Monday, July 28, 2014
Eularia Clarke's Feeding the Five Thousand, a quirky fusion of Stanley Spencer and Beryl Cook, features a fish-and-chip picnic – the hands of a preacher, resting on a pulpit, being the only clue to the spiritual setting. Indeed many of the works address their subjects obliquely; note-cards reveal an evident working-out of doubt or of highly-personalized abstractions of Christianity.
"This passage is echoing the Eucharist because the Eucharist leads to the feeding of the multitudes for Christians. We are literally to make table in the midst of the community and feed people. This uniquely Christia n understanding of mission is tied into the Gospel. We are to feed their minds and their bodies. And, we are to do it out in the world.
The church can be so very narcissistic sometimes, thinking that it is all about us! The reality is this is all about the world and our call to be agents of feeding in it. We are the new Eucharistic symbol that is to literally feed people.
To flip this around means that we are completely out of sync with the narrative story and in some ways let off the hook for doing the right thing in the midst of a very private gathering and failing our mission as Christians."
People laugh at John and his “Come on, don’t let it beat you. You can do it!” approach, but it gets results. The football team he coached improved greatly and won the Grand Final twice. He is an encourager and there are times when we all need encouraging.
Sometimes we forget how human Jesus was! He had visited his home town where the people took offense at his teaching simply because they knew his parents, brothers and sisters. They didn’t believe in him. They had no faith in his abilities and this indicates that they didn’t think much of themselves either. How could someone who they knew, who had grown up in their community be wise and do the kind of things Jesus did. In thinking this way, and discounting Jesus, they were putting themselves down as well. It must have been discouraging for Jesus. We are told he couldn’t do much for them because of their lack of faith in themselves as well as Jesus.
After he heard about John the Baptist’s death, Jesus went away by himself but when the crowds got wind of where he was going, they walked around the lake and were already waiting when he arrived. How his heart must have sunk when he saw them. But he took pity on them and tended to their needs, curing those who were ill. When evening came the disciples suggested the people be sent away to find food for themselves. But Jesus said to the disciples, “They do not need to go away; you give them something to eat.” How would you respond if Jesus said this to you? Would you have enough faith in yourself to give it a go?
REv Julianne Parker (full sermon on sermons page)
Monday, July 21, 2014
The way we see God, others and ourselves is through the lenses of our culture, how we have been taught to see. Someone once asked God why God had sent a son, not a daughter to show God to us. God’s reply seemed to be that God’s daughter has come a million times only no one has ever recognised her because she was a woman.
In the Gospel reading set for today, we have a number of small illustrations of the kingdom of heaven. The final one in Mat 13:52 says, “Therefore every scribe who has been trained for the kingdom of heaven is like the master of a household who brings out of his treasure what is new and what is old.” Have we in the church been guilty of just going along with the old and been too reluctant to use the new? Could this be why some many of the younger generations no longer have time for the church? We are too attached to the old?
The Good News is that this passage suggests there is new available for our use, new ways of seeing and valuing every person, daughters and women as well as sons and men. People without children as well as those with them are blessed by God in different ways. We have the assurance in Romans that all things work together for good and that nothing can separate us for the love of God which is ours in Christ Jesus. We can encourage our scribes to bring out the new for us to embrace as part of the kingdom of heaven for us all.
Rev Julianne Parker
(see sermons page for full sermon)
The opposite of the kingdom of heaven
is that loss of spirit,
that diminution of hope,
that dark emptiness,
where the possibilities
of surprise and generosity
have been forgotten.
No seeds grow,
the birds make no nests,
and no one searches for pearls.
© Ken Rookes 2014