On Sunday Jeanette preached on peace and one the beautiful words of Isaiah 52:7-10, “How beautiful upon the mountains a the feet of the messenger who announces peace.”

But she also gave us a new way of thinking about the end of this passage, “The Lord has bared his holy arm…and all the ends of the earth shall see the salvation of our God.”  “The arm of God,” she said, “is holy not just because anything belonging to the Lord would be considered holy, but because it is bared for a holy purpose. That is, it is bared for justice, not for power.” And she provided a series of wonderful visual examples of arms bared for justice – not for power; Nelson Mandela’s familiar pose of a first raised in non-violent defiance, Black Lives matter protestors and Hong Kong democracy activists. And here is an image from our church of people raising their arms – their holy arms – for justice for those who were being held in indefinite detention on Manus Island.

Jeanette went on to say, “Peacemaking always has to be more than a hashtag…We need to consciously use our bodies – set our feet in the direction to follow Jesus’s path, open our eyes to see where God is working, lift up our arms to protest against injustice, raise our voices in joyful song, and in greetings of shalom that we really mean. But in all these efforts we know that it is by the tender mercy of God that our feet will be guided into the way of peace.”

I am sending this Sunday to Sunday earlier than usual because I want to remind you of another opportunity to use our bodies – by being present and raising our voices in prayer as part of the Association’s Call to Prayer for the Taskforce working out how to implement the Special Assembly motions. The first of these prayer sessions is tonight – Tuesday, 7th December, 7:45-8:30pm. Please consciously use your body and be present if you can. To receive the Zoom link you need to register. Click here.

We have been active in this process for a number of years. Our decision to sign the https://www.bebaptist.com/ letter and to send our own letter was another action, but we continue to urge our Association to find a path of peace, a path that enables us to continue associating together, working together and supporting each other in the mission of Christ.

This Sunday we focus on joy; the joy we share as we gather, led by Rebecca Hilton and our choir, and the joy we share with others! Ruth Zanker from Communities@Work will be joining us again to talk about their work, and if you are giving a physical gift please get them to the church by this Sunday! This year Communties@Work also have a Virtual Giving Tree. To donate, follow this link. To link your donation to our giving tree, type Canberra Baptist Church when it asks for your organisation.

While we are on the subject of gifts, Jeanette also told us about a number of ways we can consciously use gift giving to produce peace. The Palestinian Fair Trade Australia have a new selection of gift boxes and hampers available and the Palestine Centre for Peace likewise have an excellent range of products sourced from Palestine. The Million Tree Campaigns (MTC), launched by APN founders in 2001, involves replanting trees on Palestinian lands razed by Israeli bulldozers, particularly in areas where Israeli settlements and bypass roads have been built or expanded in the Occupied West Bank and Gaza Strip. Click here to donate to the tree planting

As the body of Christ, may our feet, our hands, our bodies, our voices, and our actions, bring peace and bring joy. Amen!