An echo of wonder

On Sunday I used this joyous visual to start a sermon at church, and many of you have been asking where to find the clip. So enjoy!

There is no denying that it beautifully captures, stirs  and evokes a response in us (and I’m told from a very reliable source that it “moves us to tears”, no matter how many times we’ve seen it!)

I’m so glad for visual images such as this, which point us to things of wonder and sheer joy.

Wonder is natural and spontaneous to us all.  Children tumble through their day, joyfully bumbling along tasting, touching, smelling everything that is new and in their reach.  

Eugene Peterson says, “But gradually a sense of wonder gets squeezed out of us. There are many reasons, but mostly the lessening of wonder takes place as we develop competence and gain mastery over ourselves and our environment.” 1

How can wonder be cultivated rather than diminished?

1. Eugene Peterson, Christ Plays in Ten Thousand Places

This is a side thought from: The Institute Of Contemporary And Emerging Worship Studies, St. Stephen’s University, Essentials Blue Online Worship History Course with Dan Wilt I am on week 2 of Essentials Blue Online Worship History Course.

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National Vineyard Worship Leader’s Retreat

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The word is out!!! 

There will be a retreat for Aussie Vineyard Worship Leader’s in August ’09.

We are thrilled that Dan and Anita Wilt will be our guests this year.

You’ll find more info here. (Early bird rego’s can be made NOW and you’ll also find more fun pics from the tremendous 08 retreat in Vic!)

Adam and Steph

Be ready for anything in 09!

Creative genius

I love TEDtalks. I hadn’t caught up on this latest Feb 2009 one yet, but was interested to see has already Deb Hirsch commented on it.

70532_113x85Elizabeth Gilbert and her fascinating ‘take’ on creative genius.

Strangers Welcome

the visitor    The Visitor

I watched a lovely movie, The Visitor, while I was on holidays. It illustrates the theme of welcoming a stranger, in a world where we have become so afraid to reach out to those who are different to us.

 

It reminded me that years ago, on my first international trip I arrived in a new country and saw the word ‘Alien’ in the Customs area and discovered that was what I was! I remember lining up as an alien, laughing so much to see that was the term used for a visitor!  I was only an alien for a short time. But it remains the ‘legal’ term we use for those who are not fellow countrymen.

 

Alien…really?

 

And the Bible talks about aliens a lot as well.

The call to welcome the stranger is anchored in the Torah and was a part of the measure of the Hebrew community’s faithfulness to God.

And not just in the Old Testament. Paul reminded the Romans to offer hospitality to the alien, and in the Letter to the Hebrews talks of us being aliens and strangers in a foreign land.

 

Who are the strangers among us?

Those unknown to the community. Those who are aliens, often foreigners, people who had different foods, different clothes, different languages, different gods.

 

Opening one’s home was risky. Today we’d describe such a thing as out and out foolish.

 

What happens though,

…when we learn a stranger’s name?

…when we meet their family?

…when we hear their rich life story?

 

Welcome the stranger and see how involved God is in it.

It’s part of our identity. It has long been the stamp of the Christian community. Does that still ‘live on’ in us?

The risk did not define the people of God; their hospitality did, for they knew such hospitality was central to the character of their God.

 

This movie points out wonderful connections and surprises that come in the welcoming of strangers. (although, if I was to put on the hat of a movie critic, the story line is rather idealistic and at times simplistic) None-the-less, if you want another perspective on welcoming a strangers, check out The Visitor.

Creative Projects (Essentials Blue Fall 08)

If you are interested in the creative projects coming in at the end of the Essentials Blue Course, pop over here at Dan Wilt’s blog.

Strong expressions and there’s more on the way.

Beyond stylistic change

My parents go to a Uniting Church, and I grew up mostly going along with them until I left for Uni. I have watched them and their faith community walk through some pretty big challenges in their denomination over the years.

I find it interesting to read this article by Jonny Baker, Musings from Australia and is well worth a read. He was invited out to Australia by the Uniting Church.

It’s timely to read this, as earlier this year I met some fellow travellers, who are in leadership with the Uniting church and are on a genuine journey with new wineskins in their community. They were so hungry, teachable and great seekers of truth. They are keen to draw from many sources as they seek the Father’s heart. They echo a little of what I hear from Jonny’s reflections about what he was seeing here during his visit.

Jonny Baker says in a series of posts he’s been doing on the future in worship…”i rehearsed the passage jesus tells about new wine and old wine to suggest that we need both old and new but that if we want new in the future we need to create space for pioneers now. that new will also be uncomfortable because it won’t just be about stylistic change but will include a deeper questioning and re-theologising.”

I pray that in the Vineyard movement, no matter what comes, we will continue to be open to new wine in new wineskins, as well as enjoying the rich vintage wine. It is my hope that we can continue to bless and invest in the pioneers as well as hold value and integrity in what has been such a rich part of our movement.

She: Rob Bell’s new video

I’m sure most of you have checked this out already. 

Rob Bell has a new Nooma video out, called ‘She’. For a short time you can see the preview on facebook here.

It’s all about female nature of God, and the role of women.
The video has an introduction…

“We didn’t have anything to do with our birth. We are all here because some woman somewhere gave us life. Her pain, her effort, for our life. And when a mother gives like that to a child, she is showing us what God is like. But sometimes this part of God’s nature is overlooked. A lot of us are comfortable with male imagery for God. But what about female imagery for God? Is God limited to a gender? Or does God transcend and yet include what we know as male and female? Maybe if we were more aware of the feminine imagery for God we would have a better understanding of who God is and what God is like.”

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