We begin by returning. To our creation story, to the posture of thankfulness, to worship, to truth, to the land and to God.
Reflections written by Pastor Don Hayward and Pastor Matt Darvas.
Adam was created from the dust. When he was formed, God breathed life into him. So I've always believed that for Aboriginal and non Aboriginal people there was something important about returning to land, connecting with the soil, the dust. A lot of non-Aboriginal people that I've talked to know this connection, they may not see it the same way we see it as Aboriginal people, yet when they go to the sea or they go to a lake or the hills, there's something spiritual that they sense as well.
There is a peace or calmness about the land and the way that it makes us feel. Just listening to the birds and things you don't normally hear… There's something about the land. I don't think it's just important for us as Aboriginal people. I think it's important for everyone. We've got to look after the land. For me personally, the best thing I can do as a sabbath practice is to get out of the city. When I go to the ocean and I sit somewhere, that's where I could be at home.
Matt shares about his own journey of engaging with stories of “origin” in these tumultuous times.
by Matt Darvas
Breathing out. Moving forward.
I worry about my wife and my kids.
I worry about our world and those living in extreme poverty, increasing for the first time in 20 years as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic and its impact on lives and livelihoods.
I worry about the current and future impact of climate change in our world, particularly for those already pushed to the margins of ecological survival, living on the edges of coastlines being inundated and deserts creeping forward.
I worry about rising political polarisation, increased conflict and the displacement of more refugees than at any other time since World War II.
But there is a simple truth I have found I can take solace in and use to reorientate myself when the worries of this world start to feel overwhelming.
“I know the God of this universe, who has written the story, and who is in control.”
When Job is spiralling in his faith and thoughts after having experienced unimaginable grief, pain and suffering, God confronts him with the sheer raw truth of who He is and what He has done.
We read in Job 38 that God speaks to Job out of a storm and challenges Job to answer where he was when God laid the earth’s foundation, marking off its measurements, holding back the seas and setting in the sky the sun, moon and stars.
This continues for a scintillating 125 verses of God directly and vividly reminding Job of his power, majesty and control (it is worth reading the entire four chapters of Job 38-41 for yourself).
This is God calling Job back to consider the very origins of life itself, and the one who made it.
When I remind myself that through Jesus, I have a relationship with the God who is in control of the universe, who rules over it with righteousness and justice (Psalm 9:8,16), I am re-centred and re-orientated, placed back in rightful awe and wonder like Job.
So helpful has it become in my own journey of faith to return to the truth of God’s power and control in this universe, it has become like a form of spiritual breath and oxygen that helps to sustain me in moving forward.
If it is worry, stress and anxiety that I have inhaled as I come to God – often making myself blue in the face as I try to hold it in and fix things in my own strength – it is now the peace and power that comes from reconnecting with God’s presence that I exhale.
And as I exhale, while circumstances around me may not have changed, I have.
Isn’t it wonderful how the simple act of reminding ourselves of God’s bigness, and our smallness, can have such a calming effect?
But we are not to seek this peace purely for the purposes of finding and dwelling in our own inner happiness and calm, though God delights in giving us His rest.
Rather, we are to transfer that rest and the regenerative power that comes from it into positive action towards those around us, and the greater world we live in.
2020 may have been a year of significant disruption, pain and suffering. Of plans you thought God had given you seemingly laid to waste. Of progress against some of the world’s greatest challenges like poverty, hunger and modern slavery put back (in some cases by decades), despite how obviously close to God’s heart these issues are.
But we are not called to stop or to cower. To pull the blankets up and just hope 2021 will be better. Nor are we called to some form of detached meditation or escapism.
We are called, like Job, to consider the One who made it all.
To breathe in this truth and the power that comes from it.
And to move forward.
May you give us the presence of mind to return to you and your origin story of this universe that you created, far more often than we are prone to do.
As we hold in our bodies and our minds the concerns and anxieties of a broken world and our own broken lives, may we be reminded of your peace and goodness towards us.
And as we encounter your power and presence daily in our lives, may we not bottle it for ourselves alone, but spread it forth amongst the communities we live in and the nations of this world.
For yours is the Kingdom, the glory and the power for ever,
Ideas for Small Groups and sharing the Reset Faith journey with others.
Transformation happens in community. Share the Reset Faith journey with friends, your small group, your tribe. Share a meal, speak honestly, pray together. Be changed together.
Psalm 24 reminds us that “The earth is the Lord’s and everything in it”. This first Reset Faith practice is to “Delight in God’s Creation”. In the midst of the upheaval of our times, we invite you to make space to come before God, in creation, breathing in everything that is beautiful and sustains life. Practically, we invite you to make time this week to be in creation. Go for a surf, go camping or for a bushwalk. Go outside at night and stare up into the stars or make a picnic and visit a park.