A Prayer for Openness

welcomesign

I don’t travel alone much, and when I do, I feel the whole process interiorly – from the planning of itinerary; to the packing, the transit and the journey.

I was reminded of one particular stay in Sydney two years ago when I was there for a conference. It was night, and many of the participants had either travelled in groups or were familiar with the locality. To add fun to the story, it was wet and quite cold that winter night, but because I was a Melbournian going to Sydney, I had decided on principle (and in stubbornness) that I wouldn’t need an umbrella with me. (Melbourne winters are not for suckers.) We had to organise our own meal and I was getting hungry and tired from the commute, and I was without the securities of shelter, familiarity and knowledge.

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Sydney in the rain, by night, 19 August 2014. Image credit: G. Anderson.

I mustered courage and ventured out nevertheless, with a borrowed umbrella, and walked around the precinct awhile. Businesses were closing and people were going about their regular routine, leaving work, etc. It was not a tourist district, so everyone looked as though they knew where they were going. I did my best to imitate them, and found a haven of authentic #Japanese fare open, as if just for me. The interior was cosy and intimately lit (dark!), and I was the only customer at the time, yet there was something warm about it (apart from the steaming hot #miso). The service staff spoke little English but we managed with smiles. どうもありがとう 🙇

This was not the #Sydney I had known before, it was something else altogether, and in part, I think it was because I let myself be vulnerable yet reliant on whatever strengths I had in me.

When was the last time you lived with openness of spirit? Are you being called to openness? How can you be a welcome for someone today?

 

 

Prayer for Openness

God of Love,

Your birth knew no welcome on a barnyard floor

Your childhood estranged from the land of your home.

As an adult you lived among outsiders and lepers,

the lost and the forgotten, on the edges of sociability.

Rejected and renounced, to be abandoned by your kin

You were left to die alone, save for a few.

Even in rising, you were found unrecognised

yet remained ever faithful to the truth that is Love.

God of Love,

In knowing this, and in all you’ve given me,

Make me a haven of welcome and warmth,

that I too, may be open, to your coming again.

#spiritual #insight #instafood #restaurant #door #doorway #opendoor #travel#memories #fcjasau #mission

I’ll Ride With You

This morning in a central Sydney café, a group of people were taken hostage by armed men, believed to be militant Muslims. (Read here for live updated reports.)

That there is a hint of religion involved or what claims to be the message of Islam as a motive for the siege has created waves in the wider community. For some, it is a unified solidarity standing up against terrorism and racism. For others, it is fear.

And so started a movement through social media: “I’ll Ride With You”. You can read how it began when one woman noticed another taking off her hijab in public so as to protect herself from outward recognition.

We can take so much from the story, and say so much about today’s events, but in the quiet of the night, this story has shed some more light on the meaning of Advent and the forecoming feast of the birth of the Christ.

It all comes back to us in how we treat one another, in how we live with each other. Here is companionship in everyday life.

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We are busy during this time of year,  so terribly busy, and we all have our tasks to get through. But this story has shown me that as urgent as our meetings and deadlines are, more imperative is the awareness of our need to pause and connect with each other, to say to another, “Whatever you’re going through, it’s ok. I’ll ride with you. We’ll journey together.”


Let us remember and pray for the hostages and their families, the negotiators and security forces as well as for the perpetrators themselves. Love is stronger than hatred, light more saving than darkness. Let us work and live for peace among ourselves.