The legacy of Marcus Borg

marcus borg

It was with great sadness I read that Marcus Borg died a few days ago. Through reading his books, he was instrumental in developing my Theology and Biblical understanding.

Whilst readings his books, I always sensed he was a compassionate man, with an appreciation of the God who liberates and enables individuals to walk their own path of discipleship.

Many years ago I read ‘The God I never knew’ and ‘Meeting Jesus for the first time’ my well-thumbed copies still near to hand in my study;  even now, I recommend these two books for people who are and enquiring about God and Jesus . He had an ability to articulate his thoughts in a way that was non-threatening and logically constructed.

In his book ‘The heart of Christianity’ he unpacks Theology further, and it is a book I still refer back to, to aid me in my thinking. He particularly helped my understanding of the Nature of Salvation, which I used as a basis for my Masters dissertation.

He was no woolly ‘liberal’ theologian, furthermore he was never anxious in engaging in conversations different to his own. He writes that it is only be conversation that we can appreciate the diversity of God.

He has left a legacy that goes far beyond the books on the books shelves;

  • A legacy of yearning to know God in a deeper sense,
  • A legacy of the Jesus who walks with us, who cries with us and who laughs with us.
  • A legacy of the Spirt dancing, whirling , excited, and yet comforting ,
  • The legacy of Salvation in conversation, hospitality and engagement.

Overriding all this was his love for God….. for his Legacy, to all who search for the God of Love, is found in his gentle , compassionate, manner that reaches out from his writings.

May the essence of God, that I encountered through his writings, live on, ….and I would love to be a fly on wall when he arrives ‘home’.. what theological discussions will be taking place now !!

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Week of Prayer for Christian Unity

week of prayer for Chriatian unity

This Sunday concludes the week of prayer for Christian Unity. I know many churches are actively involved in this Ecumenical witness, however some churches are still hesitant to get deeper involved. Why is this?

Standing from a minister’s perspective, I recognise and hear that many people are doing projects ecumenically, however we can still hide behind our churches walls for worship and sadly prayer.

This week should be a reminder to all Christians that we follow one God, the Creator, Sustainer and Comforter for all people, regardless of our traditions and denominations.

Yes, we must always recognise and appreciate different denominational liturgy, and speaking personally, that can be uplifting, encouraging and humbling, for example when I am present at a Catholic Mass, or a large Anglican cathedral or a silent Quaker meeting or an evangelical worship service.

An awareness that God is present in all forms of worship, and prayer is vital so we can appreciate the diversity and the inclusivity of God. For me this can only be done if we worship and pray together, and the Week of Prayer for Christian Unity is one opportunity where this could be achieved.

My prayer is that ecumenical boundaries can be crossed, Communion may offered and taken in God’s name, and the worship will enable us to sing in harmony with each other to bring Glory to the name who loves us all.

The fragrance of memory

Over the last few days I have undertaken pastoral visits for funerals.

I have always found it a privilege to conduct funerals, and on a visit, I always ask what memories they would like to share with me about the person who has died; about the character , personality and sense of humour. Sometimes we end up laughing, sometimes they are painful and tears come, and sometimes the memories can bring a warmth to the room as they talk fondly and lovingly about them.

Memories are like a scent, a fragrance, we encounter a fleeting smell, that ignites a memory, then it can be over as quickly as it came…… Yet it leaves a lingering aroma.

scenttriggersmemory1

Memories can lock us into a time a place.

The people who encounter Jesus, would have shared memories, about his character, his voice, his eyes, his touch and even his conversation.

We tend to forget that the gospel stories only give us a glimpse of Jesus. The Bible has only recorded accounts that the writers felt served a purpose to describe the nature and purpose of Jesus ministry, yet those memories still linger on, because those same Bible stories still speak to us today, for example, the story of the God Samaritan , the woman at the well , the Easter stories.

Memories are like fragrances, they can be heavy and oppressive, and also light and suble.

As we recall memories of situations and people, some painful and others joyous, may we be mindful that Jesus was also present, that memories enrich who we are , memories have shaped our sense of identity , memories have left a mark on life itself.

They can come anytime Lord,

they bring me to laughter or tears.

I can be washing up plates at the sink,

or looking at a beautiful view,

then my mind floods with pictures dancing in my mind.

Memories can be breathing spaces

where I can rest and remember

they can sustain me in my hour of despair

and bring a light into my life

Occasionally memories are painful

buried deep within many layers of my psyche

too frightened to come out of the darkness

Jesus and the disciples had many memories,

like me…… some painful and others joyful.

Lord whatever memories I may raise,

may I know that you are with me,

in my hurtful or joyful moments,

Holding me tenderly,

like a mother comforts a child

Amen

Baptism …Affirmation or acceptance?

It seems to me that when we think about our baptism, not many people can remember it or even celebrate it , particularly if one had a infant baptism. I have been  fortunate as I had an adult baptism in my 30’s, and can remember every moment of it, even down to my 10 year old daughter holding my towel for me as I emerged soaked from the baptistery. .

Does baptism affirm or accept us … I think its the latter. Social media has lots of ‘like’ buttons  ‘heart’ buttons and ‘follow’ buttons. We can connect to the world in very new and exciting ways, and enable us to be part of  community of people, who do not ‘know us’, yet the more likes, views  or followers we have, affirm our status in that network , however our inner selves can still feel lonely and rejected.

Acceptance is a gift that God gives us

. it means ‘i accept and you .. warts and all’

it means ‘i accept you even if you can accept yourself’

It means ‘I accept and love you just the way you are’

for you are wonderful in my sight.

PRAYER

May the blessing of God be yours.

May the Blessing of Jesus be yours.

May the blessing of the Spirit be yours.

    By this blessing, we are loved and beloved by God

    By this blessing, we are affirmed and accepted by God

    By this blessing, we live in the knowledge that God is         

     Around us and within us,

     from this time forth and evermore. Amen 

    © Ruth Dillon 2015