Can you have a personal relationship with Jesus? Absolutely. Is your faith valid if you don’t? 100%. Love God. Love others. That’s the guideline. That’s the commandment.
This body is more than just us - it's more than just the Christian church. If we take some time to stop looking through a centric version of the world, where we prioritise people just like us - people who call themselves Christians; if we stop looking at labels and if instead we look at the values that we share, the things that we believe in, our goals, then it can look quite different.
Quitting is associated with failure. Giving up is associated with weakness, and ending something is associated with loss. Sometimes quitting is something you have to do when you’re tired. Sometimes, quitting is good for your health.
She received justice because she persistently demanded it. God is looking to grant justice to those who cry out for it. God is on our side when it comes to demanding justice.
Christmas Day need not be a time where we have to conjure up abstract feelings of joy and celebration – rather, Christmas Day is a reminder that darkness is not the end. Darkness marks the time of beginning - again.
Jesus was anyone and everyone who has ever known exclusion, prejudice, abuse and exploitation, Jesus was anyone and everyone who has ever been the victim of injustice, violence, manipulation, fraud or public shame. And that Jesus is God. That is our God.
The Good News, the gospel of Jesus, was that the Kingdom of God was here, not an empire or a nation state with borders and weapons, but an experience of the sacred, a sacred world, already around us, among us, planted like seeds, growing like trees...
Think back on some of the significant conversations you’ve had in your life – a conversation that changed you or the direction you were heading in life. What was it about that interaction?
And this is what made Jesus so angry. How had they gotten the message so wrong? How had they twisted the good news of renewal that God had always been pushing - how had they turned that into this petty rule following. Where was the love? Of course people should be healed on the sabbath. Showing compassion is the most holy thing you can do.
Forgiveness is a painful, ugly process of humility, of reclaiming our God-given dignity, and of entering into a forgiving flow whereby we can return love for hate, forgiveness for hurt, acquittal for accusation. And in doing so we set ourselves free. Free from being stuck back there at the place of the wound. Free from holding on to the grudge or the debt or the anger or the loss. Free to step into a future where God can continue to walk with you and show you over and over, that you are loved.