• image
  • image
  • image
  • image
  • image
  • image
  • image
  • image
  • image
  • image
  • image
  • image
  • image
  • image
  • image
  • image
  • image
  • image

National Prayer Days

Prayers and Reflections on Reconciliation 

‘For the Healing of the Land’, was the theme for the National Solemn Assembly held on 26-27 September. Christians from around Australia prayed together. We share with you some of the reflections from our Member Churches. 

Reconciliation Prayer day

2 Corinthians 5:16-21

16 So from now on we regard no one from a worldly point of view. Though we once regarded Christ in this way, we do so no longer. 17 Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, the new creation has come: The old has gone, the new is here! 18 All this is from God, who reconciled us to himself through Christ and gave us the ministry of reconciliation: 19 that God was reconciling the world to himself in Christ, not counting people’s sins against them. And he has committed to us the message of reconciliation. 20 We are therefore Christ’s ambassadors, as though God were making his appeal through us. We implore you on Christ’s behalf: Be reconciled to God. 21 God made him who had no sin to be sin for us, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God.

Now that Christ has risen from the dead, birth according to the flesh loses its importance, bodily weakness ceases to count and the sufferings of death no longer matter either. 

Since all things are reconciled in him, recognize … that he reconciles all things to the Father in himself, which he will reconcile through himself. The same apostle says: “But all things are from God, who has reconciled us to himself through Christ and has given to us the ministry of reconciliation. For God was truly in Christ, reconciling the world to himself.” Compare the entire mystery of the evangelical faith with these words! He who is seen in him who is seen, he who works in him who works, he who speaks in him who speaks is the same one who will reconcile in him who reconciles.

The Lord Jesus Christ performed reconciliation between God and man. This matter was accomplished on the cross through atonement and redemption.

About this subject, the apostle says "For if when we were enemies, we were reconciled to God through the death of His Son, much more, having been reconciled, we shall be saved through His life!" (Rom 5:10).

He also said " Now all things [are] of God, who has reconciled us to Himself through Jesus Christ, … that is, that God was in Christ reconciling the world to Himself, not imputing their trespasses to them ." (2 Cor. 5:18,19)} 

“Blessed are the peace makers” Matthew 5:9

Blessed are the peacemakers. For they shall be called sons of God" The Meaning Of Peacemakers: Its meaning is threefold: Those who make peace between God and man; those who make peace among people and with God within their own hearts, and those who make peace between the spirit and the body in order that they may not struggle with each other is subject saint Paul the Apostle said "And he has committed to us the word of reconciliation. Therefore we are ambassadors for Christ, as though God were pleading through us. We implore you on Christ's behalf, be reconciled to God."

(2 Cor 5:18,20). 

There are two ways to make peace among people. First, we must not cause quarrels among them. If there is any dispute we must not stir it up. Secondly, we shall play the role of breaking up struggles and bringing love back.

3. As for peace inside ourselves, we must get rid of any internal division or struggle. Our desires must not contradict our spiritualities; Our thoughts must not be against us. Our hearts must not be in trouble or lost between perplexity and hesitation.

In this chapter, we would like to speak in detail and as much as we can, of the three ways of making peace.

We thank our Lord Jesus Christ who made peace between God and man, as Son of God, and Son of man. This is why we call Him the King of Peace and sing to Him saying "O' King of peace, give us Your peace." Isaiah the Prophet says about Him, "He is the Prince of Peace." (Is 9:6).

When the angels announced the good news of His birth, they said "and on earth peace."(Luke 2:14). Before He made peace, we had been sons of wrath. About this, the apostle says "You were dead in trespasses and sins … We were by nature objects of wrath … He made us alive with Christ even when we were dead in transgression … And God raised us up together and made us sit together in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus." (Eph 2:1-6).

But the Lord Jesus Christ saved us from wrath and reconciled us to God, paying the price on our behalf. So we chant in the Liturgy of St. Gregory saying, "The dividing barrier was destroyed by You and the old hostility done away with. You reconciled the heavenly creation with the earthly, making both one. You perfected the sacrifice through the flesh." 

Blessings...

Fr Abanoub - Coptic Orthodox Church


 

National Solemn Assembly Reflection 

The focus of the National Solemn Assembly held on 26-27 September was ‘For the Healing of the Land’. This assembly brought together the Elders and Christian leaders of the First Nation People of Australia. I was invited to share a reflection. Doing so led me to reflect on the pain of our First Peoples.  

I have listened to stories of hurt and alienation and am deeply sorry for the generational pain that so many people carry. 

We cannot underestimate the connection between healing and seeking forgiveness for the experience of the First Peoples of Australia and a healthy Australian identity.  I was drawn to the vision of the Kingdom in the parable of the great feast in Luke 14. It is a parable of inclusion. Everyone is included, there is no hierarchy; all sit at the feast table of the kingdom. This is a wonderful picture of hospitality. We lament the lack of hospitality shown to Australia’s First Peoples and the sad history of us not sitting together and eating together in the presence of the Master. 

