Reign of Christ

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Acknowledgement of Country

We acknowledge that we are on the land of the Kaurna people, the traditional custodians of the Adelaide Plains. We are awed that they celebrate the religious significance of place, plant and all living creatures; and that care for the earth is implanted in their law. We honour them and also delight in the sacred in our midst. We pray that in the power of the Holy Spirit we might work together for reconciliation and justice in this land.

Ezekiel 34:11-16, 20-24 NRSV

“I, the Sovereign Lord, tell you that I myself will look for my sheep and take care of them in the same way as shepherds take care of their sheep that were scattered and are brought together again. I will bring them back from all the places where they were scattered on that dark, disastrous day. I will take them out of foreign countries, gather them together, and bring them back to their own land. I will lead them back to the mountains and the streams of Israel and will feed them in pleasant pastures.  I will let them graze in safety in the mountain meadows and the valleys and in all the green pastures of the land of Israel. I myself will be the shepherd of my sheep, and I will find them a place to rest. I, the Sovereign Lord, have spoken. “I will look for those that are lost, bring back those that wander off, bandage those that are hurt, and heal those that are sick.

Matthew 25:31–46 NRSV

‘When the Son of Man comes in his glory, and all the angels with him, then he will sit on the throne of his glory. All the nations will be gathered before him, and he will separate people one from another as a shepherd separates the sheep from the goats, and he will put the sheep at his right hand and the goats at the left. Then the king will say to those at his right hand, “Come, you that are blessed by my Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world; for I was hungry and you gave me food, I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink, I was a stranger and you welcomed me, I was naked and you gave me clothing, I was sick and you took care of me, I was in prison and you visited me.” Then the righteous will answer him, “Lord, when was it that we saw you hungry and gave you food, or thirsty and gave you something to drink? And when was it that we saw you a stranger and welcomed you, or naked and gave you clothing? And when was it that we saw you sick or in prison and visited you?” And the king will answer them, “Truly I tell you, just as you did it to one of the least of these who are members of my family, you did it to me.” Then he will say to those at his left hand, “You that are accursed, depart from me into the eternal fire prepared for the devil and his angels; for I was hungry and you gave me no food, I was thirsty and you gave me nothing to drink, I was a stranger and you did not welcome me, naked and you did not give me clothing, sick and in prison and you did not visit me.” Then they also will answer, “Lord, when was it that we saw you hungry or thirsty or a stranger or naked or sick or in prison, and did not take care of you?” Then he will answer them, “Truly I tell you, just as you did not do it to one of the least of these, you did not do it to me.” And these will go away into eternal punishment, but the righteous into eternal life.’

Reflection

If this week’s apocalyptic texts were only or primarily about a final judgment, coming at the end of the world or the end our lives, they might easily be dismissed.
Instead, these scriptures challenge us with the opportunity to see and respond to the world today through the lens of God’s transcendent love and justice.
How do you see the love of Christ’s presence among those most often ignored?
How might you respond with dignity, respect and mutuality to those you now see?

Back to our overarcing image of the Good Shepherd
The Good Shepherd seeks us, greets us, gathers us, guides us,
refreshes us, knows us, understands us,
holds us, heals us,
and enables us to find home where we belong.

ALL are seen by God. Not just those seen in our society
Everyone and all creation is seen by God!!!

 

Blessing

Beloved of God, go into the world
and allow the joyful noises of creation to fill your hearts,
so that you may be renewed for the journey of compassion and healing
to which we are called as followers of Christ.
Go in peace.  Amen.

Rejecting Fear – Embracing Joy

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Acknowledgement of Country

We acknowledge that we are on the land of the Kaurna people, the traditional custodians of the Adelaide Plains. We are awed that they celebrate the religious significance of place, plant and all living creatures; and that care for the earth is implanted in their law. We honour them and also delight in the sacred in our midst. We pray that in the power of the Holy Spirit we might work together for reconciliation and justice in this land.

