Raw and Real

Published: Monday, 25 March 2013

A Community Prayer created by Bev Patterson and led by Bev and John in today’s Palm Sunday Service (24 March 2013) at ABC.

palm-sundayFather God

We come to you today with the intention of being real,

Raw and real,

About our world and how it is, about being human and how we can feel.

Today, somewhere in Melbourne, a stroke patient struggles to move her arm, flex her fingers.  The movements that came without a thought yesterday are impossible today, and she cries in frustration at the pain of therapy.

Today, a man reels in the face of redundancy.  After years on the factory floor he has been discarded, shattered to the core of his being.  Now there is the indignity of Centrelink interviews, with a 20-year old (what would sheknow?!) and there simply are no jobs for older workers anyway.

We bring you frustration and despair ---

And we pray for people such as these.

We bring you our own frustration, the times we never seem to win.

Today, somewhere in Melbourne, a man dutifully mows his lawn.  His wife has gone out, with friends he does not know.  Their whole lives are lived apart.  They ‘stay together for the kids’ but have little to say to each other.  There is no-one in whom the man can confide.

Today, a woman newly widowed wanders aimlessly through the house.  The phone does not ring; it is so quiet.  Funny, they’d always bickered about the dog, the rubbish, the remote control – now she’d do anything to hear his voice, any voice.

We bring you loneliness ---

And we pray for people such as these.

We bring you our own loneliness, and the deep connections for which we yearn.

Today, somewhere in Melbourne, a mother lifts her disabled adult son from his bed, to and from the toilet, urges him to swallow from her outstretched spoon.  Hers is the only care he has known, and she will not give him up – but she is so alone, and so so tired.

Today, perhaps in the White House, a leader reflects on national leadership.  The President of the United States worries about the gun culture tearing American communities apart.  They tell him he is the most powerful man in the world, yet he feels impotent - how to move forward against the might of the gun lobby?

The Church as One

Published: Friday, 15 March 2013

This superb poem was read at a recent Communion Service at Ashburton Baptist Church and was written by one of our members, Bev Patterson.

LoafSometimes, at Communion
When all is still – the Spirit hovers.

Do you feel her?
Have you known her calling?

The church kneels,
All equally needy in our need of you.
The purity of silence, and simple companionship,
Social divisions swept away
No pretence now
No performance
No words to cover ourselves

Just you – and the holy touch of your feeding.

Don't rush it!
Don't mar the moment!
Treasure this union all too rare

This, the closest taste of heaven I know.

Give the World the Best You’ve Got Anyway!

Published: Monday, 04 March 2013

This statement was given in a recent service at ABC. It was used by Bishop Muzorewa, Mother Teresa and scores of others but these ‘Paradoxical Commandments’ were written by Dr. Kent Keith and published in one of his books in 1968.

Love-them-anywayA few years ago black Christians in Zimbabwe were facing enormous trials, they were tired of the oppression and the opposition but in one of the many rallies for encouragement Bishop Abel Muzorewa gave this sustaining word:

People are unreasonable, illogical and self-centred.

The Three Wise Women

Published: Saturday, 08 December 2012

On Thursday night (with Joe Pinkard) and this Sunday (with Ann Lock) we at ABC are looking at the Christmas story through the eyes of the wise men. 

Someone wondered how the story would have been different if it had starred Three Wise Women. Check out the text on the image. Jan Richardson, of Florida, has been thinking down this similar line. She has written this poem: 

Wise Women Also Came

Wise women also came.The fire burned
in their wombs
long before they saw
the flaming star
in the sky.

Baptists and the Universal Declaration of Human Rights

Published: Monday, 03 December 2012

For more than twenty years, the Baptist World Alliance has encouraged Baptist congregations around the world to observe Human Rights Day. The date coincides with the anniversary of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights which was adopted on December 10, 1948. This year, the Office of the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights will focus on inclusion and the right to participate in public life. The theme draws directly from Articles 19, 20 and 21 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights which speak of the right to freedom of expression and opinion, the right to freedom of assembly and association and the right to take part in government, either directly or through freely chosen representatives.