass of Christ point toward an empowered activity that seeks to make manifest the Divine spirit in the unfolding of creation, and that asks more of each of us than a putting a number in a box so someone else can do it for us.

In opening up to the reality of resurrection he [Paul] saw the world differently; for freedom Christ has set us free…. only do not use your freedom as an opportunity for self-indulgence, but through love become slaves to one another.

As we, each and all, seek to give of ourselves, we do make a real difference, our life changes, and so too our world changes. So as we contemplate who we are going to vote for let’s remember two election slogans that are illustrated today;

Be the change you want to see, and for things to change, first I must change.

Fifth Sunday of Pentecost 19 Jun 2016

Peter Humphris

Fifth Sunday of Pentecost 19 Jun 2016 webpage
Fifth Sunday of Pentecost 19 Jun 2016 pdf
Fifth Sunday of Pentecost 19 Jun 2016 mp3

1 Kings 19: 1-15;Psalm 42 ;Galatians 3: 10-29;Luke 8:26-39 from Vanderbilt

Proper 7C / Ordinary 12C / Pentecost +5 June 19, 2016 Textweek

Today’s readings provide two individual accounts that echo that very same fear and the struggle we have to find ourselves and the part we play in the ever changing landscape of life.

Here in the cave, the tomb of Easter, he again engages God, and the Divine becomes his reference point for change, and the process of change is illuminated for us.

But it is in finding the silence, the Word of God without noise, that Elijah discovers a whole new insight into life, the world and his part in the whole. It is from this new enlightenment that Elijah can return to face the world with a strength that is no longer driven by his previous fear of death.

The demoniac, the naked madman might readily evoke all that drives us mad; behind the literal, we see a man unaware of his nakedness; just like all those who clothe themselves with nothing; dressed only in the pretence of ‘looking good but going nowhere’.

Naked and alone among the tombs, like Elijah he has let go of everything, he is separated from community and he resides in the tomb of Easter, the place of resurrection.

In his struggle, in his aloneness and in his madness he is however able to recognise the reality of Jesus, he is able, like Elijah to discern the Divine.

Both these stories are not miracles that give an individual salvation; rather they identify the movement of change that enables us to give voice to the Divine in the world.

“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.”

Fourth Sunday of Pentecost 12 Jun 2016

Peter Humphris

Fourth Sunday of Pentecost 12 Jun 2016 webpage
Fourth Sunday of Pentecost 12 Jun 2016 pdf
Fourth Sunday of Pentecost 12 Jun 2016 mp3

1 Kings 21: 1-21; Psalm 5: 1-7; Galatians 2:15-21 ; Luke 7:36-8:3 from Vanderbilt

Proper 6C / Ordinary 11C / Pentecost +4 12 Jun, 2016 Textweek

When we look at these three aspects of humanity and their interrelationship, we might be able to see some of the complex dynamics at work in our lives, and even more so when we can acknowledge the relativity of power and wealth.

Alongside refugees we are as powerful and wealthy as King Ahab of Samaria, and when we explain to the world that we cannot take in any more refugees we employ the same sly deception as Jezebel. Likewise, when we seek to live quietly and peacefully within our own ancestral inheritance, we are as primitively innocent as Naboth, we live holding on to what we have to the point of death itself.

Paul is saying ‘we know that the Old testament narratives, the books of the Law, are not absolute, for we have seen an enlightenment revealed in and through Christ.

However, the question illustrated today is, can we let go of those long-held absolutes and see again, in the enlightenment of relativity?

Can we reimagine life no longer described by God given absolutes, but life lived so inter-relational with God that we do in fact realise ‘the word became flesh’;

“it is no longer I who live, but it is Christ who lives in me.”

And Jesus asks a question of Simon, it is the opening of enlightenment and so too a question for us:

“he said to Simon, "Do you see this woman?”

Relativity began in the 1st century with an understanding of the Trinity, in the 20th century it was formulated in another language e+mc2.

Today we are invited into a new understanding with a simple question;

"Do you see this woman?”.

 

Third Sunday of Pentecost 5 Jun 2016

Peter Humphris

Third Sunday of Pentecost 5 Jun 2016 webpage
Third Sunday of Pentecost 5 Jun 2016 pdf
Third Sunday of Pentecost 5 Jun 2016 mp3

1 Kings 17:8-24; Psalm 146; Galatians 1: 11-24; Luke 7:11-17 from Vanderbilt

Proper 5C / Ordinary 10C / Pentecost +3 5 Jun, 2016 Textweek

Today we’ve had two stories of resurrection, one from the Old Testament and one from the gospel of Luke; they both have some striking similarities, however in hearing them together we are maybe encouraged to wonder what resurrection is all about.

Perhaps as we contemplate our own self-emptying it is the fear of scarcity that keeps us from the threshold of resurrection; but in that first reading the abundance of bread and oil is a reality that mirrors the new life that comes with the resurrected son.

With “compassion for her… he came forward and touched the bier”, it was compassion that enabled Jesus to defile himself and make himself unclean for that is the implication of touching the bier. Jesus goes against the traditional expectation and embraces the body of death; and that selfless act of compassion transcends the threshold of death and leads to new life.

