Saturday, October 24, 2009

International Day of Climate Action October 24

We attended a local climate action playdate for families here in Newcastle as part of the International Day of Climate Action. This action focuses on the number 350. 350 is the amount of carbon in the atmosphere in parts per million that is the upper safe limit for humans, according to scientists. The world has slipped past this mark and therefore grassroots actions on this day call for world leaders and others to work towards bringing this figure below 350. See the website for much more information. Some photos from the event we attended which emphasised the impact on the next generation if inaction on climate change continues are available here.

Care for earth is an element of the Way of Life of the Community of Aidan and Hilda and many other religious movements and communities. It is now the perogative of every person community or no community to make some contribution to caring for the earth and to support where possible those who build the earth community through events like the 350 campaign. I am inspired by people who are able to get people together around these issues...where we care for earth we care for the soul of the world. Where the soul of the world is there is Christ and there children are deeply valuable because they contain in them the precious next steps in the earth's story.

Watching Closely

Holy One,
This day may we watch for you,
In the play of children,
In the presence of sea, sun and soil,
In subtle changes of weather,
In the lives of our neighbours,
In the still spaces between words and work.
Watching you closely so that in all things we sense your Being.

Monday, October 19, 2009

Holy Playfulness

The Lord created me at the beginning of his work, the first of his acts of long ago....then I was beside him like a little child; and I was daily his delight, rejoicing before him always, rejoicing in his inhabited world and delighting in the human race.
(Proverbs 8:22, 30-31)

I have been reflecting on children's capacity for play and how natural it is. Certainly my children are drawn towards play equipment of any description and will have a go at most things in most playgrounds. Most other young children I meet are the same. We found this playground in a city setting in Sydney set beautifully amongst a grove of trees. Play is often very spontaneous and it doesn't seem to need much for imagination to be sparked not only by play equipment but with simple blocks and stuffed toys. Play is also very bodily for fearless little people trying out new things. It seems to lead to calmer children as though there is something necessary about it, something centring...something parents are often grateful for.

Playfulness can become stifled in us adult folk as we focus on responsibilities and tasks to the detriment of our soul. While adults may not play in the same way as children we can recover our spontaneity and the immediacy of what we are drawn to rather than what we are required to do or feel we must do. Is this what Jesus might be encouraging in proposing that we become like little children and that this is the pathway into Presence (Luke 18:17)? Interestingly it is possible Jesus is reflecting that older children are already losing this capacity for dwelling with God hence the reference to 'little children'. The most vulnerable among us including little children may indeed be the most receptive to spirit. An emerging tradition of new monastics represented by a number of dispersed and localised communities is transfering the insights of the centuries old monastic traditions to various contemporary settings. Children have an essential role here in leading their parents and other folk who would be the new monks and nuns of our age into the playground of the soul, earthed in divine presence, irreplaceable beings in the ongoing creation.

Friday, October 16, 2009

Evening Prayer

From activity to stillness, from rush to reflection. Evening prayer is a time of drawing down, recollection and peaceful attentiveness. Even in the midst of family life and just for a few moments to listen for this transition perhaps with the aid of a psalm, prayer or chant. How has the day left me, what might I have done differently, who am I carrying in my heart? I accept who I am in this moment with all my joy and pains. I let Peace pray itself within me and my life, radiating outwards, willingly entering the mysterious darkness and silence that night brings. Go well.

Thursday, October 15, 2009

Acknowledgement of Country

Welcome to my new blog site...I hope you enjoy the posts that I'll put together and also feel free to follow up points of interest as you wish. I'd like to acknowledge first up that I write this blog from the land of the Awabakal people who are the traditional owners of the areas around Newcastle, Australia and the nearby Lake Macquarie. I pay my respects to the local elders and custodians who care for country and nurture the transmission of culture from generation to generation. This survives despite the destructive impact of European colonisation on Aboriginal culture from the late 1700s to the present day. The beautiful landscape above, captured by a friend of mine, is representative of coastal country in this area and one of the attractions for residents and visitors alike. Acknowledgement of country is now often spoken by Aboriginal or non-Aboriginal people at the start of important meetings or events or when necessary to remind us of the heritage of a local Australian area and that without land and the people who have nurtured it we have nowhere to rest, work and play.

I wrote the following blessing earlier this year to try and capture some of the essence of this
(re)emerging tradition in Australian society.

Tribal Land Blessing
The land on which I sit is Awabakal land.
Bless the tribal peoples who have walked here in ages past, who walk it now and will walk it in the future.
This is a land to respect, nurture and be with.
Great Spirit,
For the silence of the land be blessed,
For the water from the skies and the heat of the sun be blessed,
For the fruit of the land be blessed,
May You embrace, circle and fill our beings each moment of our lives.

Written in Solitude, Callicoma Hill, Wonnarua land, Saturday 15/2/09

Peace, Matt