Daily Worship

Week of 02 – 08 April 2017

THOUGHT FOR THE WEEK

For every follower of Christ resurrection is both a promise and a challenge. It is a promise that opens us to God’s life that inspires and empowers us every moment. It is a challenge not to shy away from the sacrifices and struggles that we will inevitably face as we work for life and justice in our corner of the world. Daily we are called to lay down our own comfort and embrace simplicity for the sake of those who are poor. We are called to think carefully about what we buy and where, what we eat and how much, and how we do business for the sake of those who face oppressive trade restrictions and unfair exploitation by the wealthy and powerful. In our own relationships we are called to give up our need to be right, our need to protect ourselves and our fear of those who are different and ‘alien’ to us, in order to bring life and grace to those who need it. Even our worship calls us to lay down our own preferences in favour of others so that they may encounter God in the way that is most helpful and transforming for them, rather than fighting for our own preferred styles and forms.

All of this sacrifice can only be done if we truly believe in and embrace the promise of resurrection – for ourselves, that we will be led to life, and for our world, that our small contribution will make the world a more whole and alive place.

This week we explore how the promise and challenge of resurrection leads us to give ourselves for the sake of others.

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

Daily Worship

Week of 26 March – 01 April 2017

THOUGHT FOR THE WEEK

In our daily lives we all make choices (consciously or subconsciously) about what we will see and what we won’t. It’s tempting to choose not to see the suffering and injustice in our world – to switch off the news, and to ignore reports of grief, war and trauma. It’s tempting to avoid seeing certain people and to allow them to just blend in with the landscape, removing their need and struggle from our vision. It’s tempting to avoid seeing God’s truth and grace in those with whom we disagree, and whom we would rather see as “all bad”. It’s tempting to avoid seeing the brokenness in those we support and with whom we agree and to see them as “all good”. It’s tempting to avoid seeing the resources, the opportunities and the capacity we have for making a difference, and to rather believe we can do nothing.

But, if we have really seen Jesus, and if we have truly seen God’s reign proclaimed and manifest in Christ, then we have to confront how we see things, and allow God’s grace and mercy, God’s truth and justice to change our seeing and shed light on our world, our relationships and our neighbourhoods. And our seeing must be informed by God’s perspective where the greatest are the least, and where everyone – even a young shepherd boy, or a carpenter from the countryside – can make significant differences in the world.

This week we meditate on what and how we see.

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

Daily Worship

Week of 19 – 25 March 2017

THOUGHT FOR THE WEEK

The feeling of dryness, thirst for life, and emptiness of soul is an experience shared by every human being. We all go through times of emptiness and dryness when life feels difficult and without joy. We all know what it feels like to be hurt, rejected, or exhausted by life’s demands. We all long for refreshment, for living water to flood our souls and quench our thirst for vibrant, meaningful life. This is why water is such a common and profound metaphor in the Bible. So many of the Old Testament stories of God’s acts include water in some form. Jesus spoke of offering living water to those who would come to him, and the Holy Spirit is often likened to water. And, throughout the ages, in the worship of the Church, water has been included – especially in the sacrament of baptism.

As those who are called by the name of Christ, and who are filled with God’s Spirit, we know a source of refreshment and strength that is always available to us, even if we don’t always make use of it. God’s Spirit lives within us and will empower and inspire us if we open our hearts and lives to the Spirit’s influence. But, we are also called to be carriers of God’s living water to those around us. When we learn to draw on the Spirit’s strength, we grow increasingly able to rise above those things that drain us and empty us out. And then we can become an inspiring and empowering influence to others.

This week we explore God’s invitation to dive into the living water of God’s Spirit.

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

Daily Worship

Week of 12 – 18 March 2017

THOUGHT FOR THE WEEK

It is easy to reduce faith to a system of ideas that we simply have to accept. It is easy to make salvation nothing more than praying the right prayer and signing the right card. But, if we do this, we rob ourselves of the true power and value of faith. A faith that is simply a set of ideas does not change our very lives and give us a new way of seeing or a God’s-Reign way of being. The faith that leads to new birth, which Jesus offered to Nicodemus, is a transforming encounter with a God who leads us into a whole new world – the world of God’s Reign, where children are the leaders, the meek inherit the earth, and the poor, the mourners and the peace makers are the recipients of God’s presence and grace.

Once we have embraced this faith, we cannot help but begin to live this new life in such a way that it makes a difference in our families, our places of work and leisure, our communities and our churches. Once we have been born anew, we find ourselves recognising Christ in those we would normally shun, and we begin to care about issues that we would normally ignore. It is not our obedience that leads us to life, but our faith. However, faith that does not change who we are and how we live, is not faith at all. Ultimately believing does not happen in our heads alone, but in our whole being, and in lives that, in small but significant ways, touch the least with grace and compassion, and seek to make the world a more hopeful, celebratory and gracious place.