In these readings we are asked to contemplate the future, we are asked to consider a way forward that points to new life and to life’s fullness, and we are asked to move beyond the threshold of the world that is ours today…

Second Sunday of Pentecost 29 May 2016

Peter Humphris

Second Sunday of Pentecost 29 May 2016 webpage
Second Sunday of Pentecost 29 May 2016 pdf
Second Sunday of Pentecost 29 May 2016 mp3

1 Kings 18:20-21, (22-29), 30-39; Psalm 96; Galatians 1:1-12; Luke 7:1-10 from Vanderbilt

Proper 4C / Ordinary 9C / Pentecost +2 May 29, 2016 Textweek

The ‘Feast of Corpus Christi’ gives us an opportunity to look at the Eucharist, the liturgy of Holy Communion; what it means, why we do what we do Sunday by Sunday and in particular what changes we have introduced here at St Paul’s and why we made such changes.

We gather together for an experience that draws us from the everyday into the dimension of ‘wholeness’, we encounter, like in a dreamscape, another experience of reality that is somehow foundational to and feeding of, our deepest desire for knowing ourselves within the image of God.

Our collects rather than being demanding of God, like letters to Santa, reflect an appreciation of our being blessed by the Divine, who has given all and withheld nothing; they echo the readings of the day and underline the revelation of Christ; they are statements that affirm our potential and our promise,

Overall our liturgy seeks to be a reflection of our own seeking, it seeks to bring us into a new reality of life, and a new reality that is revealed in and through Christ. We do not hold on to primitive understandings of a son of God who once and for all absolved sin so that the world is OK, rather we embrace the reality that the as children of God we have been shown in Christ to have a potential and a capacity to bring about a new creation, an enlightened humanity in which all are one.

There is a deep truth in our claim that “we are the Body of Christ”, however it is a claim of promise, a claim to be realised and a claim in which we each and all have a part to play.

Trinity Sunday 22 May 2016

Peter Humphris

Trinity Sunday 22 May 2016 webpage
Trinity Sunday 22 May 2016 pdf
Trinity Sunday 22 May 2016 mp3

Proverbs 8:1-4, 22-31; Psalm 8 ; Romans 5: 1-5; John 16:12-15 from Vanderbilt

Trinity C May 22, 2016 Textweek

But what if, this [the Trinity] is the most important and significant key to fully understanding ourselves, the key to appreciating the very call of humanity and finding the reality of our relationship with God, and with all of creation: what if within this obscure piece of theological geometry lies the key to fuller expression of who we are, and a fuller understanding of everyone else, and everything else.

In today’s gospel the writer captures the vision and the revelation of Jesus not as complete and finished; Jesus is not here claiming to be the one who has done it all for us, rather we see there is to be an ongoing continuity.

No longer is the creative force held in the hands of the Old Testament God, nor is it made flesh in the person of one man, rather all that is Jesus is to be found in us; an understanding that echoes what we heard in the Psalm.

This is a glorious song of rejoicing in life’s fullest truth;

“you have made us little less than gods: and have crowned us with glory and honour.”

So as we cut open the cylinder of doctrine that holds the Trinity we will find no organs of gender in the Divine, we will discover love as something more; and so too we move beyond the primitive God of the Old Testament, the ‘Father’ of Israel, and we discover a divine embrace.

The Trinitarian nativity of Mary, Joseph and the child in the Manger; Peter James and John as the Trinity of transfiguration, Rublev’s trinity icon depicting the three angels that bring to birth the third person for Abraham and Sarah.

We look again at the Trinity of love found in the crucifixion:

“Now there stood by the cross of Jesus his mother, and his mother's sister, Mary the wife of Clopas, and Mary Magdalene.” [John 19:25]

We might discover something beyond our imagination, we might find that:

God's love has been poured into our hearts through the Holy Spirit that has been given to us

Pentecost Sunday 15 May 2016

Peter Humphris

Pentecost Sunday 15 May 2016 webpage
Pentecost Sunday 15 May 2016 pdf
Pentecost Sunday 15 May 2016 mp3

Acts 2: 1-21 ; Psalm 104: 26-36; Romans 8: 14-17 ; John 14:8-27

Penetcost C May 15, 2016 Textweek

Just as the Easter narratives do not give us a three day program to achieve resurrection, but rather lead us into the process of new life; so too the Pentecost narrative is given to encourage us toward our own cry of “Eureka”, to the place where we too can know the enlightenment of the Holy Spirit as a reality in our lives.

The Pentecost story then has another eight verses that speak of the amazement associated with the enlightenment of the Holy Spirit; and it is not about everyone suddenly learning new languages, rather these verses emphasise oneness, a unity of all peoples, they speak of being heard and of being able to hear; and even today, this remains a reality that we still seek to find.

We are being encouraged to seek a new way of living and to live a life that is enlightened by the Divine; the Pentecost story opens up a whole new narrative for humanity.

Pentecost is very much a time of encouragement, a time that points us toward the quest for our fullest selves, turning us toward finding ourselves together in one place.

Seventh Sunday of Easter 8 May 2016

Peter Humphris

Seventh Sunday of Easter 8 May 2016 webpage
Seventh Sunday of Easter 8 May 2016 pdf
Seventh Sunday of Easter 8 May 2016 mp3

Acts 16: 16-34 ;Psalm 97; Rev 22: 12-21; John 17:20-26

Easter 7C May 8, 2016 Textweek

The contrast between our ordinary living and the glimpse of new life we may have encountered at Easter is an ever present ebb and flow in us, in the Church and in the world: and the first reading, in some strange way, seems to be a reflection of this daily dynamic; it is a story of the ‘everyday’ encounters of life.

