Morsels 2018 September

An archive of previous “Daily Morsels” published on the Cathedral app. Please note that these version of the content are not formatted to reflect line breaks or separate paragraphs, as they are purely an archival set. They also tend not to have any embedded web links from the original Morsel. To receive these message direct to your mobile phone or tablet each day, please download the Cathedral app.

 

SUN – 180930
Title
Draw the circle wide
Body
There is a temptation in life to draw the circle small and close. Perhaps it is a leftover from our evolutionary past? We certainly see traces of it in the recent trends towards isolationism and radical nationalism in so many societies. Xenophobia prefers small circles with thick boundaries. In today’s Gospel Jesus stares down the fearful concern of his disciples for their exclusive rights as the authorised brokers—in their minds at least—of the Jesus program. Jesus sketches a more expansive attitude towards others: “Do not stop them … whoever is not against us is for us …” (Mark 9:39–40). As a Cathedral we draw the circle wide. We are an inclusive community. We welcome people from very diverse religious and personal backgrounds.
SAT – 180929 – St Michael & All Angels
Title
St Michael and All Angel
Body
While the nation is transfixed with sporting competitions this weekend, the Christian churches are celebrating ancient mythic tradition stretching back in time and known to us in many different versions. Central to many of these memes is a rider on a white horse, engaged in combat with a dragon, so that the maiden can be rescued, a city saved, or a world redeemed. Sometimes the rider on the white horse is St George, other times Michael the Archangel, or even Jesus. Fact and history are not stakeholders in this ancient dream language. Rather our fears (the dragon) are subdued and destroyed by the victorious hero; a character with many names but always on a white horse. This is archetypal myth and it can be very powerful. When struggling with some persistent spiritual problem, it can help to invoke the assistance of the hero on the white horse. As a Christian, I invoke Jesus. His job description reads: “Saviour.” Who better to ask to come to my aid? Who is your heroic archetype?
FRI – 180928 – National Police Memorial Service
Title
National Police Remembrance Day
Body
At Christ Church Cathedral this morning we will welcome members of the local Police service, along with family and colleagues from other essential services, for the 2018 Police National Memorial Service. Similar services will be held in communities across the state and around the nation. We give thanks for the sense of service that draws people into the Police. We admire their dedication and their courage. We pray for their physical, emotional, spiritual and moral safety as they put themselves at risk for our safety. We pray for those injured in the course of their work, and for the families of officers who lose their lives while seeking to protect ours.
THR – 180927 – Vincent de Paul
Title
St Vincent de Paul
Body
Vincent de Paul died on this day in 1660, but his legacy continues and his name has become synonymous with compassion for the poor and advocacy for social justice to improve their circumstances. One of many gems from his life of compassion: If God is the center of your life, no words are necessary. Your mere presence will touch hearts. —Vincent de Paul
WED – 180926 – Psalm 23 (1)
Title
Thanksgiving
Body
A friend of mine in the USA wrote the following lines as part of a daily reflection that came through yesterday: What a gift life is. How glad I am To be here For a little while. Simple words, but deep truth. Thanks, Jane Wolfe. And thanks God for the gift of friends like Jane.
TUE – 180925 – journeys to the edge
Title
Reaching for the edges
Body
Websites that collect “on this day” information tell us that on 25 September 1492 the crew on board the Pinta, one of the ships with Christopher Columbus thought they had spotted land. They were wrong, but soon enough they did indeed find the Americas; and changed the world. Exactly 500 years later the Mars Observer mission blasted off on this day. Although that mission failed when communications with the space vehicle were lost as it approached Mars in August 1993, subsequent expeditions to Mars have offered fascinating insights into this planet. Humans seem insatiably curious about what lies over the horizon. Each morning we encounter a new horizon. Let’s engage the new day with curiosity and hope. I wonder what God has to show us today?
MON – 180924 – Blessed the peacemakers
Title
Beatitude 7
Body
“Blessed are the peacemakers,” says Jesus. “For they shall be called the children of God.” (Matthew 5:9) Peacemakers are not always celebrated and affirmed, and especially not by those whose violence they are seeking to diminish and even end. Not by those who make huge profits from the sale of weapons and the provision of logistic support to the war machine. Last Friday we celebrated International Peace Day, but our governments invest in “security” (violence and coercive power) rather than peacemaking and reconciliation. Jesus seems a lonely voice in a world gone mad, but he speaks a truth we need to hear.
