Sunday’s story about Shiphrah and Puah drew out a wonderful spontaneous prayer from Ollie. In it, he named that true change does not happen from the top down, but emerges from within and below; he gave thanks for the midwives he sees around us: the shareholders of Rio Tinto, holding executives to account for the destruction of the Juukan Gorge caves; the basketballers in the US temporarily standing down over BLM; the Djab Wurrung peoples fighting VicRoads; and he prayed for each of us as we follow our various callings to midwife God’s life into the world in ways big and small.
The next day, I asked Ollie if he could say more. He told me that he loves the imagery of midwifery: how it’s such an intense way of being alongside people; how it involves not just the physical body, but the whole of being human; and how the metaphor can be extended beyond individuals to groups. Regarding the political, he wrote, “We let the conversation be so tribal and limited to the top, when there are so many ways we can act,” starting, as he observed, with prayer.
The Apostle Paul writes: “We know that the whole creation has been groaning in labour pains until now; and not only in creation, but we ourselves … groan inwardly,” while “the spirit intercedes [in prayer] for us with groans too deep for words” (Romans 8:22-23, 26). This week, then, I encourage you to look around you. Where do you see creation groaning in labour pains? Where do you notice love, liberation, and wholeness being birthed, not only in your own life but in the wider world? How are you called to midwife God’s life into being today, tomorrow, next week? And how are you called to pray?
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