By Ian Bedford
This reflection comes to us via Magda Wills, one of our blog readers, who shared it with me (Meg) as a result of reading my recent blog post on "dust". It comes out of the recent fires in Australia, and Ian and his wife Judy were among the safe, but knew of many who lost lives or homes. He wrote this reflection at their church retreat, and feels led to share it with others. I feel privileged to be able to present it to all of you. It is one small way we can join in their pain and learn lessons along with them out of this terrible tragedy.
Reflections on the Bush that Burns
Yahweh God, we gather you know something about the bush that burns
We read somewhere that once you spoke through such a bush
We struggle to hear what you are saying through the bush that we have seen burning
We see lives lost, homes and livelihoods lost, and your creation’s beauty blackened beyond recognition
What words are you saying in such events?
Once before your words called a man to an impossible challenge to confront injustice and seek a people’s freedom
Once before your words called a man to obey, however incapable he felt, and to believe in your capacity to use the resources you had given
What words of yours are now calling US to confront, to seek freedom, to believe in your capacity to use?
Are there words calling us to acknowledge complicity in being inadequate stewards of your creation?
Are there words calling us to be more committed to understanding and recovering the balance and wholeness, the Shalom, of the whole created order?
Yet, as the smoke from the bush that burns begins to settle, we do see new creation emerge.
We see people caring and sharing, giving and going in support of those most personally impacted by the bush that burnt.
We se a closeness, a community, emerge from the ashes that seems to have echoes of the community of engagement that we gather you called us ll to be.
Surely that is one of the words you speak from the bush that burns.
But we also see people struggling with any notion at all that you can speak from the bush that burns.
Indeed, in varying ways, those people are US.
We cannot justify the pain and suffering, the destruction.
We cannot find answers to why this is so.
And we struggle to even believe that you can ever be in the bush that burns, let alone ARE there.
Forgive our damaged faith and help us to have ears to hear what you are giving us through the bush that burns,.
Even more, help us to recognise and act on what you are calling us to GIVE and BE through the bush that burns
To give of our resources, our abilities, and the most costly of all, our relationships, to those whose lives now struggle physically, emotionally, spiritually as a result of the bush that burns.
And finally, it is for these we pray most intensely and with most bewilderment.
Bring healing, hope, wholeness and joyfulness into their inner being, the soul of those who are living these struggles.
Show us how to be your word to them.
And, as the green shoots sprout from the burned eucalypt’s trunks,
As the seedling whose life is ignited by this same flame shows amid the blackened soil,
May we all find the life to which you call us,
Together as community, as stewards of your creation,
Sharing the new beginning to which these signs of hope point, whatever questions of ours remain.