Daily Worship

Week of 14 – 20 January 2018

THOUGHT FOR THE WEEK

It is popular in today’s Church to speak of making a “decision for Christ”. There is value in this – we do need to recognise our capacity to choose to follow Jesus or not. But, what is missed in this language is God’s choice for us. This Sunday you may have been reminded about either the boy Samuel who learned to hear God’s call for the first time (1 Samuel 3:1-20), or the disciple Nathaniel who, in spite of his initial scepticism, was called by Jesus to follow (John 1:43-51). Both of these stories show that God takes the initiative in inviting us – calling us – to live our lives in alignment with God’s presence, purposes and priorities.

In both of these stories, the relationship began with God revealing God’s self to the person. As they encountered God’s glory, they found themselves irresistibly drawn to God, and their lives were changed. Then, as a result of this encounter, they became people who reflected God’s glory and proclaimed God’s message to their world. The starting point, though, is always God’s choice to manifest God’s glory.

This week why not seek to prepare yourself for God’s self-revelation? Why not open your heart and your senses to the glory of God around you and listen for God’s call? Then, as God reveals God’s self to you, respond by committing again to follow Christ and to proclaim Christ’s message through your own life.

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

Daily Worship

Week of 07 – 13 January 2018

THOUGHT FOR THE WEEK

The moment of baptism for Jesus is an important turning point in his life. It marks the start of his public ministry, but also tells us a lot more about Jesus than we may realise at first. John’s baptism was about confession of sin and receiving forgiveness. Since Jesus was without sin, he had no need of John’s baptism – which explains John’s shock when Jesus arrived at the river. Jesus, however, chose to be baptised because he wanted us to know that he stands with us in our brokenness and sinfulness. He did not keep himself separate from us because we failed to meet his standards of holiness. Rather, he jumped right into the mess of our lives. He began by becoming one of us, and then he began to create a new community by inviting us into a different way of thinking, speaking, and being.

This means that Jesus’ baptism was not just an event that happened to Jesus a long time ago. Jesus’ baptism is an invitation that continues to beckon us today – to belong to a God-created, God-called community. And, if we choose to accept the invitation, we discover that we, like Jesus, become those who are called to stand alongside the broken and hurting, the sinful and wayward people of our world. And we are called to invite them, through our acts and words of grace, love, justice and challenge, to become part of God’s new community.

Our meditations will help us to hear and respond to God’s invitation this week.

 

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

Daily Worship

Week of 31 December 2017 – 06 January 2018

THOUGHT FOR THE WEEK

 

Christmas is not over! In the Church Calendar, Christmas Day is just the first of twelve days of Christmas. In this season we are called not just to welcome and celebrate the incarnate Christ Child, but to mediate on the meaning and purpose of the incarnation. We are called to understand not just who this baby was, but what he came to do. This means that we have a whole season to understand the Reign of God through the lens of the nativity story – which gives us a perspective we don’t get at other times of the year.

What we see in the nativity is not just that Christmas is a gift, and a time of peace, joy, and love. We also learn to understand why this gift was necessary. We also learn to see what stands in the way of peace, joy, and love in our world. And we learn to understand how the life and message of Jesus confronts the evil in our society and calls us into a whole new order of living and behaving.

This week we meditate on the nativity story and what it reveals to us about Jesus and his mission – which is also our mission as followers of Christ.

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

Daily Worship

Week of 24 – 30 December 2017

THOUGHT FOR THE WEEK

The focus of the fourth Sunday in Advent is always Mary, the mother of Jesus. This remarkable woman gave birth not just to a unique baby, but to a whole new way of being through her divine son. One of the problems with Advent and Christmas is that the stories that guide these seasons can be framed in ways that make us passive observers of God’s amazing work. It can be tempting to think of God as dwelling outside of our human world, and swooping in to make things right when they go wrong. It can be tempting to view faith as simply receiving blessing and salvation from God, and then waiting for God to fix the world or take us to heaven. But, to interpret the incarnation in this way is to miss its power and challenge.

The Bible is filled with ordinary people who were used by God to accomplish extraordinary things. Often they did nothing more than live their lives with faithfulness and love, but God used the small seeds of their daily routines to change the world. Mary is one of these people, and her example of faithful obedience is one that can be followed by every God-seeker.

