Daily Worship

Week of 02 – 08 July 2017

THOUGHT FOR THE WEEK

Hospitality is described in the New Testament as a spiritual gift. This may lead us to believe that it is only required of those to whom this particular gift has been given, but this would be a mistake. In the Old Testament hospitality was expected of all of God’s people, and, as with other spiritual gifts, the task of those who have received the gift of hospitality is to teach the whole church how to be hospitable. This means that the call to hospitality – to welcoming and receiving others in Jesus’ name – comes to all who seek to follow Jesus.

The Gospel is built on the fact that God has offered hospitality to us. God has welcomed us into God’s family and made us part of God’s new community of love and justice. We have done nothing to deserve this. It is simply a gift of grace. But, in response we should find ourselves unable to resist offering hospitality to others. As we have been welcomed and accepted so we desire others to know God’s grace and love, and so we seek to welcome and accept others in Jesus’ name, without requiring anything of them, or expecting anything in return. If we seek to understand what it means to be holy, we will discover that hospitality is a significant feature.

This week we seek to respond to God’s call to hospitality.

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

Daily Worship

Week of 25 June – 01 July 2017

THOUGHT FOR THE WEEK

We all face moments of decision when we have to choose whether to preserve our lives through silence and compliance, or to endure ridicule, persecution and rejection for speaking out for what we believe is right. These decisions are often much smaller, but more significant, than we may realise. When we refuse to laugh at racist, homophobic or chauvinistic jokes, we put ourselves in the firing line. When we stand alongside those whom others want to judge and reject, we risk being rejected and judged ourselves. When we refuse to participate in acts of violence against our “enemies” we may be seen as traitors. When we embrace beliefs and values that are different from the “norm” we may be disowned or excommunicated.

Yet, if we fail to stand up for our convictions, we lose something of our souls, and we contribute to making the world unsafe and threatening for anyone who is “different” in any way. While it may hurt to live out the welcoming, peaceful, and justice-seeking values of God’s Reign, to fail to do so hurts us and our world far more. This is why the Lectionary challenges us to love the Gospel above all – for only then will we live as people who truly and selflessly love family, friends, neighbours, and even enemies, as God calls us to.

This week we explore the uncomfortable call of Jesus, and we embrace the cost in our quest to receive and share God’s life.

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

Daily Worship

Announcement

Dear Daily Worship subscribers,

This year the Church Calendar has an extra week after Trinity Sunday – Proper 6A – that has not been present in Year A in the time since Daily Worship began. However, I am afraid that I have just not been able to include this new week in the Daily Worship reflections for this year. You will notice that the reflections for Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday all relate to Trinity Sunday which has just past, but the reflections for Thursday, Friday and Saturday all relate to Proper 7A – not Proper 6A.

I hope that you will forgive me for missing out on the reflections leading up to Proper 6A this Sunday, and then flowing out from Sunday in the first half of next week. And then I hope you will continue to stay with the journey from next week on when things will be back to normal.

I apologise for any inconvenience this has caused you. Thank you for your ongoing support of Sacredise and Daily Worship.

Daily Worship

Week of 11 – 17 June 2017

THOUGHT FOR THE WEEK

Once again we reach the mysterious and difficult day called Trinity Sunday. The doctrine of the Trinity is often misunderstood both within the Christian Community and outside of it, and has been the source of much persecution and ridicule of the Church. Part of the problem is that the Church has sometimes used the idea of God as Trinity as a means to define God and to draw lines between “true believers” and “heretics”. While there may some valid reasons for both of these actions, they have not helped us to experience the richness and invitation of this amazing truth.

The doctrine of the God who is three-in-one, while not defining God (God is beyond any human definition) does reveal some important facets of God’s nature. This God is, within God’s own nature, a community of love. But, God does not seek to keep this divine community closed. Rather, God seeks to draw all people, all creatures, and the entire cosmos into this loving community. All three persons of the Trinity are constantly reaching out to heal, restore, and welcome God’s beloved creation into intimate relationship with God. If there is any statement about God that should teach us about God’s inclusive love, it is that God is triune. This is a great mystery, but it invites us to spend our lives in contemplation and experience of it.

This week we meditate on the God who is three-in-one, and respond to God’s invitation to share in the divine community of love.

 

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

Daily Worship

Week of 04 – 10 June 2017

THOUGHT FOR THE WEEK

The Day of Pentecost marks the shift in the Church Calendar from God’s Story to Our Story. After the months of remembering and entering into the grand narrative of God’s saving work, we now begin to explore the implications for us, and how we can become participants in the Reign of God. But, the key moment of transition is the outpouring of God’s Spirit. In keeping with the biblical principle of “passing the mantle” from prophet to disciple, Pentecost is the moment in which Jesus “passes the mantle” on to us. We have learned from him what God’s mission is, and now we have received his Spirit in order to continue his work. So, Pentecost is a gift, but it is also a preparation, an empowering, for the work ahead.

As we seek to follow Christ in this world, we will face many challenges that are beyond our ability to overcome. We will encounter many people whom we would not naturally be able to love. We will confront many aspects of ourselves that we would rather deny than heal. But, we do not have to deal with these issues alone. The gift of the Spirit empowers us to find creative solutions to seemingly unsolvable problems. The Spirit fills us with the love of Christ and enables us to reach out even to our enemies. And the Spirit reveals what needs to change in us, and brings God’s healing and transforming grace into our lives. What an amazing gift this is!

This week our meditations seek to open us to receive God’s gift of the Holy Spirit again.

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

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.