Pentecost Prayer

energy of the dance…
promise in the water…
rush in the wind…
rhythm in the word…
poetry of the faith…
silence in the horror…
patience in the waiting…
question in the wonder…
curve on the horizon…
brightness in the sun…
speed in the light…
life in the resurrection…

Come Spirit…
be it all…
and bring us into renewal once more…

~ written by Roddy Hamilton, and posted on Mucky Paws 

Photo taken at Faith and Fabric exhibition at Brunswick Uniting Church on 09 November 2014

I took this photo at Faith and Fabric exhibition at Brunswick Uniting Church on 09 November 2014



That They May be One

‘That they may be one’; this is the prayer Jesus prayed for those who would believe in him long after he was gone. It’a a prayer that continues to reverberate as Christ believers still behave in ways that undermine the unity of the Christian church and thus, the credibility of the idea that God is at work in the world.

Inspired by a retreat that I attended last month, which introduced me to the idea of Quantum Entanglement I’ve been challenged and excited by the lectionary readings in recent weeks with their emphasis on how our relationships with each other have the power to change our surroundings and indeed, the world.

When we observe the other with love, particularly that prickly, unlikeable other; that has the power to make a statement to the watching world about discipleship: quantum entanglement. When we love our enemy and pray for our persecutor; that has the power to push back the darkness inherent in enmity: quantum entanglement.

When we desist from labelling the clean and unclean, that has the power to change perceptions and the history of the church: quantum entanglement.

Whenever the church, empowered by the Spirit of God, allows that its many expressions and diversity of views are one under God, observers catch a glimpse of God in Christ. This, in turn, enables something of the love of God to break through: quantum entanglement.

Unity is not easy; it takes effort, but the power of unity is more than we can know or understand – it’s a power to change the world: quantum entanglement.

that they may be one

Brand New Consciousness

A simple question:

‘Do you want to be made well?

No easy answer.


Walls already built

Reasons why we can’t or won’t

That’s the way it is.

Yet, invitation:

‘Stand up, take your mat and walk’

Brand new consciousness.

New Consciousness

Inspired by  the Gospel of John 5:1-9

Thanks for Listening

I met him last week on the steps on The Royal Women’s Hospital. He was coming up, while I was going down. He spoke to me. I hesitated, he stopped.

‘Do you work here?’ he asked.

‘No,’ I said, stopping too.

‘What do you do then?’

‘I’m a minister of religion,’ I told him. A mistake.

He immediately pounced; began to tell me about experiences he’d had, religious and otherwise. About his girlfriend’s experiences, how young she was and his need for someone with more knowledge.

It was raining. I had an umbrella, but he was getting wet. I angled my brollie in an attempt to shelter him a little. He didn’t seem to notice and talked on, asking me questions but leaving me no time to answer. He didn’t need answers.

He had a theory, a conspiracy theory. Inwardly, I groaned, but none-the-less decided I would hear him out. A mega-virus with the capacity to wipe us all out. He had a sample of it with him and he held up a small esky. He should get going. He was taking it inside and he looked up at the hospital.

‘This is the Women’s,’ he said. ‘I’m at the wrong entrance. I’m going to the Melbourne.’

He laughed and turned away from me. Continuing down the steps towards the street corner and my car, I heard him call out. I turned to see him waving at me.

‘Thanks,’ he said, ‘thanks for listening!’

Sometimes, it doesn’t take much to show mercy.


Image found at:

The Voice

International Womens DayHappy International Women’s Day!

Today, I’m waiting on the arrival of a third grandchild (perhaps a second grand-daughter) who’s now two days overdue. With this imminent arrival constantly on my mind, I’ve watched again this video, put out by 1 Million Women, who have transformed John Farnham’s much-loved song, ‘You’re the Voice’ into ‘a powerful anthem from women for climate action and hope’.

What has most moved me in the viewing is the variations on the theme:

  • You’re the Voice
  • I’m the Voice
  • We’re the Voice

… together with the multitude of faces depicting:

  • the well-known and the unknown
  • the long-lived and the unborn
  • racial diversity

Here’s to a world where my grandchildren, both the boy(s) and the girl(s), will raise their voices together in unity, for They’re the Voice!

They’re the Voice, You’re the Voice, We’re the Voice, I’m the Voice!

Watch 1 Million Women’s Video here


Submerged in Mercy

Whoever visits a sick person is plunging into mercy until he sits down, and when he sits down he is submerged in it.

Silsilah Al-Saheehah

visiting the sickI came across this quote from the Islamic prophet, Muhammad, when I attended a professional development day at the Islamic Council of Victoria. The event had begun at 6.00am so that participants could observe the early prayers of the Muslim day, and I wasn’t too alert as someone talked about the needs of Muslim patients in hospital. Until this quote appeared on the screen.

Now, I was awake, grabbing a pen and writing it down. Later, I asked the speaker about Silsilah Al-Saheehah. Who or what is this? She informed me that this is the name given to the authenticated sayings of the Islamic prophet, Muhammad; the literal translation is ‘The Authentic Series’.

At the time, I was working in pastoral care in a public hospital and it spoke  directly to my work. This is what I was doing – visiting the sick, usually sitting at their bedside. I had thought of myself as offering mercy, perhaps even bringing it with me, but the prophet, Muhammad, turned that notion on its head and revealed the egoism in it.

Mercy precedes me whenever I visit the sick. It is already there.

I enter into it, more than that, I immerse myself in it. Mercy envelopes me.

In the action of visiting the sick, I gain as much as I may give.

