Monday, May 23, 2016

Only speak the word and let my servant be healed

They have an efficacious power
written deep within the interstices of their syllables;
these words of Jesus.
We disciples should repeat them often,
even the difficult ones.
We should speak them confidently
with an attitude of blessing, hope
and encouragement

Be whole!

Be at peace! Forgive!

Love your neighbour!
(And your enemies.)

Live generously!

Do for others
as you would have them do for you!

Walk away from your wealth!
(How did that one sneak in?)

Be free! Live fully! Follow!

laying aside reservations
and overcoming our inhibitions,
we might even voice the words
loudly, in public spaces.
We could spray them rudely on walls,
pass them out with cups of water,
or paint them boldly upon our faces;
shouting with appropriate outrage and defiance,
and causing good people
to gasp.

© Ken Rookes 2016

Wednesday, May 18, 2016

The template of all reality

"...The template of all reality is Trinity : Trinity that is totally male AND totally female. We are told this in the first chapter of our Scripture.  “Let us create humanity in our image, male and female they were created.” the creation story says [Genesis 1:26]. Within the Trinity perfect love and are perfectly loved. We come to know who God is through exchanges of mutual knowing and loving.
We will always run into trouble when we try to name or describe God with human words. We do not have either genderless or gender inclusive pronouns to use when talking about people. This is a problem for people with gender dysphoria so perhaps some will be developed in coming years.
If Wisdom was present in the beginning as John tells us Christ was; where does Wisdom fit with the Trinity? Was Paul correct in naming Christ the Wisdom of God and has the Body of Christ been severely limited through the centuries as it has ignored this? As we heard earlier, Paul saw Christ as both the Power and the Wisdom of God. If the Church had honoured this image it may well have come to call Christ, the daughter of God with subsequent very different outcomes for women through the centuries.

Total exclusion of women in the Church did not occur until after the Reformation. The Orthodox Church has at least one famous icon that depicts a member of the Trinity as female. The Roman Catholic Church has always had Mary, revered as the Mother of Christ. But after the Reformation, neither men nor women in the Protestant Churches had even one woman to look up to. How much might our portrayal of God as totally male influence male dominance and violence against women? It is surely something to prayerfully contemplate."
Rev Julianne Parker
For full sermon see sermons page

Monday, May 16, 2016

Triune Haiku

To make sense of Christ,
(they say it is essential);
this trinity thing.

How does it all work?
Some questions can't be answered,
but still we ask them.

Father, Son, Spirit;
our mystical formula.
Ah, we are foolish!

© Ken Rookes 2016

Monday, May 9, 2016

But how will I know?

My eyes, my mind and my heart,
I like to believe, are open.
But when the Spirit of truth comes,
how will I know?
Perhaps she has already come.

She will, I assume, speak to me of Jesus
and his teachings; telling of love
and generosity, of justice and defiance,
of courage, anger, compassion and peace.

I am emboldened, and challenged
to join with my sisters and brothers
and pray: Come Holy Spirit!
But when she comes;
how will I know?

© Ken Rookes 2016

Monday, May 2, 2016

My chains fell off ....

Most of us live in quite favourable circumstances of relative freedom and these do not guarantee us salvation or true liberty. Most people in the world would envy us our freedoms of liberty and economic choice. Perhaps we don’t know the meaning of the yearning for freedom because we don’t know about the lack of it. Much of the world knows such a yearning. A yearning for the freedom of having enough food, water and a place to sleep. Freedom from the constant threat of having your home bombed or your family killed.

           When I was young person growing up in the church (about 13 or 14), I remember nothing moved me more in the church service than singing those words of the Wesley hymn “my chains fell off, my heart was free, I rose went forth and followed thee.” I felt charged and close to tears with the passion of the words and the image in the story of Paul in prison. A few years ago at the funeral of a friend, that same hymn was sung by a packed church. I presume many of you have had the chance to sing that hymn in a packed church. It is very uplifting. But, at the same time as I was being carried away with this marvelous hymn, I looked up and, on the balcony of the church there were a large group of people who were not church people. It was fascinating to see the expressions on their faces as some of them tried to join in and others stood exchanging bemused and puzzled looks with each other. It occurred to me that some of them may have been impressed with the singing, but to most of them, the concepts involved in the hymn, the theology, was alien and unintelligible.
           To me, in my younger days those words spoke to me somehow of my own liberation from personal sin somehow. The joy I felt was about me personally and what I felt God was giving me.
           I have also spent some time in my life when I have felt that those words apply to the sort of political liberation that God promises. It is a liberation from the politics of dishonesty and oppression to one of justice and compassion. In many ways that is where I am today when I think of our liberation.
As I grown older I no longer see things in that way. In fact sometimes when I look at my self in the church I feel like those people in the balcony. So we have before us the question, What do we ask of God when we say .. Be our Freedom Lord!
The role of the church when it comes to freedom has often been to be the oppressors and rightly or wrongly, many people in our modern age regard the church as just that.
“In every country and every age, the priest has been hostile to Liberty.”
-- Thomas Jefferson

           So what is the meaning of the liberation we have as Christians and the liberation we are called to be and to share?
Of Paul and Silas it is said
There were in Prison laid
But when they went to take them out
They were not there instead.
Security the same insures
To our assaulted Minds --
The staple must be optional
                                            That an Immortal binds. (Emily Dickinson)

           Part of the challenge of our disciple's work is undoubtedly to put all this in terms that resonate with the twenty-first century. How do we make real our 'way of salvation' today? The rest is just to be there when suddenly it is clear that someone does require saving, healing, freeing, rescuing, here and now. God needs one or more of his disciples, probably at some cost, to deliver his love at the point of need. God also requires of us to lose our own chains, to give over those things that keep us down and restricted in our lives. AMEN.
Rev Gordon Bannon

Unity Haiku


Jesus' parting prayer
for those who come after him.
That they may be one.


Sent into the world
that love might find fulfilment;
Jesus, among us.


He spoke unity:
I in them and you in me.
Divine indwelling.

© Ken Rookes 2016