Moving Mercy – part 3 – presence

Dan Stevers – Presence

The account of the encounter between God and Moses on the holy mountain can teach us so much about our journey towards healing – receiving and sharing mercy. It is worth reflecting on the divine name that God reveals to Moses – that he calls himself “I am”. This should remind us that the only place to truly encounter God is in this present moment – not in our past regrets or in our future fears. But God will also bring healing to our past relationships in the present and he tells us that this sacred encounter with the Lord is worth protecting through appropriate boundaries being put into effect.

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Recorded at St Paul’s, AP (first part is from 7.30am; second part from 9.30am – if you were there, you will know why! #godblesstech) – 14 mins
Season of Lent, Third Sunday. Exodus 3.

Slide presentation: Download moving-mercy-3.pdf
Video Reflection: Dan Stevers – Presence

Moving Mercy – part 2 – drop the jawbone

jawboneIn this series on the experience and practice of mercy, the second reality that we need to confront is the intoxicating nature of revenge. When we look at the scriptures to find the first mention of revenge, we do not have to look very far. In fact, after the two accounts of creation in Genesis 1 and 2, and then the account of the fall of humanity in Genesis 3, it is in the story of the first descendants of the man and the woman that we see the reaction of violence that begins to spiral out of control, especially in the boast of Lamech in Genesis 4:23-24.

But if you wish to see revenge in all its primitive and barbaric honesty, then we need look no further than Judges 15 with the account of Samson and his attempts to woo his wife with a young goat which results eventually in the death of hundreds of people. The scary thing is that the lines that Rambo-Samson uses to justify his action are rarely far from what we continue to hear in more mundane situations like the office cooler or which side of the church we choose to sit on.

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Recorded at St Paul’s, 7.30am.

Jawbone supplied by parishioner and local farmer, Michael Keys.

Presentation slides. Reflection video: Dust (Shift Worship)

Moving Mercy – part 1 – rat poison

moving-mercy-screen‡ Week one – Overview

1.    What it isn’t

Mercy is not:

  • Condoning what they did. If they did something that was wrong, then that is not okay.
  • Waiting for them to apologise or repent for what they did or make amends.
    This may never come, so stop holding onto a likely dream.
  • Ignoring justice or eliminating consequences.
    You may sill have to call your lawyer, or the police, or seek an AVO on the person.
  • Forgetting what happened. Sometimes mercy requires remembering first. Boundaries may need to be established.
  • Pretending that nothing really happened
  • Reconciliation – at least, not necessarily. In the very best of circumstances and situations, yes, it will be. Reconciliation should be our ultimate aim, but forgiveness and reconciliation are two different things.
    • Sometimes you can’t go back to what you had / what it was
    • Don’t pretend that it didn’t happen

Reconciliation takes two healthy people who have worked very hard to resolve this matter

2.    What is it?

You may need to forgive someone:

  • If you can’t or won’t say their name. How many people only speak about their former spouse after the divorce as “my ex”? You see something similar when you only speak about a person’s title or position, rather than using their name. Not to name someone separates us and reduces or even removes any intimacy. A clear sign that we are still holding onto stuff.
  • If a person’s name comes up in conversation – how do your friends react? Is there an immediate tension as people brace themselves for you to react?
  • If you hear of something good happening to that person and you are saddened, or angry, or hurt; conversely, if you hear that something bad happened and you are happy: these are strong signs.
  • If someone else is almost haunting you like a disembodied spirit or ghost; it is like there is an annoying buzz or static in your heart.
  • If whenever you think about that person, you always associate them with the memory of that thing that they did / that action that hurt you so much.
  • If you blame them whenever things don’t go well.
  • If you wish you’d never met them / fell in love / married them / worked for them / ministered with them / been in their parish / been inspired by them…
  • If you wish they were dead

3.    Who do I need to forgive?

  • You can’t forgive an institution
    • The Church didn’t wrong you
    • That company didn’t wrong you
    • That country didn’t wrong you
    • The government didn’t wrong you
    • Your family didn’t wrong you
  • It is always people or a person that we need to forgive

4.    What is forgiveness?

  • It is a process that takes time. Wounds do fester, so it takes time to heal.
  • The first step is the awareness of the problem.
  • If this week, you begin to be a little less angry or revengeful – then that is a victory. Let us agree to claim the victory whenever we can!
  • Mercy indeed moves. It moves us to respond; it moves us towards healing; ultimately it moves us to reconciliation.
  • Moving to mercy may happen in an instant; or more likely, it will take many days, or weeks, or years.
  • You recognise that you are beginning to move into mercy when you refuse to allow someone else to rob you of your joy.
  • Forgiveness is making the decision to set someone free, and discovering the person set free is me.
  • Someone said that not forgiving is like drinking rat poison yourself and wondering why the rat never dies! Not forgiving allows the other person to rent free space in your head or heart.
  • Moving Mercy is all about being set free.
  • If you want mercy for yourself, then you need to extend it to others as well. This is exactly what we pray in the Our Father each day: forgive us our trespasses, as we forgive those who trespass against us.”

snorkelExample of a snorkel

  • How do you get breath when you are underwater?
  • You need to both breathe in and breathe out.
  • A snorkel lets air go both ways.
  • If you don’t forgive others it blocks the flow to yourself.
  • Our issues with other people often come back to us.
  • We first live in this flow and then share it with others.
  • This is what we will undertake over the next four weeks.

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Recorded at St Paul’s, 9.30am Mass
Sunday One, Season of Lent, Year C (L1C).

Video: Preparing for Lent
Slides: Moving Mercy 1

Ash Wednesday reflection

Ashes10Finding freedom to grow seems to me to be a strong sub-theme within this season of Lent. All of the things that we are invited to give up or let go of are all about finding the space to be more and to live larger lives.

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Ash Wednesday, evening Mass