'But seek the shalom of the city where I have sent you into exile, and pray to the Lord on its behalf, for in its shalom you will find your shalom.'... (Jeremiah 29)
And the speaker for the vision dares to say, "Your shalom will be found in Babylon's shalom." The well-being of the chosen ones is tied to the well-being of that hated metropolis, which the chosen people fear and resent. It is profound and disturbing to discover that this remarkable religious vision will have to be actualized in the civil community. (Walter Brueggemann)
Tuesday, 31 March 2009
Monday, 30 March 2009
I saw a vision – It was last Thursday at eleven o’clock in the morning.
I was standing on the Necropolis, looking down over the city
and the cold blue autumn sky broke open over my head
and the Spirit of God breathed on my eyes, and my eyes were opened:
I saw Glasgow, the holy city, coming down out of heaven
shining like a rare jewel, sparkling like clear water in the eye of the sun
and all the sickness was gone from the city
and there were no more suburbs and schemes
no difference between Bearsden and Drumchapel.
I saw the Clyde running with the water of life
as bright as crystal
as clear as glass
the children of Glasgow swimming in it.
And the Spirit showed me the tree of life
growing on Glasgow Green.
I looked out and there were no more homeless people
there were no women working the streets
there were no more junkies up the closes
HIV and AIDS were things of the past
there were no more racist attacks
no more attacks on gay people
no more rapists
no more stabbings
no more Protestants and Catholics
no more IRA graffiti, no more Orange marches
because there was no more hate
and I saw women walking safe at nights
and the men were full of passion and gentleness
and none of the children were ever abused
because the people’s sex was full of justice and joy.
I saw an old woman throw back her head
and laugh like a young girl
and when the sky closed back her laughter rang in my head
for days and days
and would not go away.
This is what I saw, looking over the Gallowgate,
Looking up from the city of death
and I knew then that there would be a day of resurrection
and I believe that there will be a day of resurrection.
Saturday, 28 March 2009
Friday, 27 March 2009
Thursday, 26 March 2009
Wednesday, 25 March 2009
Tuesday, 24 March 2009
Give out a thought:
The common purse of the Twelve only magnified after Pentecost, resulting in sweeping economic sharing in the early church. As the Holy Spirit empowered the disciples and increased their numbers, the new order of the kingdom effectively dismantled the walls between the privileged and the underprivileged, the powerful and the powerless, and the haves and the have-nots in the community. Luke reported several times in the book of Acts how the Spirit-led followers of Jesus “had everything in common. Selling their possessions and goods, gave to anyone as he had need” (Acts 2:44-45). And again, “all the believers were in one heart and mind. No one claimed that any of his possessions was his own, but they shared everything they had” (Acts 4:32). Though hard to imagine today with our highly individualistic mind-set, this economic arrangement among them seemed only natural in the early church in light of the gospel. The experience of fellowshipping with the risen Jesus (1 Cor 15:5-8) and the coming of the Holy Spirit (Acts 2:1-47) registered such an impact upon the first generation of believers that economic sharing – the spirit of Jubilee justice – defined their relationships.(Sider, Gordon, Perkins, Tizon)
Monday, 23 March 2009
Give out a thought and an action:
At the beginning of the week you may use this meditation to help focus on Jesus. (thanks to Phil Hoyle for his work on this)
- What do we build our lives on?
- Are we satisfied?
- Do we hunger?
- Do we long for something?
- Can anything on this earth truly satisfy our deepest longings?
- Can anything on this earth truly satisfy this hunger we experience?
- Do we hunger for God?
- When we approach God, what do we expect to receive?
- Are we asking God for anything?
- What are we asking for?
- Do we trust God to give us things that are good for us?
Jesus declared, "I am the bread of life. He who comes to me will never go hungry…I am the bread of life. Your forefathers ate manna in the desert, yet they died. But here is the bread that comes down from heaven, which a man may eat and not die. I am the living bread that came down from heaven. If anyone eats of this bread, he will live forever. And, on the night he was betrayed, Jesus took bread, and when he had given thanks, broke it and said, "This is my body, which is for you; take and eat this in remembrance of me."
Lord Jesus Christ, you are the bread of life. You alone can satisfy the hunger in our hearts. Lord Jesus, you nourish and sustain us with your presence and life. You are the bread of life - the bread that sustains us now and that produces everlasting life in us. May we always hunger for you and be satisfied in you alone. Lord, you satisfy the deepest longings of our hearts and you feed us. Fill us with gratitude and give us generous hearts that we may freely share with others what you have given to us. Amen.
- Do you trust God to give you things that are good for you?
- Are you asking God for anything?
- What are you asking for?
Saturday, 21 March 2009
Give out an image:
(taken from http://asbojesus.wordpress.com)
Give out a thought: ‘A radical view of economic justice, in which the poor hold a prominent place, launches Jesus’ sermon: “Blessed are you who are poor, for yours is the kingdom of God”. Undoubtedly such a value informed the new community of disciples in its view of possessions and wealth as well as the economic relationships among them. For example, they shared a “common purse”, meaning, among other things, that “the resources of the entire community of obedient disciples would be available to anyone in need.” In short, Jesus and the community of the Twelve took up the responsibility originally given to Israel to model kingdom justice.” Jesus and his followers vividly demonstrated that the old covenant’s pattern of economic relationships among God’s people [was] not only to be continued but also deepened.’ (Sider, Perkins, Gordon, Tizon)
Give out an action: Collect pictures, photographs, videos and drawings of people giving out to others. If you can, send them to firstname.lastname@example.org
Friday, 20 March 2009
Give out an image and a sound:
Give out a thought:
Ched Myers, writing on the story of the rich, young ruler.
