Sunday, June 10, 2018

Beloved Son: A Meditation

Tonight we re-tell a story from the gospel of Mark in which Jesus’ family think he’s crazy; the religious experts accuse him of being demon possessed; and Jesus talks in riddles, then questions family ties. The original text is dense, and easily obscured by our deeply held social values and longing for judgement. Therefore, I’ve expanded, adding commentary, in the hope that this re-telling sheds some light on the passage and leaves you with good questions to ponder. The simple refrain is included to give you an opportunity to sing gently and reflect on what the preceding paragraph reveals. Read here.

Sunday, June 3, 2018

One Rule to Ring Them All

Tonight we reflect on a story in the gospel of Mark, when a man with a withered hand reaches out to Jesus and is healed. Yet it’s the Sabbath, and so the Pharisees go ballistic. But first … another story. A Catholic woman I know grew up in St Kilda, with a synagogue at the end of her street. One Friday night, when the Sabbath was already underway, there was a knock at the door. Her parents were sitting around in their dressing gowns, reading, but her mother got up, and answered the door anyway. There she found a few of their neighbours, Orthodox Jewish men. “The lights are out in the synagogue!” they said. “We can’t turn them on [it was something they were forbidden to do on the Sabbath] … so would you mind coming and switching them on?” ...

Read here, or listen here.

Sunday, May 27, 2018

Birthed by the Spirit: Beloved by God

Tonight at Sanctuary, we heard John 3:5-8 and Romans 8:12-17, listened to Womb by Toni Childs, then had a guided meditation on the life-giving, loving nature of God. You can find it all here.

Sunday, May 20, 2018

Pentecost: A Primer

The depth of Pentecost is revealed when we pay attention to some older traditions. Click here to read a reflection on Acts 2:1-21 given to Sanctuary, 20 May 2018.

Wednesday, May 16, 2018

Becoming Heaven on Earth

For many, Mothers Day is a day of absence. How might the ancient story of the Ascension speak to those who are grieving now?

A reflection given to Sanctuary on 13 May 2018. Read here, or listen here.

Sunday, May 6, 2018

Eating Out-of-Bounds: The Culture of God

Tonight we have a great story about food: and it makes me wonder: Who do you eat with? But first, the story. As a Jewish man, Peter will not eat certain foods; but in a vision God shows him all kinds of four-footed creatures and reptiles and birds, and tells him to kill and eat. And as prawn-cracker-crunching pork-chop-eating Gentile followers of Jesus, it’s easy for us to roll our eyes and say, Well, duh!! But we can only say “duh!” because we are beneficiaries of Peter’s response to this vision. For while he is still pondering what he has seen, he is invited to the house of Cornelius, a Gentile. On the basis of the vision, Peter the Jew accepts.

Read here, or listen here.

A reflection on Acts 10 and John 15:9-17 given to Sanctuary on 6 May 2018 © Alison Sampson, 2018.

Sunday, April 29, 2018

Cut to the Heart

The Ethiopian eunuch is cut off in every way. A precious part of him has been sliced off, and this loss defines him: for we do not know his name. Instead, we just know that he is a eunuch. And as a eunuch, he has been cut off from having children, and from establishing a family line. He is an Ethiopian, a Gentile. Even so, something in Judaism has attracted him: perhaps from the Isaiah scroll which he studies so carefully in his chariot. Perhaps it is the promise from Isaiah 56, that God’s heart extends to the eunuch and the foreigner; that they, too, may become members of the covenant. And perhaps with this promise ringing in his ears, the Ethiopian eunuch travels to Jerusalem to worship ... Read here, or listen here.

A reflection on Acts 8:26-40 and Isaiah 56, with allusion to John 15:1-8, given to Sanctuary, 29 April 2018 (B36) © Alison Sampson, 2018. Image shows The Baptism of the Eunuch by Rembrandt (Public Domain).
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