From the Vicar

Weekly messages from Ray

Advent and Wilderness – Second Sunday in Advent

Wilderness is present on many occasions throughout scripture. The wilderness experience runs deep with the people of God as scripture describes the journey of the people of Israel through the desert to the Promised Land. In Australia we are fighting to preserve what we describe as wilderness, both rugged mountain ranges with their rivers and foliage, and the vast open spaces of wilderness deserts. Today we are increasingly recognising the importance of wilderness as spiritual spaces as well as of sustenance and renewal in our rapidly expanding urban environment.

Following his Baptism by John, Jesus is led by the spirit into the wilderness where he is tested, rejects the call to embrace power, status and wealth and instead proclaims his mission to the outcast, the disadvantaged and all who are shunned or rejected.

In the wilderness we are able to take stock, reflect and refuel ourselves on many fronts. I like to travel into the outback and sit under the stars and marvel at the beauty of creation and the wonder of the Milky Way. I find it restores my soul, releases me from cynicism and disillusionment with many aspects of contemporary society, and restores my hope.

What place does wilderness have in your life? Are you able to find a wilderness time and space for your own reflection and preparations at this busy time of the year? Are you able to find the time to prepare the way of the Lord? Yes we are all fragile and less than perfect but also have the capacity for others to see good in our lives and the possibility of the new heaven and earth. The wilderness can provide the space and the occasion for this experience.

Ray

A meaningful Christmas

Anglican Overseas Aid is an overseas relief and development agency of the Anglican Church of Australia. As we prepare ourselves during this Advent season for the coming of Christ, we remember that life is still very difficult for the majority of the world’s people. For news of the work of this agency, you can subscribe…

First Sunday in Advent

The tragic death of four young children in a house fire in Werribee, including the desperate efforts of their father to save them, has been on my mind today as I write these few words. As we gather today on this the first Sunday in Advent may we recall in our prayers the pain and…

I commend to you the following reflections and reading from blogs and websites.

Learning to live wisely and well

For the sake of the Earth and the common good Living water


Vaccination status in churches

October 2021

As I mentioned in one of my earlier messages, I have been in a quandary as to how best to maintain safety for the congregation when we meet in person, while including and caring for all, regardless of vaccination status. The Diocese of Melbourne has now mandated the provision of separate services for both groups of worshippers. Here is a thoughtful discussion from the combined Anglican Theological Colleges, Ridley College, Trinity College and the University of Divinity.

Anglican Theological Colleges Joint Response on Vaccination Status in Churches


God and prayer

Getting the ‘old white man’ out of our hearts Living Water


Forgiveness

We need to forgive and be forgiven ‘every day, every hour – unceasingly’ Living Water


Against oppression

Radicalism mixed with openness: how Desmond Tutu used his gifts to help end Apartheid The Conversation.com


Aspect

The monthly newsletter of Anglicare Australia, Aspect, is always a valuable read, giving news of this national Anglican agency’s actions in relation to issues of social justice and fair treatment, and the need to care for our most vulnerable people. This month’s issue discusses the need to tackle ageism, a long-term problem in Australia, embedded in our social practices, attitudes and policies. Anglicare calls on the government to scrap its implementation of regulatory steps that could see charities shut down if they act or speak in ways that are critical of the government. Anglicare continues to push for a basic universal income arguing that subsidies during the pandemic have shown us that a secure basic income can change lives for the better.

You can access this newsletter by subscribing free at Aspect Newsletter – Anglicare Australia

Rev’d Canon Dr Ray Cleary AM
Locum Vicar, All Saints

A lifelong advocate for many of the most disadvantaged groups in society