Isaiah | The heavenly banquet

ELLIOTT WRITES: Dear Alison, Mum says that God said in heaven there won’t be any sadness or crying. But I know lots of people don’t believe in heaven and don’t want to go there. Some of my friends and their families don’t want to believe in God or heaven. I think I will miss them in heaven so I will be sad – I don’t think God will make clones of them. Can you explain this to me? I would like it in an email. From Elliott. Continue reading “Isaiah | The heavenly banquet”

Revelation | A liturgical reading (My little finches)

A bleak day, a cosmic conversation, a liturgical identity – and consolation. (Listen.)

I was feeling despondent so I went for a walk when I came across a flock of red-browed finches. They were darting back and forth across the path, cheeping merrily at each other. And they said to me, ‘Learn from us! Look how happy we are in our little flock, flitting between sun and shade.’ And I said, ‘But where is my little flock? I don’t know anymore. And I seem to be stuck in the shadows.’ Continue reading “Revelation | A liturgical reading (My little finches)”

dawn | it’s your turn #Lent2022

The Psalmist sings, “You have turned my mourning into dancing; you have taken off my sackcloth and clothed me with joy.” (Psalm 30:11)

My mother says there is a lot of bitterness about the Christian church. “They came here and totally disregarded our beliefs of the Creator who created all things. We didn’t have Jesus but we had a lot of other beliefs. We have to acknowledge, though, that in reality, we would have been wiped out if it wasn’t for the churches. But now the church is changing. It is more accepting of Aboriginal traditions. Some churches invite our elders to do smoking ceremonies—our traditional way of cleansing—in the church. And many of the clergy talk about one God for all people now. Deacon Boniface Pridot, he’s a tribal man from Daly River, he’s in the Catholic church. He brings together the two beliefs so beautifully.” Continue reading “dawn | it’s your turn #Lent2022”

A prayer for miscarried and stillborn children

Today we marked an early All Saints/All Souls, giving thanks for those who have gone before us, sharing stories about them, and naming some losses almost too painful to bear – including miscarried and stillborn children.

Loving God, we bring to you those
truly unacclaimed by earthly powers,
yet whose lives have indeed hallowed ours:
those who died in the womb;
those who died during birth. Continue reading “A prayer for miscarried and stillborn children”

Small ghosts, and how we remember them

Small ghosts trail behind so many families, invisible to the naked eye or the quick hello.

Rena bustles around her son’s birthday party, passing food and welcoming guests. During a lull, we chat. ‘Did you ever think of having another child?’ I ask. ‘Oh, we did,’ she says, voice suddenly rough, ‘but he died. He was eight weeks old. He got an infection, it entered his heart, and he died.’ I place my hand on her shoulder; there are no words. Continue reading “Small ghosts, and how we remember them”

Psalms | In the vale of death’s shadow

Yesterday there were two funerals as two beloved young people, both killed in the same car crash, were farewelled in this region. I could pile on words of comfort and assurance. I could remind you that those who grieve are blessed; I could assure you that nothing can separate us from God’s love; I could recall the peace which surpasses all understanding, and which so many of us experience precisely at these moments of extreme need. But this week, I don’t think we need more words, just the balm of an old favourite. So let us rest in Psalm 23, and let the good shepherd minister to us all. Continue reading “Psalms | In the vale of death’s shadow”

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