Avril at Romsey

… and Lancefield and Riddells Creek and Mount Macedon

Sermon: We are all boat people

Sermon for Riddells Creek and Mount Macedon Uniting Churches

August 7, 2011; Ordinary 19

Matthew 14:22-33

Listening to today’s gospel reading is one of those times when our twenty-first century Australian mindset can create a problem. Generally, we’re happy coastal dwellers, much more apprehensive about Australia’s vast inland than about its oceans. In contrast, as I’ve mentioned before, the people of Ancient Israel did not like the sea. The Book of Revelation actually offers a vision of paradise where the sea will be no more, (Rev 21:1) which isn’t a vision of paradise that works for me. For the people of Israel the sea was traditionally the source of deep and threatening power, a place of danger and terror. So when the disciples, in today’s reading, are in a boat, battered by the waves and far from land, they feel not only the immediate fear caused by their situation, but the primeval fear of chaos and the abyss inherited from their ancestors. Continue reading

August 6, 2011 Posted by | Ministry | , , | 2 Comments

The Messy Middle that is the Uniting Church

(A longer version of the letter that appears in the August Crosslight.)

I have been reading the debate on hope and the essentials of the faith in Crosslight with interest, and I am starting to worry that some lines are being drawn too rigidly. There is a danger that in this debate false dichotomies are being created. Christians are being asked to choose between being either progressive or fundamentalist; between reading the Bible literally or seeing it as no more significant to faith than modern poetry; between accepting the scientific worldview without criticism or retreating from science into creationism or a belief in intelligent design. Most worrying, we are being asked to choose between being inclusive and welcoming to all, and the orthodox faith. Continue reading

August 4, 2011 Posted by | Ministry, Slightly Higher Culture | , , , , | 1 Comment