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President's reflection

ANTICIPATING PENTECOST 2021

Come Holy Spirit, renew the face of the Earth (cf Psalm 104:30)

The Feast of Pentecost completes our wonderful season of Easter. 

We continue our endeavour to live in the Holy Spirit as we move into the Trinity season and think further about our discipleship of Jesus. 

The continuing challenge is to integrate Gospel and culture, guided by the Holy Spirit. 

The tenacity of culture is conveyed in the saying, ”culture eats strategy for breakfast”. 

Hence we keep asking together, ”What is the Holy Spirit saying to our Church?” 

Some matters for consideration: 

Through the Week of Prayer for Christian Unity we pray, “may we all be one”.  

We pray, may the Body of Christ be in deep unity, helping the one human family find unity. 

This prayer for unity is counter to much of a culture which amplifies disunity and division. 

To assist our commitment to being a unifying influence, it helps to remember Jesus' example in the Gospels, when amidst divisive hostility and negativity. As others have conveyed, we see how:  

a) Jesus counters with Scripture. Examples are the Temptations in the wilderness and Mark 2 :25-27 - Jesus in relation to the Sabbath...”The sabbath was made for humankind...” 

b) Jesus challenges negative motives with substance, such as in Mark 5:3-4 where Jesus keeps encouraging a change of heart, helping people out of the corners they get in. 

c) Jesus' focus and passion is on healing and saving. That is, not a further repetition of the cultural cycle of anger and revenge. For example, following on Mark 3:5, Jesus is upset by the stubborn, cold hearts but goes ahead and heals the man. Jesus' example is to respond to negativity with passionate and positive action. 

d) Jesus embodies his teaching on forgiveness, even on the Cross.  

We are inspired to do the same, as is the example of the parents Daniel and Leila Abdallah who have founded in Australia  www.i4give.com

This initiative is a remembrance of the children who died so tragically on February 1 2020 and includes website resources to help people find the freedom forgiveness brings. 

Wherever we look, we see the necessity of this to a transformation of culture. 

In these recent days, poignantly and for example, we are drawn again to pray for “the peace of Jerusalem”. https://www.ncca.org.au/ncca-newsletter/may-2021-2/item/2457-pray-for-the-peace-of-jerusalem-2021052 

As we celebrate Pentecost, what else is the Holy Spirit saying to us? 

Do we not hear the clear need for urgent climate action?  As the Rt. Hon. Alok Sharma, President of the United Nations Climate Change Conference (UNCOP 26), said this week, it all comes down to “how we act together, because it is all down to the next ten years” https://www.vaticannews.va/en/vatican-city/news/2021-05/cop26-president-alok-sharma-interview-10-years.html 

Accordingly, we must do what we can, notwithstanding cultural and political issues. 

Quaker friends at the UN have produced an excellent new resource to help us respond well. https://quno.org/sites/default/files/resources/How%20to%20be%20a%20hero%20for%20all%20our%20children_A6%20WEB%20EDITION.pdf  

Bringing these Pentecost reflections together, focused this year by the pandemic plight of those struggling for breath, we pray: 

“Sole breath of every living being, make one all who, in you, live and move and have their being” (‘Devotions to the Holy Spirit’. St Pauls Publications p 52.) 

With prayers as we are drawn to Pentecost, 

Bishop Philip Huggins

NCCA President. 

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