Published June 4, 2007
Stuff About God
How hospitable are we?
If someone came to your house, would you bother to make them feel welcome? How would you do that?
In the country, I’ve noticed that when people gather you into the kitchen and invite you to have a ‘cup of tea’ and something to eat, this is an act of genuine hospitality. Since being in the city, I’ve noticed, I’m more likely to be shown into the best lounge room. If someone has known I was coming, there is often a prepared plate of afternoon tea and I’m given the best cup and saucer…this is also a sign of hospitality.
But what about you? Coffee & Tim-tam? Coopers & chips?
When we offer hospitality, we also offer forgiveness and the grace of God.
Luke 7: 36-50
Published March 9, 2007
Stuff About God
The Scriptures declar, “My Temple will be called a house fo prayer for the all the nations, but you have turned it into a den of thieves.” When the leading priests and teachers of religious law heard what Jesus had done, they began planning how to kill him. But they were afraid of him because the people were so amazed at his teaching. Mark 11:17-18
When Jesus cleansed the Temple, he gave a fresh interpretation of Jeremiah’s prophecy; an interpretation that was at odds with what the Temple authorities were preaching and enacting. God’s house is a house of prayer for all the nations, claimed Jesus. But in practice only Jews were allowed into the Temple. They needed to buy their sacrificial animals because their own lambs, doves and pigeons were not suitable. They had to exchange their Roman coinage from everyday life for the special coinage used in the Temple and in all this, the middle men at the Temple grew richer, while God’s people were made the poorer to be acceptable. The peoples of other nations were not even allowed beyond the outer court, even if they wished to worship YHWH, the God of the Jews, who was the Creator of all.
When Jesus made his claim, it was a new teaching and it was liberating for those oppressed by the strict Temple code. The Temple cult were angry, because Jesus upset the status quo and they plotted to destroy him. But he was never going to go away.
We still see the same thing happening today. Whenever the institution of the church is challenged by a fresh perspective of the scriptures, such as with the role of women, creation and evolution, leadership and same gender relationships, those who love the institution often get angry and seek to destroy the new thing. But as Gamaliel said, “Wait and see. If it is of God, nothing will stop it and what will happen to us if we oppose the will of God?”
God grant us the wisdom and discernment to risk trusting fresh interpretations of your Word. Amen
Published November 16, 2006
Stuff About God
Psalm 139 says, “Where can I go from your spirit? Or where can I flee from your presence?” There was a man, a simple man, who lived in Blanchetown – his name was Ron. He worked all his life in a simple job, was married with 3 kids, built a shack on the river and retired there. There is a serenity about the river…a stillness and a peace, where often the presence of God may be experienced. I took Ron’s funeral today – he had a loving family and many children and grandchildren, who all loved him passionately. He was a mentor and a source of wisdom. One boy said, “he taught me how to reel the fish in!” I could imagine Ron sitting in his tinnie with his wife, soaking in the ambience of the river, being at peace with himself. God was there, but he didn’t know it…he just experienced the grace of God.
Don’t we all do that? Experience the grace of God without realising or recognising that the deep peace we feel, the sens e of being love and “all is well” comes from the One who created us, who “knit me together in my mother’s womb” (Ps 139) … for the cynics, not everyone can understand this truth, but if you pray for God to reveal Godself to you, look for a sense of deep inner peace, look for a blessing from creation, for often creation reveals something of its Maker. There’s no getting away from it!!
Thanks God for Ron…help his family in their time of grief. Amen