Daily Worship

Week of 15 – 21 January 2017

THOUGHT FOR THE WEEK

Answering the call to follow the Lamb of God, as Jesus’ disciples did, is a daily decision made in the little details of how much we consume, what and how we buy, what we drive, where we live, what we eat, how we use energy, how we work, how we treat others and how we care for ourselves. Many of these decisions result in sacrifices that we would probably prefer to avoid. At its heart discipleship is about recognising that our faith is not an individual journey, but is connected into community. Our choice to sacrifice or not impacts others in our churches, neighbourhoods and world, and so we find that as we follow Christ, we are brought face to face with others, and the impact of our choices and lifestyle on them.

To make the sacrificial changes that will lead to a world of peace, justice and love – the world that Jesus proclaimed – we need resources beyond ourselves. For this it takes both the recognition that the Christ we follow is the Lamb of God who calls us to take up our crosses, and an openness to receive the “baptism in the Holy Spirit” – the transforming, empowering encounter with God – that John said Jesus would offer. But as we embrace the life of sacrifice and of following Christ, we each become foundation stones like Peter in the reign of God which is being built among us.

This week we explore what it means to be a disciple and to make the necessary sacrifices that help to bring God’s dream to reality in our part of the world.

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

Daily Worship

Week of 08 – 14 January 2017

THOUGHT FOR THE WEEK

The season after the Epiphany always begins with the story of Jesus’ baptism. This story is significant for at least two reasons. The first is that it reveals very clearly that Jesus is the one who reveals God’s glory to us, and it proclaims, loud and clear, how God viewed Jesus – as God’s beloved son. The second significant feature of this story is the way Jesus was empowered to be the reflection of God’s glory that he was. The outpouring of God’s Spirit was the start of Jesus’ ministry, but it was not just for Jesus. The book of Acts shows God’s people receiving similar empowerment by God’s Spirit, as Jesus had promised, and many of the epistles encourage us to be filled with God’s Spirit. Like Jesus, if we are to reflect God’s glory to our world, we will need God’s Spirit to strengthen and guide us.

As dramatic as the experience of baptism was to Jesus, Matthew’s telling indicates that it was only Jesus who saw the dove and heard the voice – which means that it was actually a moment of hidden glory. No one else would have been aware in that moment of how God’s glory was being revealed in Jesus’ life. In the same way, we do not need to draw attention to ourselves, or find places of prominence to reflect God’s glory. We simply need to allow God’s Spirit to fill every corner of our lives, and then God’s glory will shine out in gentle, quiet, but transforming ways.

This week we open ourselves to God’s Spirit so that God’s glory can fill every part of our days.

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

Daily Worship

Week of 01 – 07 January 2017

THOUGHT FOR THE WEEK

This week we begin a New Year and so this week’s reflections call us to choose how we will commit to living through the year to come. At the heart of this choice is a challenge to recognise God’s presence and activity in our lives and our world, and the openness to hear how God may be leading us. Then, flowing from this awareness, we are called courageously to follow God’s guidance, and to lead others to a deeper, more abundant life in Christ.

Then, at the end of the week, we celebrate the Epiphany – the moment in the Church Calendar when we remember the visit of the Magi to Jesus – and we begin a season of learning to see how God’s glory was reflected in the life and ministry of Jesus. Here there is another challenge – to be those who both witness the glory of God in Jesus, and who, like Jesus, allow God’s glory to be reflected in our own lives.

How we respond to these challenges will make all the difference for 2017. This week we are encouraged to make the right choice and choose Jesus’ priorities, values, and practices for our own.

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

Daily Worship

Week of 25 – 31 December 2016

THOUGHT FOR THE WEEK

Happy Christmas! Today is one of the most significant days in the Christian Calendar. Unfortunately we can easily miss how powerfully subversive and transforming this day really is – unless we’re willing to open our lives and hearts not just to the Christ Child, but to the Reign of God which he brought into our world.

It is tempting to think of Christmas as nothing more than the first step in God’s work of saving us from our sins so that we can go to heaven. But it is so much more than this. The Christmas story actually begins in Genesis 1 when God speaks creation into being. And it ends with a vision of a new world that is whole and one in Christ. It is because God has always been working to bring the entire cosmos into God’s life and love that Jesus was born. The birth of Christ was not God’s plan B to address the unexpected problem of sin. Rather the birth of Christ was the moment God had been working toward for millennia when God’s Reign would become visible and active in a new and powerful way in our world. This means that Christmas is not just about the birth of a unique baby. It is about the rebirth of all things – including you and me.

This week we explore the powerful, transforming significance of Jesus’ birth.