SUN – 180923
Title
Capernaum’s child
Body
Children were not highly regarded in the ancient world. Most of them died before reaching adulthood in any case, and they rarely feature in the stories about Jesus. Yet in today’s Gospel Jesus takes a child and tells his followers to stop obsessing about themselves and to focus on the child. It is always about the child, about the ‘little ones’ … Sometimes the child is indeed an infant or a toddler. Sometimes the child is a school student. Sometimes the child is a vulnerable adult, unemployed perhaps, or homeless. Sometimes the child is a frail older person. But the mission of God is always about the little ones, youth who are at risk, older folks who are being overlooked.
SAT – 180922 – Shabbat prayer
Title
A Shabbat prayer
Body
Bless, O Lord, this food we are about to eat; and we pray you, O God, that it may be good for our body and soul; and, if there is any poor creature hungry or thirsting walking the road, may God send them in to us so that we can share the food with them, just as Christ shares his gifts with all of us. Amen. Celtic Daily Prayer, p. 299
FRI – 180921 – St Matthew
Title
Matthew
Body
Today we celebrate “Saint Matthew”: one of the twelve core followers (disciples) of Jesus and the figure to whom tradition attributes the first of the Gospels in the New Testament. We know little of this character as he seems never to play a role in the stories people later told about Jesus; apart from being called to leave his toll-booth and follow Jesus. In Mark and Luke this character is not even called Matthew, but Levi, although they do have a Matthew among the Twelve. This little-known apostle lent his name (posthumously) to a revision of Mark’s Gospel that seems to have circulated in NW Syria just after 100 CE, in the Christian communities around the Antioch region. The person who edited and enlarged Mark’s account to create the Gospel according to Matthew has greatly enriched the subsequent legacy of the Christian Church, while also reinforcing the Jewish character of our roots. If European Christians had paid more attention to ‘Matthew’ there could never have been the centuries of anti-Semitic violence culminating in the Holocaust during the Nazi era. The Matthean gospel encouraged Jews to welcome Gentiles, and Gentiles to value Jews at a time when suspicion between the two groups was increasing. If only we had listened better. How much evil could have been avoided. The world could have been a better place for millions of people.
THR – 180920 – Rohr, Christianity as lifestyle
Title
Christianity as lifestyle
Body
Christianity is a lifestyle – a way of being in the world that is simple, non-violent, shared, and loving. However, we made it into an established “religion” (and all that goes with that) and avoided the lifestyle change itself. One could be warlike, greedy, racist, selfish, and vain in most of Christian history, and still believe that Jesus is one’s “personal Lord and Savior” . . . The world has no time for such silliness anymore. The suffering on Earth is too great. — Richard Rohr
WED – 180919 – Disciples of Jesus
Title
Disciples of Jesus
Body
How does someone follow a person like Jesus? The answer may surprise. Jesus does not ask people to sign up to a creed. Jesus does not ask them to go through some ritual or make a pilgrimage. Jesus does not ask them to hand over money for the church to use. All of those things the church has done, but none of those things were done by Jesus. He simply said: Come and follow me; do what I am doing, go where I am going. So, the secret is how we choose to spend our lives. Not looking after ourselves, but seeking to make the world a better place, a place more like God wants it to be. Those of us who come to the Table of Jesus seek food for the same journey. Make us like you, Jesus!
TUE – 180918 Jesus Movement (action steps)
Title
Jesus Movement (Simple steps)
Body
After sketching his vision for the church as a local branch of the Jesus Movement, Bishop Michael Curry offers these simple tips to help us get active in God’s project of love, liberation and life: TRY THIS: (1) Begin your day by asking: How could my words, actions and heart reflect the loving, liberating, life-giving way of Jesus? Ask God to help you, especially at decision points. (2) At day’s end, with genuine curiosity and zero judgment, ask: When did I see myself or others being loving, liberating or life-giving today? Where do I wish I’d seen or practiced Jesus’ Way?
MON -180917 Jesus Movement (more)
Title
Jesus Movement (more)
Body
Here is a further excerpt from Bishop Michael Curry on what it means to be a participant in the Jesus movement: “Jesus launched this movement when he welcomed the first disciples to follow his loving, liberating, life-giving Way. Today, we participate in his movement with our whole lives: our prayer, worship, teaching, preaching, gathering, healing, action, family, work, play and rest. In all things, we seek to be loving, liberating and life-giving—just like the God who formed all things in love; liberates us all from prisons of mind, body and spirit; and gives life so we can participate in the resurrection and healing of God’s world.” People who live like this transform the world …
SUN – 180916
Title
The Jesus Movement
Body
In the Gospel today Jesus asks his disciples how they understand his mission. In the Dean’s Forum at 10.30am we will be exploring what it means to be disciples of Jesus. Michael Curry, the Presiding Bishop of the Episcopal Church in the USA, has been speaking about discipleship as participating in the Jesus movement. You may remember him as the preacher at the wedding of Prince Harry and Meghan Markle. We will consider several of his comments over the next few days, beginning with this statement: “The Jesus Movement is the ongoing community of people who center their lives on Jesus and following him into loving, liberating and life-giving relationship with God, each other and creation. Together, we follow Jesus as we love God with our whole heart, soul and mind and love our neighbors as ourselves (Matthew 22:36-40), and restore each other and all of creation to unity with God in Christ (BCP, p. 855).” For more of Michael Curry in his own words click on the link below.
