In the first of a regular column exploring the church, modern Australia and socio-political issues, Queensland Synod Moderator Rev David Baker examines the current controversy surrounding Australia Day’s date.
I’ve been thinking about the Australia Day issue. Tragically, predictably, the same old two sides have rapidly formed, each battling to take the moral higher ground from which to beat up on the other. Each released dark forces on social media.
I sometimes wonder if the mass media managers aren’t akin to the darker parts of the arms industry in terms of shaping the discernments we need to make on issues into conflicts for ratings and relevance for themselves.
Modern Australia is a remarkable success story in the history of nations, and we, its people, should take time out to reflect on our life. I wonder if the general outline of reformed worship in which most Uniting Church congregations participate isn’t something to consider when we think of where we are as a nation.
In worship, we gather, before God, to remind ourselves of where we are and who we are—we remind ourselves of a great story in which we participate, the goodness that story has bought us. We also give thanks; we also remind ourselves that “we’re not there yet”; we recognise that our life has attendant issues that must be recognised and addressed; we seek strength and resolve to deal with those issues; and we go out, hopefully, with strength and resolve to bear a fuller, deeper witness to the reign of God.
I hope that as followers of Jesus, our Australia Day celebrations, and our reflections on what day would be most appropriate to celebrate, have those attributes of our worship, and of the story we have found ourselves in as Christians.
Rev David Baker
Moderator, Queensland Synod