I shouldn’t have been surprised by this notion as I knew its truth from experience. When I was twenty-three years old, I gave birth to twin boys. They were eight weeks premature and while one has grown to manhood, the other only lived for four days. He died after we had given permission for life support to be discontinued. We were told we could stay until the end, but if we didn’t a nurse would sit with him. I could not and did not stay. I had no experience of death at that time and no resources on which I could draw.

More than twenty years later I met another twenty-three year woman whose son would not live. She was still in the labour ward, but had asked that he be removed from the room. She could not watch him die. Would I sit with him?

It was after hours. How long could I stay, how long would it take? These were the uppermost questions when I first sat down beside him, but after a time, they no longer seemed relevant as it dawned on me that I was doing something for this young woman that another woman had done for me. I would stay as long as it took.

When I left the hospital that night, I knew a circle had been closed and I had received more than I had given.  Moreover, it was Lent and resurrection had come to me.

I plunged into mercy when I entered that room and as I sat there, I was submerged in it.

Self-promotion vs Anonymity

I’ve recently finished reading Italian author, Elena Ferrante’s captivating Neapolitan series.  I discovered Ferrante after coming across this article:

In my writing studies, I’ve often heard  that authors must become adept at ‘shameless’ self-promotion in order to find a readership. Yet, Elena Ferrante has found international readership for her eight novels without performing a single act of self-promotion. Further, she has chosen withdrawal and anonymity. The public do not know who she is.

When her first book was published, she told her publisher,

‘I believe that books, once they are written, have no need of their authors. If they have something to say, they will sooner or later find readers; if not, they won’t … True miracles are the ones whose makers will never be known.’

This runs counter to our technological age where many of us put our writings ‘out there’ every day, firmly attached to our name and our #hashtags. Elena Ferrante has put me in mind of something Jesus said, that we ought to beware of practicing our piety in order to be seen by others.

There are more important rewards than being known.


Then who will we be?

Then who will we be? 5853965-question-mark

This is the last line in a recent article, Nauru: how long can we keep lying to ourselves, written by Waleed Aly and published in The Age. Aly uncovers the fabric of lies that have been told and legislated by successive governments to justify current asylum seeker policy, and questions how long they can be sustained. He concludes with this:

‘At some point, the clock runs out. And on that day, maybe the alarm will sound on these mighty fictions that have been sustaining us. Then who will we be?’

This last question has struck a chord with me in a way that finds application beyond this country’s inhumane asylum seeker policy. Today is Ash Wednesday, which begins a period of preparation and discipline for the Christian church. It reflects on the life and ministry of Jesus and calls upon Christians to renew their commitment to Christian discipleship.

‘Then who will we be’ is a searching question to carry into Lent. It invites us to examine our decisions, our actions and our beliefs, every one of which is forming and transforming us.

Every ‘yes’ to any given thing sets us on a path that moves towards one thing and away from something else. For example, our assent to ‘illegal immigrants’ and ‘stop the boats’ in Australia has taken this country down the path towards moral bankruptcy.

Similarly, and at a personal level, the same is true. When we say ‘yes’ to one thing, we say ‘no’ to another and it changes us, for good or for ill. Lent is the season to pay attention to the paths we’re travelling.

I enter Lent this year pondering on Waleed Aly’s question, ‘then who will we be’.

I invite you to join me.

I Need to Know

I’m waiting on a phone call,

on the details,

on the date and time.

It’s not happening to me,

it’s not my turn.


‘I’m available when you need me,’ I said,

‘Call me when you’re ready.’

But she hasn’t called.


My unease grows by the hour.

‘Call me,’ I say to the silent phone,

‘Call me,’ I blurt out loud,

mumble under my breath,

cry out in my head.


I Need to Know.


What is this need?

The need to be needed

To be the confidant

To be recognised

To be on hand

To know what others don’t know

To be the caretaker of the knowing.

There is power in knowing.


I know it is about me,

This need to know.


So, I remind myself, ‘It’s not about you,

be patient, be still, wait.’

Okay, but …


I Need to Know.



Dabbing Mercy

The world will give you that once in a while, a brief timeout; the boxing bell rings and you go into your corner, where somebody dabs mercy on your beat-up life.

  • What is your first thought on reading this quote from Sue Monk Kidd’s, The Secret Life of Bees?
  • Where does it arrest your attention?
  • Who has done this for you: ‘dabbed mercy on your beat-up life’? How?

For Monk Kidd’s protagonist, Lily, who was running from home and from a terrible guilt, somebody provided her with a safe place to be and the absence of expectation that she give more than she wanted to– of herself or physical labour.

For me, it was Jill, who at the lowest ebb of my life and despite my obvious failure, brushed the knuckle of one finger across my cheek and told me I was beloved.

hurt and needing careThis line from The Secret Life of Bees stays with me for a number of reasons:

There is the source – a sense of the cosmic giver, thought of by Monk Kidd as the world, who brings the gift of mercy to your corner.

There is a sense of reprieve – a timeout in the midst of the storm, from the unrelenting pain.

There is the ‘somebody’ with whom the world has so conspired to cross your path.

And then there is the dabbing of mercy on your beat-up life.

The image starts from a cosmic view where you are the speck on the bigger stage and finishes with the spotlight on your wounds – the cut above your eye or the split lip, wounds that have been sustained in the boxing ring of life. And someone treats these wounds with tenderness, touches them lightly, staunches the blood and applies healing salve. The salve may well be cooling and bring relief, but the lightness of the touch, implied in the word ‘dab’, is where the mercy lies.

The hand that brings mercy is light. And you who receive it, are blessed.

  • Having thought about who has done this for you, who could you pass it on to, this dab of mercy?
  • What form could that take?