It’s a spooky thought – that some events, and some people, have a spiritual significance that transcends time. That’s not true for all of us, is it? Or is it? I feel comfortable with the thought that God loves everyone equally, and that therefore everyone has an equally significant role to play in the divine drama. The Bible though tells a very different story.
The church marks the first Sunday after Christmas as the “Feast of the Holy Family”, which sounds like a further slap in the face for those whose families look anything but holy. Even so, our Gospel text for the day suggests that Jesus’ earthly family may not have been as functional as we might have first assumed!
Paul rejoiced ‘in the Lord’. He lifted his eyes above his personal situation and focused on Christ and on the family of faith that Christ had given him. Paul was in pain, but he saw himself as just one member of a greater community that was going from strength to strength. Paul identified with his team so strongly that it transformed his perspective on his own struggles.
“Every valley shall be filled, and every mountain and hill shall be made low, and the crooked shall be made straight, and the rough ways made smooth; and all flesh shall see the salvation of God.”. (Luke 3:5-6) Hi Fighter, I always know that Christmas is coming when my favourite Yuletide figure – John the Baptist – strides …
If you missed last Saturday’s rally, the mainline media reported that ‘hundreds’ of people were at the Sydney rally. I didn’t do a count, but there were at least ten thousand, and my friends said 50,000. The rally in Melbourne was apparently much bigger! These rallies have been specifically opposing mandatory vaccination, but for most of us the vaccination issue is only one component in a greater pushback against government over-reach and the restriction of individual human freedoms.
Our times are indeed unprecedented, and it is not surprising that people look at the chaos worldwide and see signs of the coming of the end. Even so, what has both shocked and inspired me is the number of people who seem to be interpreting this within a faith framework that leads them, not to despair, but to push back in hope.
It’s been a difficult week for me. I think we’ve lost the battle for boxing club. The church is throwing us out and there doesn’t seem to be anything I can do to stop this happening or even to get a short delay of execution. We opened our doors early in 1991. I’d been asking local people what was most needed in our area and they all said, “the kids have nothing to do after school”. That’s when Kon Pappy and I opened up the church hall in the afternoons as a drop-in centre – offering wrestling classes to local kids – and I started Father Dave’s Fight Club in the evenings. The rest is history.
It still seems extraordinary to me that we acquiesce to this level of totalitarian control. Why do we accept that our governments have the right to grant and to withhold freedoms that most of us had thought were God-given prior to this pandemic? Freedom of movement, freedom of association, freedom of worship and even freedom of speech – all of these seem to have become the property of the government, to give and to take away as they see fit. In the case of the Victorian government, the situation is even worse, as new powers adopted by Fuhrer Dan Andrews means that the prerogative to give and to take away has become his alone!
To every thing there is a season,
and a time to every purpose under the heaven:
A time to be born, and a time to die;
a time to plant, and a time to pluck up that which is planted;
A time to kill, and a time to heal;
a time to break down, and a time to build up;
A time to weep, and a time to laugh;
a time to mourn, and a time to dance. (Ecclesiastes 3:1-4)
Hi Fighter, “A house divided against itself cannot stand” If I were to ask you who said that, you’d probably recognise it as a quote from both Jesus and Abraham Lincoln. Jesus definitely said it first, but it was Lincoln’s use of the image in 1858, which he applied not to an individual (as did …