Category Archives: Neighbour

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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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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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BE KIND

In a world where you can be anything; be kind.

Jesus told the story of the Good Samaritan (https://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=Luke+10%3A25-37) to answer the question – who is my neighbour? 
2000 years later things haven’t changed that much. There are still people who ‘fall into the hands of robbers’. The robbers have different names now they are ‘dealers’ or ‘pimps’ or ‘bikers’ or ‘fundamentalists’ or any other group that takes advantage of people – some would put ‘politicians’ and ‘media barons’ on that list too.
People are still left by the roadside, bruised and beaten, by so many different experiences in life and there they lie as the world passes them by. It’s not just priests and Levites that walk past on the other side, almost the whole of humanity does. We see the needs of others and we turn the page or change the channel; we lift our phone to our ears and pretend to be on a call instead of talking to them or we put our head down and walk faster so they don’t talk to us; we don’t offer a smile, a kind word or a bit of change where it’s needed. 
We all do it at one time or another. We are all guilty of ignoring the needs of others. We wrap ourselves in in cosy excuses to make ourselves feel better – I’m too busy; someone else will do it; I gave last week/year/millennium; it’s their own fault; they shouldn’t be here and so on (insert your favourite excuse here…….).
The spirit of the Priest and Levite is alive today and is stronger than ever; in fact it is becoming ingrained in our society – it’s being drilled into us from childhood, spoon fed to us by some of our politicians, drip fed to us through some of the media, incessantly we are told to look after number one, that ‘we’ are important, that we have no responsibility for ‘them’; that as long as we’re okay then all is right with the world. Our leaders tell us “Let ‘us’ deal with the problems ‘you’ should just go on with your little lives” and we hear some variation of this in almost every news bulletin or news paper story.
But still the bodies pile up at the locked doors of our nation’s compassionate heart; still we ignore them as we walk past or over them to carry on with our ‘comfortable’ lives. We Priest and Levite our way through the week, hoping someone else will deal with all the shit around us. The trouble is no one does and the piles keep getting higher and higher.
Our society needs some Samaritans, our society needs a Samaritan. That someone who does the little bit to help the need around them. They do not change the world, their aim is not to fix everything, they have no intention of instilling chaos into the order of society. They are not communists or troublemakers or fundamentalists – they are humanitarians that see the need and do the little they can. It won’t cost them everything they have, it won’t even make them miss their important meeting or coffee date but it will make them more human and (if they have one) closer to their God. This Samaritan can be anyone – they might wear biker colours or a suit, they might have tattoos and facial piercings, they may wear a hijab or a turban, they may have a cross around their neck, they may not even be able to afford shoes, they may look like someone else or they may look just like you. There are hidden samaritans around, if only we could see more of them, be more of them.
We are told from infancy that we live in a lucky country and that we can be anything we want. Yes you can be prime minister or an astronaut or a doctor or a vet or a zoo keeper or a gardner or a chef or an author or whatever we want. So THIS is what Jesus was saying in that parable…. 

   In a world where you can be anything, be kind. 


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BUT FIRST COFFEE

Ok Ive had my coffee now and Im ready!!

After returning from a two week holiday it has been a rude shock getting back into work and the ‘normal’ routine.

Just five days after returning I along with my partner (The Ruth), officiated at a wedding, it was a little over an hours drive, so we decided rather than come home after the practice run we would stay with friends and drink coffee.

It has been 4years since we last spent time with them, so it was a great time of eating and talking, oh and coffee !!

As we chatted about what events both personally and globally had taken place since we last spoke it wasn’t long until wefound ourselves in familiar territory, as we drank coffee.

sorry this is really bad!!

Issues of strained or broken relationships, conflicts in work environments along with confronting family matters, all part of the challenges we face and we deal with the stuff of life, as we drank coffee.

It is so good to have people who are able to share the stuff of life, both difficult and joyful with us, more importantly, having been entrusted with this stuff we need to be trustworthy.


As we face the challenges and joys of 2016, may we in the positions of trust and support, honour and respect this trust, so together we share the journey of life, over coffee.


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COMPASSION

Compassion is the church’s job.
And the government’s job.
And your job.
And my job.

So Christmas is over and the silliness that is new year has passed. We are nearly 2 weeks into 2016 so we’ve all broken any resolutions we made and all the residual niceness from the holidays has gone.

Road rage has started again – I hadn’t seen any for about a month, everyone was polite and letting people merge in and waving and stuff but not today. On my 13km drive this morning I saw 4 incidents – 2 bird fingers, one raised fist and one lean out of the window and hurl abuse. None of it was aimed at me I hasten to add! But the Christmas spirit has well and truly gone.

