Our CEO, Scott Sanders introduces our "Being Present" Advent series with a reflection from Isaiah on what it means to pursue peace during this season.
Then I read Isaiah 35:1-10.
Then I remembered it was Advent.
Then I remembered my Papa Jesus.
I remembered those that had committed to staying awake until they see justice for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples. I remembered the non-Aboriginal Christians that had invited me into their churches during the year and had wept with me – tears of repentance and sorrow and tears of courage and hope.
I remembered our Creator God who continues to walk with Aboriginal peoples, just as He has for over 60,000 years, our Lord Almighty who makes the impossible possible, and our beautiful Papa Jesus who heals and comforts us and who, with eager anticipation, waits for Australia to not just wake up, but to stay awake and waits for our desert and our parched land to be glad.
My prayer is this Advent season you participate in being present and staying awake in our Australia.
Our Australia: where 1 in 3 Aboriginal people experienced recent racial abuse. Our Australia that Jesus is begging us to hold hands in friendship as Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal peoples, willing us to seek truth, justice. And this is your invitation:
It is an invitation painted in the Songlines by Waka Waka artist, Jasmin Roberts, titled, Will You?
It asks, “Will you take my hand? Will you listen to my songs? Will you walk with me? Will you help me find truth? Will you help me seek justice? Will you please…please…please take my hand?”
You see, it is love that will conquer all – the great love of Jesus. And how does he love? Through you.
It is you that will bring hope to our nation. A vision of a nation built on truth, justice, love and hope.
It is you whose eyes of blindness will be opened. It is you whose ears of deafness will be unstopped. It is you whose feeble hands will be strengthened. It is you whose knees will be steadied.
It is you, it is me, it is us - through our hope in Jesus.
Now, please take my hand and let’s walk together along the ancient Songlines towards the highway, the Way of Holiness.
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Daily Reading Isaiah 35:1-10
1 The desert and the parched land will be glad;
the wilderness will rejoice and blossom.
Like the crocus, 2 it will burst into bloom;
it will rejoice greatly and shout for joy.
The glory of Lebanon will be given to it,
the splendour of Carmel and Sharon;
they will see the glory of the Lord,
the splendor of our God.
3 Strengthen the feeble hands,
steady the knees that give way;
4 say to those with fearful hearts,
“Be strong, do not fear;
your God will come,
he will come with vengeance;
with divine retribution
he will come to save you.”
5 Then will the eyes of the blind be opened
and the ears of the deaf unstopped.
6 Then will the lame leap like a deer,
and the mute tongue shout for joy.
Water will gush forth in the wilderness
and streams in the desert.
7 The burning sand will become a pool,
the thirsty ground bubbling springs.
In the haunts where jackals once lay,
grass and reeds and papyrus will grow.
8 And a highway will be there;
it will be called the Way of Holiness;
it will be for those who walk on that Way.
The unclean will not journey on it;
wicked fools will not go about on it.
9 No lion will be there,
nor any ravenous beast;
they will not be found there.
But only the redeemed will walk there,
10 and those the Lord has rescued will return.
They will enter Zion with singing;
everlasting joy will crown their heads.
Gladness and joy will overtake them,
and sorrow and sighing will flee away.