Monthly Archives: November 2014

Treading down the pastures

Ezekiel  34Sheep amerainey

18 Is it not enough for you to feed on the good pasture, but you must tread down with your feet the rest of your pasture? When you drink of clear water, must you foul the rest with your feet? 19 And must my sheep eat what you have trodden with your  feet, and drink what you have fouled with your feet?

October once again followed the continuous trend of breaking records for high temperatures around the globe. Despite the evidence that climate changing is happening more rapidly than expected Australian newspaper for two days in a row has run reports attacking President Obama’s speech at the University of Queensland when he laid down the gauntlet to the Australian government to pick up our act.

It appears the priority of the coal driven Queensland somehow trumps Obama’s call as we worry about our job security and lifestyle.

In the face of this Ezekiel’s ancient word of prophecy speaks a confronting word to us.  Not simply in the matter of climate science but also in the reality that in the West we have been embedded in exploitative capitalism, given ourselves permission through our obsession with growth .

Like Ezekiel, Clive Hamilton and Paul Gilding the Pope has recently issued a rather dire prediction that whilst God might forgive the earth will not. Ezekiel’s word of prophecy suggest that fouling the crops and water that others need will bring consequences.  It would appear that these consequences are coming home to roost on a global scale.

In Australia we have got rid of the carbon tax and said we will not do more until others do, we have ‘protected our borders’ and we have ‘protected our industry and jobs’ but at what cost? Ezekiel declares judgement, Because you pushed with flank and shoulder, and butted at all the weak animals with your horns until you scattered them far and wide. 

As an Australian I am bemoaning my sore flank and shoulder and my scrapped horns as I begin to realise the inequity and injustice we perpetuate. I know I am embedded in these systems so I continue to ask what can I do?  What contrition? What advocacy? What hope can I offer? How will i ever respond to Jesus words?

‘Come, you that are blessed by my Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world; for I was hungry and you gave me food, I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink, I was a stranger and you welcomed me, I was naked and you gave me clothing, I was sick and you took care of me, I was in prison and you visited me.’

On this my resume is not great…

The danger of thinking we have the oil.

In response to a question about truth and right and wrong a year seven student recently asked a pretty astute question.  How do we know we are right?  How do we know that another groups isn’t?  Who is to say even a group like ISIL may not be right?

It was a confronting moment but a good reminder about being too dogmatic about what we think or believe.  The story of the 10 bridesmaids found in Matthew 25:1-13 is a passage that could lead us quickly down the rabbit hole of judging who is and who is out, who is wise and who is foolish.

The moment we think we are the wise ones we could mistakenly think we do not have to care for those on the other side of the door – the foolish.  Or, even worse, to justify our actions against those we have decided are foolish.

Just as Jesus was critical elsewhere of such piety I wonder if in his telling of the parable of the bridesmaids Jesus is placing a puzzle, a conundrum, a parable! before the disciples.  How does the barrier, the door,  between those who think they are wise (the Pharisees?) and those who seem to be excluded get broken down?

Despite the admonition to stay awake, the answer is not in staying awake, which even the disciples are unable to do in the next chapter, but in the one who wakes us from our slumber breaking forth on Easter morning from the tomb:Jesus!

For the Church, which long ago was spoken of the bride of Christ, I wonder if the question is how do we live celebrating as people who realise that in Christ’s death and resurrection the door between the wise and foolish is as provisional as the door between life and death. How do we live not as wise judges but inviting revelers?