This whole episode deserves further exploration as we contemplate for ourselves that which enslaves us; and then go further and question if the very same also holds a voice of truth; another insight that seeks to identify for us another reality, a new version of ‘enslavement’ that takes us into the “way of salvation.”

The gospel identifies a purpose for our ‘turning’ “that they may all be one”; it underlines for us the obvious; that together we can do so much better, than separately. If we have a will to achieve something, then when we join together, there is no telling what can be achieved.

“That all may be one” does not turn us toward uniformity, but toward unity; and unity is being one together, and one with creation. Being ‘one’ does not ask for equality but it does turn us toward equity and so to a look at our activity in life, our treatment of others, and a general condition characterized by justice, fairness, and impartiality.

And the final word from the book of revelation; “See, I am coming soon; my reward is with me, to repay according to everyone's work.”; we saw that reflected in the command of Paul and in the earthquake of the first reading, the coming soon puts the divine reality right in to the ‘everyday’.

And this new way of living, the new life lived in oneness, is an invitation to all, it is all encompassing:
I am the Alpha and the Omega, the first and the last, the beginning and the end
"Come." And let everyone who hears say, "Come."
And let everyone who is thirsty come.
Let anyone who wishes take the water of life as a gift.

Sixth Sunday of Easter 1 May 2016

Peter Humphris

Sixth Sunday of Easter 1 May 2016 webpage
Sixth Sunday of Easter 1 May 2016 pdf
Sixth Sunday of Easter 1 May 2016 mp3

Acts 16: 9-15 ; Psalm 67; Rev 21:10-14, 22-22:5 ; John 5: 1-9

Easter 6C May 1 2016 Textweek

Lydia was the first person (at least recorded biblically) who was baptised in Europe; and that gives us a sign of an important change in the whole religious understanding.

The story of Lydia illustrates an outward global orientation; the tribal God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob who lives in the temple at Jerusalem is replaced with a much fuller understanding.

The second reading from Revelation also provides a new illustration that breaks from the past; it provides a dreamscape of a New Jerusalem; a reframing of all that is, and so also an insight into life after Easter.

It is very much a new insight, the temple is the Lord, in other words the Divine presence just is, not in temple, synagogue or Church, just “is’.

The readings are inviting in us a contemplation of the Easter change that we are actually participating in; inviting us to imagine and to make real a new understanding and a new tomorrow that is truly lived in the Divine presence. The invitation of Easter takes us beyond all that we hold on.

"Stand up, take your mat and walk." 9At once the man was made well, and he took up his mat and began to walk.”

And that is exactly what Jesus says to each and all of us.

 

Fifth Sunday of Easter 24 April 2016

Michael Jessup

Fifth Sunday of Easter 24 April 2016 webpage
Fifth Sunday of Easter 24 April 2016 pdf
Fifth Sunday of Easter 24 April 2016 mp3

John 13: 31-35 ; Revelation 21: 1-16 ; Psalm 148 ; Acts 11: 1-18

Easter 5C April 24 2016 Textweek

“Praise the Lord”

The praise in the psalm is a firmly focused movement away from us…. It is a looking toward God, toward the Divine creation that surrounds us

It would seem that for all worldly intent and purpose, Peter was happy going along doing more of the same, more of what he had always done. ....Thus the community was transformed into something far bigger and greater than whatever Peter or the community could ever imagine. It was through his interpretation of his dream and subsequent actions that Peter affirmed God’s intention to share the message of Jesus with all.

The psalmist spoke in simple clear language encouraging the whole of creation to acknowledge what is and to give praise to God for it. In contrast John’s revelation is a dream image that looks past what is, toward the future, to a new heaven and new earth, a place perfect in its beauty and construct, to a new time when God will be at home with mankind.

Gary Chapman’s book “The 5 Languages of Love”. ..there are 5 primary ways that we communicate or express our love towards one-another. They are love expressed through; Gifts, Time, Service, Touch and Words

After modelling love for his disciples Jesus left them with this command.

“As I have loved you, so must you love one another. If you have love for one another, then everyone will know that you are my disciples”

Jesus’ words, are a challenging call to all of us. It is a simple question really……do I or do we have the desire to love one another as Jesus taught? And the answer is quite apparent…..Others will either recognise our lack of Christs love or they will recognise the active presence of Christ’s love within us. The choice is ours!

Third Sunday of Easter 10 April 2016

Richard Whereat

Third Sunday of Easter 10 April 2016 webpage
Third Sunday of Easter 10 April 2016 pdf
Third Sunday of Easter 10 April 2016 mp3

Acts 9:1-6, (7-20); Psalm 30; Revelation 5:6-14 John 21:1-19

Easter 3C April 10, 2016 Textweek

Jesus is Risen!

Did you notice, are you aware, he is risen, if you did then celebrate it in your heart and in your life.

We can pick up the excitement through stories and though God’s spirit, being in you and me. We have just heard the story of Saul who becomes Paul. It tells us of Jesus appearing to him in a great light.

Not only is Jesus reinforcing God's desire for all of us to care for our neighbour but allows Peter the opportunity to right himself after denying Jesus three times.

