Today’s readings are all about love. The disciples offered healing in Jesus’ name because of love. Jesus loved us so much that he laid down his life for us. Jesus is a Good Shepherd who loves us like a shepherd loves his flock. But hang on, you may ask. The reading talks about hired hands who run away when danger approaches, because they don’t love the sheep. In New Zealand our way of looking after sheep is very different from that of first century Palestine. Instead of 20 or so sheep that we know from birth, and tend to personally, sheep are farmed in huge stations, spread on top of high mountains and vast paddocks, and only see people a few times a year when they need to be dealt with. We certainly wouldn’t expect a hired worker to abandon their job because danger is near. Continue reading →
Today is set down in the church calender as Mothering Sunday. It originated as a time when people who were living away from home in jobs like service or farm labouring could make a visit home to their mother, and take her a special cake, or a posy of flowers. Some church still make posies for children and young people to give to their mother, or to someone who has been like a mother to them. Continue reading →
Today’s readings are about the theme of being called. Have you ever been in a busy place, and heard someone call your name? We’re hard-wired to recognise our own name, so we stop, and turn around, trying to see who is calling us, and if it is really us they want. It doesn’t often happen to me because my name is not very common. But when I hear a voice of a certain pitch saying, Mum! I react, along with quite a few other mums in the area. Our ears prick up, to see what is needed. Continue reading →
When we heard our first reading today, we could have got all excited! ‘The people who walked in darkness have seen a great light!’ That sounds good doesn’t it?
‘They rejoice before you as with joy at the harvest’ – yes, still good!
‘The yoke of their burden, the bar across their shoulders has been broken.’ Still great news!
But what is the reason for all this good news? Isaiah tells us, prophesying about the future, that a baby has been born, and authority rests on his shoulders, and he’s got lots of high-sounding names like wonderful counsellor, prince of peace. Isaiah also tells us that the authority of this child will grow and there shall be endless peace. Now that’s something we want isn’t it? So after that reading, we’re all set for a King to sweep into town, full of power! Continue reading →
It’s so busy this time of year isn’t it? These first weeks in December are probably the worst, because all the end-of-year do’s are upon us. Take a plate here, go out for dinner and spend too much money there, break-ups, prize-givings, and then there’s Christmas to prepare for.
It’s really stressful, and many people don’t cope. It doesn’t help either that it’s been so hot.
What does Scripture have for us?
Comfort, O comfort my people, says your God.
Speak tenderly to Jerusalem,(That means us)
and cry to her that she has served her term,
that her penalty is paid, Continue reading →
Jesus was a great one for using exaggeration to catch people’s attention! We are told that 1 talent equals 15 year’s wages for a labourer – in our money maybe about $600,000! What a huge amount of money!
So Jesus starts off his parable with a humorously large number. The guy who was given 5 talents to invest, then, had about $3 million in our money, and that’s on the low side! The people knew that whenever Jesus started a parable this way – and there were quite a few with this great Jewish story-telling exaggeration- there would be a good story to remember and to mull over in the days ahead.Continue reading →
Last Sunday was Bible Sunday, so I thought that today I would talk about how our readings are chosen each week.
We use a guide called the lectionary, literally meaning a collection of what to read. Over the years of church history, there have been several different systems for working out the readings for any given time, and there are two main sorts. One is the related lectionary, where the same theme occurs in the Old Testament reading, the Gospel, and the Epistle. These are really good if you’re preaching, because it is usually quite clear how they relate to, and illuminate each other. The other main system is the continuous lectionary, whereby each week you get a new instalment of an ongoing story – recently we have been learning about Abraham, and his son Isaac, and this week, Isaac’s children. The Gospels also work through one particular gospel each year, Matthew in Year A, Mark in Year B and Luke in Year C. John’s gospel is used in festival times such as Lent and Easter, Advent and Christmas, each year. The Roman Catholic church, after the Vatican 2 council in the 1960s, set out the lectionary that is in use in many churches today, including the Anglican church.Continue reading →