Rev Belinda Groves reflects on Canberra Baptist Church's annual Blessing of the Animals for St Francis of Assisi Day and Season of Creation.
I don’t know about you, but after last week I desperately need a movement like Common Grace. A movement that centres people over politics, and inspires me to keep pursuing justice.
When Common Grace started nearly four years ago, we called Christians to write letters to the then Immigration Minister (now Prime Minister), Scott Morrison, calling for compassion, not cruelty to be shown to those who seek safety for their families in Australia.
Who were we to suggest things could be different? What did we have to offer? Would people even respond? But that place of feeling inadequate and powerless is precisely where a movement like Common Grace needed to start.
You see, we are a movement of Christians who believe in a better way – the way of Jesus. We believe that as we speak, think and act more like Jesus, God will move us to the margins of society, situate us with the vulnerable and inspire us to stand with them in confronting and overcoming the injustice that holds them back.
And that's exactly what we need right now – Christian peacemakers, committed to grace-filled action in bold and creative ways.
As a country we are becoming increasingly polarised, and our political leaders are no better. Rather than generously opening our homes, we are fiercely closing our borders. Instead of caring for God’s beautiful Earth, we’re increasingly harming it. As our neighbour sits beaten on the path to Jericho, too many of us are crossing to the other side of the road.
But the way of Jesus is humility over hypocrisy, compassion over cruelty. We too are called to engage in our world with this same posture, to break injustice through service and sacrifice.
This has been a sobering thought for me over the last few years as I have sought to lead this movement. To presume my privilege or my experience somehow gives me a platform to pursue justice on behalf of others is to miss the point. Instead I’ve learnt as I’ve met with Aboriginal Christian leaders, as I have heard from survivors of domestic violence, as I have grieved the state of God’s beautiful creation, that God calls us to pursue justice alongside those stripped of power.
We believe in a better way – the way of Jesus – and if you are Christian passionate about Jesus, your commitment to be involved is needed now, more than ever. We are a movement made up of thousands of Christians who together believe things can be different, that Christians can be champions for justice across our country, that we can be known for our generosity, our grace, our compassion, for our likeness to Jesus.
Scott Sanders is the CEO of Common Grace.