As we emerge from a week focused on celebrating refugees, how will we continue to live out the values of a welcoming community?
“By the rivers of Babylon—
there we sat down and there we wept
when we remembered Zion.
On the willows there
we hung up our harps.”
My people, the Adnyamathana people, tell a story about gathering for a ceremony at Ikara, Wilpena. While the Yuras (the Adnyamathana peoples) waited for Yurlu the kingfisherman (the Master of Ceremonies) they were surrounded by two giant Akarru (serpents). Yurlu lit a fire to signal he was on the way but by the time Yurlu arrived the people had disappeared.
The Adnyamathana did disappear for a time. We’ve had the experience of being removed from land, of not being able to speak language. We’ve experienced racism. We’ve been refugees in our own country. In Psalm 137 God’s people sat down and remembered the old times. This kind of remembering is important for those who feel forgotten or cut off. This is true for both First Nations Peoples and those newest to our country. If we can listen to these songs of loss and grief we can open our hearts to welcome others as Arrawatanha (the Most High) welcomes us.
Take action by listening. Through listening to Aunty Rev Denise’s story can you hear the loss, grief and lament but also the hope? What does it mean to be welcomed by Aboriginal peoples of over 300 nations? When have you listened to the loss and grief experienced by people from refugee backgrounds and those seeking asylum? Who do you listen to? Are the voices in your life from the same cultural background as you?
We need to listen before we can grow into people who are welcoming or who can understand the welcome being extended.
Share what you learn in a comment on today’s Common Grace Facebook post or write your own post using the hashtag #RefugeeWeek2020.
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