Jonah 3: 1-5, 10

Last year, I accepted an invitation to participate in the Uniting Church’s dialogue group engaged in interfaith conversation with the Jewish community. Convened through the UCA National Assembly and the Executive Council of Australian Jewry, the group meets twice a year to discuss matters of importance to the relationship, as well as participate in studies that share the insights each tradition brings to the Hebrew Scriptures. Continue reading “Jonah 3: 1-5, 10”

1 Samuel 3: 1-10

I have just finished reading a book, Midnight in Sicily, by the Australian writer Peter Robb. Robb spent fifteen years from the late 70s to early 90s living in southern Italy and Sicily, and Midnight in Sicily tells the tragic story of Italy in the late 20th century: of the corruption of its political and social institutions by organised crime; of the autocratic Christian Democratic Party, which, through its unholy alliance with the mafia, ruled Italy unchallenged from the late 40s to the early 90s; and of the mafia itself, and its evolution from a sinister strata of 19th century Sicilian society into a brutal international criminal organisation controlling the heroin trade into Europe. Continue reading “1 Samuel 3: 1-10”

Mark 1: 4-11

A few weeks before Christmas, we began our exploration of the Gospel According to Mark by untangling the richness and complexity of Mark’s opening proclamation: The beginning of the Good News of Jesus Christ, the Son of God. Since then, we’ve been interrupted by the Christmas season; which is rather appropriate, given the Christmas event is often described as God “breaking into” the world, the “interruption” of God into the realm of human existence. The interruption of Christmas in our reading of Mark symbolises what the Christmas event itself does: it does not merely bring heaven and earth close together, it unifies them in and through the person of Jesus. And in today’s reading from Mark, we have his Nativity story, his account of interruption and breaking into and unification: not in a birth narrative, but in Mark’s account of Jesus’ Baptism. Continue reading “Mark 1: 4-11”