This year, Epiphany is unusually long. We hardly ever get as far as 7 Sundays after Epiphany! And this particular seventh Sunday in the year of Matthew is the only time we grapple with the book of Leviticus. Generally speaking, the Christian church tends to avoid Leviticus – all those laws (more than 600 of them), and all those details associated with them. After all, we say, we have a better set of instructions now. Oh really? Continue reading Choose Love
The lectionary readings for this week are very much focused on choosing the right path through life – making choices. We make choices all the time of course – rather more than our remote ancestors who didn’t have very many options open to them. We can wander round supermarket shelves comparing brands and prices, without, on the whole, being preoccupied with the much more serious issue of whether there would be any food to put before the family tonight. We want to have the freedom to choose governments, and schools, and careers, and places to live. It’s our right to choose. And we’re inundated with choices. Continue reading Choices
Isiah 58, 1 – 9a; Mathew 5, 13 – 20
I suspect that many people see the Treaty of Waitangi like the Sermon on the Mount. Something that belongs to the past and is shrouded in mythology with no relevance to the world where business confidence is paramount, and truth competes with ‘fake news’ for people’s hearts and minds.
Treaty was a word I knew as a boy because, in all the best stories, American Indians smoked peace pipes and signed treaties. It took years to filter into my understanding that Aotearoa New Zealand, as a nation, is founded on a treaty and the Christian Church, through strategically placed individuals, was crucial in establishing that treaty. Furthermore, many Maori regard the Treaty of Waitangi as a covenant of biblical proportion. Continue reading Te Tiriti
Micah 6: 1-8 and Matthew 5: 1-12. St Ninians 2020
We’ve just heard two readings that are very familiar to church-going Christians. Those of you in my age group who grew up through the Sunday School system probably had to memorise the Beatitudes for scripture exams, and the passage from Micah is another favourite – several of our Methodist Presidents have taken it as their text for Induction sermons. The trouble with the familiar is that it’s like old clothes – comfortable and easy and we don’t take much account of them. For that matter, I don’t remember any of my early teachers ever pointing out how very uncomfortable the Beatitudes are. I don’t think we tackled the meaning of those sayings either. And I think we’re much inclined, whenever we hear them, to say to ourselves: ‘Reddit. Reddit.’ So let’s look again. Continue reading A Blueprint for Living?