Belinda Groves – 12 March 2017

Dear Friends

If you have been following our current sermon series in the book, Christianity for the Rest of Us, you will know today’s chapter, Justice, contains the story of Rev Lillian Daniel, a pastor from Connecticut who was arrested at a protest in support of health care workers. She didn’t mind being arrested, she says, but did have, “a moment of self-indulgent bitterness…that the church of Jesus could produce so many ministers willing to fall on the swords over issues of sexuality, but unwilling to notice the demonic gap between the rich and the poor.” Her secondary concern was that she had not told the church where she was and it took some time to bail her out of jail!

There has been a running joke that John might go to similar lengths this week to have such a story to tell. Though, if he is not standing in front of you as you read this, be assured he promised to leave his sermon notes behind – just in case!

Getting arrested for a sermon illustration might be going to extremes, but I have appreciated the opportunities we have had as a church, during this series, to engage actively with each of the topics.

We started with Discernment on the day we were signing up for small groups and thinking consciously about how the Holy Spirit might be given more room in our lives to guide us and grow us!

Then we moved onto Hospitality and – along with the delicious biscuits that the kids cooked for us – there have been many opportunities, to welcome new people to our church and to invite each other deeper into our lives.

Next was Contemplation and John led us, that day, in a contemplative service! We followed that with Healing; thinking about healing in every area of our lives – and how our Community Centre might be a way of meeting physical, social, psychological and spiritual needs. Then it was Testimony and we heard testimonies from members of our church. And last week I preached on Diversity, continuing a conversation about how we as a church welcome people of different ages, races, socio-economic backgrounds and sexual identities.

Today we are seeking to let Justice flow and I have one suggestion (I’m sure you can think of others!)

Many in our church are concerned about off-shore detention and last Sunday, Kelli Hughes outlined a simple – but powerful – way of protesting. It involves:

1. Calling politicians directly (Mr Turnbull 6277 7700, Mr Joyce 6277 7520, Mr Dutton 6277 7860, Mr Shorten 6277 4022, Ms Plibersek 6277 4404, Mr Neumann 6277 4755) and speaking briefly (for probably 2 minutes) to a staffer.

2. Telling them your name and electorate and asking if you can speak to the politician (who is rarely available).
3. Then, asking if your concerns (i.e. that as offshore detention centres close the detainees be treated with respect and found safe and appropriate places to live) can be conveyed to them.

May justice flow like a creek that never runs dry at Canberra Baptist Church!