What is the meaning of Ash Wednesday? And what does this famous story about a rabbi with two stones have to tell us?
“O that you would tear open the heavens and come down…” A year ago that text might have seemed a bit remote from our world. But devastating bushfires, fresh revelations about the injustice of our society, and, of course, the terrible plague which is devastating our world, make these words from Isaiah feel astonishingly fresh.
As the lockdown drags on in Melbourne, gratitude just gets harder. Suffering becomes a kind of blindness as we are turned in on ourselves. But could suffering be an ironic teacher that knocks us out of our limited ways of seeing the world? Could gratitude be a way forward?
Why does Jesus persist in saying such depressing things? Take up your cross? It sounds like a real downer. I would pass – except that, in fact, you can’t actually avoid crosses. My choice appears to be: what do I do about it?
Who is God? This is a big question. Perhaps the big question. All our other questions about the meaning of the universe, how to have a meaningful life, how to live in this world of suffering and compromise and ethical grey space – but which also has moments of transcendent moral clarity and of great […]
The experience of living in the world of COVID-19 is a sort of trauma. Not, perhaps, the sort of trauma one gets from being buried by a fallen building for several days, but it isn’t nothing either. Our sense of what is secure and reliable vanishes into smoke. What does it mean to bear the easy yoke of Jesus in this new, radically uncertain, world?
“After these things God tested Abraham. He said to him, ‘Abraham!’ And he said, ‘Here I am.'” Here begins one of the most disturbing stories in the Old Testament. God asks Abraham to kill his son. In the end (spoiler alert!) he doesn’t have to . But what sort of God demands that – and what sort of person is prepared to do it? Is this simply an appalling story we should ignore – or does it plumb the profound depths of human experience at the limit?
What does it mean for Jesus to promise abundant life in a world beset by COVID-19? What does it have to tell us about abundance?
God picked up Ezekial and deposited him in a desolate valley of dry bones. A place where hopes had come to die. We’re not quite in the valley of dry bones yet – but I feel like we’re looking at one of those big green highway signs pointing down into a worryingly barren looking desert. These are dry, uncertain times, where a pitiless sun feels like it is beating down on us. And who knows when the rain might come again?
If we were writing the beatitudes today, what would we write? What does it mean to be #blessed? Could the church to be a blessing? And what does it mean to be blessed in the midst of grief and suffering?