Sunday, March 28, 2010

A reflection to begin the journey of Holy week.

As we approach our celebration of Jesus' entry into Jerusalem i could not help but be reminded of the conflict within Jerusalem herself, even the recent news of more Israeli settlements in West Jerusalem, and the conflict and pain around that, and what Jerusalem symbolizes in terms of our own sinfulness and internal division.
This time last year i had just left Israel and felt very connected to the region and its pain. It is important to be reminded of this maybe especially at Easter.
I found this refection helpful.
"... We are the crowd along the streets of Jerusalem shouting, “Hosanna! Hosanna!” and we are the same mob on Good Friday screaming, “Crucify him! Crucify him!” As Fleming Rutledge has noted, “the liturgy of Palm Sunday is set up to show you how you can say one thing one minute and its opposite the next. This is the nature of the sinful human being.”

In looking at the cruxifixion, Rutledge also says this: “What we see and hear in Jesus’ death is not just his solidarity with the victims of this world. It is that, but it is not only that. What we see and hear in the Cry of Dereliction is Jesus’ identification in his Cross not only with the innocent victims of this world but also with their torturers . . . What Jesus assumes on the Cross is not only the suffering of innocents but also the wickedness of those who inflict suffering.”

And when Jesus says, “Father, forgive them; for they do not know what they are doing” (Luke 23:34), “he makes himself one, not only with my pain but with my sin–because I myself, and you yourselves, and all of us ourselves, are sometimes victims of others and sometimes torturers of others and sometimes both, and when we recognize this we are, as Jesus says to the scribe, ‘not far from the kingdom.’”

To know this deeply is to do the “work” of Holy Week. Romantic readings of Jesus’ passion–like the ones mentioned in the opening paragraph above–keep us at a safe, neutral distance. The liturgy of the palms and the liturgy of the passion put us in the thick of things where we play many parts. And they are clarifying roles: we see our duplicity and our honest striving; we know ourselves culpable and forgiven.

The journey is the thing. Easter breaks forth. But not yet."
To read the entire reflection see the article at

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Leave her alone

An action unexpected,
a pouring seeming haste,
a moment for a spilling
of recklessness and waste.
A gesture for defying
the frugal and the wise;
a splash of beauty’s perfume
bringing tears to the eyes.
The jar of alabaster
holding ointment thick and sweet,
its suffering and death
spilled over tired feet.
With crying and with touching,
love’s cavernous caresses
embrace the teacher’s weary heart,
and, wiping with her tresses,
in devotion spends herself
with carelessness and weeping;
the man is strangely grateful
and grasps the loving deeply.

Things there are, so beautiful
they can’t be bought or traded;
with wasteful generosity
the vision’s never faded.
And beauty is an odd thing,
not understood by all;
and loving, even queerer
for those who miss her call.
Some simply fail to comprehend
and good souls take offence;
the teacher talks once more of love
and speaks to make defence:
The poor are always present
to test your loving’s power;
this gift she has created here
is precious to this hour.
Our time on earth is given,
one day we’ll all be gone;
my burial is waiting now:
Let be, leave her alone.

Ken Rookes

Monday, March 22, 2010

Palm Sunday reading

Sing and rejoice, daughters of God!
Shout for joy, sons of the Father!
Here comes your King travelling to his victory;
Riding humbly on a donkey, on a foal not ridden before.
Hosanna! All joy to our King!
To the one who comes in the name of the Lord!

But my countrypeople will not cheer;
my people grumble at his coming.
Though their idols are useless,
and their heroes are deceivers,
Though they wander like lost sheep
without a loving shepherd,
Yet they will not listen, nor obey the word of the Lord.
He speaks up for true justice:
'Give loyalty and compassion;
Care for the orphan and the pensioner;
aid the refugee and those in poverty;
Do not ruthlessly exploit, or plot trouble for each other'.
But people will not listen;
they shrug their shoulders and prepare a cross.
Hosanna! Keep steady your hands!
Hear the word of the Lord of hosts:

Love shall reign in the city of God,
old people shall sit in its squares;
its streets shall be filled with children
playing without any fears.
This Kingdom which seems impossible
shall surely come to be.
The lord will dwell with his people,
and banish all sorrow and cares.
material drawn from Bruce Prewer, Australian Psalms and Australian Prayers

Saturday, March 6, 2010

The Fig Tree Parable

"This is a parable about a landowner expecting a causal and predictable result from his fig tree. The sequence is logical and simple, plant a fig tree, expect fruit, after three fruitless seasons get rid of the resource sapping barren tree.

But the gardener, pleads for clemency against the logical and causal decision of the landowner. Just another chance. “Maybe there is a mystery at work here you and I don’t understand. Let me feed and mulch the tree and if there is still no fruit next year. Go ahead and chop it down.“
...Jesus seems to be suggesting that there is more going on in the mysteries of living and dying than of simplistic quest for certainty can couch in trite dogmatic pronouncements.

A dear Buddhist friend, who spent twelve years as a monk in Thailand, tells of his teacher Ajahn Chah, who had a favourite phrase whenever one of the other monks would make some great pronouncement about the meaning of the Universe, or merely about their plans for the next day. Ajahn Chah, would get a wry smile and murmur, “It is not certain”

I think Jesus has an invitation for us as the Church and as individuals.

As we face the barrage of opinion and doctrinaire drivel that spews with egotistical certainty from so many pulpits and podiums, we have an opportunity to pause a moment and consider the mystery of all around us and then respond, “It is not certain”

All that is certain is the mystery.

Does that negate the need for faith? No it does not.

True faith you see, is not belief, it is TRUST. Jesus called the people of his time to trust the God of the mystery and not try to play God themselves.

The call remains the same for us today.

Found at

Tuesday, March 2, 2010

A little reflection on Gardens

Something sent to me by Wendy
First plant 4 rows of peas: preparedness, politeness, perserverence and prayer.
Next to them plant 3 rows of squash: squash gossip, squash criticism, squash indifference.
Then plant 4 rows of lettuce: let us be faithful, let us be helpful, let us love one another.
And no garden is complete without turnips: Turn up for meetings, turn up with a smile, and turn up with determination.

Monday, March 1, 2010

A Prayer with quake survivors

I found this prayer on the net and i'm praying it also for the people of Chile
A Prayer with Survivors

by Safiyah Fosua

(Written on January 23, 2010, after the Haitian government declared an end to the search-and-rescue operations for quake survivors.)

Today, O God,
we pray with all who sit in the rubble,
and live in tents,
remembering what used to be
and who used to be there.
We pray with them for the courage to look
forward more than backward
to days in the future that will be brighter.
We pray, O God,
with anyone who dares to place one stone on top of another
As an act of rebuilding
As an act of faith in a future unseen.
We pray, O God,
with all who sew up bodies and patch up limbs,
with all who gather the bodies of the dead,
with all who stand as a symbol of peace and stability,
and with all who offer a cup of cold water in your name.
Have mercy upon your people, Lord,
Lift the downtrodden everywhere, Lord,
And grant your peace. Amen.

The storm

Haiku of stillness After a long day telling stories, parables, Jesus needs a break. Suggests a boat trip. Let us cross the lake; ...