Sunday, May 20, 2018

Pentecost: A Primer



The depth of Pentecost is revealed when we pay attention to some older traditions. Click here to read a reflection on Acts 2:1-21 given to Sanctuary, 20 May 2018.

Wednesday, May 16, 2018

Becoming Heaven on Earth



For many, Mothers Day is a day of absence. How might the ancient story of the Ascension speak to those who are grieving now?

A reflection given to Sanctuary on 13 May 2018. Read here, or listen here.

Sunday, May 6, 2018

Eating Out-of-Bounds: The Culture of God



Tonight we have a great story about food: and it makes me wonder: Who do you eat with? But first, the story. As a Jewish man, Peter will not eat certain foods; but in a vision God shows him all kinds of four-footed creatures and reptiles and birds, and tells him to kill and eat. And as prawn-cracker-crunching pork-chop-eating Gentile followers of Jesus, it’s easy for us to roll our eyes and say, Well, duh!! But we can only say “duh!” because we are beneficiaries of Peter’s response to this vision. For while he is still pondering what he has seen, he is invited to the house of Cornelius, a Gentile. On the basis of the vision, Peter the Jew accepts.

Read here, or listen here.

A reflection on Acts 10 and John 15:9-17 given to Sanctuary on 6 May 2018 © Alison Sampson, 2018.

Sunday, April 29, 2018

Cut to the Heart



The Ethiopian eunuch is cut off in every way. A precious part of him has been sliced off, and this loss defines him: for we do not know his name. Instead, we just know that he is a eunuch. And as a eunuch, he has been cut off from having children, and from establishing a family line. He is an Ethiopian, a Gentile. Even so, something in Judaism has attracted him: perhaps from the Isaiah scroll which he studies so carefully in his chariot. Perhaps it is the promise from Isaiah 56, that God’s heart extends to the eunuch and the foreigner; that they, too, may become members of the covenant. And perhaps with this promise ringing in his ears, the Ethiopian eunuch travels to Jerusalem to worship ... Read here, or listen here.

A reflection on Acts 8:26-40 and Isaiah 56, with allusion to John 15:1-8, given to Sanctuary, 29 April 2018 (B36) © Alison Sampson, 2018. Image shows The Baptism of the Eunuch by Rembrandt (Public Domain).

Sunday, March 18, 2018

Living Death, or Resurrection Life: You Choose



Kathleen Norris tells a story of two women she knew, both of whom were diagnosed with terminal cancer. The first woman said, “If I ever get out of this hospital, I’m going to look out for Number One.” Despite the diagnosis, she survived, and went on to live only for herself—and, as Norris writes, “it made her mean.” The second reflected on the blessings of her life, despite some acute early losses. This woman read the Psalms, and said to Norris, “The one thing that scares me is the pain. I hope I die before I turn into an old bitch.” And that’s exactly what happened ... Keep reading here, or listen here.

A reflection on John 12:20-33 given to Sanctuary, 18 March 2018.

Monday, March 5, 2018

The Sacrificial Cult of Work



Our culture of work creates meaning and identity in ways which can be bound up in faithfulness, but which can also risk idolatry and perpetuate the exclusion and suffering of those who cannot fully access the meaning and status it gives. It has strong echoes of the sacrificial cult of the Jerusalem Temple. How, then, might Jesus preach into the sacrificial cult of work and professional achievement today? Read here.

A reflection on John 2:13-22 given to Sanctuary, 4 March 2018 (B20)

Sunday, February 18, 2018

Lions and Tigers and Bears, oh my!



Once upon a time, my fiancé and I were living in North Fitzroy; and we were married by Paul Turton at the North Carlton Baptist Church. We stood before the congregation, and made our promises, and were declared a wedded couple. Straightaway, I met a surprising number of interesting, intelligent, and attractive men. I began wondering if my own interesting, intelligent, and attractive man was really the best option, or whether I had made a colossal mistake; and I found myself wrestling with demons of pride, and doubt, and desire...

Read more here, or listen here.

A reflection on Mark 1:9-15 (B18) for the first week of Lent, for Sanctuary.
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