Matthew 25:14-30 NRSV

14 ‘For it is as if a man, going on a journey, summoned his slaves and entrusted his property to them; 15to one he gave five talents, to another two, to another one, to each according to his ability. Then he went away. 16The one who had received the five talents went off at once and traded with them, and made five more talents. 17In the same way, the one who had the two talents made two more talents. 18But the one who had received the one talent went off and dug a hole in the ground and hid his master’s money. 19After a long time the master of those slaves came and settled accounts with them. 20Then the one who had received the five talents came forward, bringing five more talents, saying, “Master, you handed over to me five talents; see, I have made five more talents.” 21His master said to him, “Well done, good and trustworthy slave; you have been trustworthy in a few things, I will put you in charge of many things; enter into the joy of your master.” 22And the one with the two talents also came forward, saying, “Master, you handed over to me two talents; see, I have made two more talents.” 23His master said to him, “Well done, good and trustworthy slave; you have been trustworthy in a few things, I will put you in charge of many things; enter into the joy of your master.” 24Then the one who had received the one talent also came forward, saying, “Master, I knew that you were a harsh man, reaping where you did not sow, and gathering where you did not scatter seed; 25so I was afraid, and I went and hid your talent in the ground. Here you have what is yours.” 26But his master replied, “You wicked and lazy slave! You knew, did you, that I reap where I did not sow, and gather where I did not scatter? 27Then you ought to have invested my money with the bankers, and on my return I would have received what was my own with interest. 28So take the talent from him, and give it to the one with the ten talents. 29For to all those who have, more will be given, and they will have an abundance; but from those who have nothing, even what they have will be taken away. 30As for this worthless slave, throw him into the outer darkness, where there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth.”

Reflection

Being a parable it was never about what the parable uses to illustrate, parables always point to something else. In this instance it was never about the money. The talents represent what we can do as part of, what we can do to bring about - God’s realm – reign – kin-dom. No one will tell you precisely what you are to do with your talents other than put them to use. Risk is involved. Success is never guaranteed. Playing it safe is an option. Matthew, however, is unequivocal in rejecting this cautious, play-it-safe approach, warning that it leads to sadness and despair. Those who take the risk of loving faithfully, challenging unjust economic systems, advancing the promise of liberation and justice experience the real-time joy of the realm of God, breaking into our world.

Prayer

Holy One, you call us as witnesses
to your world-transforming love and liberation.
Yet, we are often cautious,
denying ourselves the joy of your presence.
Grant us the courage, we pray,
to utilize our talents and gifts. Amen.

 

Seasons of the Spirit

Parable of 10 Bridesmaids

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Acknowledgement of Country

We acknowledge that we are on the land of the Kaurna people, the traditional custodians of the Adelaide Plains. We are awed that they celebrate the religious significance of place, plant and all living creatures; and that care for the earth is implanted in their law. We honour them and also delight in the sacred in our midst. We pray that in the power of the Holy Spirit we might work together for reconciliation and justice in this land.

Matthew 25:1–13 NRSV

‘Then the kingdom of heaven will be like this.
Ten bridesmaids took their lamps and went to meet the bridegroom. Five of them were foolish, and five were wise. When the foolish took their lamps, they took no oil with them; but the wise took flasks of oil with their lamps.
As the bridegroom was delayed,
all of them became drowsy and slept.
But at midnight there was a shout,
“Look! Here is the bridegroom! Come out to meet him.”
Then all those bridesmaids got up and trimmed their lamps.
The foolish said to the wise,
“Give us some of your oil, for our lamps are going out.”
But the wise replied,
“No! there will not be enough for you and for us;
you had better go to the dealers and buy some for yourselves.” And while they went to buy it, the bridegroom came,
and those who were ready
went with him into the wedding banquet; and the door was shut. Later the other bridesmaids came also, saying,
“Lord, lord, open to us.”
But he replied, “Truly I tell you, I do not know you.”
Keep awake therefore,
for you know neither the day nor the hour.

Endings & Beginnings

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Acknowledgement of Country

We acknowledge that we are on the land of the Kaurna people, the traditional custodians of the Adelaide Plains.
We are awed that they celebrate the religious significance of place, plant and all living creatures; and that care for the earth is implanted in their law.
We honour them and also delight in the sacred in our midst. We pray that in the power of the Holy Spirit we might work together for reconciliation and justice in this land.