Another moving image for me is the experience of the travellers on the road to Emmaus. They are walking with sadness. A stranger draws near. They stand still and the stranger listens. He does not tell them they are wrong or correct them. He does not say there is no need to be so downcast. Rather, with listening, he helps them go deeper into their experience and they deepen their understanding and insight. They reach Emmaus and the stranger is begged to stay. At the table the stranger is revealed as Jesus. They return with a different story to tell. We lament that we have not stopped to listen deeply and so have not created the space for Jesus to transform us. 

In the book of Acts there is a further picture painted of hospitality that breaks barriers. Peter is confronted with his fears and prejudice about eating with Gentiles. He has never broken the barrier of his food laws. Through this dream, Peter’s barrier to fellowship with Gentiles is broken and he says, ‘I now understand that God shows no partiality’. We lament that the experience of Australia’s First Nations has not been based on this rich vision of God’s inclusion.

Rev John Gilmore - Churches of Christ

26 September 2020


NATIONAL SOLEMN ASSEMBLY: “for the healing of the land’

Sunday (27/09/2020) 10. A FINAL WORD: KAIROS

A reflection on: 

Dt 10:  v.12… but to fear the Lord your God, to walk in all his ways, to love him, to serve the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul. 

Micah 6:8… to act justly and to love mercy and to walk humbly with your God.

It is my great honour and privilege to join this assembly over past few hours to experience the unity in the Lord with the first peoples and others across the world. I’m here to learn from you all. As a lay person, I just want to remind us all that having such conviction in our Lord, we need to act justly with humility starting in our families. Especially at this defining time, we need to embrace our family members intimately; nurture them with the biblical truth and raise them in Godly way. We need to declare as Joshua did, “ but as for me and my household, we will serve the Lord.” (Josh 24:15). Because the family unit is the basic building block of our church and our society and children are our future.  We need a solid foundation of peoples of faith in order to transform our country, and inspire our leaders and future leaders.  And we need to act now. Amen!  

Thomas Ling - Chinese Methodist Church in Australia


Isaiah 11:1-9 – The Peaceable Kingdom

Peace at Last

11 Like a branch that sprouts  from a stump, someone from David’s family[a]  will someday be king.

2 The Spirit of the LORD  will be with him to give him understanding,  wisdom, and insight.

He will be powerful, and he will know and honour the LORD.

3 His greatest joy will be  to obey the LORD. This king won’t judge by appearances  or listen to rumours.

4 The poor and the needy will be treated with fairness  and with justice.

His word will be law everywhere in the land, and criminals  will be put to death.

5 Honesty and fairness will be his royal robes.

6 Leopards will lie down with young goats, and wolves will rest with lambs.

Calves and lions will eat together and be cared for by little children.

7 Cows and bears will share the same pasture; their young will rest side by side. Lions and oxen will both eat straw.

8 Little children will play near snake holes. They will stick their hands into dens of poisonous snakes and never be hurt.

9 Nothing harmful will take place on the LORD’s holy mountain.

Just as water fills the sea, the land will be filled with people who know and honour the LORD. 

(Contemporary English Version: https://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=Isaiah+11%3A1-9&version=CEV) 

Reflection

“The vision of the peaceable kingdom has always inspired Quakers.  Bit by bit, this kingdom can become a reality on earth as we die to the domination that darkness and evil has over us. When the seeds of greed, hatred, cruelty, violence and destruction are rooted out of the human heart, the institutions and ideologies that sustain this darkness and evil begin to lose their power, and the wholeness, wellbeing and justice of Gospel Order can take their place. We are not in control of this process, but we can play our part. Like physical exercise, we have to start somewhere and build up our stamina. Right relationship and Gospel Order are not static concepts. Instead, they represent dynamic, on-going processes. 

Ecological Reflection

The vision of the peaceable kingdom is an ecological vision. Shalom or Gospel Order represents a state of harmony based on complex interdependence and right relationship. If all things are interconnected, then all actions based on compassion, healing, and justice, however small, will have a positive impact. In the peaceable kingdom we take our place within this web of life; not above it, or in control of it, but as an essential part of it.

Friends, we are called into wholeness and into community, women and men alike, sharing the responsibilities God has given us, and assuming the leadership we are called to. We begin where we are, in our homes and meetings or churches, our work and communities, celebrating the realisation of the New Creation. (Britain Yearly Meeting, Quaker Faith & Practice 23.40)

  • Are you able to keep the vision of the peaceable kingdom in mind, even though it seems so different from the way the world currently functions? Can you discern the seeds of the kingdom in your day-to-day life and interactions? " 

(Quaker insights in the context of ecological crisis. UK: Woodbrooke Quaker Resource Centre. https://www.woodbrooke.org.uk/learn/roots-resources)

 

Our 2008 Australia Yearly Meeting Quaker Earthcare Statement points us towards a better relationship with creation. 

