Ode to Ave

A community of service

Focused on developing

The next generation

Leads the good out of each

Pointing them towards

Fullness of life

Done with 


And humour

Guided by

Our gentle friend

Who leads us into

The truth

About life, others, ourselves

And God.

The same God

Whose powerful message

‘I love you

As you are

Can be too much to believe

For young and old.

We are showered

With the grace

Of this unearned gift

And it is where we

Find ourselves,

Build relationships,

Find fullness of life

And rediscover fire.

This we glimpse at Ave.

Reflection: Sunday 4 December

Readings: Isaiah 11:1-10; Matt 3:1-12

We know we are waiting to celebrate ‘God-with-us’ at Christmas – but what happens then? The first reading outlines that the one who comes to establish the reign of God will do so with wisdom, understanding, counsel, strength, knowledge and an awe of God. He will ‘judge the poor with justice’ and ‘decide aright for the land’s afflicted’. With ‘the breath of his lips he shall slay the wicked’. To emphasise that this coming of the one to establish the reign of God is a time of overturning ‘the way the world works’, a number of seeming opposites are put together: ‘the calf and the young lion shall browse together’. This is to make the point that despite what seems impossible to humans, all things are possible for God. Who wouldn’t want such a time to come?

The Gospel reminds us of another important component of Advent – acknowledging our past mistakes then looking to change, to be our best selves. This is well described by the Greek word metanoia or ‘change of heart’. John the Baptist concludes his teaching by pointing to ‘the one who is coming after me’ – the one referred to in the first reading.

Let us take time this week to reflect upon the ways that we can change to be our best selves. A good starting point would be ways that we can promote justice in our daily lives. Justice can be speaking for those who have no voice. Justice can be donating to those in need. If we open our hearts and listen to God, what we need to do will become clear.

More life

Flying to Sydney 

For a family birthday; 

Clouds defy gravity 


Brilliant in their white.

There are young children 

Whose faces light up

When we take off.

Their unbridled delight 

A reminder

Of what truly matters,

to stay

In the moment.

At the birthday lunch

I try to savour

The company

The food

And the beautiful setting.

Elderly mother



A metaphor 

For her decline.

A nondescript tree

Hosts bright red flowers

Attracting lorikeets 

Whose raucous squawking and chittering 

Is the sound of joy.


There is something

about the light

and the rain falling

that makes this moment



In a different moment

I’m watching a pre-teen

refuse her mother’s attempts

to take a photo of her.

It seemed, sadly, to make her feel


In another moment

I am consoling a student

whose grandmother

is about to pass away

after the girl

‘saw her for the last time’.


like a swollen river

has eddies

and special flows.

What to make of it?

Be present,

pay attention,

open your heart.

The rest follows.

Reflection: Sunday 27 November

Readings: Is 2:1-5; Rom 13:11-14; Matt 24:37-44

And so we begin Advent, our time of preparation for Christmas, when we celebrate God coming among us. This is a time of excitement and anticipation for many. For others, it is a time when absence is highlighted and pain is increased. This tension must be respected if we are to speak about life.

The first reading from the prophet Isaiah speaks of what God’s coming will look like, war will be no more. While there have been times in human history where advances are made in bringing peace, it is clear such progress is not linear. God is among us but there are those who march to the beat of a different drum.

The parousia or second coming of Christ was expected imminently in the first century. The second reading from Paul’s letter to the Romans and today’s Gospel of Matthew show this. During this time of Advent it is good for us to consider our preparedness to celebrate God’s presence among us at Christmas – am I ready for God’s self-gift to me? Am I living a life that is true to my beliefs? And if my answer is ‘no’ what am I going to do about it? Today’s readings challenge us to be the best version of ourselves, establish habits that enable our best selves to shine.

Again and again our faith confirms that, while we must each do our part of individual conversion to what God asks of us, we find our salvation in community. Thus I need to think about ‘we’ rather than just ‘me’. Am I ready to do that? This could be a goal for our Advent journey.  

