Saturday, 25 July 2015



I have been lucky to visit a number of places like Indonesia and India where the work of the church is gritty – where mission is involved in the basics of life like food and healthcare, where the church is on the margins or even persecuted. But on a recent trip to Cambodia, I was really struck by God’s provision. Where to outsider eyes resources seem nearly non-existent, God nevertheless works with great abundance.

If we desire God’s future, that it pours into our lives and fills our present, than God’s provision is all we need. God is our only and sufficient resource to live as the body of Christ, to live with love and generosity, integrity and justice.

Saturday, 4 April 2015

Forget the Resurrection

This Easter, let’s start by forgetting the resurrection. We are modern and resurrection doesn’t fit with our realistic and detailed picture of death. Life decays, feeding other life as its nutrients seep back into the ground. New organic forms emerge naturally, recycling the old.

When Easter comes around, many people divert their ears. They think faith is blind and stupid for believing in the resuscitation of an expired organism. Science has written off that possibility. And to refuse science would be to deny all the wonderful things we live by: technology, medicine, agriculture and physics, to name a few.

So we might conclude that in a pre-modern world, it was ok to believe in resurrection. But not today; today there is no excuse. Jesus’ body was wasted and broken, its biological functioning stuffed.

But Easter isn’t about miraculous resuscitation at all. Jesus isn’t recycled by a God who just gives another turn to the wheel. The word resurrection carries a different sort of truth.

Life that is resurrected is beyond this organic life. It is something new, something more.

In the empty and cold stone tomb, the words ‘He has risen!’ ring out. These words carry certainty; they are a declaration of living faith.

So where is he, this risen man?

Why do you look for the living among the dead? ‘He is not here...he is going ahead of you.’ Why do you look for a body that is temporal and fades away? He is living ahead of us, drawing us towards his life.

And he is living among us, a light that shines through every moment. With eyes of faith, we declare: ‘If anyone is in Christ, the new creation has come: The old has gone, the new is here!’

Are we looking for a body in the empty tomb instead of seeking the living God? I believe in the resurrection. He has risen!

Samuel Curkpatrick ‘15

Thursday, 17 April 2014

Famous last words?

Easter reflection on John 19:30

It is finished; it has been accomplished; it is done. No longer thirsting, Jesus bowed his head and gave up his spirit.

Are these famous last words? Do they mark this particular moment as the end of a story, a clear book-end that frames remembrance and reflection so that it doesn’t fade into obscurity?

There is another passage of scripture with profound similarity:

‘The heavens and earth were finished, and all their multitude. And on the seventh day God finished the work that he had done, and he rested on the seventh day from all the work that he had done’ (Genesis 2:1–2).

It is finished; it has been accomplished; it is done. God bowed his head in rest and we are left to reflect on the words, ‘And it was good,’ that clearly book-end the magnificent, completed act.

As our human perspectives on God are animated within time and event, we readily comprehend God’s creative action as a sequence of occurrences. Israel records God’s action as a story playing through the generations, a continuity tracking through time: in the beginning, God created something complete and good; in freedom, humankind falls away; future redemption is anticipated.

In the same way, we hear the phrase ‘it is done’ within such a sequence: some sort of confirmation of a series of events; some conclusion of a particular chapter in a story; a context-contingent settlement taking place. We hear these words as last words.

But we should not be limited by such neat sequences, especially the ordering of biblical literature that places Genesis at the beginning and the good news of Christ toward the end. In suggesting this, I am taking a hint from John the Baptist, who said of Christ: ‘He who comes after me ranks ahead of me because he was before me’ (John 1:15). Also Peter: He was destined before the foundation of the world (1 Peter 1:20). And similarly, Paul: ‘He himself is before all things, and in him all things hold together’ (Col 1:17).

With these passages in mind, consider the question: Which came first, the death of Christ or the creation accounted in Genesis? This question does not seek an objective answer but to enrich understanding.

‘It is done.’ God’s revealed creation is completed in the beginning only because it is completed on the cross. Christ reveals himself in and through his creation as one who breathes life into formless void, brings light out of darkness, and graciously gives life that is abundant in all its multitude.

The good news of Christ’s life in the midst of death is intrinsic to God’s creation: the Word that was before all things.

In Christ, all things hold together; in Christ, it is accomplished.       

Samuel Curkpatrick 2014

Tuesday, 7 May 2013

Creativity - Possibility

Have you ever wondered at the fact we exist here and not there? That we are in Australia at the dawn of the 21st Century and not Asia in the 3rd? If life is a gift, than we are given a particular time, a particular place, and particular relationships. These things surround each of us in a unique way, and each of our lives are animated wherever we find ourselves.
Life is full of different people, histories, and cultures. It is a rich, dense tapestry of countless threads. The wonderful thing is that in each situation, for every human-thread, there is the possibility to be creative – to weave something new. Life comes to us with this amazing attribute: that wherever we are tied into the supporting fabric of time, place or community, we can still be creative. We can come to know and contribute to life in a new way.
What does this have to do with us? As we come together, we can celebrate life of deep, exuberant richness and creativity. And we can celebrate the wonderful attribute of life that is possibility.
In recognising life as a great, elaborate gift, we are thankful for our own existence and can respond into the future with similar goodness and grace.

