23 Aug 2018
How then shall we live?
As I write this there is turmoil in the ranks of the Government in Australia; major drought conditions impacting severely on rural Australia and peoples’ livelihood; continued fallout from the Royal Commissions into the banking sector and sexual abuse in institutions including the churches; and an international scene that reports of violence, political instability and the desperate plight of many millions of people fleeing war, famine and oppression in search of a better life. We live in times of significant instability; self-serving and destructive social and political forces; realignments of power and militarism on an unprecedented scale; growing inequalities; spiritual hungers unabated and unsatisfied; rising rates of suicide not to mention threats to our way of life on the blue planet. The list appears endless. The Cambridge theologian David Ford writes about the experience of being overwhelmed. This gets to the nub of it I believe. The sense that it is at times ‘all too much’ is familiar to most of us. We long for wise and compassionate leaders; for a society that cares for all especially the weak and forgotten; for an end to the things that make for violence and rivalry; for a concerted action to work for the common good. Again, the list could go on and on.
So how then shall we live? Amidst the many challenges, sorrows and perplexities of life on planet earth, and given the stark and unwelcome fact that we are finite; that our lives will come to an end; that death, not space, is the final frontier; how then shall we live in a way that honours the gift of life we have been given for a time and season? Recently the Centre’s Religious Short Film Prize of $5,000 was awarded to a wonderful film, The Giver. The film offered a contemplative reflection on the book of Ecclesiastes through the eyes of a young skateboarder. For those with ears to hear and eyes to see and hearts to ponder the film invited us to pause a moment; to reason together regarding the values we live by; to open our hearts and minds and lives to the beyond in our midst. Trapped and overwhelmed in immanence as we are, the film broke through the glass ceiling of life and pointed to a deeper and more abiding transcendent dimension. It is a blessed relief to realise that we are not a self-made people or planet; that we have been gifted life and called to love. Herein lies the deepest secrets of the universe. The love of God echoes throughout the cosmos; it is both beyond and infinite and intensely personal and close, even closer than breath itself. The Spirit of God gives us life, that accompanies us in death and into eternity is the same Spirit that inspires followers of the Way of Jesus. Beyond our resentments, fantasies and being overwhelmed there is a gift in our midst that speaks to our times. May this e-bulletin give you a glimpse of the hope that springs eternal and encourage you to join us as a fellow traveller on the road of life.
Grace and peace