Reflection: Sunday 20 November

Readings: Col 1:12-20; Luke 25:34-43

‘My kingdom is not of this world’ (John 18:36). This quote from John’s Gospel is at the heart of our understanding of today’s feast of Christ the King. There have been many times over the centuries when the Church has adopted a triumphal persona – aligning itself with temporal power, including crowning kings, queens and emperors. But this is not the type of king that Jesus is. It is not just a matter of a correct understanding of the type of king that Jesus is and what God’s reign looks like but this feast provides a salutary lesson to us about power and how we should wield it.

The second reading gives us an idea of the scope of the Christ – universal: ‘in him, all things hold together’. Take a moment to ponder that – and let it blow your mind! It doesn’t really matter where you start, on the macro level of the vastness of space with all its galaxies or the micro level of the sub-atomic, along with everything in between. ‘in him, all things hold together’ – now there’s a statement!

Since Jesus Christ is king, what does his reign look like? Paul tells us that God’s reign comes through a Greek word that is translated as ‘righteousness’. Rather than leap to ‘self-righteous’ with its pejorative connotations, the Greek word can also be translated as ‘justice’ and ‘right relationships’. Those are words we humans can get our heads around more easily, emphasising the relational nature of our salvation: ‘whenever you did this to one of the least of these members of my family, you did it to me’ (Matt 25:40). 

If we humans hold power over others, then we need to use that power to promote justice and right relationships. This is the servant leadership of Jesus at the foot washing of the disciples: ‘So if I, your Lord and Teacher, have washed your feet, you also ought to wash one another’s feet. For I have set you an example, that you also should do as I have done to you’. Such is the kingship of Jesus. 


A young woman

dies in her mother’s arms.

Past devastation

and panic,

Hope flickers.

No life signs

for 10 minutes.

A glimmer remains,

a bare spark

which over 20 years

is fanned into flame

By love.

We gather in a church

named ‘Resurrection’

to celebrate

a different kind

of resurrection

fashioned by

Faith, hope and love.

Each person who speaks

is a living sacrament

Or awed in their presence.

‘The greatest of these is love’

from St Paul

is never more true

over this time 

that is a loving embrace

for all privileged 

to be present.

As the priest prays

‘May the body of Christ

bring us to eternal life’

he names 

the wondrous reality

of our salvation

so powerfully

on display.

The power of music

Went to a gig

With my son.

Great show

And the performer helped

The crowd really get into it.

More than once 

He said:

‘Thank you for the chance

To sing for you tonight’.

That blessing of music

Cut both ways.


A term of significant theological heft

Takes many forms.

A beautiful version 

Was on display 

As the crowd

Clapped and danced along

But singing 

In unison,

Crowd and performer,

Is precious.

More precious still

Sharing this

With my son.

Reflection: Sunday 13 November

Readings: Mal 3:19-20; Ps 98:5-9; 2 These 3:7-12; Luke 21:5-19

A number of today’s readings speak of justice. We all want to be treated justly. But what does that look like? Surely we need to move past subjective notions – justice is more than ‘I got what I wanted’. When we speak of justice, fairness is never far away. Yet, let us not be stuck in ideas of fairness where everyone ‘gets the same’. We need only look around at any group of people, acknowledge their array of differences, then note that for everyone to ‘get the same’ treatment, punishment or reward would, in fact, be manifestly unfair. That there are political forces wishing to treat a given legal situation ‘the same’ without giving due weight to an individual’s circumstances should make us wonder what else is going on.

Since ‘the Lord comes to rule the earth with justice’ what might that look like? Justice in the bible is frequently fighting for those who are downtrodden: ‘there will arise the sun of justice with its healing rays’. 

Justice also looks like doing the right thing, being a good example and working for the good of the community as we see in Paul’s second letter to the Thessalonians.

The Gospel gives us another window on to justice. There are times when we have no power over a situation but can still choose what we do, so we maintain our faith in God, in Jesus – and the immediate result is pain. Like those before us over the centuries, we need to stay the course and know that God will take care of the rest – in this life or the next.


So many natural


pass us by

as we lose


in lists and imperatives,

obligations and striving.

Yet if we open ourselves

to ponder

and be moved

by nature

it fosters a

sense of connection

with life.

I am here

in this place.

Also, gratitude

at the gifts

I am given

that, graced,

I do not earn.

Such a focus can


and relativise

what would consume


and my days

while adding

stress and anxiety

and little else.