Home. What is conjured up in your mind when you think of this word? Perhaps a physical house, your family, a location, or strip of coastline, maybe even a feeling of safety and contentment.
For Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples, the concept of home is deeply rooted in our connectedness with the rest of creation. This connection is something embedded from childhood. I remember my favourite childhood books were dreaming stories including ‘How the birds got their colours’, ‘How the kangaroos got their tails’ and ‘The bat and the crocodile’. Stories of creation and moral lessons shared around the imagery of animals and the land.
This deeply held value for and interconnectedness with creation has translated into thousands of years of understanding, protection over and respect for the land, waters, plants, animals, fish, birds and sky - our shared home. Sounds a lot like God's commandment to humanity in Genesis chapter one to steward the earth.
Since colonisation, the wisdom of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples has been ignored. And this has had devastating impacts. Rich and fertile soil has become hard and unhealthy (check out Dark Emu by Bruce Pascoe), animal species have become extinct or endangered, the livelihood of communities suffer by rivers drying out, fracking, mining, and destruction of sacred sites. In the Torres Strait Islands, rising sea levels are threatening communities who have a right to survive and practice their culture on their traditional homelands.
To move forward, we need to acknowledge the injustices and wrongdoings that have contributed to this crisis. As followers of Jesus we need to turn to prayer, seeking forgiveness, wisdom and courage.
Our nation's leaders need to step up. Together we can be a united, faith-based community that seeks to be led by Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples’ knowledge and wisdom in how to care for these lands, waters, and sky. But we need the resources to equip the Common Grace movement.
Today, you can take two simple steps to help Australia move forward towards justice and grace for all Creation.
Join tonight’s Online Prayer Vigil, 8pm AEDT, where the Movement will pray for our role in caring for Creation. Register here.
Support the Movement invest more significantly in campaigning for Creation and Climate justice by helping to seed fund a new Justice Coordinator role. Your donation, when given by 31 March, will be matched dollar for dollar. Every donation counts.
I urge us all to follow the example of Jesus by humbling ourselves, opening our ears, eyes and hearts to truly listen to the original custodians of these lands, who should be leading the way to protect our island home.
Bianca Manning is a Gomeroi woman and Common Grace’s Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Justice Coordinator.
Photo by Linda Xu on Unsplash