|Pen and Ink Reflections||
What is your ‘good news’? One of the theological college principals I used to work with would occasionally ask this of students. If you had to put the good news of your Christian faith in a short phrase, he would say, what would it be? Now he was certainly not trying to dumb down faith, under the pressures of modern media attention spans and ‘church growth’ gurus. That, to be honest, would hardly have worked! Our theological college was, after all, the child of two theological traditions - one of them radically incarnationalist and the other powerfully modernist – both of which had rattled the cages of conservative and complacent faith in the past. No, he was certainly not attempting to avoid deep and complex questions and intelligent reflection. He was just trying to encourage us to affirm what we could affirm and to be able to share that clearly with others. For, let’s be honest, much theology and Christian communication can be pretty difficult to grasp, can’t it? Nor is it just ‘traditional’ faith communication. Sometimes, to be quite frank, so-called ‘liberal’ or ‘progressive’ theology is also not very clear about ‘good news’. It can tell us a great deal about questions and debates, and help us move on from much that is death-dealing. Yet it can sometimes be less helpful in affirming what, in Jesus and Christian Faith, is truly life-giving. So, what is our ‘good news’ today?...
but what do YOU say?
Some questions require more of us than others. So it is with the central question Jesus asks in today’s Gospel: ‘but who do you say I am?’ It is typical Jesus, isn’t it? Rather than dictate or demand, he invites. Leaders, not least spiritual leaders, take note. Jesus is not giving, or expecting, a set answer. Rather they are challenging us to make our own response. As such, they are calling us into deeper relationship, by drawing us into the most profound experiences of our bodies, hearts and minds. Nor is this a once and for all answer to be made. For, as we meet again today, Jesus is asking us once more, as individuals and as a community, ‘but who do you say that I am?’. What answers have we to give?...
sermons and reflections from Penny Jones & Josephine Inkpin, a married Anglican clergy couple serving with the Uniting Church in Sydney