Breathe, Listen, Connect

Sorry Day and Reconciliation Week is incredibly important as we listen to the voice of First Nations people telling their stories. Some are inspiring and educating, some traumatic and violent evoking sorrow, grief, anger, remorse and many more emotions. The Ladder of Connectedness helps me to notice the different ways we can respond to these stories. I can do my best to hold neutral awareness, but at times I find myself in empathetic distress overwhelmed by my own distress, desperate for the situation to be fixed. At other times I find myself in emotional disconnect as it just becomes too overwhelming. Hearing about the relentless racist abuse that footballers, artists and recently journalist Stan Grant has had to endure fills me with anger and sadness. However, I need to listen to Stan’s response: “I will meet ongoing abuse with love”. Wow, I am pretty sure this would not be my first response to ongoing abuse.

How do we ensure that we don’t just engage deeply and develop new insights for this special week and then reset back to the equivalent of the ‘factory setting’, oblivious of the mental models and systems and structures which embed ongoing inequity and disadvantage? How do we ensure that we work towards a ‘one body many parts’ stance, acknowledging that if “one part suffers, every part suffers with it” as Paul describes in 1 Cor 12. How do we meet injustice with love?

Dr Miriam Rose calls us to Breathe Listen Connect. These concepts are woven throughout the Bible. God breathes life into us (Ezekiel 37:5) and when we slow down and take a ‘breath’ we become more aware of this gift of life and God’s presence in us. Jesus breathed on his disciples and said to them “Receive the Holy Spirit”. God is as near and available to us as our breath!

God listens to us with a compassionate heart. God invites us to bring our worries, joys, concerns, feelings, emotions to God, just as David does in the Psalms. Deep listening for us means to be still and to open our minds and hearts and to hear in an embodied way, God’s unconditional love for us. God’s deepest desire is to connect with every one of us. Jesus was indeed the very physical way of God connecting, and the Holy Spirit works in and with us renewing our mind, our heart and our will, enabling us to connect with love.

Thank God that I don’t have to generate love and compassion with my own strength. Pentecost reminds me that God has sent a ‘Helper’ available 24/7 at no cost! (John 14:15-18 and Romans 8:26-27).

Empowered and equipped by the Holy Spirit who fills us with God’s love, renewing our hearts and minds, may we “Be A Voice for the Generations” to create a more just, equitable and reconciled country for all. Our common foundation as described in Growing deep p.7, reminds us that this is our privilege and responsibility.

Micah: 6:8 “… act justly, and to love mercy and to walk humbly with your God

Mignon Weckert


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