‘Two iconic songs’

HOMILY: When have you been moved by an encounter in and on the land? Working the soil, feeling the coolness or warmth of the earth … on your own, with others (companions, strangers), seen or unseen? Walking or running through rugged terrain … viewing or painting a landscape of some kind – with a sense of participation, anticipation …

‘Life, breath – everything’

HOMILY: Last Sunday morning, amidst regenerating forest on Gumbaynggirr Country (Mid North Coast), I awoke to a cacophony of bird calls, growing light, the condensation gathering on my tent.

I was on a forest protection pilgrimage, together with others from the Uniting Church’s Forest Advocacy Ministry.

‘How many keys?’

HOMILY: To see in a poor Galilean the fulfilment of Israel’s deepest yearnings is no simple feat. To see in a wandering teacher of torah and critic of smug religion with whom the anawim seek hope and healing the fulfilment of Israel’s deepest yearnings is no simple feat.

‘To walk on water …’

HOMILY: To walk on water is to dare admit our doubts and vulnerabilities, and to trust in love. “With Christ, we dare to be honest in our lives and to explore difficult questions together.”

To walk on water is to respond to love’s summons, not with a naïve bravery that inflates our egos, but with faith, however “little”. The gospel describes a faith that is coming to be, a faith that is risk – adventure, improvisation – incorporation into a faith/faithfulness that precedes and exceeds our own.

‘Wounded healers’

HOMILY: American philosopher Judith Butler, whose interests include literature and feminism, and whose recent work focuses on Jewish philosophy, exploring pre- and post-Zionist criticisms of state violence, writes: “Let’s face it, we’re undone by each other. And if we’re not, we’re missing something.”

‘Sing and dance in search of God’

HOMILY: Jesus is talking about his experience of God, the divine presence he feels in his heart and all around him. And Jesus wants to share this experience – feelings and thoughts, values and hopes – that’s why he tells stories about it. So that disciples (students) might understand and enjoy – and share – their faith too …

‘Holy surprise’

HOMILY: First, some thoughts on Genesis 28. Jacob dreams a ladder, a stairway to heaven with angelic beings descending and ascending. When he wakes, he is amazed. Here in this fearful/shameful place (Jacob has deceived his blind father Isaac and stolen a blessing from his brother Esau), the presence of the Holy One overwhelms him, and he is reassured of love. “Truly, YHWH is in this place, and I never knew it!” …

‘Then you will see God’

HOMILY: Over the last few generations there has been, as you all know, a revolution in farming practice. Agri-culture has become agri-business. In the past, large numbers of people worked on the land, but now things have changed. Our stomachs are still deeply connected to the land and its produce. But the distance is widening all the time between tilling the soil and consuming the food. Our interaction with the land now tends to take place in supermarkets; a place where food has already been processed into a package for us …

‘Soulful rest’

HOMILY: Today’s gospel – good news for the anawim or “have-nots” (11:5) – invites a number of responses. We might respond to the image of the yoke, a farming implement for working cattle, a symbol of Wisdom/torah/teaching. We might respond to the image of Messiah as co-worker. We might respond to the theme of rest or sabbath …

‘Storerooms’

HOMILY: Jesus said: “Every religious scholar who has become a student of the kindom of heaven is like the head of a household who can bring from the storeroom both the new and the old” (Matthew 13:52).