‘Just as rivers flow’

HOMILY: The final chapter of the book/letter of Revelation depicts a heavenly city on Earth – the descent of a New Jerusalem – where the Lamb of God (nonviolence) rules, and God’s name (love/liberation …) is reflected in human faces. We are shown a street, a life-giving river and fruitful/medicinal trees. The vision is one of harmony, sustainability; illumination, salvation (wellness and wholeness).

This movement from above to below is significant. The vision counters conventional (otherworldly) notions of transcendence and calls us to lower our sights – to look around us for signs of truth, goodness and beauty – just as rivers flow from high to lowlands and to the sea ...
September 24, 2023/by Andrew Collis

‘Dancing in the desert sand’

HOMILY: Coloured Stone is a band from the Koonibba mission, west of Ceduna, South Australia. Their distinctive sound is described as “desert reggae”. Mirning singer-songwriter Bunna Lawrie and band perform using electric guitar, bass, drums, yidaki or didjeridu, bundawuthada (gong stone) and clap sticks.

I’m listening to “Wild Desert Rose”, Bunna’s tribute to the desert flowers, one of the stunning sights that make his home country such a special place. The sparkling lead guitar and joyful backing vocals conjure a stunning image of the outback ...
September 17, 2023/by Andrew Collis

‘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 ...
September 10, 2023/by Andrew Collis

‘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.
September 3, 2023/by Andrew Collis

‘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.
August 27, 2023/by Andrew Collis

‘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.
August 13, 2023/by Andrew Collis

‘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.”
August 6, 2023/by Andrew Collis

‘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 ...
July 30, 2023/by Andrew Collis

‘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!” ...
July 23, 2023/by Andrew Collis

‘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 ...
July 16, 2023/by Andrew Collis

‘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 ...
July 9, 2023/by Andrew Collis


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).
July 4, 2023/by Andrew Collis

‘The bonds of Sisterhood’

HOMILY: Jesus the Teacher, we might imagine, sometimes surprised his disciples with a pop quiz. He probably tried to make it helpful and enjoyable. So, let’s imagine a multiple-choice quiz for conscientious disciples.
July 2, 2023/by Andrew Collis

‘I’m really glad you made it!’

HOMILY: Matthew’s Jesus speaks of division and even accepts a certain responsibility for division: “I came not to bring peace, but a sword.” Before commending a Spirit on the side of human frailty and faith: “You who lose your life [as personal project/possession] for my sake [in the Spirit of love] will find it [as renewed promise/communal gift].”
June 25, 2023/by Andrew Collis

‘Mission – cosmic and domestic’

HOMILY: It’s common for me to find, as I prepare to lead worship or preach, that a particular image will strike me and add grist to the mill of my thinking.

These two images are from Facebook this week. I follow a group called Unique Trees, and I’m often delighted by what people notice and post.
June 18, 2023/by Andrew Collis

‘Each theme a window’

HOMILY: Our readings present major themes: faith and trust, universal blessing, creative community, desire and promise of healing. Each theme, a window on a world in crisis, reveals figures of frailty and fidelity, religious observance, prophetic hope. 
June 11, 2023/by Andrew Collis

‘New faith, hope and love’

HOMILY: Andre Rublev’s 15th-century Icon of the Holy Trinity is a treasure of Russian art, a treasure of Russian Orthodoxy, and a treasure of Christian faith. Already we are thinking in threes.
June 4, 2023/by Andrew Collis

‘She will guide you into all truth’

HOMILY: The Jewish Pentecost (or Shavuot) is a celebration of the fruitfulness of the land, blessed by the sun, rain and “wind/breath” of God. It is also a celebration of God’s giving Torah (good teaching) to a newly liberated people – 50 days after the Passover, 50 days after the Exodus.

In the church, we celebrate how the Spirit or “wind/breath” of God has “in-spirited” human beings – Jews and Gentiles – to live “highly” of themselves. The work of the Spirit is that all creation, including human beings, radiate Christ.
May 28, 2023/by Andrew Collis

‘Dove and fire’

HOMILY: There’s something about our text from John 14 that calls up ancient commentary. Perhaps it’s the promise of the Spirit, a wellspring of experience and testimony. The past recalled in present troubles – deep calling to deep (Psalm 42) – a call for help, a deeply hopeful calling ...
May 14, 2023/by Andrew Collis

‘Abba, Hokmah, Sophia, Messiah …’

HOMILY: Jesus says, “Whoever has seen me has seen Abba God.” Abba/Amma is Aramaic for divine source of life, God as loving father and mother of all. “Whoever has seen me – walked with me, talked with me, shared with me – has encountered God.”
May 7, 2023/by Andrew Collis
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