June 2014

 1 June, John 17:1-11

Jesus’ radical/disruptive approach to his own religious culture represented obedience to God. As a result, this brought glory to God. Eternal life is in the encountering, knowing and rightly relating with God (something that is a lived experience, rather than simply thought about). The faithful are those who truly get that Jesus was going about God’s business.

Reflect on the way in which radical/disruptive dynamics become domesticated over time. Consider where the call of Christ might be urging you beyond the safe/familiar.

 8 June, John 20:19-23

How terrifying it might have been, to be the first apostles charged with unheard-of power and responsibility. Jesus himself was accused of overstepping this divine delineation (“Only God can forgive sin”); surely, then, the apostles would have been exposed to the same accusation.

History repeatedly shows us that the Church that incarnates such creative power — and carries out these responsibilities — helps in God’s mighty work of transforming our broken world. In what way is the Spirit of Christ calling you to participate in these things?

15 June, Matthew  28:16-20

It is an unexpected authority that is revealed in vulnerability and apparent weakness. An authority that recognises the place of other temporal authorities and understands the relative power of its own eternal nature. An authority that woos rather than dominates. An authority that invites participation rather than exclusion. An unassailable authority!

To what extent are you aware of (do you experience and exercise) this authority into which you have been baptised?

22 June, John 17:20-26

 

Respectful unity flows from a fairly deep-seated sense of security. It is a unity based on things more profound than our stated beliefs or shared peculiar cultural/religious practices. It requires considerable humility and maturity… qualities that are not commonplace in our day.

True unity is always a miracle. It is not in our self-preserving natural instincts to give ourselves to one another (offer our life). There is a sense in which true unity is akin to the irrationality of love; indeed, it is an expression of love.

Community knitted together by mutual love is an eloquent testimony to God’s kingdom. One might wonder if it is the only compelling testimony worth offering to today’s cynical environment. The power of the story we are telling is powerfully experienced in the transformation of community.

Consider you experience of Church. When has it been at its best? When has it caused you to despair? What do these experiences suggest to you about how the experience of God is shared (or not) through community?

29 June, Matthew 10:24-39

This is one of those frightening apocalyptic passages that seem to indicate everything is going to get very nasty. But such an idea represents a uniquely Western view. For much of the world, life is already as described in this passage.

Now in the post-Christendom West, the veneer of Christian values is wearing very thin. Leaders continue to claim the high (moral?) ground, but society is becoming disenchanted. The old magic of “spin” and “righteous violence” is losing its power.

Those who follow Jesus and step out of the closed circle of self-preservation will become as strangers and aliens to those who remain within that circle of actions and reactions. The self-giving approach of Jesus makes his followers inherently vulnerable — as Jesus himself proved to be.

“Apocalypse” is the uncovering of things as they actually are — so that they are seen. Real attitudes exposed to the light of day.

Consider the extent to which your confession of Jesus is heard by others. What response do you get? Who is threatened by those confessional moments?

 

This Lectionary Reflection was prepared by the Rev. Dave Gore

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