One of the best things in life is the experience of loving relationships in a Christian Community.

I would suggest three steps;
1/ Step back from community to review/ reflect any times we have denied God as Peter did and confess that to God.
2/ Step back in to Community knowing God loves and forgives us.
3/ Then love others equally and accept love from others.

"The only thing he did say, just as I was leaving --it was something cryptic-- was that the Messiah is one of us. I don't know what he meant."

Second Sunday of Easter 3 April 2016

Peter Humphris

Second Sunday of Easter webpage
Second Sunday of Easter pdf
Second Sunday of Easter mp3

Acts 5:27-32 ; Psalm 118:14-29 ; John 20:19-31

Easter 2C April 3, 2016 Textweek

The setting for this post-Easter understanding tells us; “the doors of the house where the disciples had met were locked for fear of the Jews” the disciples are locked in fear; they are still ‘in the tomb’. Then, in the light of Easter, as the reality of resurrection dawns they find the place of peace, "Peace be with you’; here we see a movement from fear toward peace.

So the story is repeated with Thomas invited to feel the very wounds of Jesus;

“Put your finger here and see my hands. Reach out your hand and put it in my side”;

the wounds of one being felt by another.

Thomas then exclaims a new reality, a new understanding of God that was already evident in the first story; "My Lord and my God!"

Thomas utters again the blasphemy of the first story; he proclaims a new understanding; God is not in heaven, God is not ‘the father’ of the past understanding, rather, God is among, enfleshed and here; Thomas places God within reach of us all.

It is an empowering enlightenment; but it also has implications, for it changes the dynamic for the future and firmly reveals that we are the creators of tomorrow.

We are those who can illuminate the path from fear to peace; and that begins with each of us seeking that movement for ourselves and with each other.

Easter is very much a process that takes us into a new way of living; an opportunity to experience the unbelievable, and to hear our truth;

“As the Father has sent me, so I send you”, as I am so you are.

Easter Day 27 Mar 2016

Peter Humphris

Easter Day 27 Mar 2016 webpage
Easter Day 27 Mar 2018 pdf
Easter Day 27 Mar 2016 mp3

Acts 10: 34-43; Ps 118:1-2, 14-24; 1 Cor 15:19-26; John 20:1-18

Easter C March 27, 2016 Textweek

As we encounter Easter, and the mystical narratives that ‘tell’ the story, we might be aware of what interpretations we are actually influenced by; we might look for the ‘spin’; and also seek our own self-interested position in relation to the narratives.

To encounter Easter we need to look again and see Easter as our story, it is an illustration for us to see ourselves and to glimpse, even grasp the enlightened truths that Jesus revealed.

Jesus provided a revolutionary view of the world, a view that totally reconfigured the whole understanding of God. Although a worshipping Jew for his early life, he saw God in a new light, not the powerful, controlling judgemental God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob, but rather the abiding God, the source of life, sacred life enfleshed in humanity.

Maybe we should start a new process of seeking, and see that Easter is love story and a re-telling of the story of creation, a story of creation for each moment of life.

A story that that tells of creating a new future from the act of self-giving love; and a story that encourages us to face our fears, our fear of change, a fear of losing what we have, a story that reveals us as the body of Christ and so too the realisation of resurrection.

Passion (Palm) Sunday 20 Mar 2016

Passion (Palm) Sunday 20 Mar 2016 webpage
Passion (Palm) Sunday 20 Mar 2016 pdf
Passion (Palm) Sunday 20 Mar 2016 mp3

Isaiah 50: 4-9; Psalm 31: 9-18; Philippians 2: 5-11; Luke 22:14-23.56

Liturgy of the Passion C March 20, 2016 Textweek

As we come out of the wilderness of Lent, we enter the intensity of Holy week, and we seek to walk into the whole process of Easter.The liturgy of Easter now asks us to attend in prayer as we engage the different aspects of the Easter process.

Maundy Thursday

1. We engage our community (and ourselves) in new way as we wash each other’s feet.

What is the prayer of our humility.

2. We strip the altar and find ourselves ‘alone’ without the sacred table from which we are fed.

What is the prayer of our hunger

3. We “keep watch” for the night before the crucifixion, we encounter the waiting and/or the struggle of gethsemane.

What is the prayer of our waiting in the face of death

Good Friday

1. We listen to the ‘Word’ spoken from the cross and to the giving of all into the Divine truth What is our prayer of self emptying

2. We mark the hour of dying, “it is done”

What is the prayer that will keep us alive and also allow us to die

Easter Sunday

1. We celebrate resurrection and we reaffirm our baptismal vows.

What is our prayer of resurrection

What is our prayer of “A New Creation”

Fifth Sunday in Lent 13 Mar 2016

Peter Humphris

Fifth Sunday in Lent 13 Mar 2016 webpage
Fifth Sunday in Lent 13 Mar 2016 pdf
Fifth Sunday in Lent 13 Mar 2016 mp3

Isaiah 43: 16-21; Psalm 126; Philippians 3:3-14 Luke 12:1-8

Lent 5C March 13, 2016 Textweek

John writes in the style of Quentin Tarantino; an American filmmaker and actor whose films are characterized by non-linear storylines, satirical subject matter………. and features of neo-noir film.

First Mary, a woman, would have uncovered and let down her hair in a room full of men.