Deuteronomy 34:1-12 NRSV

34Then Moses went up from the plains of Moab to Mount Nebo, to the top of Pisgah, which is opposite Jericho, and the Lord showed him the whole land: Gilead as far as Dan, 2all Naphtali, the land of Ephraim and Manasseh, all the land of Judah as far as the Western Sea, 3the Negeb, and the Plain—that is, the valley of Jericho, the city of palm trees—as far as Zoar. 4The Lord said to him, ‘This is the land of which I swore to Abraham, to Isaac, and to Jacob, saying, “I will give it to your descendants”; I have let you see it with your eyes, but you shall not cross over there.’ 5Then Moses, the servant of the Lord, died there in the land of Moab, at the Lord’s command. 6He was buried in a valley in the land of Moab, opposite Beth-peor, but no one knows his burial place to this day. 7Moses was one hundred and twenty years old when he died; his sight was unimpaired and his vigour had not abated. 8The Israelites wept for Moses in the plains of Moab for thirty days; then the period of mourning for Moses was ended.

Joshua son of Nun was full of the spirit of wisdom, because Moses had laid his hands on him; and the Israelites obeyed him, doing as the Lord had commanded Moses.

10 Never since has there arisen a prophet in Israel like Moses, whom the Lord knew face to face. 11He was unequalled for all the signs and wonders that the Lord sent him to perform in the land of Egypt, against Pharaoh and all his servants and his entire land, 12and for all the mighty deeds and all the terrifying displays of power that Moses performed in the sight of all Israel.

Reflection

Life is full to the brim with Endings & then Beginnings. Often multiple endings & beginnings all at once. It’s not just the cycle of life it’s the cycle of living. It’s the cycle of each and every day. Whether we like it or not things end and new things begin. Endings & beginnings are always with us, If we are honest with ourselves, Things never remain the same. A constant life of endings and beginnings.

I know you by name

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Acknowledgement of Country

We acknowledge that we are on the land of the Kaurna people, the traditional custodians of the Adelaide Plains. We are awed that they celebrate the religious significance of place, plant and all living creatures; and that care for the earth is implanted in their law. We honour them and also delight in the sacred in our midst. We pray that in the power of the Holy Spirit we might work together for reconciliation and justice in this land.

Exodus 33:12-23 NRSV

Moses said to the Lord, ‘See, you have said to me, “Bring up this people”; but you have not let me know whom you will send with me. Yet you have said, “I know you by name, and you have also found favour in my sight.” Now if I have found favour in your sight, show me your ways, so that I may know you and find favour in your sight. Consider too that this nation is your people.’ He [God] said, ‘My presence will go with you, and I will give you rest.’ And he said to him [Moses replied], ‘If your presence will not go, do not carry us up from here. For how shall it be known that I have found favour in your sight, I and your people, unless you go with us? In this way, we shall be distinct, I and your people, from every people on the face of the earth.’

The Lord said to Moses, ‘I will do the very thing that you have asked; for you have found favour in my sight, and I know you by name.’ Moses said, ‘Show me your glory, I pray.’ And he [God] said, ‘I will make all my goodness pass before you, and will proclaim before you the name, “The Lord”; and I will be gracious to whom I will be gracious, and will show mercy on whom I will show mercy. But’, he[God] said, ‘you cannot see my face; for no one shall see me and live.’ And the Lord continued, ‘See, there is a place by me where you shall stand on the rock; and while my glory passes by I will put you in a cleft of the rock, and I will cover you with my hand until I have passed by; then I will take away my hand, and you shall see my back; but my face shall not be seen.’

Reflection

I know you by name,” says God to Moses. These five simple words express the deepest desire of the human heart: to know that one is known by the Holy Mystery that resides at the heart of everything.

I am noticed - I matter

I am somebody – not a no body

I know you by name.

Prayer

Ever gracious God,
When we are alone and feel no-one beside us,
Reveal to us that you know us by name,
And you consider us your family.

When we are uncertain of what to do,
Reveal to us your ways
So that we may know your wiser path.

When we ache for identity, as one of many,
Reveal to us your favour
So that we understand more of ourselves.

When we are over-burdened,
Reveal to us your cleft in the solid stable rock,
So that we are held firmly and protected.

Gracious God,
you cover us with your kindness.
Let us roll gently into the cleft of rest,
As you pass before us,
So that, refreshed in the moment,
we follow your light before us
on the path that we must tread.

Remind us, and whisper to us,
“My presence will go with you, and I will give you rest.”.
Amen, amen, amen.