Wednesday, 27 March 2013

Laughing at Easter

Hollow-grey skin drooped on his frame, flapping imperceptivity in the wind. The hairs on his arms, legs and brow had been finer in his youth but now they were coarse, bleached blonde by the hot sun. The pit around his eyes was deeply sunk, filled with conjunctivitis – sometimes the left, sometimes the right, sometimes both. Washing only removed the gunk until the next morning. His balls were itchy, shedding flaky skin like that which fell from his head, dandruff without hair. His knees were bent – crippled to anyone else – so that hobbling around the home and yard was all he could manage.
While his world was limited by hazy eyes and achy joints, his life was much greater; as his outer nature wasted away, his inner nature grew day by day. This life radiated from him in all sorts of ways. Humour he had, and that humour confidently put everything else into perspective. Sarah, his wife, shared amusement over his shrivelled, leaky manhood and her equally wrinkled lot. The world had showed them its limits, indeed they felt its limits daily – in every bruise, cough and itch. Still, Abraham and Sarah were happy through their confident hope in life. And so it was an interesting day, worthy of note, when God told Abraham that his wife Sarah was to have a child. Abraham fell over he laughed so hard. What a joke!
But it wasn’t God’s promise of a son that was a joke. It was the absurdity of physical impossibility. Abraham laughed because he trusted in God fully despite the appearance of things: looking at his decrepit body he saw only death but he would have a son. He knew that, in all the greatness and abundance of the world around us, dry dust does not beget life – let alone a conscious, loving, laughing child. Isaac was born and given his name, meaning laughter.
This story resonates with the Christian story at Easter: with faith in the God who is with us we move toward new possibilities of life – life that looks beyond the usual course of events and expectations. This life in the living God proves to be, here-and-now, even greater than the grand limits of physical decay and death. We can laugh with hope as God-with-us provides life of new possibility, even where this seems impossible.

This story begins in the book of Genesis, chapter 17
Samuel Curkpatrick, 2013

Monday, 9 April 2012

A perspective on Easter


Let me tell you this: wager that through Christ death is not the end – and discover what life really is (after John 3:16)

Perspective is always changing. Look out the car window: landscapes race past. The view changes as you see something approaching. The tree at the side of the road slowly grows and then flashes into the periphery of your attention: forgotten, never seen again, outside of perception.

Our horizon shapes everything within it, yet horizon is always changing within our perceptions. In film, the director plays with perspectives through the frame of a camera lens: foreground; background; near; distant; imposing; miniature. Everything has significance within its horizon, and the way we see the world shifts with the orientation of our gaze: look east and the turning of the earth pulls great blankets of light up into the sky. Look west and the weight of that great ball smoulders as it sinks beyond what can be seen.

Through human experience, time becomes horizon – something relative and shifting. The more we do during the day, the faster time goes. And time can drag. Time is perceived by us and gives us horizons: a deadline gives everything within a horizon of significance and imperative direction; fruit is best eaten before it rots, so we eat it when it is ripe; an egg can only be cracked once and so we try not to drop it.

Horizons give us perspective. They shape and limit our world of awareness. This world of awareness is unique for each and every person. Everyone is born within a horizon of historical epoch, environment, genes, culture, language, kin and neighbour. This horizon is one’s own; one’s home. These things limit us and frame who we are as this and not that, here and not there, now and not then.

For Christians, Easter gives a perpetual focus to life, even though this is celebrated only once a year. Good Friday is not just a calendar event; it is a reminder of that great horizon which seems to limit all life on this earth: death.

The horizon of death is one that shapes all human life, although we may only occasionally notice it looming. If one looks up from the occupations of day to day life and gazes toward the limits of what can be seen, what can be understood, everything in existence is rendered in light of that. Some people talk of the blazing glory of our brief but intense life as a spark amid overwhelming nothingness; some seem happy to dwell in the warm darkness of apathy; some choose to avoid looking, filling their attention and purpose with human things. In responding to the horizon of death, humans make something of their own being, giving a particular perspective, significance and impetus to everything in life.

Yet Easter proclaims a distinct possibility for human life in the face of this seemingly “ultimate” horizon. The Christian message announces that we are not beholden to this impending deadline and can go beyond death by looking to a new horizon of life – life in Christ. And go beyond death now. On Easter Sunday we celebrate the actual possibility for this in the resurrection of Jesus, an account in which life unbounded by death radically changes perspective and reforges existence itself.

In Christ, life instead of death as the end possibility of human identity and dignity, is even today a source of different perspective and a different horizon. Christ alive in hearts, minds and deeds—in the midst of equivocal human experience—is the good news (‘gospel’) that is proclaimed.

We respond to this message in our ability to choose what is good, what is just, what is kind, what is humble – God speaks into our human lives as event and choice. In our response to Easter, the very core of our existence can be resurrected within a new horizon of life in Christ, rendering everything in a new light.

Happy Easter.

Are we prepared to wager that life is greater than death? To discover an alternative horizon and further, to discover that this is gift already at work within human existence is the profound truth of Easter.