Category Archives: Love

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Love Others Radically

Love others so radically they wonder why.

This weekend it was announced by the Prime Minister that he wants to pass a law that says that anyone who has tried to come to Australia, illegally,  by boat since 2013 will NEVER be allowed to enter the country. It is being done as a “sign to the people smugglers of how serious we are” about border protection. That’s great , Mr Turnbull, but it’s not the people smugglers who are being effected by this, its the little people desperate to find a new life away from tyranny and oppression – they won’t find it here apparently. (Yes, I know that some of the boat people are trying to jump the queue and beat the system but the (documented) majority are trying to escape terrible lives. Just think, what would have to happen to you and your family to make you jump into a boat and risk your life? It’s not a decision that most of the people make lightly.)

I was listening to the radio yesterday morning and a politician (I don’t remember her name) confirmed to the interviewer that if someone has tried to come to Australia to seek asylum by boat, even if they are found to have a legitimate claim, they will not be allowed to enter the country EVER! My friend (who works for the United Nations as a lawyer) cannot work out how many U.N. statutes  and Internation Laws this new law (if passed) will contravene. Where is our nation’s compassion? Where is our love for our neighbour? When we will stop singing the National Anthem that says, in the second verse, “For those who’ve come across the seas, we’ve boundless plains to share”?

Please don’t think I’m advocating that we do away with our immigration laws – I’m not. I went through the system to be allowed to live here, it was fair to me. I am questioning the fairness and justice of a law that contravenes many International laws and treaties for those legitimate people who have been so oppressed in their own country that they have had to make the difficult decision to flee and will be denied the right I have because of the way they travel; for many the boats are the only way they can get out. (And I’m very aware of the amazing privilege I have to be able to write this blog, granted to me because I do live in a ‘free’ country.)

The sign this week speaks of the Christian value of love – that love that Jesus speaks about and shows to others. To those who, in the eyes of the government of his time, didn’t deserve love; to those that did him all manner of wrong; to those who oppressed him and, eventually, killed him.

This ‘radical’ love is what we, as Christians (I would say decent humans), should strive for; a self giving love that sees others as equals; a love (and a way of life) that doesn’t judge the worth of others by what their job is, or where they come from.

Love one another because love is from God – to quote a book a read from time to time.

A very appropriate meme!


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Spread love as thickly as you would Nutella

Here’s another “What would Jesus say today?” blogs.

2000 years ago Jesus said; “A new command I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another.”

In 2016 I would like to think he would say something like “Spread love as thickly as you would Nutella.”

This is not a new concept – this ‘love another’ stuff has been around for millennia. The church has been proclaiming it for as long as here has been a church. The work of loving our neighbour is what we should be doing. This is what the church is about (and by the church I mean the people that make up the church, that is you and me!).

Loving your neighbour is a simple concept – read the story of the Good Samaritan – the idea is that everyone is your neighbour and we should lavish as much care on them as we would do on ourselves. Easy idea – you’re already understood it, after just reading that sentence.

Now do think about doing it – think out spreading love around the place as thickly as I spread Nutella on bread (I at least need to see teethmarks when I bite it).

Think about treating people the same way you would treat yourself. Think about caring for someone, anyone, that person walking past on the street right now, as you would yourself.

Not so easy now is it? The concept is simple – the reality is anything but, the concept is really difficult.

But just because it’s difficult it doesn’t mean we shouldn’t do it to the best of our ability. Let’s be honest – we should strive for, but we will never manage, to love our neighbour as ourselves. We will attempt, but never quite, spread the Nutella as thick as we would for ourselves.

But let’s give it a go. Spread that stuff – love each other, love your neighbour who ever he or she might be.


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Blah, blah, balh

Blah, blah, blah,
Just come to church
Oh we’ve put up many signs in the past few years. Some have been funny (at least to me), some have been thought provoking, some have had a lot of responses, some have had none at all.
This week – well, pretty self explanatory. Enough talking – come and listen to what we have to say.
Everyone is welcome. 