Then she anointed his feet, rather than his head, again bizarre.

Next she touches his feet, and then wipes them with her hair, this is really unusual behaviour; and the sort of thing we would only see, or expect to see, in a work by Tarantino.

And the result of this bizarre behaviour is that “The house was filled with the fragrance of the perfume.” It feels like we are being taken to another view of living, one that is beyond the normal and one that fills the house with perfume; we are left with a sense of and scene of extravagance.

If “You always have the poor with you, but you do not always have me”; then you could add, however; if you always had me, then you would not have the poor.

Not only do we betray the enlightenment of Christ , but we are depicted here as thieves, and sobering as it is, when we realise that we, the wealthy 1% have more wealth than half the world’s population, then perhaps we are the ones that steal from the common….

Right at the beginning we saw that Lazarus, like Jesus is given a double mention; and so rather than being in the place of Judas, Tarantino is seeking to drive our attention toward resurrection.

This short film is an invitation to step through the looking glass into another worldview, into the extravagance of Mary, to see that life lived in giving of ourselves, life lived intimately touching Christ is the way both to eliminate the poor and to fill the world with the fragrance of the perfume.

 

Fourth Sunday in Lent 6 Mar 2016

Peter Humphris

Fourth Sunday in Lent 6 Mar 2016 webpage
Fourth Sunday in Lent 6 Mar 2016 pdf
Fourth Sunday in Lent 6 Mar 2016 mp3

Joshua 5: 2-12; Psalm 32; 2 Corinthians 5: 16-21; Luke, 11:11-32

Lent 4C March 6, 2016 Textweek

Today we are given two very different options that tell us how we might encounter God.

In the Old Testament reading we discover a relatively simple process; “Make flint knives and circumcise the Israelites at Gibeath-haaraloth.”

Imagine, if the Church, and if all other religious institutions, were as open to new insights, and imagine if they had the same sense of vision shown by Virgin Galactic (which sounds like a more universal version of our virgin Mary).

Imagine an encounter with God that did not require the questionable use of ‘flint knives’.

The mark of our baptism is a starting point of our being anointed, our Christ-likeness, and rather than being a circumcision, it is a sign of what we are to become.

And quite rightly we perhaps are seeking that same moment of insightful repentance for ourselves this Lent; but as we continue with the story we hear:

“But while he was still far off, his father saw him and was filled with compassion; he ran and put his arms around him and kissed him.”

Here Christ has revealed a new reality of God that is of a different order to the God from past and more primitive traditions; this is not the God who resides in heaven, nor the God that judges and punishes, nor the God that fulfils promises; it is not the God that requires flint knife operations, nor sacrifice, nor the atonement of a bloody body on a cross; rather this is a God who runs to embrace us as soon as we turn to have our hunger filled.

It is a hymn we might use as our prayer for Lent, but it needs to be sung with a new expectation; an expectation that as we turn again toward the Divine, that small movement of ours will be met with an equal and even more powerful movement from that which lies beyond the vision of Virgin Galactica.

Third Sunday in Lent 28 Feb 2016

Peter Humphris

Third Sunday in Lent 28 Feb 2016 webpage
Third Sunday in Lent 28 Feb 2016 pdf
 Third Sunday in Lent 28 Feb 2016 mp3

In that first line of the gospel we have a context for much of our wrestling in the wilderness (of Lent); for we are tempted into the comfort of weekly Church attendance as an escape from the many demons that are yet to be cast out and the many dis-eases that need to be healed.

And as if to add a further degree of difficulty to the whole process of Lent; we are also reminded of cultural and socio-political forces that ‘want to kill us’; greed, scarcity, fear of others and a fear of all that touches the borders of our ego.

How does Jesus respond to these religious temptations and worldly forces; and what can we learn from him as he faces the very same temptations and forces that we face?

In today’s gospel, the church is given its true place as a body that confronts all that brings death to humanity; and with Jerusalem as the nominated GPS reference it implies a new way forward that requires confronting both our cultural definitions and our faith or religious traditions.

We all have a lot to wrestle with; and for those who watch the news, perhaps during Lent we might picture Herod in the caricature of Donald Trump; appreciating how easy it is to have our minds tempted into ways and thoughts that are lower and lower by the day

And at the same time hear the prophetic promise of Isaiah:
“Ho, everyone who thirsts, come to the waters; and you that have no money, come, buy and eat! Come, buy wine and milk without money and without price.”

Second Sunday in Lent 21 Feb 2016

Richard Whereat

Second Sunday in Lent 21 Feb 2016 webpage
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Genesis 15:1-12, 17-18; Psalm 27; Phil 3:17-4:1; Luke 13: 1-9

Lent 2C Feb 21 2016 Textweek

A Native American Cherokee Story – Two Wolves

One evening an old Cherokee Indian told his grandson about a battle that goes on inside people.
He said, “My son, the battle is between two wolves inside us all.
“One is Evil – It is anger, envy, jealousy, sorrow, regret, greed, arrogance, self-pity, guilt, resentment, inferiority, lies, false pride, superiority, and ego.
“The other is Good – It is joy, peace, love, hope, serenity, humility, kindness, benevolence, empathy, generosity, truth, compassion and faith.”
The grandson thought about it for a minute and then asked his grandfather: “Which wolf wins?”
The old Cherokee simply replied, “The one you feed.”

