Stations of the Resurrection #3:

Originally posted on The Downs Church:

STATIONS OF THE RESURRECTION

  1. Jesus eats with disciples and explains the Scriptures

Jesus & disciples eatingLuke 24:36b-48

The risen Christ made himself known to two grieving disciples after he had walked with them on the road to Emmaus and they had offered hospitality. Some days later he eats and teaches with the  larger group of disciples.

Luke’s resurrection accounts are completely antithetical to the Jewish hope in those days for a great, dramatic, and mighty warrior Messiah who would suddenly come and – in one climactic moment – rescue them from all of their travails, smash their oppressors beneath his heel, and raise the Jews up forever and ever. In a sense, this gospel is a corrective for unrealistic expectations. Both appearances are very simple scenes where everything occurred in rhythms of ordinary life –  at the normal pace of walking, eating, and talking. Jesus always appeared in human flesh, and he…

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Stations of the Resurrection 2: Thomas

Originally posted on The Downs Church:

2: Thomas meets the Risen Christ

John 20:19-31

ThomasJesus invites each one of us, through Thomas,
to touch not only his wounds,
but those wounds in others and in ourselves,
wounds that can make us hate others and ourselves
and can be a sign of separation and division.
These wounds will be transformed into a sign of forgiveness
through the love of Jesus
and will bring people together in love.
These wounds reveal that we need each other.
These wounds become the place of mutual compassion,
of indwelling
and of thanksgiving.

We, too, will show our wounds
when we are with him in the kingdom,
revealing our brokenness
and the healing power of Jesus.

– Jean Vanier
Drawn into the Mystery of Jesus through the Gospel of John

For further reflection:

Jesus empowers his followers to “loose and bind” each others faults and wounds.
How does this contribute to our…

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Stations of the Resurrection

Originally posted on The Downs Church:

As familiar as many are with the Stations of the Cross, the Stations of the Resurrection are an extension of the story. Here at Wembley Downs we are introducing these Easter points of reflection for the whole Easter season through to ascension Day and Pentecost, adding a new station each week. They will be placed throughout the church buildings.

Station 1: The Young Man in the Tomb (Mark 16:1-8)

WP_003057A diminutive portrayal of the three women of Mark’s Gospel account as they meet the young man dressed in white at the empty tomb. The small size of the frame against the white drape illustrates Mark’s uniquely understated account of the event. The women flee, saying nothing to anyone, because they are afraid. So ends Mark’s gospel.

What an anticlimax!

Yet the women were told that Jesus had risen and had gone ahead of them to Galilee (in Mark’s Gospel, the territory of stormy…

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Lenten Voices: Synchronicity

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10846339_309160882623747_4347044108429222960_nOver the last twenty years, I have delved into deeper, more ancient understandings of the Christian journey, wandering in and out of an eclectic mainstream of traditions while steering firmly from my own tribal barque. The cross-cultural backwaters of orthodoxy, medieval contemplative mystics, holistic Celtic fervour, spiritual direction, the beauty of some sacred textual translations from Aramaic, and the stimulation of the progressive intellectual stream – all have fed and nurtured my rather ordinary suburban ministry in a small but vibrantly engaged congregation.

The last five days seem to have brought it all together, not as a conclusion, but a further launching pad.  Time spent with visiting author, Alexander Shaia, in seminars, worship and retreat, have drawn these dabblings forth and fitted them to a reframing of a familiar journey. He calls it Quadratos: the Four Gospel Journey for Radical Transformation. Mining deeply from his ancient Lebanese Christian heritage, Alexander Shaia employs the disciplines of theology, anthropology and psychology to uncover an inherent wisdom in the choice and placement of the four gospels that the ancient church used in a universal way of addressing the human journey. While the journey is universal across the stories of many cultures, the Christian journey has five particular keys that unlock its mysteries and engage the human quest for transformation. This ancient understanding, once lost, is now in the slow process of being recovered.

His book is “Heart and Mind” available on Kindle and as hard copy. 

Lent is indeed a journey of joyous discovery as one treads the hard road.

 

Lenten Voices: Boundaries for freedom

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WP_002955Over the recent two decades, management boards of not-for-profit community organisations have been adopting the Carver model of governance and administration.

The core principle of this model of management is to set boundaries within which the organisation and its personnel may operate. Rather than prescribing in detail what must be done to achieve set goals and objectives, the system adopts a “negative” discourse of directives that nevertheless opens the way for creative imagination and fluidity.

For example; “thou shalt not” spend more than $x on this project without recourse to the board, but you have complete freedom to use that budget line as you see fit towards its intended purpose.

Or “thou shalt not” hire more people than what our budget line allows, but within that ratio you have complete liberty to hire as you see fit for the organisation’s purpose.

This saved boards from hours of tedious micro-management and feed them for more creative work. Boundaries are necessary for freedom to find fuller expression.

The Decalogue or the Ten Commandments (Exodus 20) are in the same category. They are couched in “thou shalt not” terms and set boundaries that allow freedom to find fuller expression. They are often misrepresented as a scowling schoolmarm scrutinising one’s untamed soul for misdemeanours deserving punishment.

Rather they define the scope within community life together wherein freedom, and ultimately, love, can freely express itself.

Lenten Voices: Dogma vs Grace

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Novelist Peter De Vries recalled his religious upbringing thus:
We went to church five times a week, three times on Sunday; I wasn’t allowed to play ball on Sunday. We were force-fed a lot of doctrine. The two main beliefs were in the total depravity of man and the divine grace of God. I only believe in one of them now.

Tantalisingly, that’s where the interview ends, and we are left wondering “which one?”

The introspection that so often dominates the Lenten journey may have us entertaining the idea that he chose “the total depravity of man.” Mainline media fixation on the worst of current affairs and some of our own experiences of deprivation, disappointment and suffering may feed our perceptions and lead us spiralling down into the pit of despair.

If we are walking the Lenten journey purposefully and hopefully, however, we will, while aware of human idiosyncrasies and limits, be aware of the “divine grace of God,” for we are an Easter people and know how the story transcends the road to Calvary and beyond, even while we walk it.

A bit of googling (and perhaps some knowledge of his writing) answers the question about which side of the line Peter De Vries falls.

Our Lenten challenge right now, however, is to answer which side of the line do I habitually fall?

Lenten Voices: Stairway to Heaven

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What’s your favourite version? The original Led Zepplin leads in Google hits. The lyrics are most evocative as we contemplate the Lenten journey – for on such a road we are often confronted with choices between the tantalising and immediate and the deeper and more reliable. Which is the true stairway to heaven? The image is based on Genesis 28:10-17. Jacob’s dream of a “stairway to heaven” interrupts his journey of choices. It will take a lifetime of pursuit of riches and power that leads him to a night of transformational wrestling that leads him to further choices. Maybe the “stairway to heaven” is part of the landscape of the Lenten journey to the self-giving of the cross and beyond.

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