Friends’ Testimonies, and our work with silence, stillness and spiritual discernment encourages us to celebrate: 

  • wonder and appreciation for life on Earth; 
  • stewardship, that fosters development based on environmental capacity and human need; 
  • peace and social justice, including right relationship with Indigenous people; 
  • restorative practices that build trust one-to-one, socially, and between nations; 
  • creativity, ingenuity, and love in our work; and
  • informed, inclusive decision making.

Further it:

  • Calls on all F/friends to collectively support each other to: 
  • deepen Friends’ personal and committee understanding of the material, spiritual and practical dimensions of the climate and extinction crisis; 
  • listen to and support our younger Friends in their calls to act promptly, mindful not to shoulder them with the full burden of effort, and to encourage them to find hope despite adversity; 
  • consider changing our individual and Meeting behaviours, including habits  of a lifetime, to come to new decisions and practices that contribute to solutions; these may be concerned with shelter, transport, energy, food and other issues of human need, production, trade and consumption; 
  • experiment together as you address the causes of the crisis, sharing your findings, material and spiritual; 
  • foster a sense of belonging, appreciation and interdependence in the wider natural world; for example, by the Meeting trying such means as: 
    • i. walking country together; 
    • ii. engaging with permaculture design principles; 
    • iii. applying the science and arts to develop ecological literacy and insight; 
    • iv. cultivating community gardening; and 
    • v. forging regional and international friendships as a Meeting; 
  • listen well to the traditional owners of the land on which Friends meet; cultivate meaningful relationship; learn more about the original custodians’ ways and language; be prepared to discover what it is to belong to country; 
  • actively cultivate and learn those skills in which Quakers have a reputation for expertise: building peace, justice, trust, hope, reconciliation, listening to the Spirit and developing the capacity of groups to take strategic nonviolent action; be prepared to teach these skills more widely, as they build community resilience and enable shared security. 

If these new directions seem peculiar to a business-as-usual world, they still represent the deepest truths and convictions of Quaker faith and practice – to find spiritual guidance in order to live simply; in peace; with integrity; working justly in community; upholding equality; and respecting earth care – in a time of climate emergency and species’ extinction like none has ever seen. 

  • How together do we find and nourish and care for that heart in the midst of such a deadly and waste-making epoch? (Quaker Earthcare Epistle on Climate Emergency & Species Extinction, Australia Yearly Meeting 2019.)

One example is an ongoing Quaker Silent Vigil. 

Silent Vigil for Justice for Indigenous Australians (Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Peoples)

The Quaker Silent Vigil supporting Justice for the First Peoples of Australia originated in 1997.  It has continued to meet on the steps of the Old GPO building in Bourke Street Mall each Monday.

Five Quaker women decided to establish a Silent Vigil for justice for Indigenous Australians outside the Melbourne GPO building in Melbourne on the corner of Elizabeth and Bourke streets.  This group organise light weight stools, a banner and leaflets, stating that a silent Quaker Vigil is in progress, supporting justice for Indigenous Australians (Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Peoples). A Vigil is held every Monday from 12pm to 1pm.

It is a silent witness: 

  • to the past and present injustices that are experienced by Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islanders, 
  • to the need for a change in the attitudes of many non-Aboriginal people,
  • to the need for treaties between non-Aboriginal and the First Peoples; the land has never been ceded.

Quakers in Australia acknowledge that we live and worship on the lands of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples, country which gives them physical and spiritual identity and is filled with the spirit presence of their ancestors.

We acknowledge:

  • The sovereignty of Australia’s First Peoples over the land we inhabit;
  • That the land was taken from them at devastating cost, with no just resolution;
  • That this trauma is ongoing and diminishes us all;
  • That our testimonies (Simplicity, Peace, Integrity, Community, Equality, Sustainability) call us to be in right relationship with all peoples, the land, and our environment.

Therefore, we seek in our daily lives:

  • to educate ourselves about the true history and present reality of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples, and uphold their right to self-determination;
  • to acknowledge within ourselves, and bring into the light, that which contributes to the debilitating effects of racism, insensitivity, lack of awareness and misrepresentation; to work towards justice and peace, and healing for us all.

A prayer by Michael Leunig (https://www.leunig.com.au/works/prayers

We pray for another way of being:

another way of knowing

 

Across the difficult terrain of our existence

we have attempted to build a highway

and in so doing have lost our footpath.

Lead us to our footpath:

Lead us there where in simplicity

we may move at the speed of natural creatures 

and feel the earth’s love between our feet.

Lead us there where step by step we may feel

the movement of creation in our hearts

And lead us there where side-by-side

we may feel the embrace of the common soul.

Nothing can be loved at speed

 

Lead us to the slow path; to the joyous insights

of the pilgrim; another way of knowing; another way of being.  Amen 

 

Ann Zubrick - The Religious Society of Friends (Quakers)


 

Joomla SEF URLs by Artio