Sermon: the body of Christ and weakness

Chapel sermon: the body of Christ
Chapel sermon: the body of Christ

For those of you silly enough to want to listen to my recent Alphacrucis chapel sermon (presumably you have absolutely nothing else worthwhile to do with your time), it can be found by clicking the (blue steel) photo or at the following link:

11 thoughts on “Sermon: the body of Christ and weakness

  1. Shane I was very glad to see you so comfortable and to get more of a feel for you as a person and a minister. I’m not sure about this public arena, but as you know my husband is quadriplegic and this week I had someone pray for him (mercifully absent) and also for me.
    Now I want prayer. My husband and I need prayer.When someone prays for me and the spirit within me agrees I am touched and grateful.
    Like you I acknowledge the genuine well meaning, but the word that characterised this prayer for me was ‘unyielding’
    When someone prays out of sync with our situation it is not the place to explain anything; I have to reach into the very need that is being prayed for and be the gracious one and sit still and say thank you.
    I find the prayers for ‘faith and complete healing’ constricting and rather laced with didactic theology. (and I’m sure not in stage 4 grief)
    I know James 3:17 is referring to wisdom and not prayer, but how I wish prayer felt like that. I can tell already that would be how you would pray for someone.
    Maybe we need to keep our hearts a little broken concerning our own infirmities before we lay our hands on others.

  2. thanks for your encouragement, Clare. it is interesting to note that after all these years for you the same issue arises. I guess you get used to it? Best wishes, Shane

  3. hey Shane, I’ve tried to listen a couple of times but can’t get very far due to connection/speed issues. The first bits sound good though. Is there an audio-only version anywhere?

    1. brilliant, thanks Shane Clifton, Alphacrucis College senior lecturer in theology, director of research | blog: P +61 2 8893 9000 | F +61 2 8893 9099 30 Cowper Street, Parramatta, NSW, 2150, Australia PO Box 337, Parramatta, NSW, 2124, Australia


  4. Can anyone else see the irony here between your last blog post and this one? The body that you attempt to honour in this sermon is not the body that is honoured at Hillsong Women. Bodies that are scarred … fat … cross-eyed … broken down … smelly … lacking … old … and yet lovely still because they are being human. Or alterternatively, bodies that are very different and the subject of ridicule. I look at those representations of Hillsong; bodies of women so conformed to femininity; so beautiful; so prosperous and I wonder where is divine power manifest in weakness? Your own words reject the model that you were so quick to defend. … Shane, I wonder if we could sculpt an alternative body theology together?

  5. Hi Shane, thanks so much for the audio version, it got me thinking, which is usually a good thing 😉

    I’ve had suffering on my mind a bit over the last couple of weeks, a few close friends going through stuff – and myself having a ‘simple’ tooth extraction escalate into a crazy infection and an extra week off work! It made me think about how people handle their own suffering. and the suffering of others.

    I think it scares us to acknowledge that bad things happen to good people – because that means facing the fact that “I could be next”. So we prefer to believe that all suffering can be avoided or fixed if the person just ‘got themselves together’ and did things differently, followed ‘my advice’. And it’s always ‘my advice’ because that involves doing what I would do, and what I do has protected me, and will continue to protect me from your sorry fate.

    (Or our modern twist is that suffering can/will and should always be averted with medical or monetary solutions. Or we should distract ourselves with hedonistic/consumeristic ‘solutions’. And sometimes the Christian twist is that physical suffering would be over if we/you had more faith/kept praying.)

    How profound, then, that Jesus chose suffering! The only person with a claim to being truly good suffered. He had divine power he could have used to avoid suffering, but he didn’t. I think his stance on suffering was:
    * to come and join the rest of us sufferers so we don’t have to suffer alone
    * to do what he could to alleviate the suffering of others (both helping the sufferers and opposing people inflicting suffering)
    * to allow his own suffering to increase ability/opportunity for compassion

    Importantly, I’m not advocating masochism – just saying that there are some things worth suffering for; and also, that even unchosen suffering can result in increased compassion, which can then help us help others who are suffering.

  6. oh yeah – unchosen suffering doesn’t necessarily result in increased compassion. Sometimes I’m just irritable from being in pain and I have no patience for someone else’s suffering as well. But hopefully the times I let my compassion grow with my suffering (or sharing in someone else’s suffering) will increase while the times I snap at people decrease.

  7. I’ve been thinking about this “Jesus chose suffering” bit and I’m not sure it istotally on the money. Jesus chose love and was prepared to pay the price – but he didn’t choose suffering. In fact, Jesus made it pretty clear that he didn’t want pain, “Father take this cup from me.” His preparedness to take up the cross wasn’t a choice to s uffer at a choice to resist evil.

    And I do agree that pain doesn’t make you more compassionate spiritual – often the opposite!

  8. good point Shane, and an important distinction! Maybe what I was getting at was more like: Jesus didn’t default to the path of least resistance, Jesus knew many things were more important than avoiding suffering….my wording is still clumsy, I think!

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