‘Christians have been so anxious that Jesus might be saying something exclusive or critical about the rich that they have missed the fact that this triplet is not a statement about them at all. It is a statement about the nature of the Kingdom. These reiterations – all in the indicative mood – insist that the Kingdom of God is simply that social condition in which there are no rich and poor. By definition then, the rich cannot enter – not, that is, with their wealth intact…Jesus is not inviting this man to change his attitude toward his wealth, nor to treat his servants better, nor to reform his personal life. He is asserting the precondition for discipleship: economic justice.’
Thursday, 19 March 2009
Give out a thought and an action:
Are we who are rich, which by global standards is the majority of us, careful to heed this warning and to not get life from our riches?
Wednesday, 18 March 2009
Give out a thought:
Consider the Good Samaritan. What does he give?
1. Attention he stops at the roadside (put himself at risk)
2. Restoration/ healing bandaged his wounds (got his hands dirty),
3. Hospitality - took him to the inn (inconvenienced himself – even stayed overnight)
4. New economy, then paid the price (set up a new economy for the person in need).There are many neighbourhoods who are like the poor man in need of attention, restoration, hospitality and a new economy. Do we have faith for all that? We need to give them our attention by being there; then we must restore and be hospitable (allowing our lives to be changed by our encounters with this place). Yet, we shouldn’t stop short of the employing creativity and faith to believe that a new economy can happen.
Tuesday, 17 March 2009
Monday, 16 March 2009
At the start of this week spend time meditating on the following prayer:
Father, help us to live the Sabbath
To remind ourselves that you are God
You own the earth and everything in it
You provide for all that you have made
We will trust in you
Jesus, help us to live the Jubilee
To remind ourselves that you are righteous and just
We recognise that our possessions belong to the poor
That we are advantaged because someone else is disadvantaged
Help us return our gift to you
Spirit of God, you give life
This week breath again into our lives
That the spirit of Sabbath and of Jubilee may again be alive
In our lives, in our community, in this world.Amen
Saturday, 14 March 2009
'How then do we apply the actual laws we have discussed? Should we attempt to revive the specific mechanisms proposed in Leviticus 25 and Deuteronomy 15?Actually, it might not be a bad idea to try the Jubilee itself at least once. It has been somewhat more than fifty years since the people of God divided their capital equally among themselves. We could select 1980 as the Jubilee year... In 1980 all Christians worldwide would pool all their stocks, bonds, and income producing property and business and redistribute them equally. The world would be startled. There would undoubtedly be a certain amount of confusion and disruption. But then good things are seldom easy. Certainly the evangelistic impact of such an act would be fantastic. In a world tragically divided between the haves and the have-nots, such a visible demonstration of our oneness in Christ might indeed convince millions that Jesus was from the Father.'
Friday, 13 March 2009
- releasing each community member from debt (Lev 25:35-42);
- returning encumbered or forfeited land to its original owners (25:13,25-48);
- freeing slaves (25:47-55).
Thursday, 12 March 2009
Wednesday, 11 March 2009
Tuesday, 10 March 2009
The "instructions" in the narrative give s the three defining characteristics of this alternative economic practice. First, every family is told to gather just enough bread for their needs. In contrast to Israel's Egyptian condition of deprivation, here everyone has enough... In God's economy there is such a thing as "too much" and "too little". Second, this bread should not be "stored up". Wealth and power in Egypt was defined by surplus accumulation... The Bible understands that dominant civilizations exert centripetal force, drawing labour, resources and wealth into greater and greater concentrations of idolatrous power. So Israel is enjoined to keep wealth circulating through strategies of redistribution, not concentrating through strategies of accumulation. The third instruction introduces Sabbath discipline... We Christians regard the Sabbath as best as one of the Ten Commandments, at worst as a quaint Jewish custom. But here we say that it is instituted even before the Covenant at Sinai.Give out an action:
Monday, 9 March 2009
May God bless you with discomfort at easy answers, half truths, and superficial relationships, so that you may live deep within your heart.
May God bless you with anger at injustice, oppression and exploitation of people, so that you may work for justice, freedom and peace.
May God bless you with tears to shed for those who suffer from pain, rejection, starvation and war, so that you may reach out your hand to comfort them and to turn their pain into joy.
And may God bless you with enough foolishness to believe that you can make a difference in this world, so that you can do what others claim cannot be done.
Give out an image:
Saturday, 7 March 2009
Friday, 6 March 2009
‘We often forget that the Sabbath rest principle included the needs of the livestock. ‘Six days do your work, but on the seventh day do not work, so that your ox and your donkey may rest…” (Ex 23:12) The whole point of this instruction is that our dominion over the whole earth and the little creatures that creep upon it is to be a compassionate dominion. We are not to rape the earth but to care for it – kindly, lovingly, tenderly.’ (Richard Foster)
Wednesday, 4 March 2009
Give out an image: (thanks Tom)
Give out a thought: ‘The two main axioms of classical economics are: 1) the natural condition of scarcity; and 2) unlimited human appetite. These, Lowery writes, “breed resignation to systems of distribution so unequal as to guarantee homelessness and starvation. Sabbath economics, however, based on “the principles of abundance and self-restraint turn this classical economic approach on its head. If you assume that resources are abundant, sufficient for the survival and prosperity of human life, and that human needs and wants are limited, then no one need starve or suffer the elements through lack of housing or clothing.” The conclusion we must draw, says Lowery, is that “long-term, systemic hunger, homelessness and poverty can be viewed only as a failure of human will.”Cited in Ched Myers, ‘The Biblical Vision of Sabbath Economics.’