The Mobile App is live

The mobile App for the year of Wonder is now live on iTunes and Android. Go to your app store and type in ‘makes you wonder’ and iTunes will find it immediately, but on Google Play you will have to look through the list (poor googlings, what did they pay for such a useless search engine?)

Then it is TODAYS QUESTION. They are sent at 7.30am Australian eastern standard time.

Continue reading “The Mobile App is live”

Best and Worst at UTC

Here’s some of the reflections shared at a workshop at United Theological College. The Imago workshop is designed to explore the conflicted nature of human beings. Participants are given a selection of news stories from the local newspapers. The news carries disasters and rescues, tragedies and triumphs, criminals and heroes. What does it mean? I used one newspaper story of people doing inspiring stuff, described my feelings about it, and pointed out that it illustrates people at their best and at their worst. In groups of four, participants were invited to look at their newspaper sheets. They looked for public stories which illustrate the best in people and the worst in people. As we gathered this all together we were able to reflect on the ways God engages with us, at our worst, at our best.
Continue reading “Best and Worst at UTC”

Line separating good and evil

Here’s a quote that connects with our thinking about the gospel.

“Gradually it was disclosed to me that the line separating good and evil passes not through states, nor between classes, nor between political parties either — but right through every human heart — and through all human hearts. This line shifts. Inside us, it oscillates with the years. And even within hearts overwhelmed by evil, one small bridgehead of good is retained. And even in the best of all hearts, there remains … an unuprooted small corner of evil.

Since then I have come to understand the truth of all the religions of the world: They struggle with the evil inside a human being (inside every human being). It is impossible to expel evil from the world in its entirety, but it is possible to constrict it within each person.”

― Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn, The Gulag Archipelago 1918-1956

Oh that Christmas story

Just hang on a minute! It is hardly the beginning of advent and already I’m dripping with lies. Forget the context, just pile up the colourful myths – the unwelcome couple, the child born in abject poverty, the cold shepherds, kindly sheep, lowing cattle, all in the thatched little stable “out the back”. Turn off the tap of waffle about the stable scene. Those ripping yarns for the unsuspecting visitors in overheated Christmas services are in serious need of re-imagining.

Continue reading “Oh that Christmas story”

Liturgy for Easter Sunday

A liturgy prepared by Ian Robinson
Four readers, one prayer, one 5 min sermon, 7 songs, leader. Everything white.

Leader: “Christ is Risen”

Response: “He is Risen indeed”

READING 1

IT IS SUNRISE Mark 16.1-8

Leader: These women came to the first Easter Sunday morning filled with disappointment in their lives. All they have left to work for is to carry out a decent burial.

On this Easter morning, are you pre-occupied with disappointment? Is this the best you can do with your life – to keep a decent, respectable life? You could do worse, but the promise of Easter is that you can actually have God’s purpose working in your life.

You can be holy. The Risen Christ has a new beginning for you. It’s no wonder the women’s first thought was how scary it could be.

READING 2

THE TOMB IS EMPTY Luke 24.1-12

Leader: At this stage of events, they are only afraid. They are afraid of two things.

One is that their enemies have stopped at nothing to suppress Jesus’ movement. They are afraid they will be the next to be arrested, flogged and crucified. At least two of them leave town immediately. Jesus had to catch up with them in a town called Emmaus.

Maybe they are also afraid that Jesus might actually have risen from the dead, as they heard the angels say. It is such a shining hope, so much would then be different, and that alone would be very scary. No wonder the Risen Jesus kept greeting them with: ‘peace be with you’.

Remember the goodness of God. Remember the kindness of Jesus. He has never brought harm to anyone who placed their trust in him. Peace be with you.

READING 3

JESUS APPEARS Luke 24.36-44

Leader: There he is in the flesh. It changes everything. There are huge possibilities that open up now. Walking with Jesus in freedom from sin. A new life, a new vision. Forgiveness and love both given and received. Finding self in serving others. Making peace with justice. Integrity and generosity that counts for all eternity. Personal communion with a living God. What richness he has lavished on us in Jesus Christ!

SERMON

To be honest, Easter is not all about huge possibilities that open up. There are also some possibilities that it closes down.

If you like to be the victim, the tragic, the hero, the bitter fighter, then with the resurrection of Jesus your whole life is shattered. With Jesus leading us beyond death, we need no longer get so bitter about death and suffering.

Again, if you like to accumulate experiences, accumulate money and securities, live on overdrive, fly off on sex or drugs, then the new life of Jesus has shown up your emptiness. With an eternity to live, we need no longer rush to fit in every good thing we can get.

Again, if your focus is ‘me’, what about me, what’s in it for me, what I want, where I’m going, do it my way, the empty tomb shows how fearful we really are to be embraced by life. We are no longer our own – we have been bought with a price and held beyond death! To live the new life we have to stop reinforcing the defences of the present one.

Yes, there is some bad news for some. But I find that it’s good news, the happiest news of all time. I know I haven’t got it all sorted, but as I walk the road with Jesus, the light from the empty tomb is just simply fantastic, worth living for, and worth dying for.

Amen

Prayer

Because you have saved us so openly and so strongly,
We are confident to bring to you
all our disappointments.
We bring to you our narrow thinking.
May your Kingdom-purposes be seen in us.
Because you have loved us so completely,
We can bring to you our fears and pain.
We bring our doubt- that you might give us less than the best.
We welcome the New Life
That you have pioneered for us.
Because you have conquered death,
We can put aside the fear of suffering,
and the bitter sting of death.
Gently, please, take apart our inner defences, and set us free.
Open up new spaces inside our hearts,
Space for being loved, being safe,
being clean, being true, and
spaces for integrity, generosity, kindness, and peace.

READING 4

JESUS SAYS ‘HANG ON A SEC’ Luke 24.45-53

Leader: The power to live the New Life does not come just by wanting it, choosing it, training it, being born with it, or seeing it in someone else. The power comes through the Holy Spirit, whom we must welcome into our life.

BENEDICTION

Because you walk with us, Jesus,
and show us freedom from failure,
We can give and receive
both forgiveness and love.
We can find ourselves in serving others.
We can make peace with justice.
We can know, more deep than breathing,
this personal connection with the living God.
Oh, the riches of the love
which you have lavished on us in Jesus Christ!
So, shock us into life!
Nurture us into love!
And impel us with your grace
To share again and again, in myriad ways,
That vast good news: Christ is Risen!
He is risen indeed!
Hallelujah! Amen.

You say that I am

You Say That I Am – a liturgy for Good Friday prepared by Ian Robinson.
True Words from Jesus’ enemies
Needs 8 readers, plus the leader and 9 songs.

Setting : Dark cloth drapes from ceiling, an upright Cross in centre of worship space but not obscuring the screen. Lecturn is behind the cross. Overhead projection of many images of Christ and words of the prayers and songs.

Continue reading “You say that I am”

Prayer for gentleness and respect

Master,
You have made us your own,
You have reframed the whole world
In terms of the Gospel.
It is your love that connects us,
our prayers that strike home,
and not our cleverness or our programs.

So with gentleness and respect,
We will share only the faith that we have,
And not try to speak for someone else.
In the name of Christ, Amen