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.

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.