Rambling for Kirwan Uniting Church Keeping in Touch newsletter 4 July 2021

So, essential food shopping only during lockdown. Dan Murphy proclaim that they are open for the purchase of essential fluids, and the self-serve checkout at Coles yesterday didn’t prevent me from scanning several bars of Whittaker’s essential chocolate. Regarding lockdown shopping and Essential , we might say of it what Inigo Montoya said to Vizzini: “You keep using that word. I do not think it means what you think it means”. Luke 10:38-42 tells the story of Jesus being welcomed into Martha’s house. You know the story well, a crowd of disciples invite themselves in, too, and sit rapt at Jesus’ feet while Martha rushes around making the coffee and scones. Martha’s sister, Mary, is among the disciple audience. Martha remonstrates with Jesus, “Tell my sister to get off her bottom and come and help me!” What does Jesus reply? “Martha, Martha,” (remind you of ‘Marcia, Marcia, Marcia’ in the Brady Bunch?) “Only one thing is essential. Mary gets it”. Weird pericope by Luke, if you ask me.

Ramble for Kirwan Uniting Church Keeping in Touch newsletter 20 June 2021

Bridges are on my mind today. First, the Historical Society in Dayboro, where Leisa and I spent 5 happy years at the lovely little town’s lovely Uniting Church (we’re still spending happy years at this lovely city’s lovely Kirwan Uniting Church, by the way  🙂 ), reminded Facebook that I had blessed the town’s new bridge in 2012. And that I had never blessed a bridge before. Neither have I since. That conjured up an ear worm of Simon and Garfunkel (giving my age away 🥲 ). Bridge over Troubled Waters is one of the few tunes which I can plink out on a piano, although I make a better stab of it on a harmonica. Do you remember the story in John 5 of the lame man at Bethesda Pool? The familiar verse 4 is missing in most modern translations, because it appears in some manuscripts, but doesn’t in later discovered scrolls which might be more reliable. At this pool, blind, lame, paralysed people gathered “ waiting for the moving of the water. For an angel went down at a certain season into the

Ramble for Kirwan Uniting Church Keeping in Touch newsletter 6 June 2021

Peter Siddle is one of my cricketing heroes. In case you don’t know who he is (I’ll pray for you), he’s a right-arm fast-medium bowler who has retired from an illustrious international Australian career, and now plays for Tasmania – he was a long-term Victoria player – in Sheffield Shield, and for Adelaide Strikers in Big Bash. He was never a big-name multi-wicket taker like McGrath, Lee or the current crop (although he did take a hat trick in an Ashes tour). His value lay in being completely dependable, keeping a nagging line and length, and so frustrating opposing batsmen that they would play silly shots against the frontline bowlers who had them caught outside off. I’m sure that there is a spiritual point to be made here, but I haven’t thought what it might be, and it’s not what brought Siddle to mind anyway. I have a couple of things against him. He’s a Bushranger (Victorian), or was. And he’s vegan. I look askance at vegetarians (if vegetarians eat vegetables, what do humanitari

Ramble for Kirwan Uniting Church Keeping in Touch newsletter 30 May 2021

Did you watch the lunar eclipse on Wednesday evening? Some of you were at Bible Study, but I hope that you finished in time to see much of it. Leisa and I lit our firepit and roasted chestnuts, as Leisa set up her camera and tripod in anticipation of the spectacle. Whereupon Greenwood Park floodlights came on at full intensity, right between the rising moon and us. I called down the plagues of Egypt on the Sports and Leisure Department. Before the plagues needed to be inflicted, the lights (which were illuminating an empty park, no games taking place) were extinguished. It was an awesome spectacle. I was put in mind, of course, of Psalm 19: The heavens declare the glory of God; the skies proclaim the work of his hands. night after night they reveal knowledge.   And all over the world, as the earth spun its way around the sun for 24 hours, the astronomical marvel was visible. Psalm 19 again: They have no speech, they use no words; no sound is heard from them. Yet their voice goes out in

Rambling for Kirwan Uniting Church Keeping in Touch newsletter 23 May 2021

 I’m back from what has turned out to be the best Ministry Retreat since I’ve been in NQ/Carpentaria Presbytery (my fourth). We returned to Cardwell from last year’s flirt with Cairns. Cardwell of the scrumptiousest crab roll known to personkind. Cardwell of a room directly facing Hinchinbrook Island (and Goold Island, which you’ll see in a sec). I love the place. I read in three days what might have taken three weeks or more of interrupted Real Life®. I spent lovely time with my colleagues, drawn from many different cultural and ethnic backgrounds. Especially, I enjoyed exploring and discussing living in community, following one of the historic monastic rules of life (Carmelite, in the case of Rev Craig Mischewski who is offering an intentional community in Weipa). And dabbled in proselytising for the Carpentaria Presbytery Pipe-smokers’ Guild. Now, Goold Island. My room looked straight across to it. The much larger Hinchinbrook Island is to its right. The rising sun almost bisects t

Rambling for Kirwan Uniitng Church Keeping in Touch newsletter 16 May 2021

From time to time, I think about growing a beard. The longest time I’ve actually had a stab at this is around three weeks. I wonder whether I should compensate for diminishing follicular quantity on top of my head, by cultivating hair on the bottom of my head. It never works. It grows too slowly and too patchily. Before I tell you where I’m going with this, I’m away at Presbytery Meeting in Innisfail, and Ministry Retreat at Cardwell, until Wednesday. On the way up, I’ll stop at Vivia Café in Cardwell for a yummy crab roll. Don’t go anywhere else, however enticing a large plastic crab on top of another establishment might be. And then during Retreat, and on the way home on Wednesday, I’ll grab some more crustacean joy. So what have beards got to do with crab rolls? Well, one is mandated in OT law and contemporary Eastern Orthodox practice, and the other is verboten. So I’m in breach twice over. The most clear biblical passage for beards is Leviticus 19:27: “You shall not cut the hair o

Rambling for Kirwan Uniting Church Keeping in Touch newsletter 9 May 2021

 I’ve never been very happy with the song “I come to the garden alone” and particularly its refrain, “He walks with me and he talks with me” and even more particularly “And the joy we share, as we tarry there, none other has ever known”. Really? No-one else has ever encountered a profound assurance that God is with them in one of life’s mountaintop (or valley, but the song is relentlessly upbeat) experiences? And derived unspeakable joy (or blessèd assurance)? It fits with the “Jesus is my personal Saviour” (often to be found as “Savior”, this being a phrase beloved of our American friends). Or the more banal of Hillsong’s “Jesus is my boyfriend” ditties. All seeming to forget John 3:16 “for God so loved the world … “ This is one of the reasons why I like communal, liturgical prayers and affirmations of faith. The wisdom of the sages and ages has come up with statements and intercessions which stand as great literature, leave alone profound, scriptural truth. We are a community of