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What do you do on January 26?
For some the day includes a BBQ with friends, for others it’s a chance to enjoy a public holiday at the end of summer. For us at TEAR, the lead up to January 26 is a time when we prayerfully consider how we can stand together with our Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander brothers and sisters in a way that demonstrates our unity in Christ and our commitment to biblically shaped justice.
Revelation 7:9-10 gives us a glimpse of heaven. In it we see all tribes, peoples and languages worshipping before the throne. As we mark January 26, this passage prompts us to ask: how can the Indigenous and non-Indigenous people of Australia stand together in a way that demonstrates our unity in Christ and our commitment to biblically shaped justice?
Here are some ways that you can go deeper in your understanding of this issue and ideas to respond:
Want to keep informed about this and other issues affecting Australia’s First Peoples? Subscribe today. Together, let’s deepen our understanding and prayerfully consider how we can engage in the work of reconciliation and healing to which God calls us.
Mark Yettica-Paulson has written a fantastic article on 'Australia Day: liberating the conversation'. Mark is an Indigenous leader from the South East Queensland and North East NSW regions.
“My message to churches and faith groups would be one of hope. In this national dialogue, we have a role to play in speaking love, forgiveness and the ability to overcome. The church can be an example to fellow Australians.”Read now
January 26 is a day of both pride and pain.
There’s so much to celebrate about Australia – but for many, “Australia Day” is a difficult day. To find a way forward, we need to know where we’ve come from…
Mark Aboriginal Sunday (Sunday Jan 24) at your church.
In 1938, Aboriginal Christian Leader William Cooper asked the Australian Church to set aside the Sunday before January 26th as Aboriginal Sunday, a day of Christian solidarity calling for full citizenship rights to be granted to Aboriginal peoples.
80 years later, Common Grace are calling us to formalise our desire to see individual congregations reclaim William Cooper’s Aboriginal Sunday by asking your church to set aside 15 minutes in your service on Sunday January 24.
If you would like to get your church involved, please find out more here.
Mabo Day sermon
At the request of Pastor Ray Minniecon, Mark Wornell (Senior Minister at St Johns Glebe) draws on his legal and theological training to examine the Mabo case through the lens of Jesus teaching that "the truth will se you free". (Mabo day is June 2)
Listen to the podcast recording of his talk here
Reconciliation in our nation
Tara Conradt is a pastor and community development specialist based in Joondalup, WA. In 2017/18 Tara led a small church and served as leader of ACC WA Community Engagement department.
Every year on Australia Day, Tara used to go to Skyworks, a Perth fireworks festival. But several years ago, she says: “We decided not to go. Not because it wasn’t appealing as an event or because we had other things on. But because the year before it felt decidedly different.
In a blog she writes: “We cannot move towards reconciliation with God without reconciliation in our nation. The Kingdom of God is a Kingdom of peace. Not passive peace but active peace.. We as those who are ambassadors, carriers of the kingdom must be purveyors of peace. Not peace-keepers (protectors of the status quo) but peace-makers (forgiving, loving and being liberators, Justice leaders, equality seekers, truth tellers).”
After this I looked, and there before me was a great multitude that no one could count, from every nation, tribe, people and language, standing before the throne and before the Lamb. They were wearing white robes and were holding palm branches in their hands. And they cried out in a loud voice: “Salvation belongs to our God, who sits on the throne, and to the Lamb.”