Interruptions

Dear Friends I mentioned at the church meeting that last week we had a guy sleeping on the patio near the men’s toilets.  We were able to talk with him, assist him, and give him rest.  In fact, more than that, he had a cat with him, and when he woke he asked if we could babysit his cat while he went to get his pension in Civic.  We did and he returned most grateful for our care of him Read more…

“Get up, get up, we have to finish this…”

Dear Friends “Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles…” Last Sunday’s Bible reading followed me this week, all the way to New Zealand, to Christchurch, where the inner-city pastor’s conference was held, for there in the foyer of the rebuilt Oxford Terrace Baptist Church, above the niche where the baptismal sits, is that verse in English and in Maori (“Na, i Read more…

Contemplative Prayer

Greetings from Miriam, Andrew and Ann from the Holy Transfiguration Community. It was a delight to spend time with the Canberra Baptist community during this last week and we were grateful to be welcomed with warm and generous hospitality, despite the very chilly weather! There were several opportunities for conversations around life in a monastery, our experiences of contemplative living, and times of prayer together in a contemplative way. These enriched our visit and we have come home with memories Read more…

‘Pray without ceasing’

Dear Friends Sometime around my sixteenth birthday I became very worried about what is meant by 1 Thessalonians 5:17. “Pray without ceasing.” (By the way, if you thought “Jesus wept.”, John 11:35, was the shortest verse in the Bible, it has contenders -besides being longer in the original languages! 1 Thessalonians 5:17 is in the running, as you can see, but 16 is shorter still: “Rejoice always…”) But, coming back to my sixteen year old self, I can remember, because Read more…

The Top End

Dear Friends We spent our holidays with our daughter and her partner in the top-end: first in Darwin, then Katherine where our daughter works as a nurse specialist in an Aboriginal medical clinic called Wurli Wurlinjang, and then camping in and around the district including Kakadu. It is haunting country, lush and harsh. Lil, our daughter, reminded us that during the wet season being outside can be overwhelming, if not because of the heat, but also because the mosquitoes are Read more…

Thank-you Mary and Martha

Dear Friends  In my experience, nothing stirs the Sunday lunch conversation, among the women anyway, like a sermon on Mary and Martha! “Belinda,” I heard last week, “It doesn’t matter what people say, someone has to be Martha and do the work!” Or, “I still don’t get that story. It just isn’t fair! Why should Mary get to sit and contemplate while Martha does everything!” This sentiment is expressed in Professor of New Testament, William Loader’s commentary, He writes, “It’s Read more…

Mary and Martha

Dear Friends I don’t know why, but I return again and again to today’s gospel reading, the story of Mary and Martha in Luke. It is a story which teases – its full meaning just beyond my reach – and delights – as different meanings present themselves. Traditionally this reading has been associated with valuing the vita contemplativa, the contemplative life, over the vita activa, the active life. You might remember me showing you this painting (right) by Tinteretto (Christ Read more…

Uncle Graham Paulson

Dear Friends This Sunday marks the end of NAIDOC week – a week when, as Brooke Prentis reminded us, we celebrate the history, culture and achievements of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people. Someone we, as a church, would want to celebrate is Uncle Graham Paulson (pictured below with Auntie Iris). Over lunch last Sunday, Brooke spoke about the role Uncle Graham had played in her life, inspiring and encouraging and mentoring her, and many other emerging Aboriginal and Torres Read more…

NAIDOC Week

Dear Friends This week is NAIDOC Week, a week to celebrate the history, culture and achievements of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples. NAIDOC is celebrated not only in Indigenous communities, but by Australians from all walks of life. The theme for NAIDOC Week 2019 is Voice. Treaty. Truth. and points to the longing for First Nations people to have their voice heard in Australian society, for a treaty to acknowledge their place in the history and future of our Read more…

Marty’s meditation

Dear Friends The three synoptic Gospels record that, prior to the beginning of Jesus’ ministry, he was led (or as Mark writes, driven) into the wilderness where the emphasis focuses around Jesus’ temptation.  But we are not sure what this really means. Is it about formation? Is it about identity and recasting and repeating the tribulations that Israel endured but Jesus rendering the example of perfect obedience?  The symbolic numbering gives us clues, but we are still just stabbing in Read more…