Thursday, July 31, 2008

Feed me and I will be fed

Readings for Sunday August 3rd, 18th Sunday of the year (Proper 13) inlcude Genesis 32:22-31; Psalm 17:1-7, 15 ; Romans 9:1-5; Matthew 14:13-21

Most Australians do not even know the possibility of starvation
We feel confident that someone will come to our aid, even if we have no food, no money, or no means to address these sort of problems.
There are, of course, people elsewhere in the world who do face this sort of awful issue, and who will die because of lack of food.
So we (the non starving) need to try and hear the story of the feeding of the 5000 with something of the urgency for our lives, that food is for the starving.

All people hunger, but not necessarily for food.
Some need self-assurance,
others need healing
all need love
If we take this story and listen to it in this way

then we can hear some simple principles.
Sit down and take time to address the situation
The first step is to actually open yourself to the possibility of God’s aid
Where are the ‘five loaves and the fish”
We think we have nothing. but we almost always have the beginnings
Where does God show us we can begin
Allow ourselves to trust God and receive what God can do with the small beginning
Our consumerist world says we want everything and we want it NOW!
Can we trust God to give us all that we want, and more
from (what we perceive) is the little that we have?
But which in reality is an abundance

This week
Where is God inviting me to feed on his abundant spiritual food? Where do I feel spiritual hunger?
What do I bring to the table? Pray for grace to give God the opportunity to feed me with what I already possess, and to open myself to the possibility of life.

Lord, feed me with everything I need
Give me grace to trust your generous hand

Monday, July 21, 2008

July 27th

Sunday July 27, 17th Sunday of the Year, Gen. 29:15-28. Ps. 128 or 105:1-11,45a-b. Rom. 8:26-39. Matt. 13:31-33,44-52.

This week’s opening gambit is good.
We don’t need the faith to do it all.
What we need is faith that God is faithful.
Whether it be that the mega-plans for our life (job, work,marriage) need to be sorted out
Then our faith tells us to pay attention to the Spirit of God and try to respect that God may have a bigger picture than we do.
Or in the midst of trouble...where do we imagine God might be.
In words that should always be on our hearts Paul says
“If God is for us, who is against us”
This promise that God is always for us, is pretty momentous.
But will we take the time to ask God what God thinks is for our good.
Amidst all this the Gospel reminds us that what we need is not complete, systematic, cautious faith
But rather the mustard seed
The tiny, almost invisible kernel,
That suggests that even though
We may be unsure about the future
We can trust that God does have us in his care.
At times, probably at most times,
This is fairly fragile
It is small, but the tiniest kernel
The mustard seed
Is enough for God.
Though we might not be able to have strong or perfect faith
That is not what we are called to have
We are simply called to have the mustard seed

This week
Where do I recognise in my own life that I at least have small
faith, that in some small way I trust God? Pray that my small beginning may be
open to growth.
Do I have something that concerns me this week? How might God
be trying to grow my faith? Am I brave enough to give it a go?

Lord, I have
a little faith.
Give me grace to trust you more

Monday, July 14, 2008

July 20th

Readings for Sunday Jul 20, 16th Sunday of the Year, Gen. 28:10-19a. Ps. 139:1-12,23-24. Rom. 8:12-25. Matt. 13:24-30,36-43.

In the way of things it was a great
privilege to be able to share Christian worship with other Anglicans at St Andrew's Singapore a few days ago.
I was reminded how precious a thing a Communion is.
Being an Anglican is often taken for granted,
(Pray that our Bishops meeting at Lambeth may deal tenderly with it)
when the 75 year old sidesman found out I was a priest
he enthusiastically encouraged me to take Communion with us.
I did...and encountered the presence of the risen Jesus.
In closing, the packed cathedral sang that curious song (sung by the King here) How great thou art!
I collected pamphlets about 8 weeks of thematic common teaching on Prayer
And felt encouraged.
As we rejoice during this season in the common call to faith.
Pray that we may keep our eyes fixed on the greatness of our God.
Then sings my soul, my saviour God to thee
O Lord my God how great thou art

Monday, July 07, 2008

July 13th

Readings for Sunday Jul 13, 15th Sunday of the Year, Gen. 25:19-34. Ps. 119:105-112. Rom. 8:1-11. Matt. 13:1-9,18-23.
The focus chapter of the letter to the Romans is chapter 8, which we begin reading today
I suppose it is possible to read it in a very negative light
but essentially it speaks of the incredible force of the reconciling power of the Spirit of God
moving in our lives. St Paul writes:

Rom. 8:1-11.

