Daily Worship

Week of 28 May – 03 June 2017

THOUGHT FOR THE WEEK

This week we’re living between the Ascension and Pentecost. The Scriptures love these “in-between” times, and it is often in these times that God does some of the most transforming work. As Jesus left his disciples for the last time after the resurrection, he instructed them to wait, and promised that they would become his witnesses after they had received power. But, as Matthew’s Gospel teaches, the power and authority are Christ’s. It is always as a result of our connection with Jesus that we can share life and grace with others.

This is why we need to wait. Building a deep connection always takes time and intentional focus. If we try to move out into the world before we have become rooted in Christ’s love and life, we will inevitably find ourselves buffeted by the chaos we encounter. Then, we may end up adopting the strategies and values of the culture around us, while still claiming the name of Jesus, without realising how we have been subtly changed. But, when we make time in our lives to root ourselves deeply in Jesus, we are more easily able to remain true to the values and mission of Jesus. This is part of what was at the heart of Jesus’ prayer for the disciples in John 17.

This week we focus on waiting on Christ’s gift of power, and on sinking our roots deep into the life of Jesus.

To download this week’s reflections in PDF format, click through to the downloads page.

Daily Worship

Week of 21 – 27 May 2017

THOUGHT FOR THE WEEK

In every life the question of God’s presence is raised at some point. For many it is an academic issue related to the existence of evil in the world. But for most, it relates to our own personal struggles and pain, and our need to connect with something bigger than ourselves. Unfortunately, we may fall into thinking that God’s presence is available only to a select, chosen few. Sometimes we may imply that God cannot be found except within the walls of our church buildings. We may even fall into the Old Testament view that those who suffer do so because of God’s judgement, and those who have much are “blessed” by God’s presence and provision. The result of this is that we have made God into a fickle, partisan deity who favours some over others, and who cannot be turned to for refuge in our darkest times. What a pity this is – and what a travesty of the Gospel.

The Scriptures make it clear that God’s presence is everywhere, and that God draws close to all who need refuge and protection and comfort. Every human being “lives and moves and has their being” in God’s presence. We need only to recognise this. God’s gift of the Spirit is not some kind of spiritual “merit badge” for a chosen few. Rather it is available to all and offers comfort and strength for all. Our calling, as followers of Jesus, is to learn to see that God is at work and present in the most unexpected and surprising places, and then to help others to see it for themselves, and enjoy the healing and empowering that this spiritual sight brings.

This week we will explore the surprising ways in which God’s presence comes to us.

To download this week’s reflections in PDF format, click through to the downloads page.

Daily Worship

Week of 14 – 20 May 2017

THOUGHT FOR THE WEEK

One of Jesus’ most radical claims was that he revealed God to us. We cannot be followers of Jesus without wholeheartedly accepting that this claim was, and is, true. In this season of resurrection, the fact that death could not quench the life of Jesus is evidence that what he said about himself was trustworthy and to be believed. This means that, if we want to discover what God is like, we only have to look at Jesus, and we will learn all we need to know.

But, there is another side to this important truth. If Jesus reveals God to us, any beliefs we hold about God that are not consistent with the values, character and purposes of Jesus, are incorrect. If we see Jesus forgiving and including, but we believe that God is exclusive and judgemental, we have a contradictory view of God. If we see Jesus refusing to use violence to manifest God’s Reign, but we believe that God punishes people through natural disasters, accidents or disease, we have a contradictory view of God. Not only does Jesus claim that he reveals God to us, he is also saying that God is like Jesus. This is the heart of our faith.

This week we meditate on how God is revealed in Jesus, and on the kind of God that Jesus shows us.

To download this week’s reflections in PDF format, click through to the downloads page.

Daily Worship

Week of 07 – 13 May 2017

THOUGHT FOR THE WEEK

When it comes to life, the Bible is clear that we can only be most fully alive when we are deeply and meaningfully connected with others. Although it can sometimes feel like the demands of others, the restriction of our freedom that comes from living with others, and the constant struggle to maintain strong relationships with others are too painful and exhausting for what they cost us, the alternative, which is to isolate ourselves, is far worse.

That’s why, as we explore the meaning of Jesus’ resurrection, the Lectionary leads us to consider what it means to follow the Good Shepherd, and to be part of God’s “flock”. It is not just that Jesus brings life to us as individuals, but that, through the resurrection, he gives life to our relationships and communities as well. And, when we welcome God’s life into our lives, we are also welcoming God’s family.

This week our focus is on learning to share resurrection life with one another.

To download this week’s reflections in PDF format, click through to the downloads page.

