Advent: Peace

What might it mean for us to be recipients of peace as this year draws to a close? The Advent season, as much as we have turned it into a frantic time, is at its heart a season to pause and to be reminded that we can be recipients of peace. This story of Jesus says to us that we do not have to scramble to be seen, to be noticed, to find our affirmation or to find our place in the story. Instead, we are offered peace. 

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Advent 2018Clint Gibson
Advent: Affirmation

Jesus encounters someone who has had their humanity damaged by the actions and judgements of others, and affirms and restores her. He opposes the social and moral judgements being made by others in the room, sees her and offers her peace. A man, born in shame and danger to an unwed mother, now encounters a woman who is also ostracised, pushed to the edges, shunned, labelled, judged, and offers her peace and affirmation. And offers her the hero’s role in a story that would be retold for thousands of years.

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Advent 2018Clint Gibson
Advent: Incarnation

Advent ushers in the beginning of the Church Liturgical calendar year. The long season of Ordinary time comes to an end and we move into a place of hopeful anticipation, immersing ourselves in the Christmas Story, the birth narrative of Jesus as well as all of the extras that come with this busy season that vie for our attention and our wallets. It’s a season of gift giving, a time to celebrate the birth of the greatest gift given to mankind, God, who became flesh and lived like one of us.

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Advent 2018Clint Gibson
Whanaungatanga: The manaakitanga of Jesus

A visual representation of Manaakitanga would be the interplay of waves on the shore. With its repetitive flow the wave’s mana leaves its mark. In the same way, through our duty of care we share our inner presence and mana with others, and in doing so mana increases.  Duty of care is a necessary reciprocal and continual relationship between individuals (although not solely confined to humanity, but the includes all of creation) and then further into a wider community.

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Whanaungatanga: Missio Dei and a living eucharist

The Apostle Paul suggests that the church is the body of Christ, so every time we take Eucharist together, we are not just remembering the breaking of Jesus physical body, but we are invited to participate in it too. To remind us of the idea that we also might be given as life and nourishment for the world. And maybe we’re a little broken in the process – but like Jesus – the breaking offers an opportunity for resurrection life. 

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Whanaungatanga: Rest

Because of the way the ancient Hebrews understood God, they believed that God embedded rest into the very heart of creation itself. In fact, because human beings were created on the 6th day and God rested on the 7th day, in this story the first day that human creatures truly experience is a day of rest. Life is to be lived from rest, outward.

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Whanaungatanga: Prayer

There is something beautiful, healthy and holy about naming our need, our longing, our desire, our pain, grief, or joy. We take these things that circulate in our heads and hearts and keep us awake at night and make us anxious and worry and stress and wonder and problem solve - and we bring them out of ourselves into the midst of this ongoing conversation that is already happening with God and with others.

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Whanaungatanga: Prophetic Community and the Amos Archetype

No matter how small or insignificant we may feel or well pleased with our current disposition, prophetic encounter comes to disturb our blind obedience to the machine of life that can often trap us in a false sense of security or a hopelessness that says that this is all I am or will ever amount to. Prophetic encounter does not diminish your current status in life by suggesting a better option but rather somehow offers to advance to the ongoing evolution of your becoming.

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Formation: Purity, Disgust and the Meaning of Love

Historically, human beings have found all sorts of ways to determine who is clean and who is unclean, who is pure and holy or who is dirty and sinful. Our community becomes an extension of our body, and so if we deem someone or a group of people to become unclean or impure, then we will find ways to get them outside of our community so that we won’t become tainted by their uncleanness. Psychologically, its the same reflex as the disgust reflex, although that’s often not the language we give it.

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Whanaungatanga: Prophetic Community and the Jeremiah Archetype

Inspiration is a stunning metaphor that encapsulates the very essence of what it means to be prophetic, originally used to describe the ‘divine' at work in the cosmos, it gives us the scope to reconsider our participation in the  grand idea or reimagining and re-enchanting the world. Inspiration is innovation and inventiveness that pertains to the individual and corporate genius of our humanity.

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Whanaungatanga: Healing

The word healing in its simplest form means to become sound or healthy again, implying that there was a time when we were not. The Church is one such community, where the core value of ‘love’ is our catalyst, emulating and imaging the words of Jesus to ‘Love God…and to love our neighbor’ and is itself is a community of healing.

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Formation: Christian Empire and the Roots of Exclusion

The central story of the Old Testament is about a remarkable escape of numerous Hebrew slaves from a powerful empire, while the New Testament is centred on a small group of people who follow a prophet largely rejected by his own people and executed as a criminal by the State. Whether we realise it or not, this profoundly shapes the writings of both ‘testaments’; a fact that can be commonly obscured if we read them in the light of a Christianised Western world 2,000 years later.

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Beyond TribalismClint Gibson
Whanaungatanga: Table Fellowship

It was a sensory experience, a thing of beauty. The bread was placed in my mouth, which would be followed by a sip of wine from a beautiful chalice, a cup we would all share from. I can still feel the burning sensation of port trickling down my young throat. And it was an embodied experience. Posturing, waiting, kneeling, hands open, receiving, and tasting, this was an invitation into something real, real food, and something mysterious that this food also metaphored. 

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Formation: Behold I make all things new (or do I?)

The point of Christian faith is not to descend into the depths of the darkness and get lost there, but neither is it to ascend only into the glory of hope and possibility and deny the very real experiences of pain and challenge. Christianity is the rejection of that kind of duality, and instead asks us how we might find God present to us in the midst of the human experience. 

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Stairway to HeavenClint Gibson
Formation: Reverse Rapture

“Paul’s mixed metaphors of trumpets blowing and the living being snatched into heaven to meet the Lord are not to be understood as literal truth, as the Left Behind series suggests, but as a vivid and biblically allusive description of the great transformation of the present world of which he speaks elsewhere.” - N.T. Wright

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Stairway to HeavenClint Gibson
Whanaungatanga: Tribalism, Belonging and Inclusion

Jesus offers us a different vision of what it means to be human, and offers the antidote to Psalm 137. Not the elimination of our need to express our pain and grief, but a refusal to use our pain and grief to turn us against one another. Instead, Jesus offers a kind of belonging that does not depend on excluding those who are different from us.

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Whanaungatanga: Temples and Connections

Our hope is that as we share experiences together, and learn what it is to work together in ways big and small, we discover a sense of belonging. This can be a really practical sense of community, but the New Testament also invites us to think of this in a mystical kind of way too. That somehow we are imaging the divine in the way we belong to each other, and that our common life together includes an invitation into a different way of being in the world that resists the rampant individualism that is stifling life in the West in the 21st century.

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Manaakitanga: I and Thou

Creation is the first loving and beautiful act of God’s manaakitanga – and it becomes our invitation to tune in to the pulsing rhythm of grace and generosity that sits just beneath the surface of things, calling us into a living embrace.

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Formation: Naming the Antichrist

There’s an empire that is doing everything it can to make you fall in with the system, to play by the rules of power, oppression, violence, economic superiority… to follow their narrative. Are you going to fall in, or are you going to follow a different path? Will you follow the way of the lamb that was slain, the way of life in which true and lasting power comes from sacrificial love?

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