Life in the Spirit

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But you are not in the flesh; you are in the Spirit, spirit');" onmouseout="return nd();"> since the Spirit of God dwells in you. ...if Christ is in you, though the body is dead because of sin, the Spirit spirit');" onmouseout="return nd();"> is life because of righteousness. If the Spirit of him who raised Jesus from the dead dwells in you, he who raised Christthe Christ or Christ Jesus or Jesus Christ');" onmouseout="return nd();"> from the dead will give life to your mortal bodies also throughon account of');" onmouseout="return nd();"> his Spirit that dwells in you.

This is dynamic stuff.
The idea is reinforced in the Gospel where we read the familiar parable of the sower.
The idea in that parable is that
where God's will is allowed to take root and flourish
then there is potential for God
to bring about amazing fruitfulness.
What Paul says in theological-legal language in Romans 8
Jesus affirms in imaginal language
where the homely image of seed bearing fruit readily takes our fancy.
If God's Spirit can give life where there is death
it will also bring forth liufe to our human mortality.

This weeks thoughts and reflection
Where is Christ inviting real growth in my life?
Where are seeds being sown to allow new growth?
Where can I put aside the dying and deathly side and embrace the realities of the God who wants me to grow, to live, to bear fruit.

Tuesday, July 01, 2008

A good wife

Readings for this SundayJuly 06, 14th Sunday of the Year, Gen. 24:34-38,42-49,58-67.
Ps. 45:10-17 or Song 2:8-13. Rom. 7:15-25a. Matt. 11:16-19,25-30

I went last week to see the film "Mongol" which is about the emergence of Genghis Khan
the great conquerting ruler of the Mongolians
It is a wonderful, but bloodthirsty film,
the film is held together by the story of the marriage relationship
between Temudgin (who became known as Genghis Khan) and the girl Borte who he chooses as his wife (when he is 12!!)
It is a literary device that we encounter in these reading as we read the beginnings of the story of how Isaac and Rebecca, the second of the line of patriarchs and matriarchs,
meet and begin phase two.
They are (like the Mongolian stories) legendary in scope.
You are left wondering just how it could all come together
in such an ordered and fruitful way.
We see in the narratives, the 'hand of God'
and it is named as such.
It is of course a reflection written after the fact
and we often observe that 20-20 hindsight is a wonderful;
What we do see in hindsight
is that God's care, comfort and guidance
are available when we open ourselves to them.

There is perhaps the hope that
what we come to see clearly looking back
we also begin to appreciate in the present moment
This is about what we might learn and understand
as we mature spiritually
and how we might then live our lives confident
that God supports and sustains us.
Equally well Romans reminds us of the nature of the struggle with sin
that it is serious, hard and needs attention
when I want to do what is good, evil lies close at hand
Paul says, and today's Gospel reminds us that another spiritual reality is that God is there to be with us when the going gets tough.

‘Come to me, all you that are weary and are carrying heavy burdens, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you, and learn from me; for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light.’
These insights are all reflections on how God deals with us.
As we look back we see with 20-20 hindsight
the truth of God's promises.
Our day to day vision is not always that good,
partly because we don't take time to look.

Each day we are invited to understand more of what God promises us.
And to live out of that promise.

This week
As you look back where have you been aware of God's plan for your lief?
What is God doing for you?
How is the struggle with sin going? Are there particular things you need to address?
Where do you seek God's comfort and support? Are you also being invited to be part of that support for other people?

God of our future, God of our past
give us the eyes of faith to see
that you are dynamic and active in our life
give us wills that trust your promise
and comfort us when we find things difficult.