SAT – 180915
Title
Bless this house
Body
Bless this house and those within. Bless our giving and receiving. Bless our words and conversation. Bless our hands and recreation. Bless our sowing and our growing. Bless our coming and our going. Bless all who enter and depart. Bless this house, your peace impart.
FRI – 180914 – Holy Cross
Title
Holy Cross Day
Body
Holy Cross Day marks the dedication on this day in 335 of the Church of the Resurrection in Jerusalem, better known to most people in the West as the Church of the Holy Sepulchre. This impressive complex of buildings was built by the Emperor Constantine (c. 285-337) on the sites of the crucifixion and Jesus’ tomb. It was destroyed in 1009 on the orders of the Fatimid Caliph, Al-Hakim, and only partly rebuilt—on a much-reduced scale—by the Byzantine Emperor under an agreement with Al-Hakim’s son. Despite its present state, the Church of the Resurrection is the holiest site in Christianity and draws pilgrims from around the world. On this day we pray for the witness of that ancient church and for the Arab Christians whose existence in Palestine and throughout the Middle East is more at risk now than at any time in the past 2,000 years.
THR – 180913 –
Title
God of freedom, God of justice
Body
Our final hymn at Grafton Cathedral always has a focus on mission: what God is calling us to do as our part in God’s own mission within our world. Last Sunday our mission hymn was by Shirley Erena Murray and it included these words as its second verse: Rid the earth of torture’s terror, God whose hands were nailed to the wood; hear the cries of pain and protest, God who shed the tears and blood; move in us the power of pity, restless for the common good. This hymn was written in 1980 for Amnesty International’s Campaign Against Torture when Shirley Murray could find nothing relevant to sing at a service for prisoners of conscience. How sad that the churches’ musical repertoire had nothing relevant to such an event. How blessed are we that Shirley Murray crafted these challenging lyrics.
WED – 180912 – Beatitude 6: Pure in heart
Title
Beatitude 6
Body
In Matthew’s version of the Beatitudes, which he uses to open the Sermon on the Mount that he crafted by editing some of the remembered teachings of Jesus, the fifth blessing is for those who are pure in heart: “Blessed are the pure in heart, for they will see God.” (Matthew 5:8 NRSV) For most of us most of the time, this is an aspiration rather than a description. We seem to have mixed motives, divided loyalties, and complex lives. Yet we can also recognise that in those precious moments when we have singleness of focus there is great blessing: perhaps we even glimpse God at such times.
TUE – 180911 – 9/11
Title
9/11
Body
Many of us have vivid memories of first hearing about the attack on the Twin Towers in New York City on this day in 2001. The attack also hit the Pentagon and there was a failed attempt to use United Airlines flight 93 in an additional strike. How much the world changed that day. Fear seems so much stronger in our world now. Yet we also believe that “perfect love casts out fear” (1 John 4:18). As we focus on our capacities for authentic love, fear loses its grip on our lives and our world.
MON – 180910 – LP: Deliver us from evil
Title
Deliver us from evil
Body
In Matthew’s version of the Lord’s Prayer the request to be saved from the time of trial is followed by, “and deliver us from evil”. This line is not in Luke’s version, which seems to preserve a more primitive form of the prayer, but it is found in the Didache’s version, which is contemporary with Matthew. Both date to around 100 CE. What are the evils from which we seek to be delivered this week? What do we fear most? Can we offer it to God, not just for deliverance—but also for redemption and transformation?
SUN – 180909 – Today’s Gospel
Title
The feisty mother
Body
Today’s Gospel describes a foreign woman demanding that Jesus expand his concept of God’s love to include her sick daughter. It is an interesting story on so many levels as the outsider offers the insider a master class in compassion. The special prayer for our Eucharist today reflects the courage of this feisty mother: O God, whose word is life, and whose delight is to answer our cry: give us faith like that of the woman who refused to remain an outsider, so that we too may have the wit to argue and demand that our children be made whole, through Jesus Christ. Amen.