Which is sad. I saw this on Facebook last week and this morning’s drive made me think of it again –

The work of Christmas never ends, in essence the Christmas spirit should always be with us – not the party hats and silly jokes nor the plates of food and the mountains of sweets but the idea that, as Dickens puts it, there is a time when we think of other people as fellow-travellers to the grave, and not another race of creatures bound on other journeys.”

This idea, lets call it compassion, is not a job we can do alone, its a job that we all need to do and each little bit has an effect in the world around us. It makes it a slightly better place – and if enough of us do that all those slightlys become a lot of difference and suddenly the world where we are is brighter.

It doesn’t have to be big things. Most of us don’t have the power to bring world peace or stop hunger but we do have the power to love a little more and share a bit of what we have with the people we see. 

The government (in fact most of the world’s governments of whatever stripe or leaning) aren’t really doing their job when it comes to compassion. In Australia billions has been cut from both foreign and national aid budgets, I know the same is true in the U.K. 

People who rely on government aid can’t get it anymore. A recent survey should that over a third of Australian pensioners are living below the poverty line. So this isn’t just about those ‘homeless drug users’ as one person said to me last week.

So it’s down to us – the yous and the mes of the world. Compassion is so desperately needed in our world, my prayer this week is that we will all do a little more good around us and brighten up our little corner just a bit. After all it’s what Jesus would do!!


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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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Just Desserts

A recent end of year dinner meant I was asked to provided dessert.
Those taking part included a number of us who know each other well, and new friend and three recently arrived short term visitors from China.
As I though about what i would prepare I set about thinking of the guest.
I assembled together a number of fresh ingredients, including a variety of berries, some ingredients out of the ‘fridge, which had been opened and partially used and some items I had recently been given as a gift, along with some fresh basil and mint from the garden.
I set about preparing the dessert, which was assembled in a glass measuring jug.
Some ingredients were place carefully, others randomly and others were ‘forced’ into place.
The resulting item would not win any awards for presentation, nor for great culinary skill.
It may however inspire those at the table, if they took the time to think about it, at how it represent the group and how we see Christmas.

Perhaps it was ‘lost’ on them, I may never know, and you will never know what the mix of ingredients tasted like!!

Thanks Brad Hodge


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ten things i hate about Christmas…only ten? I hear you ask!!

1: buying s stuff for people we don’t like and they don’t need

2: the intense loneliness and pain it brings for some

3:pretending its a sacred time but still buying into the craziness

4:the ‘debate’ over Xmas vs Christmas, Satan vs Santa.

5: stupid sayings i.e. he’s the reason for the season, to which I reply, what summer (or Winter if you’re else where)

6: threatening kiddies that Santa won’t come if you’re not good!!

7: wasting food and money

8: there is no number eight!!

9: stupid Church signs including Jesus was born to die??

10: we trot baby Jesus forgetting he grew up!!

Christmas is really
for the children.
Especially for children
who like animals, stables,
stars and babies wrapped
in swaddling clothes.
Then there are wise men,
kings in fine robes,
humble shepherds and a
hint of rich perfume.

Easter is not really
for the children
unless accompanied by
a cream filled egg.
It has whips, blood, nails,
a spear and allegations
of body snatching.
It involves politics, God
and the sins of the world.
It is not good for people
of a nervous disposition.
They would do better to
think on rabbits, chickens
and the first snowdrop
of spring.

Or they’d do better to
wait for a re-run of
Christmas without asking
too many questions about
what Jesus did when he grew up
or whether there’s any connection. 


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its all very ordinary

Sometimes the ‘ordinary’
is over looked, today as i drank hot chocolate with friends and strangers, a person walking past stopped and picked up rubbish and put it in the bin, the person emptying the bin, stopped and chatted with those who make their home under the bridge.
It was all very ordinary and so good!!

Category : Hope , Hospitality , life , Neighbour


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life is like a cup of hot chocolate

Its 645 am on an overcast Tuesday morning, people are out, running, riding, exercising or rowing along the yarra river. People every where are rushing to work or  going about their daily business,
not me I’m loitering, with a thermos of hot chocolate blended from several ingredients in my hands.

The homes under the bridge are silent as residents sleep, stirring occasional, unaware of  the activity, seagulls wait impatiently for them to stir as they await the crumbs of their food.

I sit quietly, waiting, watching and contemplating, as the residents continue their slumber.

After some time I leave the thermos and cups at the entry to the home under the bridge and go about the day, wondering who will i meet today, whose story will i hear and what will become of the hot chocolate??


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