This week we meditate on God’s call to participate in the miracle of incarnation, and we celebrate the Christ Child, and the new way of being that he brought to us.

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

Daily Worship

Week of 17 – 23 December 2017

THOUGHT FOR THE WEEK

 

Our lives feel so very real and large to us that it can be very difficult to imagine being part of anything bigger than ourselves. Our daily needs and struggles can feel overwhelming and the call to think about – let alone act in service of – anything beyond our daily survival can feel like more than we can manage. When we couple this with the constant call from motivational gurus to make ourselves the centre of our own universes, we may begin to think that the solution to our problems is to become more self-centred, not less.

But, the example that is set for us by the great heroes of faith – not least, John the Baptiser who is the focus of this week’s readings – is that life is not found by focussing on ourselves, but by giving ourselves for the sake of others. When we allow our hearts and desires to be captured by God’s vision of a world of love and justice, and when we allow this vision to lead us beyond ourselves into a much bigger world, we discover a new sense of abundance, purpose and meaning to our lives. It is not self-protection but self-giving that opens us to the best possible human life. The challenge is for us to really believe this.

This week we allow John the Baptiser to teach us to focus not on ourselves, but on God’s mission, and to find life there.

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

Daily Worship

Week of 10 – 16 December 2017

THOUGHT FOR THE WEEK

 

What message does your life proclaim? Whenever God seeks to do anything in the world, God sends messengers to prepare the hearts of the people. While some of these messengers may be well known or influential figures, others are just ordinary people seeking to live by the values and priorities of Christ as best they can.

In this second week of Advent it is usual to focus on the preparatory ministry of John the Baptiser, but his story is not just about an event that happened long ago. It is about how God always seeks to restore and heal us, and how God always seeks those who will be carriers of God’s message into the world. This means that we are not just witnesses to the story of John’s ministry. We are called to be like John, sharing the vision of God’s coming into our world, and inviting people into a new, restorative relationship with God.

This week we focus on doing the work of preparing our hearts for God’s coming, and also of accepting our calling to be messengers of preparation in our neighbourhoods, homes, and communities.

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

Daily Worship

Week of 03 – 09 December 2017

THOUGHT FOR THE WEEK

And so the cycle of the year begins again, but with a different perspective. This year the Gospel of Mark (with some input, as usual, from John) gives us the frame through which to view the story of Jesus and its implications for our lives. Advent Sunday always draws our attention to the apocalyptic sayings of Jesus, and the vision he gives of God’s presence breaking into the world of human affairs. As we begin the journey through the life of Jesus, which will fill our worship for the next half a year, we start with God’s hope-filled end in mind. We are reminded that our world is not random, and that the cosmos is moving toward a future of restoration, wholeness and unity in Christ. We are reminded that even in the midst of the world’s turmoil God is at work, and God’s glorious presence is always breaking into our lives.

But, the purpose of the Bible’s prophetic writing is not so much to focus our energy on a future life of bliss and glory. It is to allow our future hope to change how we live and work in our world today. When we realise that God’s dream of wholeness and unity for the cosmos is being worked out in our own time, and in our own lives, it changes how we think, how we interact with others, and how we live. It gives our lives meaning, because we recognise that we are participants in God’s mission. Like those who came before us, and those who come after us, we just have to watch for God’s presence and follow God’s directions, and we will add our small contribution to the great movement of God’s Reign in the world.

This week we reflect on the meaning of Advent, and how we can be more alert to the signs of God’s presence and mission among us.

 

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

Daily Worship

Week of 26 November – 02 December 2017

THOUGHT FOR THE WEEK

 

Today is the last Sunday of this Church year. The Sunday before Advent is always known as the celebration of Christ the King or the Reign of Christ. It’s fitting to end the journey of the year by remembering that God’s Reign is among us and is eternal. It is encouraging to keep in mind that the Christ who brings God’s Reign into being, is the one who came as servant of all and who established God’s Reign among us by giving his life to destroy the power of evil and death.

As we end the journey of this year, though, we also prepare ourselves to begin the journey again, which means that in the back of our minds is the truth that this King whom we celebrate is the one who entered our human world and experiences as a new-born baby, and lived a life of humble service and sacrifice. This reminds us that the Reign of Christ is not exercised through force of arms or political manipulation, but through compassion, love and justice.

This week we remember the upside-down Reign of Christ and we commit again to living by its values and priorities.

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