Isaiah | The city of joy

Good health, good work, and good relationships come together to form a city of joy, and a people of delight. (Listen.)

A city of joy, its people a delight: this is what God promises through the prophet Isaiah. Sounds wonderful! So, what are the elements of this joyful city? First, says Isaiah, health and wellbeing. No child will die young; no senior die prematurely (Isa. 65:20). And we can imagine it. There are no coal-fired power stations; no rampaging wildfires; no unprecedented floods. There are no smouldering rainforests; no record-breaking heatwaves. No children or elders are struggling for breath through air thick with particulate matter; no one is sick from herbicides or forever chemicals because these are strictly banned; nobody is collapsing from extreme heat. Continue reading “Isaiah | The city of joy”

All Saints | Pastor Sir Doug Nicholls: Footballer, organizer, preacher, saint

Next week is All Saints, when we particularly remember the people both before us and beside us, the living and the dead, with whom we are gathered in the body of Christ. This week, then, I’d like to introduce you to one of the saints, Pastor Sir Doug Nicholls.

Charismatic and confident, Yorta Yorta man Pastor Sir Doug Nicholls (1906-1988) grew up at the Cummeragunja Aboriginal Reserve on the banks of the Murray River. He was the fifth child of Herbert and Florence. As an Aboriginal person born in the colony, he lacked land, rights and recognition; and so much of his life was devoted to caring for others also suffering the consequences of dispossession, and campaigning for these basic human rights. Continue reading “All Saints | Pastor Sir Doug Nicholls: Footballer, organizer, preacher, saint”

Jeremiah | Suffering from solastalgia? This is what to do

In the face of climate catastrophe, seek the welfare of your place. (Listen.)

Ten years ago, the scientist Glenn Albrecht coined a new word. He was studying the impact of open-cut coal mining on the people of the Upper Hunter region of NSW. The mines were creating new and horrific scars in the landscape; the power station was polluting water, air and soil; there was persistent drought. As the earth groaned, Albrecht realised that the people who lived there were experiencing a form of chronic distress for which English has no word; he came up with the term ‘solastalgia.’ Continue reading “Jeremiah | Suffering from solastalgia? This is what to do”

Isaiah | Peace and plenty for everyone

This week I (Alison) am on leave. So heres a little something from the archives relating to the local landscape. Perhaps it will inspire you to reflect and write something for our 2023 Lent Book, which will be a collection of prayers and readings rooted in the land.

Twenty years ago, Cudgee was a depleted paddock. Now, it’s an oasis. Families have built sustainable homes and are raising their children there. People have planted countless Indigenous trees, grasses, and shrubs. The creek is overhung by eucalypts; blocks are lined with wildlife corridors; koalas grunt and roam. There are organic gardens and orchards; happy chooks; contented ducks; an Indigenous plant nursery; and the best garlic in Victoria. Continue reading “Isaiah | Peace and plenty for everyone”

Luke | In the face of climate catastrophe, seek signs of the kingdom

Jesus says, ‘Look at the fig tree and all the trees; as soon as they sprout leaves you can see for yourselves and know that summer is already near. So also, when you see these things taking place, you know that the kingdom-culture of God is near.’ (Luke 21:29-31)

What are ‘these things’ of which Jesus speaks? Well, he has just detailed them in the previous verses: earthquakes, famines, plagues, invading armies, the roaring of the ocean, terrible suffering, and people ‘fainting from fear and foreboding’. Once, these words referred to the brutal repression by the Romans of the Jewish Revolts, using cosmic imagery to allude to forces of violence and empire; now, as the living Word continues to speak into our lives, we might hear them as also referring to climate catastrophe and all that comes with it. Continue reading “Luke | In the face of climate catastrophe, seek signs of the kingdom”

Deuteronomy | In the face of climate catastrophe, choose life

The news is devastating, but we still have choices: so choose life. (Listen.)

This week, as cataclysmic floods pour across Pakistan, destroying farms, roads, towns and infrastructure and displacing over 30 million people; as unprecedented heatwaves and wildfires continue to threaten much of Europe; as long-term drought impacts water security for millions of people in the southwest United States; as we brace ourselves for the likelihood of another La Niña cycle and further devastating floods; as we learn that the catastrophic bushfires along the Great Dividing Range burned six metres deep in places, rendering regrowth impossible, the most famous words of Moses’ most famous sermon should ring loud and clear. Continue reading “Deuteronomy | In the face of climate catastrophe, choose life”

NAIDOC | Acknowledgement of Country

NAIDOC Week is an excellent time to introduce our acknowledgement of country and statement of inclusion. You will also find it under the tab ‘About Us’.

God saw everything that God had made, and indeed, it was very good. (Genesis 1:31)

Ngatanwarr! Sanctuary acknowledges the Peek Wurrung people of the Eastern Maar Nation, the traditional owners of the land where our building stands. It’s a land threaded with rivers and bounded by the sea. Kooyang (eels) migrate here every year and koontapool (southern right whales) calve in the bay in a relationship with cultural knowledge holders which has continued for millennia. Continue reading “NAIDOC | Acknowledgement of Country”

2 Kings | The god of the land

A provocative retelling of 2 Kings 17 for NAIDOC Week. (Listen.)

Once upon a time, there was a cruel empire, formed in the image of its gods. Its navy patrolled the seven seas; its armies marched through foreign lands; its merchants controlled entire regions through trade monopolies and taxes. The empire grabbed and sold slaves and spices, sapphires and silks; it grew rich on stolen people, stolen wealth, stolen land. Gradually, it spread across the globe. One day it reached a strange new land, where mammals hop and giant birds run and bright birds screech and even the stones hum. Continue reading “2 Kings | The god of the land”

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