~ Ideas shared in our Sunday morning messages ~

Have you ever suddenly come across a word or a phrase that makes an indelible imprint on your mind? One word which springs to mind is Spirituality – Spirit-uality. This means living each day by the power of God’s Holy Spirit, reading the Word, praying, listening for the still small voice of the Spirit or giving praise and thanks to God.

Something to think about…

Each week we have a small devotion to contemplate for the days following the service on Sunday. These are included in the BUC newsletter for the congregation but they are also provided for you below to read at your own leisure.

For the week of Friday, 18th October 2019

The Matrix has you…

The movie The Matrix depicts a futuristic reality where human choice and human freedom is an illusion. Members of the human race go about their lives, believing that they are freely choosing their actions, oblivious to the fact that this freedom is illusory. The reality is that they are enslaved. Rather than being masters of their own destinies, they are unknowing, helpless participants in a simulated reality in which they are imprisoned by a collective of sentient machines.

As some scientists and philosophers have pointed out, it isn’t absolutely certain that we are not presently living in a simulated reality (how would we actually know?), but let’s assume that what we’re living is the real thing! Does this mean that we have true freedom of choice and action? Does this mean that we are not subject to influences beyond our awareness and beyond our control? Does this mean that our choices are not constrained by a ‘matrix’ of influences?

Sunday’s message will explore how we, as individuals, are in some ways constrained and imprisoned by other factors, and how we might gain a freedom that transcends these constraints.

Michael Dowling

For the week of Friday, 11th October 2019

This Sunday’s reading is the healing by Jesus of the ten men with leprosy. Only one returned to offer thanks to Jesus for his healing; that person being the lone ‘foreigner’ or ‘outside’ among the ten healed. It is a story, on one level, about insiders and outsiders. When it comes to our engagement with others, do we consider certain people ‘in’ and others ‘out’? Sometimes it is possible to engage in insider/outsider attitudes without being consciously aware of doing so. The reading today will encourage us to explore this further.

Michael Dowling

For the week of Friday, 27th September 2019

Separation and Oneness

How do we find meaning in life? Is it through material gain? Do those who gain the most materially experience the most meaning in their lives? Is the saying, “He who dies with the most toys wins!” accurate?

If we were to listen to the incessant barrage of marketing, compelling us to spend more and more on things that are over and above what we actually need, we might indeed be drawn down that pathway. In this Sunday’s parable, Jesus tells the story of The Rich Man and Lazarus (not the Lazarus raised from the dead; another one!). The Rich Man had every material thing his heart could desire, whilst Lazarus had nothing. In death, their roles were essentially reversed, but one thing remained constant: the Rich Man and Lazarus remained separated from each other.

We live our lives within our own individual ‘spheres of operation’ in which we generally associate with the same group of people, and not with others. There are some people, and some groups of people whom we are separated from as effectively as if there were physical barriers between us. These non-physical barriers of separation can erected by our individual choices, by societal norms, by social and cultural structures, and by entrenched prejudices. In opposition to separateness, what might oneness look like? What might a human heart centred in oneness look like? What might a world centred in oneness look like?

Michael Dowling

For the week of Friday, 20th September 2019

The reflection on this week’s Bible reading is…well…a little different.

 I need to say this quietly, okay…but I would really, really like your interpretation of the passage we are considering (Luke 16:1-9). If you could please pass me a note, with your interpretation, before I deliver the message this Sunday…I would really appreciate it. In fact, I will appreciate it so much, that the best interpretation I get will be richly rewarded. No, it won’t be a small bag of unmarked bills, as I suspect that this could violate the ministerial code of ethics. Nonetheless, you will be rewarded.

 Michael Dowling

For the week of Friday, 13th September 2019

The One and the Many…

Spending so much time and effort to find…what? One lost sheep out of 100 sheep? One lost coin out of 100 coins? Why bother?! Wouldn’t it make more sense to focus your attention on safeguarding the remaining 99, than bothering so much about the one?!

This is the subject of the gospel reading this Sunday and, like with so many other things, here Jesus also turns things on its head. It is the one, not the many, that really counts, according to Jesus.

What do we make of this assertion? In what ways might Jesus be right about the importance of the one versus the many? We’ll be exploring this question as part of that strange upside-down reality that Jesus called the Kingdom of God.

Michael Dowling

For the week of Friday, 6th September 2019

Psalm 104

The month of September offers us an alternative to the regular Lectionary readings in the form of the Season of Creation. On Sunday the 8th September we will celebrate Flora & Fauna Sunday. It has been suggested that God wrote two books, the little book of the Bible and the big book of Creation, and that we need to read and discover the Sacred in both. Members of the congregation will share their Fauna and Flora stories and we will hear the invitation of the Aboriginal practice of Dadirri or ’Deep Listening’ to the world around us. This is listening that involves ears, eyes, heart, mind, and spirit. As our planet faces incredible challenges to survival through climate change, we need to become more in tune with all of God’s Creation in order to value and care for it, and to celebrate all that God has made.

Lynona Hawkins