Now I know that every church says that but when you go you find that everyone doesn’t mean you or people like you. Lots of churches have hidden agendas about who is welcome  and who isn’t (some of them aren’t too hidden either). Some will question your sexuality, others will wonder about your bank balance, skin colour, racial background, do you have a place to live? These and other things are all ways that you can be excluded from various churches.
One of the tenants we at the Melbourne Welsh Church feel is at the heart of the Gospel is the idea that “all means all.”
We cannot decide who we let into the church of God – it is not our call – it’s God’s call; it’s his church after all. We are custodians and, if we understand the Gospel, it is very clear that all means all. The church is open to everyone – not just the ones we want to welcome in but everyone; absolutely everyone.
We will not get on with them all; we will not like them all; we should love them all. 
So blah, blah, blah, just come to church – everyone is welcome; after all – ALL MEANS ALL! and that includes YOU and ME.


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Look at things differently

Look at things differently….
Why do so many Christians forget where this church thing all started? Why do we forget where we come from and who started all this?
It all started with a Jewish man who bucked all the social trends of his time. This man broke all conventions. You think I’m making this stuff up – Look at these examples
In a time when women where considered worthless (or even property in some cases) this man, Jesus, spent time with women; even Samaritan women, who Jewish people considered the lowest of the low.
Then there was the sinners – oh there were loads of them. The ‘establishment’ wanted nothing to do with them; Jesus spent the majority of his time with them. There was a man called Zac – he was a tax man for the invasion army. He was, to say the least, hated and yet Jesus had dinner with him – spent time with the worst of the worse.
The list goes on – lepers; prostitutes; the demon processed; the sick; collaborators with the authorities etc etc etc.
So with the example we have why do so many churches and so many Christians forget where we come from? Why do they (we) forget that Jesus walked and talked with ‘all the wrong people’ of his time? 
So here’s the thing – we need to talk with and walk with ‘all the wrong people’ of our time. 
Now I’m not sure who they are where you are but here, at the Melbourne Welsh Church in Melbourne, Australia, all the wrong people might look homeless, or like refugees, or maybe gay, or different from us, or maybe the same as us – hey, maybe we’re all the wrong people; maybe I’m all the wrong people and this Jesus guy wants to talk to me.
Now there’s a terrible thought….

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Australia: What are we doing???

Australia: Where the Government will try and put a sick baby on a plane but won’t do the same for a sick Cardinal.

This blog is inspired by a twitter post I read over the week end.

I’d like to continue the re-working of Bible verse this week with a look at Matthew 25 40 & 45

40 And the king will answer them, ‘Truly I tell you, just as you did it to one of the least of these… you did it to me.’
and
45 Then he will answer them, ‘Truly I tell you, just as you did not do it to one of the least of these, you did not do it to me.’

What would Jesus say to the idea of the government (working for the people of this country) sending a sick baby, who was born here by the way, to a detention camp? I think he would say something like, “Just as you did it to baby Asha, you did it to me.”

I don’t care what your politics are, which side of the line you sit, if you can tell me it’s right to send a sick baby to a detention camp I don’t think we’re going to agree on our views of Jesus (among other things).

For once this isn’t about Cardinal Pell or the Roman Catholic church.* This is about doing what is right – is it right for the government to try and deport a sick baby and yet not ask a sick Cardinal to come back and answer questions that he has to answer? Is it right that, in our name, the government are denying human rights to one group of people and yet defending (or at least not infringing them) in others? Are we seeing a double standard here? Foreigners are less important than Australians living overseas? Somehow Cardinals are worth more than Refugees?

Jesus never made that distinction. “Truly I tell you, just as you did it to one of the least of these… you did it to me.” 

I, for one, do not wish to stand before God with the deportation of baby Asha (or any of the asylum seekers) on the list of things I have done wrong – that list is long enough without adding to it. 

Australia – we are better than this! Far better. We live in the lucky country not the cruel country. Let’s tell those who have the power to make decisions that some things are just plain wrong and shouldn’t be done – not in our name.

just as you did it to one of the least of these… you did it to me!

* I have been accused of being anti-catholic and that is not true. Let me make it very clear here that I am not anti-catholic. I am anti-cover up; I don’t agree (and that’s putting it mildly) with the way some of the leaders of the Roman Catholic church seem to have covered up the systematic abuse of children in their care. If that is the case then they should have to answer for any crimes (and covering it up is every bit as bad as actually doing it in my book). I think that Cardinal Pell has a duty to answer, in person, the questions from the Royal Commission. I am not making any statement about his guilt or innocence, I don’t know anything about that – under law he is innocent until proven guilty but I think he should front up and not have the relative safety of a video link to hide behind.