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

Daily Worship

Week of 18 – 24 December 2016

THOUGHT FOR THE WEEK

The Gospel reading for this last Sunday before Christmas – the fourth Sunday of Advent – speaks of Christ as the one who comes to us as “God with us”. This is more than just a promise of God’s presence. It’s an indication of God’s longing for intimacy with us. God is not “up in heaven” watching us “from a distance”. Rather, God is immersed in our flesh, our experience and our world. The theological word for this is “incarnation” – that God takes on human flesh. This means that everything that makes up the physical world – from our planet to our bodies – is important to God. Spirit and matter are not separate, but are one, and God is to be found within our embodied lives.

There are two powerful messages that we can hear through this truth. Firstly, we can rest in the knowledge that God truly is with us – not just in a once off moment in history, but in every moment and every situation. Secondly, we can offer our bodies, our energy, our lives to God as God’s Temple – the place where God Spirit dwells. And then, as we experience God’s abiding presence within us we become “little incarnations” – people who “carry” God within our flesh and our lives. This means that, as we seek to love and serve others as Jesus did, we also become little “Emmanuels” through whom others encounter God’s living presence.

This week we explore what it means to live in the presence of God and to share that presence with others.

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

Daily Worship

Week of 11 – 17 December 2016

THOUGHT FOR THE WEEK

Among the Lectionary readings this week we find a promise from Isaiah of God’s restoration for God’s people, Mary’s song of faith and justice, John the Baptiser’s doubts about Jesus, and a call from James for the believers to be patient in suffering. What a fascinating mix! The message is clear, though. Doubts, struggles and suffering will come, but we have a choice about our response. We can allow our doubts to get the better of us and lead us to miss God’s way, or we can affirm our faith, participate in God’s mission, and allow hope, faith and joy to sustain us.

When we consider the great challenges we face during this Advent season, this week’s message offers comfort and strength. On a personal level, many of us struggle to make ends meet, live in fear of losing our jobs, and face the temptation to do whatever it takes to survive in an unjust world. On a global level, the constant stream of news about wars, natural disasters, and the failure of leadership can tempt us to abandon hope and faith. But, as followers of Jesus we don’t have the luxury of these responses. In the face of our internal doubts, and our external challenges, we are called to keep hope alive, and to continue to live with peace, generosity, and compassion. The truth is that when we do this, we don’t only bring life to others. We find the best possible life for ourselves.

This week we explore staying hopeful and faithful in tough times.

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

Daily Worship

Week of 04 – 10 December 2016

THOUGHT FOR THE WEEK

As John the Baptiser prepared God’s people for the Messiah, so he prepares us, in this Advent season, to receive God’s Reign in a deeper way. The Lectionary this week calls us to anticipate the new order that is established by God’s Messenger, as well as the peace and well-being that we find in God’s new world.

One thing that this “voice in the wilderness” made very clear is that God’s Reign is not just a “place” or a “state of being” that we receive passively. Although we become citizens of God’s Reign purely by grace, when we become part of God’s new world, God’s new world becomes part of us. This means that who we are, what we think, how we feel, and how we behave are all shaped and formed by the values and purposes of God’s Reign. It’s not just Jesus that we invite into our hearts, but God’s new way of being. And when this happens, God’s new world begins to be reflected in us as it flows through every dream, every interaction, and every moment of our lives. This is why we are never born into God’s Reign. We are only ever born again into it – it requires a remaking of who we are, a true baptism with the Holy Spirit and fire!

This week we will explore what it means to allow God’s new world to take hold of us.

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

Daily Worship

Week of 27 November – 03 December 2016

THOUGHT FOR THE WEEK

The first Sunday in Advent is generally considered to be a time when we consider the Return of Christ. While the Scriptures definitely do call us to consider Christ’s return, and to place our hope in his coming, how we answer this call can make a huge difference to how we live our lives. If we make the return of Christ the “real thing” after the “curtain raiser” of life here and now, we inevitably devalue this world and the lives we live in it. If we become obsessed with predicting the time and manner of Christ’s coming, we lose touch with the world we are called to serve now. And if we make too much of the future return of Christ, we may end up missing God’s coming to us in the midst of our daily routines now.

If we are to avoid these pitfalls, we will need to understand something that the Scriptures make clear. Firstly, we don’t just hope in Christ’s return. Rather, our hope is in the new world that Christ’s return offers – the new heaven and new earth that will be established, and the Reign of God that will finally be completely manifest. Secondly, our hope is not just about some future event, but about a new way of seeing and living in the world now. This means that, rather than try to take the prophetic language of the biblical writers literally, we are to grasp the hope that is found in the meaning of Christ’s return, and then live from that hope now, in every detail and interaction of our lives.

This week we explore what it means to live in the hope of God’s new world in Christ.

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