Reverend Felicity O’Brien August 11 2019 St Chad’s Linwood
Faith is a strange thing isn’t it? In our times, everything needs to be proved to be believed. That’s the empirical method, which became popular during the Enlightenment. People started to understand more about the natural world, more about science – forces, biology, chemistry, weather, what is natural even though it seems supernatural. People don’t believe something they can’t see in front of their eyes. Continue reading →
The story of the good Samaritan is really well known. It’s probably one of the Bible stories that people who know nothing else about Jesus have heard the gist of. We have a help-line called the Samaritans, where you can ring if you’re really at the end of your tether, and know that there will be someone kind and helpful on the other end of the phone. The phrase ‘a Good Samaritan’ crops up in the local paper regularly – it usually refers to someone who anonymously acted kindly, and often people are trying to find out who they are so they can thank them in person.Continue reading →
Jesus needed help. He could not be everywhere at once, and needed others to go and prepare the ground for him. Just like Moses appointed seventy elders to help him, Jesus appoints seventy to go before him. He paired them up, and sent them out to all the places he intended to visit. He had a list of thirty-five towns therefore that were on his itinerary.
Can you feel the sense of urgency here? Jesus needs to get the word out, fast, that the kingdom of heaven is near, and that it is a kingdom of peace. Continue reading →
It sounds so simple, doesn’t it. Love one another, as I have loved you. In the Old Testament believers were taught to love their neighbour as themselves. Unfortunately, over time, that command had become rather limiting and exclusive, and morphed into meaning, love those around you if they belong to your own group, and think and worship like you. Continue reading →
When Jesus was raised from the dead, he was not the same as he had been before. There was another dimension to him. When he accepted the journey to the cross, he put aside his divinity so that he could die as a human. He suffered pain, and didn’t ask angels to deliver him from it. He died just like any other human would. But Jesus was not only fully human, but fully divine. We can see this in what happened after his resurrection. He appeared in the midst of the disciples, even though the door was locked. He had taken up his supernatural, his divine self, and the rules of physics wouldn’t get in the way of him being where he needed to be.Continue reading →
St Chad’s Linwood Christchurch. Lent 3 24 March 2019
Isa 55:1-9, 1 Cor 10:1-13, Luke 13:1-9
Today’s Gospel gives a picture of Jerusalem as a very troubled place. The phrase about Galileans’ blood mingling with their sacrifices means that hey had been killed while worshipping. The Roman occupation raised the level of tension very high in the city. Pilate, the governor, was a cruel man with no feelings for the rights or customs of the people whose land he was occupying on behalf of Rome, and while we don’t hear very much about Pilate in the Bible, apart from Jesus’ trial, contemporary historians such as Josephus certainly gave a picture of a ruthless man. Continue reading →
Blessings and curses. St Chad’s Linwood-Aranui, Feb 17 2019
Jeremiah 17:5-10, Luke 6:17-26
Today we have heard two different sets of blessings and curses, not so much what to do and what not to do, rather, which way of living will make you flourish. They are similar in many ways, but there are different things we can glean from each.
Looking first at Jeremiah -this set is about how we approach the Lord. Do we trust in God, or not? Jeremiah makes it really clear that trusting in mere mortals is not the way that leads to blessing – ‘cursed are those’ he says. This is very strong language isn’t it? These days we don’t tend to use the word ‘Cursed’. Continue reading →