Tag Archive: kingdom


Thoughts on crucifixion by a doctor – it’s not the nails that kill you but exposure.
Thoughts on crucifixion by a woman whose husband has a brain tumour.
Thoughts on crucifixion by a poet. “A king who dies on the cross must be the king of a rather strange kingdom. Only those who understand the profound paradox of the cross can also understand the whole meaning of Jesus’ assertion: my kingdom is not of this world”.  (Dietrich Bonhoeffer)
Thoughts on crucifixion by a friend…

A gorgeous mix of piano, story and spoken word poetry at the Maundy Thursday service at Fairfield Uniting Church making an old story new. They had me at Mary Oliver.

The lights are extinguished one by one until all light is gone, but hope is not. We carry it with us.

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lords prayer itellyouarise poems Our Father who art in heaven,hallowed be Thy name,Thy will be done, Thy kingdom come on earth as it is in heaven

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The Walk for Justice for Refugees is about standing up for the human rights of those seeking asylum in Australia. This largely secular action is held on Palm Sunday – as people of faith, knowing there is a way where it seems there is no way – how might we hold a space to liturgise and lament and to sing within this broader movement? The following is a bit of a photo essay from the day with some of our thinking around what we are trying to create and hold space for by participating in events like these.

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Welcome is a complex issue on un-ceded land. Although palms might be the branch of Welcome in Jerusalem in this country gum leaves have a lot of symbolism – burned they are said to have healing and cleansing properties of bad spirits. How spirit-sore and shadowed are refugees arriving in Australia? If a member of the Wurundjeri offers you gum leaves they are indicating that you are welcome to everything from the tops of the leaves to the roots of the earth, we are symbolically linked and share in honouring the ancestors that have tended the land for many, many thousands of years. Is it appropriate to carry gum leaves in the walk? Or both gum leaves and palm fronds to acknowledge this complexity?

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This group is about attending the Palm Sunday march as a cohort – how might we want to distinguish ourselves within the broader crowd? what message of kingdom-on-earth do we have to communicate? One example is that often the crowd chants at these configure themselves as “anti” something and can communicate negativity, what might a message be that communicates hope and indicates what we are “for”?

Above Sam has an IHH bag, her LMAW #Bringthemhere hat, some of the Million Stars Against Violence and bracken from Gembrook Retreat as her foliage.

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Welcoming people from other countries since time immemorial. Responding to “boat people” since 1788. The walk is coming up this Sunday – what do you want to say about welcome this weekend? Is it short, percussive and meaningful? How about: “Bring them here. Let them stay. We believe love makes a way”? What is the sound bite and deep heart’s call to justice you want to hear called out?

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Here’s some feel-good clickbait if you haven’t already seen it (watch it again anyway), when we stop using labels that create designations of ‘them’ and ‘us’ we might have more in common than we know. I was listening to Fly My Pretties yesterday, the lyrics of the song are “We can make a life, we can make a life worth living”. That is a hope of people arriving here and for all of us who see the image of God in every person we meet and want to see God’s kingdom here on earth – let’s make the world we want to live in.

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Anne Lamott has said, “Hope begins in the dark, the stubborn hope that if you just show up and try to do the right thing, the dawn will come.” Here are some examples of prayer stations that explore this idea of “You are welcome here” using scripture references from Ched Myers book Our God is Undocumented” – whose voices set and shape the ways you show welcome?

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What is your cultural tail? 28% of Australians were born overseas (Census 2016), many more would have parents born overseas. When we say things like “I’m nothing” or “I have no culture” it’s worth noting that only the dominant-culture can say that, this white-washing language (pun intended) at best colonises existing culture and at worst ignores it: the legacy of Terra Nullius continues. Naming our own cultural tail is significant for relating well to the culture that was and is already here as well as affirming and celebrating cultural diversity generally in Australia. Is there something you can wear to the Palm Sunday march that could celebrate cultural diversity? An item of clothing or jewellery, a badge or flag that celebrates your cultural history and thereby all culture – past and present?

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On singing: many songs we might sing together are short, rounds, call and repeat don’t worry about song sheets or knowing the words… please bring your own too – we love learning new ones so that we can sing about it until it can be realised!

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God is…

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God is in the garden with the grubs and shrubs

God is in the laundry with the taps and tubs

God is in the kitchen with the pots and pans

God is in the bathroom where we wash our hands

God is in the bedroom with the lamp and bed

God is in the backyard with the bikes and shed

God is in you – and also in me

Whatever you look like, wherever you’re from

God lives within us and God’s kingdom comes

Talitha Fraser

Webinar is available at chedmyers.org but here are some snippets…

There is a “trialectic” biblical narrative concerning God’s relationship with human beings in the bible.