If it would encourage him I point him again to Matthew 25 v. 40 and, in light of him not testifying yet, verse 45.

But like I say – this isn’t about him. He will face the Royal Commission and also a far higher judge soon enough.


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death is not the end

One of the ‘stuff’ of life issues  which I’m honoured to be part of is  that of taking part in funeral services..
There is a sense of beginning and ending, as one of my mates i met on the streets of melbourne put it, after saying goodbye to a mate, ‘I’ve come to the conclusion death is a mystery’.
This week I along with a club brother, we  support a family with six daughters age 18>4 as they farewell their dad, their mothers partner.
As we sat with them the second to youngest daughters handed us a letter she wrote, which she would like read out at the funeral
This is the stuff of life where the mysterious ways of God are often the only way to make ‘sense’ of tragedy and loss.
When you’re sad and when you’re lonely
And you haven’t got a friend
Just remember that death is not the end
And all that you held sacred
Falls down and does not mend
Just remember that death is not the end
Not the end, not the end
Just remember that death is not the end
When you’re standin’ on their crossroads
That you cannot comprehend
Just remember that death is not the end
And all your dreams have vanished
And you don’t know what’s up the bend
Just remember that death is not the end
Not the end, not the end
Just remember that death is not the end
When the storm clouds gather round you
And heavy rains descend
Just remember that death is not the end
And there’s no one there to comfort you
With a helpin’ hand to lend
Just remember that death is not the end
Not the end, not the end
Just remember that death is not the end
Oh, the tree of life is growing
Where the spirit never dies
And the bright light of salvation shines
In dark and empty skies
When the cities are on fire
With the burnin’ flesh of men
Just remember that death is not the end
And you search in vain to find
Just one law abiding citizen
Just remember that death is not the end
Not the end, not the end
Just remember that death is not the end
Not the end, not the end
Just remember that death is not the end
Songwriters
BOB DYLAN



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IMAGE IS EVERYTHING.

A business in the building next to my office declares ‘Image is everything’, it is also the subject for my ‘sermon’ on Sunday.

Im finding it a tad confronting?

I’ll let you know how it goes.

Meanwhile i may take the advice my 3 year old grandson gave to his mum recently………….

Jed – “Mummy why do you do brush your hair every day? “
Me – “To stop it getting knotty and to make me feel pretty”.
Jed – “but your not pretty”.
Me – “well…. maybe not today, because I’m just in trakkie daks, but when I get dressed up I look pretty, dont I? “

Jed – “um, not really, even then, you should look in the mirror more Mummy”.

Time for a look in the mirror me thinks??

PS: welcome to 2016.


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Home of the Lost and Found

Taking to the streets, not in power rather in weakness, not by stealth rather transparent, not to overpower rather to empower, not as masters rather as servants not to do rather to be,  not to speak rather to listen, not to be examples rather to example, not to presume rather to learn, not to take God there, rather meet God there.

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Music to my ears

as I write this I am with my partners siblings and partners in NZ.

Last Sunday I was honoured to hear a local musician and artist as he played two new songs.
One was a conversation with his wife who died two years ago, the other called Come to me…..

Come to me you poor
With nothing to your name
And the poor who just have money
You can do the same
Walk with me I love you

Much like indifference being the opposite of love and hate, being poor is about what you have and what you don’t have?

As I loiter on the streets of Melbourne I go to the  ‘top end’ of town’ to watch the faces on the street, and I wonder what stories I would hear, and what story they would like to hear?

I think it’s a mistake to make assumptions about people,’rich’ or ‘poor’.


Upcoming Events

Mar
1
Sun
3:00 pm St David’s Day Gymanfa Ganu
St David’s Day Gymanfa Ganu
Mar 1 @ 3:00 pm – 5:30 pm
Guest conductor from Wales National Eisteddfod of Wales blue riband winner / soloist 2 other blue riband winners 5 local Welsh voice choirs Congregational hymn singing Projected 700+ in attendance. Wow….should be wonderful!!!