This week we explore this radical, life-giving faith.

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

Daily Worship

Week of 05 – 11 March 2017

THOUGHT FOR THE WEEK

The first week of Lent always leads us to contemplate the temptations of Jesus. We do this, firstly, to learn more about who Jesus was, and the kind of Messiah he chose to be. Then, secondly, we allow Jesus’ victory over temptation to inspire and strengthen us to face our own temptations. It’s important to realise that these were genuine temptations for Jesus. We may think that, since Jesus was God, there was never any chance that he would fail, but this denies his true humanity. Jesus could well have fallen and chosen to be a self-serving, power-hungry leader, like others in his (and our) world. But, he chose a different way – the way of service, sacrifice and simplicity. He chose to offer his life for the sake of others.

Jesus’ temptations were not unique. He faced essentially the same enticements that we all do. It was only the specific way in which these temptations came to Jesus that were unique. This means that we can learn from how he overcame evil. It is a gift that we have this record of Jesus’ struggle with evil, and it is a testimony to his openness and honesty that he would share this experience with others (he must have done, or this story would never have been known by the Gospel writers). Jesus’ willingness to face the potential for darkness within himself is both a challenge and encouragement to us, if we will allow it to each us.

This week we explore how to overcome the potential for darkness within us.

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

Daily Worship

Week of 26 February – 04 March 2017

THOUGHT FOR THE WEEK

Jesus’ ministry is touched at two significant moments by God’s glory and God’s voice. The first was at his baptism as he started his ministry. The second is here at the transfiguration. In the first three Gospels this visitation of God comes as Jesus turns toward Jerusalem and his coming sacrifice, and it serves to affirm and strengthen him for the ordeal ahead. But it was also an important moment of preparation and reassurance for the disciples. It was natural, as they watched Jesus die, that they should have doubted his claims. However, even though the Gospels do reflect these doubts, it may have been the memory of this event that kept them from completely abandoning the community Jesus had started and the teachings he had given. Perhaps it was this memory that helped Peter stay present enough to be restored after he denied Jesus.

For we who seek to follow Jesus today, the transfiguration is an important moment in the Church Calendar. The season after the Epiphany, through which we have just journeyed, is “book-ended” by the two moments when Jesus sees God’s glory and hears God’s voice. This means that we have had a wonderful opportunity to see God’s glory revealed in Jesus. It also means that, as we turn to the challenging and convicting season of Lent, we can hold in our hearts the memory of God’s affirmation of Jesus, and allow this to sustain us as we embrace the transforming disciplines of this season.

This week as we meditate on the transfiguration and begin the Lenten journey, we open ourselves to God’s glory and affirmation, and prepare ourselves for the journey of repentance that leads us to the cross and beyond.

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

Daily Worship

Week of 19 – 25 February 2017

THOUGHT FOR THE WEEK

One of the great questions of the Christian faith is this: What is holiness? The Scriptures speak about holiness a lot, and often in ways that are challenging and uncomfortable. When we hear the call to “be holy as God is holy” it can feel like an impossible task. Perhaps that’s why we are so tempted to turn holiness into a code of specific acts of purity – or rather the avoidance of certain acts that are seen as impure. If holiness is only about what we do or don’t do with our own bodies, it is restrictive, oppressive and life-draining. There is little benefit to a faith that is based on such narrow legalistic control of a few physical actions.

But, if we explore what holiness looks like from the New Testament perspective, we get a very different picture. Holiness is not about what we don’t do or about a few narrowly defined personal actions. Rather, it’s about the broad sweep of how we engage and interact with God, with others, and with the world. True holiness is creative, liberating, loving, and life-giving.

This week we explore what it means to live in true Christian holiness.

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

Daily Worship

Week of 12 – 18 February 2017

THOUGHT FOR THE WEEK

It is easy to go to church on Sunday and sing songs and pray prayers. It is easy to not steal, not kill, not commit adultery. But, simply obeying these laws does not bring life to us or to those around us. It is when we allow God to capture our hearts with the truth of the Gospel, when we allow God to continually and disturbingly challenge and grow our hearts that we find abundant life. When we live from the inside out, opening our hearts to Christ’s love, and letting it guide our speech and actions, we become those who make a healing, restoring impact on the world around us. Then we find – and bring to others – fullness of life.

This living from the heart takes far more work and awareness than legalism. It requires us to allow God to constantly challenge our attitudes and convictions, to constantly transform our feelings and reactions, and to constantly call us to a higher standard. In this way of living we cannot rest in a future guarantee of heaven after we die. We are called to work to actively bring heaven into our world and our lives now through submitting to God’s gracious transforming guidance. But one thing is sure. If we are courageous enough to embark on the journey of heart-driven living, we will discover a richness and a fullness to life, a deeper connectedness and a more gracious way of relating and living together.

This week we explore what it means to live from the inside out.

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