Author:Malcolm Gordon

A few weeks ago the minister of the church where I attend gave me a call. He'd heard that I had written a song based on 'Kupu Whakapono', the new confession of faith that the Presbyterian Church of Aotearoa New Zealand adopted in 2010. I confessed I had, but that I did not recommend it. The reason I said, was that at that stage I didn't really have a clue how to write songs for...

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Palm Sunday is the last stop for most of us on the way to Good Friday. If this were your first time around the story, you would have no idea what lies just a few short days in the future. The tone is exultant, the mood is jubilant. Israel's Messiah has arrived to take charge, the new king to rule and make things right is here! Of course, most of us are not on this journey...

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This Sunday the lectionary gospel is Jesus at a dinner in the house of a well-to-do Pharisee. As I was preparing for preaching and leading worship this weekend, I did a quick paraphrase of the passage to help my thinking. I thought I'd share it in case it was helpful for others. Luke 14:1,7-14 Paraphrase by Malcolm Gordon On the day of holy rest, Jesus went for dinner at a guys house who was a big deal in...

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Psalm 137:1-6 I grew up on a sheep farm 40 minutes south of Dunedin. Just north of a little place called Milton. My grandparents, Jean and Andy, my Dad’s folks, owned the farm before us. They lived two paddocks away, in the house Dad had grown up in. They lived two paddocks away and sat one pew in front of us at church. Every Sunday. Most school holidays my cousin Andy came up from Kelso in...

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So I've been working on a collection of songs for small churches for the last few months. In my work with congregations around NZ (and indeed in Australia and Scotland) I've noticed that while most of our contemporary worship music is written by large churches with amazing musical resources, when small churches with more limited musical resources try to recreate them they struggle. The songs tend to rely on their arrangements, thundering rhythm sections, or...

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The church calendar has had 2 millennia in the Northern Hemisphere to find meaning. Easter happens in Springtime, meaning the promise of new life is resounded in buds and blossom and lambs leaping. Pentecost happens in the summer heat, giving embodiment to the fiery presence of the Spirit. Advent and Christmas happen in the dark of winter, meaning the candles are lit when the days are their shortest, and the longing for the coming of...

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Earlier this week I had a conversation with my five year old son, Sam about the significance of Holy Week. I have been fascinated by Jesus' statement, 'Father forgive them, they don't know what they're doing' (Luke 23:34). If Jesus reveals to us who God is (Col 1:19, John 14:7) then this offer of grace to those who aren't even looking for it is mind boggling. I wanted to help this truth make its home in...

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The story of the Prodigal Son comes up in the lectionary readings this Sunday. People who know me will be aware that I believe this short story to be a better piece of work than anything from Narnia, the Lord of the Rings, Roald Dahl or even Captain Underpants (the last two reveal something of my son's bedtime reading demands at present). When we look at the three stories of Luke 15 together we often  focus...

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