|Pen and Ink Reflections||
breaking and birthing
Courage - Compassion – Joy: these are the name of the angels we have, above us, this evening. Courage – Compassion – Joy: gifts of grace which our church community, with others, seeks to share at World Pride here in Sydney next year, and at all times. For Courage – Compassion – Joy: which of these, I wonder, do each of us need at this time, for ourselves, or for others? May these gifts truly enrich us, for they take us to the heart of our celebrations this evening: the very presence of God in humanity, in human birthing. As such, they are pointers to the deepest reality of our lives. As we see the angels above us, see and share light among us, and, above all, see and share bread and wine – the symbols of divine humanity in us – so may we know God’s extraordinary Love, within and beyond us. For the various elements of our Christmas celebration proclaim that, as above, so below and all around, between, and in all possible dimensions, the God of Love is born among us. Tonight, in the great Christian narrative, is the hinge of history, the heart of meaning, and the hallowing of human being. Let me briefly touch on three elements. For the Christian Christmas is a truly extra-ordinary happening, and a profound embodying, which is also ‘not quite nice’…
wine, woman and wedding
I want to talk about wine, woman and wedding; and about what Jesus's first sign can teach us about our Mission Action Plan and our giftedness in this parish. First of all however, just notice how our gospel reading begins. It starts with the words "on the third day" - and that's very odd, because in the previous chapter we have had a day when the Pharisees question John the Baptist, then a day when John sees Jesus, then a day when he declares Jesus the lamb of God, and then a day when Jesus calls Philip and Nathaniel, so that by the count of the narrative we are now up to at least the fifth day not the third. Which should alert us that the counting that is happening here is not literal but symbolic. So if symbolic, what as Christians do we all know happens on the third day? ...that's right, Jesus is raised from the dead. So this tells us that the story that follows is a highly symbolic story, all about Jesus's resurrection and what it achieves. This is going to be a story about transformation, that is for the whole church. And if we are in any doubt about that we need only look to the last sentence of the story, ' Jesus did this, the first of his signs, in Cana of Galilee, and revealed his glory; and his disciples believed in him'. There are to be six more 'signs' in the gospel of John, each of them revealing more of the glory of Jesus, culminating in the raising of Lazarus, before John turns to the final story, the story of the death and resurrection. So this story, which appears at first glance to be about a good time at a wedding, is in fact all about Jesus and the transformative power of his death and resurrection...
sermons and reflections from Penny Jones & Josephine Inkpin, a married Anglican clergy couple serving with the Uniting Church in Sydney