Daily Worship

Week of 30 April – 06 May 2017

THOUGHT FOR THE WEEK

One of the great privileges of the faith is that we get to participate with Jesus in what God is doing in the world. This is far more than just praying a personal prayer to receive God’s life or ‘doing evangelism’ to ‘get people saved’. It’s watching to see what God is already doing, where God’s life is already breaking out, and then responding to this by co-creating, co-caring and co-welcoming people. This is how we, and those whom God touches through us, really connect with and experience God’s life. The big challenge this week, then, is to discover where in your world resurrection is beginning – or continuing – to break out. But, then we also need to respond to these signs of resurrection. We need to ask how God wants us to participate, to notice, to communicate and to spread the life of God.

So often we feel that we have to make things happen, and that the initiative begins with us. The resurrection helps us to recognise that the initiative is always God’s. God’s life is always breaking out whether we see it or not. Our task is not to make anything happen, but to respond – to get on board with – what God is already doing. This is a liberating and empowering thought, but also a challenging one. We can choose to do our own thing, or nothing, but if we really want to encounter God and be involved in Gospel work, we’d better recognise and respond to God’s thing!

This week we seek to investigate where resurrection is at work in our world and to respond.

To download this week’s reflections in PDF format, click through to the downloads page.

Daily Worship

Week of 23 – 29 April 2017

THOUGHT FOR THE WEEK

Faith and doubt are often seen as opposites. But the Scriptures make it clear that they are two sides of one coin. When faced with the resurrection, the disciples of Jesus often struggled with questions, uncertainties, and doubt. This wrestling was not viewed by Jesus as a problem. Rather it was accepted as part of their development in faith. There’s a difference between doubt and unbelief. Unbelief is a choice not to believe. Doubt, on the other hand, is an honest wrestling with belief. This means that our doubts are a path to ever deepening faith.

Any set of beliefs that cannot endure questions and doubts is useless for navigating the challenges of our world. But when we embrace our faith struggles as natural, and as part of the process, our doubts and questions strengthen and deepen our faith, because they drive us back to God, back to prayer, and into deeper reflection. Once we have resolved, and made peace with, our doubts, we are able to go forward in faith with greater confidence.

This week we explore how doubts and questions can deepen our relationship with God.

To download this week’s reflections in PDF format, click through to the downloads page.

Daily Worship

Week of 16 – 22 April 2017

THOUGHT FOR THE WEEK

The focus of this week, of course, is on the resurrection of Jesus. This central event of our faith is at the heart of what we believe as Christians – that life, and not death, has the last word. But, sometimes the way we believe in the resurrection robs it of its power. When we make resurrection a past event that happened only once in history to just one person, it may be an interesting occurrence, but it won’t change anyone’s life. When we make the resurrection about nothing more than a way to escape this world and reach life after death, we shut ourselves off from any chance that it could impact our lives here and now.

But, this is not how the first believers saw the resurrection of Jesus. As they learned to understand what this amazing event meant, they realised that resurrection was for everyone and for everything. There is nothing in all creation that is not to be resurrected into a new, imperishable life. The first believers also realised that we participate in the process of resurrection even now. As we learn to live the Jesus way, we experience God’s resurrection life and we carry that life with us so that it touches those with whom we interact.

This week we explore what it means to believe in, and to live, the resurrection of Jesus.

To download this week’s reflections in PDF format, click through to the downloads page.

Daily Worship

Week of 09 – 15 April 2017

THOUGHT FOR THE WEEK

Once again we come to what many consider to be the most significant week in the Christian Calendar. For the next seven days we journey through the last week of Jesus’ life, through the conflict, rejection, execution and burial of Christ. What makes this journey so important is that it reveals the true values of God’s Reign. What appears as failure and death to human beings, is victory and life in God’s eyes. What looks like the triumph of power, wealth and human systems, actually exposes the poverty and destruction of human competitiveness and self-protection. It is not Jesus on trial this week, but the desire for accumulation, power, and instant gratification that resides in each of our hearts. The cross shows what happens when we reject the way of love and justice, when we choose power, pleasure and possessions over the generous and compassionate ways of God’s Reign.

For most of us, the battle between our worst selves and our best selves is not waged on large public platforms. It does not impact global issues, or affect millions of people. But, as we each face our own temptations and demons and overcome them by the grace and love of God, so we make the world a better place for ourselves and those whose lives we do touch – our families, friends, coworkers and neighbours.

This week we meditate on Christ’s sacrifice and how it teaches us to find life by giving our lives for the sake of God’s Reign.

To download this week’s reflections in PDF format, click through to the downloads page.