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Jesus embraces all three characteristics: loving both national enemies and intimate betrayers, calling disciples and living among the marginalised.

Isaiah I (Ch. 1-39) Isaiah II (Ch. 40-55) Isaiah III (Ch. 56-66) – different authors.

(p.96-97) But third Isaiah goes on to address specifically those parts of the community that are being legally and socially targeted:

Let not the foreigners say…
Let not the eunuch say…
For this is what God says… (Isaiah 56:3f)

This verse seeks to animate the voices of those who have internalized their rejection by the dominant culture because of how they are perceived and publically caricatured.  “The LORD will surely separate me from his people,” says the inner voice of the foreigner; “I am just a dry tree,” intones the introjected contempt of the eunuch.  Second-class citizens in our own history know all too well this self-hatred.  Black children have tried to scrub their skin white, immigrants have changed their names, women have kept silent, and gays and lesbians have stayed deep in a destructive closet – all to avoid the contempt of a society that barely tolerates them.  Internalised self-negation and external oppression are like a constant  “acid rain”, as psychologist William Grier and Price Cobbs famously put it in their landmark study Black Rage (1968). It is time, says Third Isaiah, for such dehumanisation to stop – because YHWH says otherwise.

What does this mean as a visitor, first-, second-, third-generation Australian?
Reflect on Australian immigration policy and response to “boat people”.
“Reconciliation” with indigenous First People  of these Nations.
Not only called to like pretty/smart/?/people, or people like “us” but specifically to welcome the hungry, the stranger, the ill…
Reflect on this: the maker of the outside also made the inside.

What credit it is it to you to only love those who are like you, to only love those who love you back, to only lend to those from whom you expect repayment – we are called to and Jesus role-modelled generous discipleship.

* I have purchased a copy of this book!

…but it’s broken

A Chinese man with a cane tied my old chest of drawers to his wife for her to carry to their home which I hope was somewhere nearby! I kept repeating “but it’s broken” and he kept repeating “very thank you, very thank you” – a western suburbs multilingual misunderstanding? Or a message of there always being something of value, something that can be put to good purpose, in the broken things – even if we can’t see it…

What is your perfect day?

A few months ago, I had someone ask me once what my perfect day was, and I felt a bit uncomfortable with the question and didn’t really know how to answer and so I turned the question back to them. But it kept coming back to me afterwards… I’ve done a bit of thinking about happiness, what it takes to feel “happy”, how much happiness is in my own control and what it would take for when someone asks me the question “How are you?” for my answer to be “I’m happy today!”

As it turns out, my perfect day isn’t strolling the Champs de Mars under the Eiffel Tower in Paris eating pain au chocolat; or even walking along the beach with my headphones in, then sitting out on the rocks and eating ice cream while the waves roll in round me; if that were a perfect day for me then I would only be happy very rarely! Although that is the kind of answer I felt ‘supposed’ to give – it didn’t feel honest.

On reflection, my perfect day contains a mix of a few things:

–          crossing a good number of things off on my list of “things to do”

–          a social engagement with someone I’m close to over a coffee or similar that makes a good connection between us, and

–          having what I call a “kingdom moment” which is where I have one of those interactions with someone, anyone, whether you know them or not, but at some point in the conversation you know you are changed for having known the other person because you saw something of God in them and it transforms you

When I get that mix right – I have a really profound sense of the work I do and the vocation or work I’m called to being the same thing, an alignment between who I am called to be and who I am, I understand, just for a moment, why God made me and why I am here.

That moment is what makes me happy, that moment of knowing is what makes me glad to be alive.

On any given day, I may only get one or even none of those things.  And it is easy to feel dissatisfied. It’s a precarious thing to find happiness – a whole lot hangs in the balance and we just have to take life one day at a time. It helps to remember at those times I’m most frustrated that its God’s purpose not mine that matters and that those things which come up may have a value for Him that I will ever know.

I have secretly loved the person tagging Melbourne “happy” – it makes me smile everytime I see it (which is not usual of most words tagged) and it makes me think someone else is pursuing happiness too and hopefully leaving a trail where they’ve found it…

In a song Michael Franti’s written called “Gloria”: one of the lines talks about how “I know each day in life with you gets better than the last, so today I’m just glad to be alive”

I thought we could frame our prayers today in the sentiment of that grace.  Even though we have things in our day that might feel bad or worrying or frustrating or overwhelming, and the end of the day, in balance, we’re glad to be alive and to have experienced those things as well as the ones which bring us joy.