Lenten Voices: Dogma vs Grace

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 onlyContinue reading “Lenten Voices: Dogma vs Grace”

Lenten Voices: Stairway to Heaven

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 imageContinue reading “Lenten Voices: Stairway to Heaven”

Lenten Voices: It’s all in the name.

As a teenager, I looked up the meaning of my first given name. My then prudish temperament was somewhat taken aback to see that it was associated with Dionysus, the debauched Greek god of revelry and wine. Had I been raised as an ancient Hebrew, it could have been far worse, for names were givenContinue reading “Lenten Voices: It’s all in the name.”

Divergent at Easter

Matthew 27:11-31 is loaded with drama. Jesus stands silently before Pontius Pilate – both men are under judgement. Where will the gavel fall in favor – maintenance of the status quo, control and order; or the brazen, divergent reign of the Prince of Peace, a reign that is not of the current scheme of things? DivergentContinue reading “Divergent at Easter”

Replacing Cornerstones – a subversive action!

The music of  Psalm 118 celebrates turned tables – two well known phrases “The steadfast love of the Lord endures forever” and “The stone that the builders rejected has become the chief cornerstone,” appear here. This alludes to something of the subversive nature of lived out faith.  “Subversion refers to an attempt to transform the established social order andContinue reading “Replacing Cornerstones – a subversive action!”

Love finds a way…

Hyperbole and one-up-man-ship often mark the national discourse where controversy is concerned. In the midst of the sloganeering and major political parties competing to see who can offer the greatest deterrent to “stop the boats,” are men, women and children detained in off-shore prisons awaiting their indefinite and uncertain fates. On the reception of asylumContinue reading “Love finds a way…”

The one who marches out of step…

… may be the only one who is in step! Isaiah 50:4-9a is one of the so-called Suffering Servant songs. Appropriated by the Early Church to describe the Passion of Jesus, it initially describes the despair and desolation of the people of Israel as they are led off in chains into Babylonian exile.  Suffering the indignityContinue reading “The one who marches out of step…”

Zesty Zeke…

When the molasses are thick, what keeps some folk swimming while others succumb? Ezekiel seems quite upbeat in the midst of most depressing circumstances. He is a welcome guide as we tread the heavy Lenten journey to Jerusalem and the cross. Todays text, Ezekiel 37:24-28,  holds out to exiled Israel a beatific vision of aContinue reading “Zesty Zeke…”