Author:Malcolm Gordon

Elsewhere I've spoken of the need to save advent from Christmas. Here I want to help us think about Advent saving Christmas. We are presently two weeks into Advent. The first week the gospel reading was an apocalyptic passage from Luke 21, and this last Sunday had us hearing about John the Baptist. This Sunday doesn't let up, with a prickly message from John that doesn't really let us settle into the usual 'Christmas spirit.'...

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We had our graduation last night for our 2nd year ministry interns. They've been with us for a two year journey of discernment and formation, following on from theological study and plenty more discernment. To mark the end of this chapter, I wrote a simple liturgy. It wove in themes we had been working through and thinking over during the block course: trinitarian theology, language for God that goes beyond the masculine and the personal, as...

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I've been wrestling with Luke 21:25-36, which is the lectionary reading for this week - the first week in Advent. It's an easy passage to avoid. But as I've stayed with it, I've noticed some things worth paying attention to. This song grew out of that. [caption id="attachment_3711" align="alignright" width="300"] Leon Thomas' 'Apocalypse' from MARK: The Illustrated Gospel[/caption] Lyrics: We strain our ears for hope's whisper is rising We train our eyes on the farthest horizon For the clarion call...

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I once heard William Willimon lecture at Otago University. He told a story of some students he had taken on a mission trip to Haiti during their summer break. During one of the final evenings of the trip, the students sat around a camp fire and shared their favourite passages of scripture with one another: John 10:10, “I come that you shall have life in the full” was one; Romans 8:28, “Nothing can separates us from...

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Eugene Peterson represents something of a conundrum in our world. When you hear him speak, he is gentle. But when you read his works, he brings a prophetic edge. His words have been provocative and fearless, often wounding in the moment, in the hope of healing in the long run. But those words are hard to marry up with this soft spoken introvert. He is a mystery in that he displayed humility and audacity side by...

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Here's a drama/prayer of confession you might like to use on November 11, when the world marks the 100 year anniversary of the end of World War One. You'll need two readers: one who can act with some bluster and ignorance, and another who can handle some tricky place names. Reader 1: Loving God, we come to you this day to give you thanks that it is exactly 100 years since the end of the Great...

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Here is the final (and eagerly awaited) installment of my trilogy of posts about helpful prayer and liturgy resources. Awed to Heaven, Rooted in Earth by Brueggemann (USA) I wish there were more works like these, where our biblical scholars and theologians let their work reach its proper end - the task of prayer. Surely the place where a depth of understanding of the biblical narrative and Christian theology is most needed and fruitful is in addressing and...

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Here's part two of my list of most influential and useful resources around prayer and liturgy.  Grant us your Peace by David Grant (Aotearoa) I leaned heavily on this book during my time in parish ministry. Because I decided to introduce and follow the lectionary to my parish, and because the Presbyterian heritage has a rich history of engagement with the Psalms (a history that is largely lost) I needed to find alternative ways to engage with the...

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Someone recently asked me for a list of my favourite resources for prayer and liturgy. As I compiled them, I started to write little descriptions, or quote passages to demonstrate what I liked so much. In many cases I just wrote out the prayer where the bookmark was left. Here is the first part of what I wrote. Body Prayer by Pagitt and Prill (USA) This is an interesting one. Its about moving prayer beyond words and intellect,...

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A few years back, I was asked to write a song to celebrate the 50th anniversary of women's ordination within the Presbyterian Church of Aotearoa New Zealand. As a result, 'Mothers of Faith' emerged. The story behind the song can be  read more fully here. On Monday, the Very Rev Margaret Reid Martin, the first woman ordained into ministry in the PCANZ in 1965 passed away. She was a pioneer. You can read something of her story...

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