Remembering the mark of Cain and calling off the hunt…
“What I Would Say to Osama bin Laden” A Zen monk Thich Nhat Hanh answers this question in an interview with Anne A. Simpkins on the 28th September 2001. During Wednesday Church we will be reflecting on his answer.
Thich Nhat Hanh is a Vietnamese monk in the Zen tradition, who worked tirelessly for peace during the Vietnam War, rebuilding villages destroyed by the hostilities. Following an anti-war lecture tour in the United States, he was not allowed back in his country and settled in France. In 1967, he was nominated by the Reverend Martin Luther King, Jr., for the Nobel Peace Prize. He is now internationally known for his teaching and writing on mindfulness, and for his work related to “socially engaged Buddhism,” a call to social action based on Buddhist principles. Thay, as he is affectionately called by his followers, shared his thoughts on how America should respond to the terrorist attacks.
If we are to believe that it is in the Jesus Tradition to encounter his work in untraditional places, then surely we are compelled to believe bearers of Jesus could be the people we least expect to be so.
Do you ever stop and reflect on just how much stuff you carry around with you? Cell phone, keys, wallet, driver’s license, glasses, bag (never mind what is in the bag…) the list can go on and on.
Today I want to encourage you to carry something else around with you — something that really will enrich our living. I encourage you to carry a psalm with you each week. A psalm that we can carry in our mind — reading and re-reading — perhaps even learning it by heart — carrying it in our heart.
This past week Psalm 16 was our set psalm. Here are a few lines that moved me to wonder and wander…
I say to the Lord, “You are my Lord; I have no good apart from you.
The boundary lines have fallen for me in pleasant places; I have a goodly heritage.
You show me the path of life. In your presence there is fullness of joy; in your right hand are pleasures forevermore.”
These words cannot be read too slowly. As we read them — they read us back. What do they mean? What do they mean for our individual lives and for us as a community, country … cosmos?
Where do we find answers on spirituality? On God? On how to live our lives? And should our traditional source of inspiration, as well as our longheld traditions be the only source?
What says Jesus on this question?
Geography was not the real reason Jesus travelled through the hostile land of Samaria. It was necessitated by something else, and, more importantly, it hold important lessons for how we should engage with our enemies.
“The Resurrection means that nothing is hopeless anymore!” – Nora Gallagher
Today we are called to stand face to face with the crucified Lord. Crucified because he refused to restrict his loving to the accepted contours of the socio, political, economic, cultural, religious and national interests of his day. He loved without fear and favour. This was too threatening for those who had a vested interest in the status quo and too disappointing for those who desired a violent overthrow of the status quo. Faced with the choice of limiting his loving or being killed — he chose to be killed and in his dying breaths he extended his love to new heights to include even his killers.
May his love pierce us today, Alan
Sunday 24 April 2011
“We have gotten so used to the ultimate Christian fact — Jesus naked, stripped, crucified and risen — that we no longer see it for what it is: a summons to strip ourselves of earthly cares and worldly wisdom, all desire for human praise, greediness for any kind of comfort; a readiness to stand up and be counted as peacemakers in a violent world; a willingness to let go of those pretenses that would have us believe that we really aren’t worldly. Even the last rag we cling to — the self-flattery that suggests we are being humble when we disclaim any resemblance to Jesus Christ — even that rag has to go when we stand face to face with the crucified Lord.” Brennan Manning in The Signature of Jesus.
When we exclude people in the name of the Lord, we may be committing one of the greatest of all sins.
The primary purpose of Connections is to connect us to the way of Jesus.
Connections seeks to deepen our connection with God, with one another, with ourselves and with creation around us and takes a fresh look at the Christian faith in the light of our present context. Connections will deepen our sense of belonging at CMM, and shape our life together in community. In so doing, Connections will connect us to the wounds of the world and equip us to compassionately care seeking healing and justice for all.
Join this 12 week journey – every Sunday evening from 7pm-9pm.
If you answer “YES” to any of the following questions please consider signing up for Connections …
- Would you like to deepen your understanding of what it may mean to follow Jesus in the world today?
- Would you like to be part of a weekly discussion group that is free of judgment and full of respect for everyone’s point of view?
- Would you like to deepen your sense of belonging at CMM?
- Would you like to get to know new people at CMM and find out where you can serve?
- Would you like to be baptized or have your child baptised?
- Would you like to be equipped to change this world?
You would? Then please contact the office on 021 422 2744 to sign up.
The weekly themes are as follows:
God’s Great Grace (30 January 2011)
God’s Liberating Dream for the World (6 February)
God’s Life-Giving Spirit (13 February)
God’s Contrast Community (20 February)
God’s Song Sung in a Foreign Land (27 February)
God’s Tears and our Suffering (6 March)
God’s Presence and our Prayer (13 March)
God’s Word as our Story (20 March)
God’s Table and God’s Stream (27 March)
God’s Generosity and our Gratitude (10 April)
God’s people called Methodists (17 April)
God’s Invitation to the World through Us (24 April)