Aboriginal Christian Leader Brooke Prentis shares how all of God’s wondrous creation can teach, tell, speak, and inform us – if we would just listen.
WEEK 1Listening to God's Beautiful Earth
|Brooke Prentis, Waka Waka woman, Aboriginal Christian Leader, Aboriginal Spokesperson for Common Grace and Coordinator of the Grasstree Gathering.|
I have grown up in and reside in Redcliffe, Queensland, once known as Kau’in Kau’in (Kowan Kowan), on the lands and waters of the Gubbi Gubbi peoples. Redcliffe is a peninsula surrounded by Moreton Bay, an important marine park, a dugong habitat and part of the Southern Humpback Whales migration path.
Each morning I walk along the seashore and watch the sunrise. I see pelicans glide onto the water’s surface, see fish jump into the air from the sea, and a green sea turtle raise its head above the water. I listen to rainbow lorikeets partying in the bottlebrush flowers, hear the Australian Pied Oystercatcher as they forage through the rocks, and hear magpies warble good morning. I pay attention to the words spoken by the waves gently crashing on the shore, the splashes on the rocks, and the gentle breeze through the sheoaks and gum trees.
I listen deeply. I’ve always known that one listens with their whole body – ears, eyes, heart, mind, and spirit. This is the ancient Aboriginal practice of ‘dadirri’ – a word from the Ngan’gikurunggurr and Ngen’giwumirri languages. Miriam-Rose Ungunmerr-Baumann says:
“Dadirri is also used as a prayer, a prayer in the sense of you just feel the presence of the Great Creator. Aboriginal peoples have lived for thousands of years with Nature’s quietness. My people today, recognise and experience in this quietness, the great Life-Giving Spirit, the Father of us all.”
Uncle Graeme Mundine once said that Genesis 1 is the greatest Aboriginal Dreaming story ever told. Our Dreaming stories are thousands of years of law and living, from the Creator, passed from one generation to the next. The Dreaming teaches us about the Creator, how to care for creation, and how to live in right relationship with one another. The Dreaming still has much to teach us, Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal, today.
7 “But ask the animals, and they will teach you,
or the birds in the sky, and they will tell you;
8 or speak to the earth, and it will teach you,
or let the fish in the sea inform you.
9 Which of all these does not know
that the hand of the Lord has done this?
10 In his hand is the life of every creature
and the breath of all mankind.
Job 12:7-10 reminds us that the animals, the birds, the earth, the fish and indeed the oceans, sky, land, and rivers, all of God’s wondrous creation are connected, precious, is to be cared for, and can teach, tell, speak, and inform us. Aboriginal peoples have known this and been living out our Creator appointed roles as caretakers of these lands and waters now called Australia for thousands of years. For us, there is no separation between human and non-human. We have lived sustainably using only what God provided, never taking too much, and never taking anything to scarcity or extinction. When we look at the damage and destruction of the last 225 – 250 years we know we must come together, Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal peoples, and use our hands, feet, and voices to do better.
As Aboriginal peoples we hear our land screaming, weeping, and crying out.
We hear it in the Torres Strait Islands watching the seas rise. We hear it in Walpiri country sitting in the hot desert sun. We hear it in Wurundjeri country from the winds on the mountains. It is the voice of Great Creator Spirit, Almighty God, Papa Jesus.
Come alongside us, learn from God’s appointed caretakers, and together let’s act and protect God’s wondrous creation in this land we now call Australia and in God’s beautiful Earth.
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WEEK 1Daily Bible Readings
Take time each day this week to explore what the bible says about hearing God throughout all creation.