Jesus is just making it clear it’s not really the degree of wrong but simply that we need to repent, acknowledge what we do wrong and be genuinely sorry.

But it is in doing good, asking for forgiveness and truly wanting to be good, creates an opening for God’s spirit to enter. And it’s then….. that God’s spirit rejoices within us.
We experience heaven on earth.

First Sunday in Lent 14 Feb 2016

Peter Humphris

First Sunday in Lent 14 Feb 2016 webpage
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Deuteronomy: 26: 1-11 ; Psalm 91; Romans: 10: 4-13 ; Luke 4: 1-15

Lent 1C Feb 14 2016 Textweek

The scientific world is full of excitement with the discovery this week of ‘gravitational waves’; and most of us are not yet aware of the importance of such a discovery; but every leap forward in our knowledge and understanding of the universe gives us a new worldview and that itself is an indication of our growing; it is a sign of change and a reminder that in every moment we have the capacity to evolve. We are reminded, and can more fully appreciate, that “I AM making all things new” is a lived reality, even when we are not fully aware of where we are going or into what are we growing and becoming.

However the narrative of Lent is as exciting as, and most probably even more exciting than, the story of gravitational waves, for it too is a narrative of discovery; it serves to bring into reality the new worldview that Jesus reveals to all.

The gospel today really marks the beginning of a new worldview; and came out of a time of self-reflection for Jesus, a wrestling with who he was, and so too a wrestling with who we are.

Jesus reveals another leap forward in the evolution of humanity, a worldview discovered in that first Lent; just as scientists sought to prove the insight of Einstein, so we, in our claim to be Christians seek to prove the insight of Christ….

In our journey of discovery, let us be mindful of those who widen gaps, and those who build fences, and be mindful that we too share their fears… let us also seek the enlightenment of Christ and so become part of a new and enlightened reality.

Feast of Transfiguration 7 Feb 2016

Peter Humphris

Feast of Transfiguration 7 Feb 2016 webpage
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Exodus 34:29-35; Psalm 99; 2 Corinthians 3:12-4:2 ; Luke 9:28-36

Transfiguration / Last Epiphany C February 7, 2016 Textweek

The ‘transfiguration’ celebrated today provides us with an orientation for Lent, for before we start our journey through the wilderness we are given this gospel story of metamorphosis, transformation and change, a story of mystical encounter.

Today’s transfiguration stories are also provided to engage us ‘beyond the obvious’, they invite us to approach with imagination, as if we were looking for meaning in an abstract work of art; they seek to reveal those realities that we just cannot see, and yet will know as true when we come upon them.

Moses goes up the mountain on his own; however Jesus goes with a trinity of humanity; what Luke shows us is that the glory of God is a communal reality, rather than a personal gift.
The light of Divine Glory is found when we are ‘together in one place’, an understanding repeated in the narrative of Pentecost.

These narratives are important for us in the everyday; they are not about climbing mountains to find God, for we hear that they “went up on the mountain to pray” and that too is where we will find the encounter of transfiguration.
They speak of coming down from the mountain, and in Luke’s more enlightened telling, we see that our prayer life is the catalyst for the giving of ourselves into giving life to others.

May Lent be a time when we each, and all find ourselves with Peter, James and John; and a time that prepares us for coming down to make real the mystery of Easter.

Fourth Sunday after Epiphany 31 Jan 2016

Peter Humphris

Fourth Sunday after Epiphany 31 Jan 2016 webpage
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The readings call us to look beyond the confines of our tradition, and to look beyond the confines of our mortality.
There is a delightful paradox as we build (grow) toward the future so we become aware of the seeds that began the process of our becoming. We might marvel that within the acorn is the Oak tree, but do we ever marvel at the potential that we hold within ourselves?
We are, with each and every other, consecrated for a Divine life; and we each have a part to play in the unfolding of a divine tomorrow. We claim ourselves as ‘the Body of Christ’ and so we might also consider what scripture is waiting to be fulfilled in our hearing?

“Now the word of the LORD came to me saying, 5 "Before I formed you in the womb I knew you, and before you were born I consecrated you”

Why was that insight missed, why do we not also contemplate the life we had before we were born?
Perhaps it is of no interest to our ego, for our ego developed after we were born; however by missing this insightful contemplation we also miss the reality of eternity; for eternity is not about going on forever, it is not so much about continuity as it is more to do with singularity and wholeness.

If we consider Paul’s statements: “8 Love never ends” and “13 And now faith, hope, and love abide, these three; and the greatest of these is love” alongside Jeremiah’s we will see love stretching both before and after our presence on earth, and so will also come to the unravelling of original sin, for both our beginning and our ending are found in love’s eternal wholeness

Third Sunday after Epiphany 24 Jan 2016

Peter Humphris

Third Sunday after Epiphany 24 Jan 2016.webpage
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Epiphany 3C January 24, 2016 Textweek

Nehemiah 8: 1-10 ; Psalm 19; 1 Corinthians 12: 12-31 ; Luke 4:14-21

Today’s readings quite clearly give us an opportunity to reflect on ourselves as a Church community; the first reading has Ezra reading the “book of the law of Moses” with “All the people gathered together into the square”; and the gospel has Jesus going to church in his home town, or rather the synagogue.

