Walter Brueggemann speaks of the importance of arriving at praise through lament – rather than starting with praise.
Over the last three Sundays, we have been looking at the psalms of lament and, as we come to end of that series, fully aware that there is still suffering in our world and in our lives, that there are still questions that haven’t been answered and, perhaps, will never be answered; we have arrived at praise, at being thankful that even in suffering and loss and disorientation God is has been and will be faithful to us.
We marked that last Sunday by remembering the symbol of peace that is a familiar part of our liturgy, “The peace of the Lord be with you.” “And also with you!” And by making hands as our symbols of peace and our written prayers of thanksgiving. (See the image of some of the hands gathered up after the service here last Sunday.)
This Sunday we are going to contin
ue giving thanks for what God has done in the life of our church this year. There will be a short time at the beginning of the service where we’ll break into small groups, in person and on Zoom, to name one thing that we are thankful for. (Please appoint a ‘scribe’ for your group who can send your group’s list of thanksgiving blessings to Cecelia firstname.lastname@example.org so they can be part of ‘seeking the mind of Christ together’ at our Annual General Meeting on Sunday, 22nd Nov.)
Just a quick mention of proceedi
ngs for the AGM. There will be worship from 10-10:45am; morning tea from 10:45-11:15am and our meeting will run from 11:15 to 12:30pm.
This Sunday we are also giving thanks for lives and legacy of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples in this country as we celebrate NAIDOC Week. In our regular service we are delighted to have Bianca Manning, the newly appointed Aboriginal and Torres Start Islander Justice Coordinator for Common Grace joining us. In the Family Service the team are leading everyone through a series of activities based on Uncle Rev Ron Williams version of Psalm 23 – ‘My big fella boss up in the sky is like the father emu….’
I am reminded, thinking about the impact Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people have had on our lives, of the reflection I wrote on Uncle Graham and Aunty Iris Paulson a number of years ago. To go back and read that, click on https://www.canbap.org/2019/07/uncle-graham-paulson/
That reflection is fleshed out by a very short film on Uncle Graham that you can watch here https://vimeo.com/226239951 and by a reflection that he and Grant Paulson prepared in recent years on ‘forgiveness’ for the Common Grace series on The Lord’s Prayer. We played it in church as part of a similar series a few years ago. You can watch that here https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YIUcZ_HBktU
So as we prepare ourselves for Sunday, thinking about what we are thankful for, for the forgiveness that transforms us and our community, that is our ministry in this world, and for the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander leaders who witness to us such courage and truth-telling and forgiveness and love, let me leave with you the blessing that Brooke Prentis, CEO of Common Grace, wrote and prayed over us at NAIDOC last year.
May our footsteps, on these ancient lands,
remind us of creation and connectedness, in our search for truth.
May the Gum Tree, from it’s roots to it’s branches,
remind us to dig deep and reach high, in our action for justice.
May the Eagle, who soars in the sky,
remind us of the power, in our call for love.
May the expanse of the lands and seas, of the sky and stars,
remind us of God’s timing in our faith in hope.
May the Holy three, Creator Spirit, Lord God, Papa Jesus,
remind us of community.
So with grace, mercy, and peace, go in truth, justice, love and hope.
With grace, mercy and peace, go in truth, justice, love and hope. Amen!
PS Speaking of hope and peace and love, Cecelia is eagerly awaiting people who can click on the word they’d love to focus an Advent reflection on – so we can encourage each other this Advent! Have a look at last week’s e-bulletin – or the coming one!