|Pen and Ink Reflections||
I have always loved the story of the woman at the well, which has so many layers of interpretation. We have diverted from the lectionary today, so that we can look at it in association with Corinne Ware’s work on the Spirituality Wheel – a tool that helps us better understand our preferred forms of spirituality, and how these can aid or hinder our encounter with the divine. We will come back to this slide in our faith education session later this morning. For now, just notice that we have four main ways of approaching our spiritual life, through our head, our heart, our soul and our community. We will each tend to favour one of these over the others. Some lend themselves to a theology of transcendence, some to one of immanence. Some lean towards outward expression, some more to internal. Each produces different kinds of liturgical approach and different preferences for personal prayer. All of them will be present in a good liturgy or a good story. Today’s story, like all good stories, offers entry points for all of us, as we play with it in different ways and allow different aspects to reveal themselves...
If, metaphorically speaking, one of the capital cities of Australia represented the earliest forms of the Christian Church, which would it be? One answer, for me, at least in terms of an old joke, would be Perth. For remember how that old joke went: in Sydney, they ask ‘how much money do you have?’ – little sadly has changed in recent decades; in Melbourne, they ask ‘which school did you go to?. in Adelaide – times have changed - they ask ‘which church do you go to?; and, in Perth, they ask ‘so what did you come here to get away from?’
Now, there is a good deal more to it than that. Yet, when they gathered together, there would have been a degree of truth in some of the earliest Christians asking one another ‘so what did you come here to get away from?’ That, as we can see from Gospel passages such as that we heard today (Mark 6.1-13), is part of the early Jesus movement story. It was also very much about where Jesus and his earliest followers were headed to. Yet what they were getting away from is vital to understand. For why did Jesus do no great deeds in his hometown? And why did he counsel his first followers to travel light, and be prepared to shake the dust off their feet, even if it meant enduring the metaphorical equivalent of crossing the Nullarbor?...