STAY WITH THEM

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THE FACE OF HOMELESSNESS

I have heard it said  ‘Let them Stay’….  but this is not enough.

I have heard my heart say…Stay with them.

What I know as I have wondered and pondered over these days, there is no answer outside of us. We are the ones they look to. We are their hope. We hold within us the difference they need now.  Whoever they are.  I say  Stay with them. Let us not leave them.

All meditation of presence is nothing if we cannot abide with the other.

All our voice …  gestures –  empty intoning chants and gongs  – if we have not the love to stay and be with those who this day want us to be present to their plight…whatever it is and whoever is present to you this day.

Life is about our action and our witness of how have we stayed present to the other.

How did I build and grow in relationship with the other.  Did I go out to the stranger … did I go without those resources they seemed so much to need …   empty…

I am not called to go with the answer, I am called to be the answer.  My heart and faithfulness to my other self is all that is needed.

I was once in a war zone, and heard and saw the cries of the people.   They pleaded with me to tell the world… to tell “America”…they thought if only they “knew”, things would change.  Although I felt convicted I needed to make a difference, in being a change agent, all my responses were to me of little comfort or assurance.  Although having some capacity;  I knew not how.  I knew I was bereft and powerless. But I was still open.

When I met with a priest and community elder very early the next morning…  he came to me…He put his arm around my shoulder and embraced me gently and simply said…’if they wanted to be here they would be…if X organisations wanted to be here, they would be.’    You are here.  Stay now.  You are with us … You came to us as you are.  This is enough.

I felt Jesus with me in that moment and that assuring touch.

And so Jesus simply says in the face of no answers,  in the face of insurmountable obstacles, distress and unfathomable circumstances: “Stay with them….  Go out and meet them.  Go out beyond yourself and enter their world.   Abide with them.”

They want to be known at heart with you. One with you.  Share your bread of life.  Share the little you have with them.  Go forth.  It is enough.   You are enough.

Do not lobby and posture on how to let them stay.

You already have the answer.   It is a matter of the heart … my heart …

Ephphata    be open yourself .  You are enough.  You can go to them.  You can remain in the face of their struggle, with them; present to bear with them.  We make space in our hearts to remain with them.

At the heart of the matter in companioning, spiritual direction and counselling,  in loving as a Christian and a Jew  –  is the imperative  –  go out to the stranger …  make a place for them in our heart.

I do not want to be the clanging bell of meditation, but the silent sitting fully present to, and with my other who is seeking me.  May I be found fully present to the other.

Be not afraid for we are a small light in the darkness and the darkness will not overcome.

Do not worry who goes with you.

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Homeless

 

RESURRECTION

copyright Richard Campbell ResurrectionGawguun and Birrigun – RESURRECTION            by  Richard Campbell.

In talking* of his paintings aboriginal artist, RICHARD CAMPBELL,  said:

 “We all have a spiritual connection, we’re all brothers and sisters, with the animals, the trees, rivers and rocks, we all belong to one big God – call it Christ, we call it Birrigun, we are all one in God.”  He said: “… that although you are from different nations of the world, it is important to recognise Christ and the connection between Aboriginal spirituality and bible stories.’

The use of the colour blue denotes the sky where the birds are and the water. The dots and die hands in the painting represent the elders and (the Holy Spirit). The journey symbol in the tree trunk denotes how the elders are buried in the roots of the tree and their spirit rises up through the branches. It also signifies Richard’s journey with the Holy Spirit.

The tree is the Murribi tree, for the Gumbayngirr people, all things happened around dial tree. The dead were buried in the tree and the people believed that their spirits of the elders rise through the tree through the brunches and go out into the Dreaming.

When Birrigun died he went into spirit and then into the Dreaming and after his resurrection through the Murribi tree he appeared to his people as the Southern Cross, that is the journey of Birrigun. in Gumbayngirr his name means the southern cross, he was the champion for the Gumbaingirr people like Jesus is to Christians.

When Birrigun’s mother – Gawguun buried him in a Murribi tree it was scaled with a rock so (hat no aminals could get into the burial site. Every year at the same time she would visit the site to mourn him (this is at Arakoon at South West Rocks. NSW, Australia) but one year the elders noticed she did not come. Instead they saw a brolga dancing around the tomb and they believed it was her spirit. Her tears for her son fall into the coolamon which is the feminine symbol because it is the vessel of life, carrying water, food and babies. It is painted with markings just the way that Richard’s father taught him when he was a boy.

 It is important to let people around the world know that there was a religion of spirituality in Australia before we were colonised by white people.” These paintings “show the way Aboriginal people lived – by the law of the land. You’ve got to look after everything; humans, animals, the environment and the land….”(They) show the message of Christ himself: of good will.”

The description of this artwork and aboriginal story comes directly from Australian Catholic Ministries, Lismore 2008 archive.

Richard Campbell was born into the Dhungutti tribe, near Bowraville on the North Coast of NSW, in 1956.  For more information on the artist visit ACM Sydney website.

*Adapted from extract of editorial produced by Elise Dalley from PROJECTeye interviewing the artist.

These images(commissioned for Sydney World Youth Day, 2008), are the property of Aboriginal Catholic Ministries, Sydney. The copyright of these images is retained by the artist and this article is presented under Creative Commons provisions to respect and affirm the work of the artist and his intentions in a particular context.

 

Giant Stories

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Week 5 ordinary time    Today’s scripture: 1Kgs 8:22-23, 27-30.   Mk 7:1-13

It is common now to see street art as another medium on our radar. In this “Lunar Year of the Monkey”,  we might  ponder on the street art of Herakut, international street artists, whose work in Fitzroy, as part of their Giant Story Book series (2013), centers around the monkey character.

It’s interesting to notice what  shapes our opinions, beliefs and values.  Books and storytelling clearly play a large part in our formative years.   These may be from diverse traditions, myths and cultures.

As adults how we interpret the word around us and how we  filter messages gives us insight into where we are nourishing our core beliefs and how open we are to growth from the vital new voices of our day.

It can be challenging to engage with street art, and let questions be asked.   As the front side of this work exclaims..”the most curious just tended to be the most  courageous.”

Sometimes that is exactly what it takes to stay open and to be prepared to question new ideas and influences.  Being courageous embraces taking risks that we might grow.    It means not hardening our hearts and remaining resistent to change or intransigent.

“If today you hear his voice harden not your hearts”.  Heb 3: 7-8

On the hidden side of this work, we find the question  “What would a monkey want to say”  ???   This prompts me to suggest we might listen to what our inner questions are and what we  may want to say.     Spiritual direction helps us listen to our voice and our messages.

Encouraging…is calling forth the courage. Let your heart be open to hear where the Spirit is leading you and discovering the messages  that are life giving and calling you forth into your personal wholeness?

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more on Herakut http://www.scmp.com/magazines/48hrs/article/1297220/graffiti-duo-herakut-make-art-message