A NEW YEAR MESSAGE
From an ignorant guy who loves Australia, God and you lot.
Greetings from the Holy Island of Lindisfarne.
This time last year I was with you. You are much in my thoughts. I have been working through notes with the possibility of an Australian version of ‘Church of the Isles’ in collaboration with Brent Lyons-Lee. What follows are a few reflections and prayers.
WHAT IS FADING
The masculine spirit that is natural to Australia is sunny disposition, straight talking and sportive strength. A religious spirit that is not natural to Australia is the second hand, second rate, head-without-heart, rigid mentality that disconnects the part from the whole. Its imported religion reflects the 19th-20th century settlers who hover round the edge of Australia, fearing to embrace heartland roots and vaster destiny.
- Early European explorers searched for ‘terra australis incognito’ (the unknown south land) believing that there would be great riches on this mysterious continent. As far as we know, the first explorer to discover and name this land was the Spanish sailor Pedro Fernandez de Quiros. On the Day of Pentecost, 14 May 1606 he wrote: “Let the heavens, the earth and waters witness that in the name of Jesus Christ I hoist this emblem of the holy cross on this part of the south which from now on shall be called the southern land of the Holy Spirit.” Was this prophetic? Did this reflect something of the eternal designs of God that transcended the cultural confines of the man who spoke it?
- The Lord spoke to Moses face to face as one speaks to a friend . and said “My presence will go with you.” In this way Moses´ people became distinct. He sent the young Joshua to be with him. Is God is calling for Australian Joshuas today?
- Moses people had to be stripped of inessentials and impediments. Those who hardened their hearts never made it. Is God calling Australians to strip away imported, unnecessary, ego-based things?
- Moses met God through creation (first a bush, then clouds by day and by night). Is God is calling Australians to become fully present to Him in Australia?
- God took Moses up into the darkness of a mountain. Is God is calling Australians to embrace their Shadow?
- “Is Australia my dear child? The child I delight in? I am deeply moved for him. I will surely have mercy on him?”
- “Make guideposts. Consider the road by which you travelled. How long will you waver? Return to your Source.”
CHRISTIANITY AS A ROAD FOR AUSTRALIA TO TRAVEL:
AND THE COMMUNITY OF AIDAN AND HILDA
We are an international movement of people who seek to restore Christianity as a way of life, and to earth this in a way that is indigenous to each land. We seek to weave together God-given strands in Christianity which have become separated. We believe Australia has an opportunity to pattern a Christianity which weaves together eastern and western strands and offer hope to the world.
OUR WAY OF LIFE
We will live a rhythm of prayer and action, mind and body, justice and simplicity. We will apply the ‘can-do’ attitude of ‘the Battlers’ to spiritual as well as physical dimensions of life.We will practise awareness of God in the elements. We will heal the land, model justice, build community and speak truth to power – all in the love of Christ.
THE CIRCLE AND THE CROSS
Those who make promises to follow the Way of Life wear a wooden cross with a circle. This represents the integration of primal realities with God’s all-embracing mercy. Christ’s sacrifice was intended to transform the whole of creation and the whole of life. The circle is a primal symbol that embraces all creatures and all people. The flag of Australia’s Aboriginal People contains the circle of the sun, a unifying factor that gives life. In a quite different way the circle of the sun has been a unifying factor for settler Australians: it has produced a sunny disposition, an enjoyment of the outdoors and an out-going attitude. The cross is a universal symbol that speaks of forgiveness, hope and life rising from the ashes of wrongs and weakness. The official flag of Australia contains the cross. This is currently in the form of the British union flag. Many Australians wish that, if there were to be a republic, an indigenous form of the cross would be included in any new flag. Why not the circle and the cross?
THE LOGO FOR THE AUSTRALIAN COMMUNITY OF AIDAN AND HILDA
In consultation with Wiradjuri nation man, Glenn Loughrey, artist, author and Anglican Priest, the Australian logo is the Aidan and Hilda cross with lettering ACAH standing for Australian Community of Aidan and Hilda. At the foot of the cross are two sets of feet, 1st nation people (aboriginal) and 2nd nation people (white and other nations that followed). 2nd nation people must first communicate and be reconciled with 1st nation people before journeying towards the centre of the cross together. At the outer three corners of the top of the cross are three circles with two inner circles representing God, Jesus and the Holy Spirit. Each circle represents the unity of the Trinity. At the centre of the cross are the aboriginal symbols for meeting place. The symbol of the inner circle repeats the trinity with broken line representing 1st and 2nd nation people together. The broken line also represents the brokenness of man and the need to meet with God and be reconciled. The colour for God and man at the meeting place are the same (black) as man was created in the image of God (Genesis 1:26). The meeting place also represents where man comes home to be with God, and is no longer separated from Him.
HEALING THE LAND
Modern Australians cannot connect with particular places in the way Aboriginal peoples did: but we can embrace our connectedness. We cannot have their dreams: but we can learn to dream. We cannot just back-pack away from the places were we live and work: but we can learn to renounce possessiveness and travel light. We cannot act as if mental processes have remained unchanged: but when there are silences we can enter into and not abort them.
PRAYERS RISING UP IN LIGHT DAYS
I arise today in the wisdom of the One who brought to birth the giant plains, the water and the first beings. I arise today in the brightness of the One who created the blazing sun, the shining stars and the twinkle in our eyes. I arise today mercy of the One who gave us dreams and memories and hearts.
RISING UP IN DARK DAYS
I arise today in the Eternal Flow of Mercy who was here when the land began to breathe, when the first tribes began to roam, and when the colonists came to settle. I arise today in the Eternal Flow of Wisdom who is dimly perceived in the stones, the stories and the studies of all our peoples. I arise today in the Eternal Flow of Life who seeps through land, and limb and love.
Sometimes we take earth for granted. For this we are sorry. Sometimes we take those who were before us for granted. For this we are sorry. Sometime we take those who have come after us for granted. For this we are sorry.
You are a God who hurts when we hurt others. You are a God who does not hold this against us. You are a God who teaches us through our reaping what we sow. You are a God who shares our life.
Things touch my heart. This brings tears. This makes me say “I forgive”. And it is love that flows. I wish you and yours a Happy New Year.