Rev Anne Hewitt

River

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Acknowledgement of Country

We acknowledge that we are on the land of the Kaurna people, the traditional custodians of the Adelaide Plains. We are awed that they celebrate the religious significance of place, plant and all living creatures; and that care for the earth is implanted in their law. We honour them and also delight in the sacred in our midst. We pray that in the power of the Holy Spirit we might work together for reconciliation and justice in this land.

Revelation 22:1-5 NRSV

Then the angel showed me the river of the water of life, bright as crystal, flowing from the throne of God and of the Lamb through the middle of the street of the city. On either side of the river is the tree of life with its twelve kinds of fruit, producing its fruit each month; and the leaves of the tree are for the healing of the nations. Nothing accursed will be found there any more. But the throne of God and of the Lamb will be in it, and his servants will worship him; they will see his face, and his name will be on their foreheads. And there will be no more night; they need no light of lamp or sun, for the Lord God will be their light, and they will reign for ever and ever.

River

Reflection

The River of the water of Life and the leaves from the tree of Life are images of HOPE. That there is much more to life. God is here and will not abandon humanity. This knowledge brings HOPE to lift the Soul in the troubling times.

Prayer

Water of Life,
you are our source of renewal and strength.
Help us to become vessels carrying your life-giving water
to restore all of creation.
Grant us the courage to challenge forces that harm,
and joyfully spread your message of new life.
Amen.

Seasons of the Spirit

 

Wilderness – Outback

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Acknowledgement of Country

We acknowledge that we are on the land of the Kaurna people, the traditional custodians of the Adelaide Plains. We are awed that they celebrate the religious significance of place, plant and all living creatures; and that care for the earth is implanted in their law. We honour them and also delight in the sacred in our midst. We pray that in the power of the Holy Spirit we might work together for reconciliation and justice in this land.

Romans 8:18-27 CEV

I am sure that what we are suffering now cannot compare with the glory that will be shown to us. In fact, all creation is eagerly waiting for God to show who his children are. Meanwhile, creation is confused, but not because it wants to be confused. God made it this way in the hope that creation would be set free from decay and would share in the glorious freedom of his children. We know that all creation is still groaning and is in pain, like a woman about to give birth. The Spirit makes us sure about what we will be in the future. But now we groan silently, while we wait for God to show that we are his children. This means that our bodies will also be set free. And this hope is what saves us. But if we already have what we hope for, there is no need to keep on hoping. However, we hope for something we have not yet seen, and we patiently wait for it. In certain ways we are weak, but the Spirit is here to help us. For example, when we don’t know what to pray for, the Spirit prays for us in ways that cannot be put into words. All of our thoughts are known to God. He can understand what is in the mind of the Spirit, as the Spirit prays for God’s people.

Mark 1:9-13 CEV

About that time Jesus came from Nazareth in Galilee, and John baptized him in the Jordan River. As soon as Jesus came out of the water, he saw the sky open and the Holy Spirit coming down to him like a dove. A voice from heaven said, “You are my own dear Son, and I am pleased with you.” Right away God’s Spirit made Jesus go into the desert. He stayed there for forty days while Satan tested him. Jesus was with the wild animals, but angels took care of him.

Reflection

Wilderness is a place we all need to experience a few times in our lives. Places to get things straight & true. Places where we can be close to God without the usual distractions. Those big wilderness areas may be somewhere we can only reach on holidays. Flinders, Central Aust. WA etc.
Bound by the urban environment we could get to a nearby national park. Belair, Mt Lofty, Hallett Cove. Or a local park like the Wetlands on Oaklands Road.

Find somewhere experience renewal somewhere to sit and stop. To then gaze around for a while before beginning your conversation with God. Your conversation may be one of joy as God, like ourselves, does like good news stories. Or else, your conversation may be of confusion or of struggle. No matter the need, remember to make Wilderness time.

Prayers of the people

God of the wilderness,
we pray that we can better aim to protect, live with, and defend the wildness at the core of our beings and around the world.
Hear our prayer.

We pray for the restoration of full and flourishing life across the world,
in places that have seen destruction from humans and natural disasters.
Hear our prayer.

Help us to remember our connection with all elements of creation,
and to embrace that connection with exuberance, joy, and our full energy.
Hear our prayer.

For what else do we pray today?

(Invite the people to offer individual prayers, either silently or aloud.)

Hear our prayer.
Amen

Seasons of the Spirit