Rev Belinda Groves reflects on Canberra Baptist Church's annual Blessing of the Animals for St Francis of Assisi Day and Season of Creation.
What does an Aboriginal Pastor, a Catholic Environmentalist, an Anglican Dean, a Uniting theological lecturer, a young Anabaptist changemaker, a Pentecostal worship leader and a Baptist missiologist all have in common? A concern to listen to the voice of Jesus as he calls us to love our neighbours! Sign up to listen to Jesus' call to 'Love Thy Neighbour' this Easter.
Easter is a time to get re-centred and to re-focus on Jesus and his great love. It’s a time to listen to the clear and compelling voice of our Lord as he reassures you that YOU are loved, and invites you to follow him into the deep love of neighbour.
And this year, we are inviting you to join a week of daily devotions, video teachings and blogs by Christian leaders - all meditating on what it means to ‘Love Thy Neighbour’ - from next Monday to Easter Monday (21- 28 March).
And there’s no shortage of challenges and questions about being an Australian person today. Challenges like: Who is my neighbour? How do we best face the injustices in our nation? Like those experienced by Australia’s first people? Or those seeking asylum? How should we love our muslim neighbours? What about future generations with a changing climate?
Both our movement and the theology of common grace is built on the foundation of God’s incredible love for all. Jesus himself calls us to love everyone, just as our God in heaven does.
“You have heard that it was said, ‘Love your neighbor and hate your enemy.’ But I tell you, love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, that you may be children of your Father in heaven. He causes his sun to rise on the evil and the good, and sends rain on the righteous and the unrighteous." -- Matthew 5:43-48 43
We pray that the grace of God - that common grace - would guide us and our work into the future, and so this Easter we’re asking you to come on a journey with us, to listen again to Jesus’ call to love our neighbour.
Just like last year, we’re partnering with the Bible Society. Together, we will consider the beautiful love found in Jesus’ death on the cross and how it overflows into love of neighbour.
Join Christians from all over Australia as we meditate on daily bible readings, reflect on the video teachings of a diverse range of Australian Christian leaders, and consider the thoughts of contemporary Christians expressed in daily blog posts.
As our Ambassador for the campaign, Louisa Hope will share her story of being in the Lindt Café siege in Sydney. As Louisa says,
'Love is really where Jesus is at. You look to what Jesus did and how He behaved with people, and in my heart there was no choice but to say, ‘How can we get the good out of what’s happened in this circumstance? How can we encourage everybody to not fall into hate and fear, but to look to what Jesus said – to love our neighbour, even though it’s hard sometimes.’
Louisa will be joined by a some of Australia’s most well-respected Christian teachers, from right across the breadth of the Australian Church, as they share their thoughts in video reflections and blogs.The church’s unity is found in the words of Jesus. Together we want to listen to his call.