Sometimes life is not all it is cracked up to be. Dreams are lost. Disappointments occur. Doubts creep in.
That is what it was like for the friends of Jesus. Travelling with Jesus was an exhilarating ride. People were healed and the stories he told gave people hope for a better community. They expected him to overthrow the oppressive Roman government. Instead he was arrested and crucified, causing his friends pain and grief.
Perhaps it is like that for some enduring the long drought?
Maybe it is like that for the families of those who commit suicide?
Might it be like that for people who have lost their jobs in shrinking industries?
As I reflected on the significance of the Destiny Together gathering in Canberra I was reminded that many Indigenous people experience the pain of loss, the disappointment of dreams dashed, the grief of early deaths and the distress of over-representation of the First Peoples in the prison system.
I recall a visit to the meeting of the Mary Burnett Presbytery at which Rowena Kilgour, a young adult from Bundaberg, reported about her visit to an Aboriginal community at Broken Hill. As part of the Faith and Cultural Exchange program known as About FACE she made some friends in that outback community. She observed that many Australians do not know any Indigenous people personally.
It is only as we share our lives that we can enact the covenant with the Uniting Aboriginal and Islander Christian Congress.
Mothers of all cultures have hopes for their children. Children of all nations grieve when their old ones die, and Aunties and Uncles weep over young lives cut short. Sitting together listening to the stories of pain builds bonds of support and then together we can find resurrection hope.
Christians use many different ways to point to the message of Easter. Eggs breaking open with new life, caterpillars transformed into butterflies, a breakfast of fish celebrating forgiveness and a meal of broken bread in which strangers become friends. For some people theological words carry the meaning but for others some of the mystery and triumph of Easter can be conveyed in simple symbols and analogies that make sense in their own lives.
In his play, Windmill Baby, David Milroy even introduces us to an idea of a potato as a symbol for his Indigenous character’s endurance and hope. It sits humbly buried, eventually to burst forth again in new life.
Easter is full of surprises. Even a bush potato can be a symbol of resurrection hope.
Rev Kaye Ronalds
Queensland Synod Moderator