What is so important to hear is what he said when he had taken his place back among the people; "Today this scripture has been fulfilled in your hearing"; that is the voice that came forth from the ‘body of Christ’ when he was sitting in his local church; and that too is what we also are called to utter.

The clear contrast between the first reading and the gospel, the two bookend accounts of church gatherings is that in the first there was a seeking of understanding, and in the second there is a clarity that the word of God had been understood; and we, each and all, have the benefit of that clarity.

We sit together here as the church as a gathering of those who are called to fulfil the scripture.

Paul’s understanding is not restricted to the Church, it is a reflection for each of us as we seek to discern the many different aspects of who we are; and so is a reflection for us to discern the part that our prejudices, our habits and our endless distractions have in making us who we are; it is a reflection for us to consider how we might “strive for the greater gifts.”

Let us each and all, “strive for the greater gifts”

Second Sunday after Epiphany 17 Jan 2016

Peter Humphris

Second Sunday after Epiphany 17 Jan 2016 webpage
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Epiphany 2C January 17, 2016 Textweek

Isaiah 62: 1-5 ; Psalm 36: 5-10; 1 Corinthians 12: 1-11 ; John 2:1-11

In the first reading Isaiah speaks of marriage and of rejoicing as “as the bridegroom rejoices over the bride”.

In the psalm, we have an abundance of water, not common tap water, but rather a “drink from the river of your delights” and mention also of the “well of life”.

Next in the reading from Corinthians we hear of the activation of spiritual gifts and of the “working of miracles”.

John, in today’s gospel reading, has managed to weave all of these threads into the tapestry of the “wedding in Cana of Galilee”.

Wine is the symbol we associated with Christ and John weaves into this picture the abundance that is found in drinking from “the river of your delights” and drawing from the “well of life”.

Here John demonstrates an understanding of an enlightened and new worldview that Jesus has revealed; a movement beyond the traditions of the past and into a fullness that is our Christ-like life.

There is one stunningly important aspect to our giftedness; these gifts are not about you or me; and they are not for one or another; rather, “To each is given the manifestation of the Spirit for the common good.”

Baptism of Our Lord 10 Jan 2016

Peter Humphris

Baptism of Our Lord 10 Jan 2016.webpage
Baptism of Our Lord 10 Jan 2016.pdf

Baptism of Christ C January 10, 2016 Textweek

Isaiah 43: 1-7; Psalm 29; Acts 8: 14-17; Luke 3:15-22

.. today’s gospel marks our ‘just beginning’ in a wonderfully affirming way;
"You are my …Beloved; with you I am well pleased."

Seven times the psalmist sings of “The voice of the Lord”; and although the writer of the psalms didn’t have the insight of John’s gospel, we do; and so we can hear the echoed in the seven fold refrain “The voice of the Lord”, that Word; that Word that was in the beginning, that word that became flesh and dwelt among us full of grace and truth.

for in baptism, as in the laying on of hands, we only make visible that which is already gifted.

However if we allow that same self, to more fully unwrap the gift of Christmas, the Word that became enfleshed; if we allow ourselves to receive our baptism and so recognise our Christ-likeness then this truly is the beginning of Christmas and not a putting away till next year.

Finally a quote from Columba Marmion, his insight of what he found in unwrapping the gift:

Oh, my dear child, I would wish to engrave on your heart in letters of gold this truth, that no matter how great our misery, we are infinitely rich in Jesus Christ, if we unite with Him, if we lean on Him, if we realize constantly by a firm living faith that all the value of our prayer, and of all that we do comes from His merits in us.

Second Sunday after Christmas Jan 3 2016

Peter Humphris

Second Sunday after Christmas Jan 3 2016 webpage
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Christmas 2 C January 3 2016 Textweek

Jeremiah 31:7-14; Psalm 147:12-20; Ephesians 1: 3-14; John 1;1-18

John’s gospel is an enlightened appreciation of humanity that does not place the manger at the beginning but rather places the ‘word’, the very essence of life as the source of our being.

Sistine chapel ..... one of the central frescos, painted by Michelangelo

... The almost touching of the two fingers, the right hand of God and the left hand of Adam,.... God's left arm is around a female figure, and God's left hand is touching a child.

And we can only wonder at the theological iconography that Michelangelo brought to this scene. Was it Mary and the infant Jesus embraced by God’s left arm, or was the female figure Eve, waiting her turn to be created; Eve, whose name means life, and who will be the mother of all humanity in the genesis tradition?
A third option is that the female figure is Wisdom, the character of the logos, the word of John’s gospel; ant yet another possibility is that the female figure is the Holy Spirit (ruach, a feminin noun, in the Hebrew).

What we are offered in today’s text is a new understanding of Christmas – and so too a more developed appreciation of who we truly are;

“12 But to all…. he gave power to become children of God, 13 who were born, not of blood or of the will of the flesh or of the will of man, but of God.”

And the Word became flesh

From his fullness we have all received, grace upon grace.
The true light, which enlightens everyone, is come into the world.

Perhaps as we start a new year, we might first contemplate the reality of the world that we will create in 2016.

First Sunday after Christmas Dec 27 2015

Peter Humphris

First Sunday after Christmas Dec 27 2015 webpage
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Christmas 1 27 Dec 2015 Textweek

1 Samuel 2: 18-20, 26; Psalm 148 ; Colossians 3: 12-17

In the figure of Hannah, the gift is of her fullness into the service of the temple
And in the figure of Mary that the gift is realised in bearing God into reality
In both cases it is not the action of the God,
but rather our divine action that is creative of life and of love..

