Jason John calls for Australia to have a prodigal moment, a Zacchaeus moment, turning around now.
Rallying for God's Beautiful Earth
Connected to Creation
This year I moved to Sydney, on the lands of the Gadigal peoples. It’s been a big change. As a visitor to these lands I’ve had to listen deeply to learn about this new country.
There are different birds, different trees, different waters, different land. On this country I see how the sky speaks differently, I hear how the wind feels differently, and I know how the waters challenge me differently.
I’ve had to ask questions. How does this country work? How do the seasons work?
Four seasons called Summer, Autumn, Winter, and Spring are so limiting. There is much wisdom to gain from Aboriginal peoples of many nations – check out the Indigenous Weather Knowledge map. I learnt recently that for the Garigal peoples, somewhat neighbours to the Gadigal peoples, when the wattle blooms, the mullet are running. I loved learning in Bruce Pascoe’s, Dark Emu, about the relationship between the peoples, the cetaceans, and the fish. There is so much we all can learn.
As a visitor to these Gadigal lands and many other lands of Aboriginal nations right across these lands now called Australia, I’ve taken my shoes and socks off to stand barefoot on country – to acknowledge country, to feel the land, to make sure that I always remember all things are connected. (Check out Brooke on Instagram @brookeprentisgrasstree). All peoples, all lands, all waters, all birds, all animals, all fish, all trees, all plants, all sky, all earth – all of us – all of creation.
As an Aboriginal woman, I know all things are connected. I’ve always known.
There is a particular place that I walk on Gadigal country where I’m directly confronted about walking between two worlds. To my left are British colonial buildings. To my right are massive trees that pre-date colonisation. I am drawn to the trees – the stories they hold – and I usually go and put my hand on the tree trunk and stand barefoot on the roots of the tree because standing on the imported grass makes it more difficult to connect.
With the bark and trunk of the tree under the palm of my hand, with the land and tree roots under my feet, with the language of the wind filling my ears, and with my eyes turned to the sky – I feel my heartbeat, the heartbeat of the tree, the heartbeat of the land. I feel the wet trickle run slowly down my cheek. A tear – of pain, of brokenness, of sickness. Many of our Elders say when the land is sick, the people are sick. I see and feel the sickness.
The sickness is in the rainforest trees in the Daintree that I saw fallen over because the ground was too dry because the rains hadn’t come – the dust that filled my eyes – dust in the rainforest??? The sickness in the governments – both State and Federal again not listening to Aboriginal voices, Djap Wurrung, as ancient trees are under threat to make way for a highway. The sickness in the peoples, as our lungs fill with smoke from trees that are burning – a rainforest burning – over 14,000 kilometres away, “the lungs of the planet”.
That tear, that voice, that heartbeat – our interconnectedness does not drive me to despair but to action. It’s a rallying cry. For Aboriginal justice I have said that we have to sit together in our pain, stand together against injustice, and walk together in truth and friendship. It is the same for creation justice. Aboriginal peoples feel this injustice deeply because the lands, waters, birds, animals, fish, trees, plants, sky and earth are our neighbours, our friends, our brothers and sisters. We invite our Non-Indigenous friends into this deeper relationship with all of creation.
Let us come together – let us lament, let us rally! Let our tears, tears that we cry together, include tears of wonder, of beauty, of joy – the wonder, beauty, and joy of rallying together in connectedness, relationship – all of creation. Sickness can be healed. This type of healing will require all of us. The time is now for all of creation, for God’s Beautiful creation, for us.
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Reflect & Pray
Great Creator Spirit.
Encourage us to open our ears to hear, see, and know you more deeply through all of your creation.
Help us to be thankful and understand the special gifts and leadership you have instilled in Aboriginal peoples, in these lands now called Australia, and Indigenous peoples all across the world.
Remind us of our interconnectedness through the heartbeat you have placed in each of us and in the lands, waters, and all creation.
Give us comfort and courage as we come together and rally in community as a reminder to the world of your deep love for us.
Get the September 20 #ClimateStrike in your diary and plan to attend. Consider who you might be able to invite or take with you. We will provide you with more information about the #ClimateStrike in the next weeks.
Click here to speak up for the ancient trees under threat for highway construction, and/or support the Djap Wurrung Heritage Protection Embassy as the people there rally to protect them,
“Sacred birthing trees on Djap Wurrung country need protecting. Over 50 generations have been born on these sites & the birthing trees themselves are 800 years old. We are protecting them from Vic Labour Party’s planned highway extension that is set to destroy this dreaming landscape.”
“This is one of the longest blockades and one of the strongest stands against colonisation and cultural devastation Victoria has seen this century. Vicroads threaten to desecrate sacred women's birthing trees and cultural land for the brief and unnecessary extension of the Western Highway.”
This blog is part of our 2019 Season of Creation series: Rallying for God's Beautiful Earth.