Collisions with God

The great 12th Century Persian mystic and poet, Shamsuddin Muhammad Hafiz wrote the following short poem, of which I am very fond:

God
and I have become
like two giant fat people living
in a tiny
boat.
We
keep bumping into
each other
and
laughing.

I am very fond of this poem because it is one to which I can relate.  God and I have been bumping into one another for all of my life.  Or, to be truthful, I have been trying my best to avoid God; but God, like some persistent, divine dodgem car, has always ensured we were on a collision course.

And I think that that’s why I am today a candidate to the ordained ministry; I am the fissionable remains of constantly being impacted by God.  And yet I still feel as though I’m living on a tiny boat (even if I don’t quite deserve the description of a “giant fat person”!), bumping into God at unexpected moments.  And sometimes I’m tossed overboard, into the bracing waters of grace; but always I scramble back on board again, for I have discovered that even if the encounters are occassionally bruising (and why should Jacob at Peniel have had all the fun?), without them I am simply not whole.

Who would have thought it possible?

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1 Corinthians 1:18-25; John 2:13-22

In the past couple of weeks, many of you may have read or heard in the media the story of the nine-year-old Brazilian girl who was recently discovered to be pregnant with twins – a pregnancy that allegedly resulted from sexual abuse at the hands of her stepfather.  Those of you who have been following this story will know that the girl’s mother authorised doctors to terminate the pregnancy, with the result that the local Catholic archbishop has pronounced excommunication on both the mother and the medical personnel involved in the termination. Continue reading “1 Corinthians 1:18-25; John 2:13-22”

The Psalms and Christ: Two Lenten Reflections

PRESCRIPT: As with many other Christian communities, the Uniting Church congregation of North Ringwood to which I and my Dearly Beloved belong produces a booklet of reflections for Lent, written by members of the congregation for the congregation to use as a resource for daily prayer and reflection.  Here are two reflections which I contributed to this year’s booklet.

Date:  For 2nd Sunday in Lent (March 8th)

TITLE: GOD AND HUMAN ALIENATION

SCRIPTURAL TEXT

For he did not despise or abhor the affliction of the afflicted; he did not hide his face from me, but heard when I cried to him. Ps. 22:24

All human beings share an affliction: our brokenness and alienation from God.  Yet despite our brokenness, God does not despise us; on the contrary, God actively seeks relationship with every person.  Indeed, it is precisely because of our brokenness that God reaches out to us: God’s purpose is to effect our redemption and restoration, not our condemnation. Continue reading “The Psalms and Christ: Two Lenten Reflections”