The final words of today’s gospel are enough for us to remember: “And Jesus increased in wisdom and in years, and in divine and human favour.”

As we continue to unwrap Christmas for ourselves, we are reminded today not to watch the clock, but rather to place wisdom before years , and divine favour before human favour… for the orientation of life is toward ‘increase’ rather than decrease.

Christmas Dec 25 2015

Peter Humphris

Christmas Dec 25 2015 Peter Humphris
Christmas Dec 25 2015 webpage
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Christmas, 25 Dec 2015 Textweek

No longer do we reach for heaven, for now we are there, with the star of advent,
we can embrace heaven for all are held in the divine embrace revealed through Christ….

We acknowledge the gift of Light - the gift revealed in the Christ child and the same gift that gives both growth and orientation to the tree
Each of us is called to the manger, to the place of the heavenly star
to the place of Love’s birth, and to the place of our birth
The manger like the cross is the handwork of the tree, and so a reminder of the part we play in this divine story.

We see in the figure of Mary that the gift is realised in our bearing God into reality
It is not the action of the divine, but rather our divine action that is creative of life and of love..

Fourth Sunday in Advent 20 Dec 2015

Peter Humphris

Fourth Sunday in Advent 20 Dec 2015.webpage
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Micah 5: 2-5 ; Psalm - The Song of Mary ; Hebrews 10: 5-10 ; Luke 1:39-55

Advent 4C December 6, 2015 Textweek

In the character of Mary we perhaps see the true icon of our claim as ‘being the church’.

Mary in being the God-bearer, is not the mother of a savior, rather she is the embodiment of what Christ revealed, she is his teaching made real.

When we ask who is this Mary, we can discover so much about our calling for we like her are called to be bearers of the divine, and birthers of the reality of God; we too can find our sanctification in the giving of ourselves.

When we look at Mary, we’re looking at the very best of ourselves, each and every one of us.

God gave God-self into the manger of humanity

How was this accomplished?

We see in the figure of Mary that the gift is realised in our bearing God into reality

It is not the action of the divine, but rather our divine action that is creative of life and of love..

Third Sunday in Advent 13 Dec 2015

Peter Humphris

Third Sunday in Advent 13 Dec 2015 webpage
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Zephaniah 3: 14-20; Psalm - The Song of Isaiah; Philippians 4: 4-7; Luke 3:7-18

Advent 3C December 13, 2015 Textweek

“The LORD, is in your midst” might better be appreciated as a quantum reality, an actual state of being that seems contradictory to the natural order, but that is an actuality that is foundational to all that we are.

“The Lord is near” however, does not refer to a late term pregnancy, once again it speaks of an enlightened reality that is to be realised in every moment.

So how do we embrace these enlightened truths, how do we enter this quantum landscape of being in which: “The Lord is near” and “The LORD, is in your midst”

We have only to ask of ourselves the question asked of John the Baptist “What then should we do?"

And this time the question is not directed to the baptiser, nor to the priest or to the church or to anyone else; the question is to be asked of that part of ourselves that resides in our deepest soul, that part where God’s chosen awaits birth.

As we approach our nativity, we can each contemplate;

“What then should we do?

Second Sunday in Advent 6 Dec 2015

Peter Humphris

Second Sunday in 6 Dec 2015.webpage
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Malachi 3: 1-14; Song of Zechariah; Philippians 1:1-11; Luke 3: 1-6

Advent 2C December 6, 2015 Textweek

The birth in the Christmas nativity is our birth, our coming into the fullness of creation; and that is given expression within today’s readings, as living reality, such “that we, might serve… without fear, in holiness and righteousness … all our days.

Maybe we should learn, and even teach, the life orientation of the tree, growing and ageing always into a greater wholeness and greater fullness of being.

Are we a people that are the very material of the ark; do we hold the whole of life sacred and safe?
Are we the people that will hold the body and blood of Christ; becoming one in stillness so that resurrection can take place?

These questions come from looking at the tree, now we might imagine the questions that will arise when we find ourselves in the nativity, and ponder during advent, our arrival in the manger.

First Sunday in Advent 29 Nov 2015

Peter Humphris

Advent 29 Nov 2015.webpage
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2 Jeremiah 33:14-16; Psalm 25: 1-10; 1 Thessalonians 3:9-13; Luke 21:25-38

Advent 29 Nov 2015 Textweek

As we begin a new church year we might each consider what promise the year ahead holds for us, and for the part we play in this community and in relation to the wider community.

In our own movement toward the celebration of Christmas we too might enagage this process of ‘restoration’ for ourselves.
In this process we are invited to consider that which is ‘lacking’ in our faith and perhaps also that which is ‘lacking’ in our community.

And perhaps we can now begin to see that Advent is not a movement toward the birth of Jesus, but a movement toward the birth of our Christ-likeness.
And some of the pointers toward our becoming are in the gospel text;
“Be alert at all times”; switch on rather than off; “Be alert at all times, praying”.
“Have the strength”; rather than constantly recounting our weakness.
“Escape all these things’; find our freedom from the ‘world’s distress’.
And then find ourselves standing “before the Son of Man