Hospitality of God Tag

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...

Read MoreRead More

  I was particularly caught by a phrase this week in the old testament Lectionary text.  Isaiah speaks:  "Stop your meaningless offerings". I thought about meaningful offerings, life and worship.  The Incarnation of Jesus Christ - God in bodily form, God made flesh, is the most meaningful I could think of.  It makes sense of all others. In response I began to write down a prayer.  I started with the Jesus Prayer: Jesus Christ - Son of God - have mercy on...

Read MoreRead More

  In the gospel Lectionary this week, we see Jesus returning from prayer and answering the request, "teach us to pray". I wonder what we would receive if we risked the same request of Christ today? Read the whole story in Luke 11:1-13. I have especially enjoyed the The Message translation. Below is my meditative poem.   Jesus, God-in-work-boots When do you ever stop teaching? When do you ever cease listening for our good? Give us faith in asking, persistence in...

Read MoreRead More

  This week the gospel Lectionary text comes from the end of Luke chapter 10. It is a rather clipped story of Jesus accepting hospitality at the home of Martha and her sister Mary. Often I am left wanting more information of what is actually going on in this scene. What is the significance of Luke's inclusion of this account? Why is there silence from the disciples, who are usually so quick to jump into such...

Read MoreRead More

  The story of the return of the prodigal son uncovers the heart of God the Father. God finds us at the edge and draws us into the centre. We are pursued in the best possible way. Relentlessly. Inexhaustibly. This is the nature of the father's love for each of us. Yet we all question this love. We would do well to examine our internal questions from time to time. Consider the insight of Henri Nouwen...

Read MoreRead More

  I have continued reading Henri Nouwen's book, 'The Return of the Prodigal Son - a story of homecoming' a reflection on the Rembrandt painting on the same subject. The latest chapters consider the younger son in the story.  What I found most interesting to learn was that other sketches and paintings from earlier Rembrandt's life on the subject of the prodigal son had a whole lot more movement in them.  They were dynamic - the Father...

Read MoreRead More

  I have started reading Henri Nouwen's 'The Return of the Prodigal Son- A Story of Homecoming' (1992). I have not moved past the prologue.  It documents the beginning of Nouwen's fascination with Rembrandt van Rijn's painting 'The Return of the Prodigal Son' and how the painting became so spiritually significant to him. I was intrigued that although Nouwen describes the embrace of the Father as central to the painting, he is quick to point out the...

Read MoreRead More

  Sometimes the right word will carry a whole lot of weight. It will cut right to the heart of the matter. For me, one such word is surely.  It is a word for light in dark times; a word that forms a hinge in prayer, turning the pray-er toward God. Two of the Lectionary texts this week involve dark and uncertain places for real people. Jesus prays for his disciples around the table before he is...

Read MoreRead More

  In Acts 16:9-15 we read that the Apostle Paul and friends go on a journey to Macedonia. After a few days they go outside the city gates to the river where they "expected to find a place of prayer." Unexpectedly, they end up being invited to eat in the house of a Gentile woman, Lydia. I wonder if her home became that place of prayer. I can imagine the aroma of freshly baked bread and...

Read MoreRead More

  The Lectionary text this week takes us to Acts 11:1-18. Here we are invited to listen in on how Jewish Christians in the early church dealt with the very vexing question of Non-Jewish believers. We are invited to consider how much wider the mission of God was than they could imagine or even contain. See here the interplay between Peter, the other believers and the Spirit of God. See how God met the man Cornelius...

Read MoreRead More