Day Thirty — 15 March

Hear our voice, O Lord, according to your faithful love.

Lectionary readings (Click the links to see the readings):
Joseph, husband of Mary
2 Samuel 7.4-16 | Psalm 89.19-30 | Romans 4.13-22 | Matthew 1.18-25
Of the day:
Numbers 21.4-9 | Psalm 102.18-22 | John 8.21-30


Robert Mapplethorpe. Tulip. 1988.

Being liberated from destructive division

In most cases, thankfully, Christians do not kill each other over doctrinal disagreements (like whether a piece of bread remains a piece of bread) today. But still, we as Christians deny each other in the presence of the Feast of Life. In my Anglican Communion, for instance (other churches can name their own examples) there are many senior bishops who will not share Communion bread with the Archbishop of Canterbury because of a disagreement about whether certain people can be holy and acceptable before God.

The disagreement is theoretically about what we call today (in a way our New Testament forbears would not quite understand) human sexuality. But in fact it is also about who, if anyone, has the right to deny someone at Jesus' table.

Jesus himself was decisive about this. If you read the Gospels you will see that he caused a scandal by sharing bread and table fellowship with all who sought him—whether clean or unclean in the eyes of the law, acceptable or unacceptable to the religious authorities.

This wasn't an undemanding liberalism, however. To take his place at the table, the tax collector Zaccheus (in the famous story recorded in Luke 18. l0-14) needed to restore his relationship with those whose livelihoods he had robbed. Not because they wouldn’t accept him (Jesus ate with him before his conversion), but because he needed to accept them as brothers and sisters. The blockage was in him. And eating with Jesus was its medicine. [Continues tomorrow …] Simon Barrow. "Being Consumed Again by Love," in Fear or Freedom: Why a Warring Church Must Change. (London: Ekklesia, 2008), pp. 117-123.

Maurice Durufle. Quatre Motets. Mogens Dahl Chamber at the Church of Holmen, Denmark.

These four motets are among the few works the self-critical composer allowed to be published. They all take their cue from a traditional Gregorian melody as they expand into polyphonic movements about Roman Catholic teachings.

May God our Redeemer show us compassion and love. Amen.

St Philip's Anglican Church, cnr Moorhouse and Macpherson Streets, O'Connor, ACT 2602
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