SAT – 180908 – City of God
Title
City of God
Body
Daniel L. Schutte is an American songwriter whose work has enriched our repertoire of sacred music. One of his classic pieces is the song, “City of God”, whose refrain is a call to action: Let us build the city of God. May our tears be turned into dancing! For the Lord, our light and our love, has turned the night into day! Listen to the whole song by clicking on the web link.
FRI – 180907 – Hymn
Title
Pray not for Arab or Jew
Body
This prayer written by a Palestinian Christian invites us to see people, and not enemies: Pray not for Arab or Jew, for Palestinian or Israeli, but pray rather for ourselves, that we may not divide them in our prayers, but keep them both together in our hearts.
THR – 180806 Beatitude 5 – The merciful
Title
Beatitude 5
Body
In Matthew’s version of the Beatitudes, the fifth blessing is for the merciful: “Blessed are the merciful, for they will receive mercy.” (Matthew 5:7 NRSV) It is a sad index of the dynamics of modern life that this seems like a concept from another world. Our leaders aspire to be popular, powerful, strategic, successful, clever, tough, and strong. It seems that the focus groups have not alerted their minders to the value of compassion and mercy. What is a merciful person? For starters, this is someone who does not insist on their rights to the extent of causing harm to someone else. Even if they could. Even if they have the right to do so. This is not just a political concept. It also applies in our own intimate relationships and at the grassroots of our local communities.
WED – 180905
Title
Save us from the time of trial
Body
In the traditional version of the Lord’s Prayer, the words “lead us not into temptation” were sometimes a cause of confusion. As the comic level, some young London ears heard this as “Lead us not into Thames Station”. On a more serious level, it seemed to suggest that God would entice us into some kind of trap, like a divine sting operation. Not the gospel in any sense. The modern version of this ancient prayer helpfully clarifies what this petition is about: Save us from the tough times! Our farmers know what that means, and so do journalists jailed by authoritarian regimes. This is a prayer for battlers: Be with us in the bad days. Better still, keep the bad days away from us!
TUE – 180904
Title
And the point is …
Body
To be a solitary and self-sufficient figure—even if we could do that, which mostly we cannot—is to be lonely and pointless. To survive at all costs, might mean that we die without any meaning to our existence at all. The point of being alive is not to survive, but to serve. This was a theme to which Jesus and his first followers returned time and again. For more, see the sermon from last Sunday by clicking on the web link.
MON – 180903
Title
The Martyrs of PNG
Body
Yesterday in church we commemorated the martyrs of Papua New Guinea. These 333 Christian non-combatants were killed by Japanese forces in PNG in 1942/43. They included Anglicans, Catholics, Lutherans, Salvation Army, Seventh Day Adventists and United Church people, both indigenous and expatriates. The Anglican missionaries had been told by their Bishop to remain with their people and not accept offers of evacuation by the Australian government. The others made similar choices. Their murders constituted one small atrocity among all the evils of the war, but their courage inspired decades of generosity and service. May we never forget them and may our lives always be spent for the sake of others.
SUN – 180902
Title
Fathers’ Day
Body
From today’s intercessions at the Eucharist: We pray today for the health and wellbeing of families across this city and valley. Grant wisdom and strength to every man who is a father to someone else: fathers and grandfathers, husbands and friends, brothers and uncles.
SAT – 180901
Title
Caim Prayer
Body
The ‘caim’ (circling) prayer involves our bodies in the act of praying. It can be especially helpful when words get in the way or it seems impossible to focus. Draw a circle around yourself using the right index finger as you offer this prayer, or imagine a circle wrapping around those for whom you seek God’s blessing. Here is one example of a caim prayer, which you can adapt as needed: Circle (name), Lord. Keep (comfort) near and (discouragement) afar. Keep (peace) within) and (turmoil) without. Amen. SOURCE: Celtic Daily Prayer from the Northumbria Community, 297

About gregoryjenks

Anglican priest and religion scholar. Senior Lecturer in the School of Theology at Charles Sturt University. Dean, Cathedral Church of Christ the King, Grafton and Rector of the Anglican Parish of Grafton. Formerly Dean at St George's College, Jerusalem. The opinions expressed in my publications, including my blog posts, are my own and do not necessarily reflect the views and opinions of the Diocese of Grafton nor Christ Church​ Cathedral in Grafton.
This entry was posted in Archive, Grafton Cathedral, Morsels. Bookmark the permalink.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.