These talks were given as part of MustardSeed Uniting Church Ultimo's weekly Sunday café gatherings...
Extra•ordinary! (David Gore • Luke 2:1-14)
God becomes present in time and space and amongst humanity. The divine presence in the form of a baby - a universal symbol of dependence and vulnerability.
The paradox of the Nativity is that the baby in the manger has the potential to draw from human hearts the very divine love of which the Messiah is an expression.
The only appropriate response to a totally dependent baby is self-giving love. Self-giving Love is the most tangible experience of the presence of God we can have.
The Nativity is an invitation to know the love of God. How are you responding to that invitation?
How can this be?! (David Gore • Luke 1:26-38)
An angel visits a young woman and brings her news she would have barely understood and even more… struggled to accept.
Mary did not see herself as anyone special. As far as the usual indicators go, Mary was not anyone special. It was somewhat incongruous to her that she had been considered a ‘favoured one’.
The angel tells Mary she is being entrusted with a world shaping responsibility. Her response is simply to acknowledge her humble station and declare herself available.
A way for all (David Gore • Isaiah 40:1-11)
Isaiah’s anticipation of Messiah is the clearest picture of God coming among the people offered by any of the Hebrew prophets. In this particular vision (Isaiah 40:1-11), Isaiah sees a new way opening for the people of God. Not just the people of God… but for all people everywhere!
This new way is the eternal way. It was once hidden (since the foundation of the world). It is revealed by God’s Messiah. It is a gentle, grace-filled, healing way. A way that enables one to see all things clearly. A way that can be clearly seen by all.
This is the self-giving way of Jesus.
God comes among us (David Gore • Isaiah 64:1-9)
Isaiah’s vision (Isa 64:1-9) of God making an actual appearance on earth has prescient hints of apocalypse. The heavens torn asunder. Mountains quaking!
The advent of Jesus birth might (at first) seem far less earth shattering.
In actual fact, Jesus’ arrival does mark the moment in human history where the unquestioned assumptions of the ways of this world were shattered. Might is no longer assumed to be right. We now go to great lengths to hear the cry of victims. Forgiveness has been revealed as more powerful than vengeance.
In what ways has the advent of Jesus rocked your world?
The Sheep and the Goats (David Gore • Matt 25:31-46)
When Jesus tells his story of welcome and judgement (aka the sheep and the goats) it is sensible for him to make use of the popular concepts of God’s acceptance and rejection that existed in the minds of his audience.
We would be foolish to get caught up with the evocative imagery of eternal fire and miss the point of the story.
Jesus wants his hearers to be aware that the way we live our lives matter! Even if we are not completely aware of what is going on, how we live tells us about what we want. What we want tells us about what we value. What we value tells us about what we truly believe.
What is your life telling you about what you believe?
Parable of the Talents (David Gore • Matthew 25:14-30)
When Jesus tell his folksy little stories, he is not seeking to entertain his audience. He always wants to provoke something within them.
In today’s story about the servants given responsibility with their master’s assets, it seems Jesus wants his audience to reflect on the way they engage in the world. The characters might read more like caricatures, but they drive home the distinction between fearfulness and faithfulness.
Which one do you tend to identify yourself with?
Very encouraging and thought provoking
There are some good people at MustardSeed Ultimo. It's great to be able to listen in on their public conversations.