Wednesday, June 3, 2015


For many years, I worked with the national Uniting Church international mission unit coordinating a program to support people who were venturing out as volunteers with partner churches and projects in Asia, Africa and the Pacific. It was wonderful to support them as they left ‘home’ and entered another cultural landscape. The experience was often transformative as people were able to hold a mirror up to their lifestyle, assumptions and values at home in light of their new experiences. Journey was as much an interior journey into uncharted territory as it was external.

The lectionary leads us for the next few months into ‘ordinary time’, and takes us on an interior journey, joining Jesus as he embarks on an exterior journey walking the ancient landscape of Palestine. As we encounter the stories afresh, we will be challenged again to live out the message and mission of Jesus that we have been remembering through the season of Epiphany, Lent and Easter. This year the new liturgical season begins with a confrontational question – to what will we give our allegiance: the reign of God, or some other power? It’s a lively question in our day and age, when there is so much that seeks to be persuasive but that is contradictory to the values of the reign of God - be it economics, social or cultural. There is no need for speed as we journey through the season of Pentecost. It is a long, slow walk, where we are able to pay attention to the journey.

I love Kosuke Koyama’s idea of the three mile an hour God: 'Love has its speed. It is a spiritual speed. It is a different kind of speed from the technological speed to which we are accustomed. It goes on in the depth of our life, whether we notice or not, at three miles an hour. It is the speed we walk and therefore the speed the love of God walks.’ It beckons us to slow down and give our attention to the journey.

And I begin my own journey to Europe where I can hopefully enjoy the ‘three miles an hour’ pace. Geoff and I fly to Amsterdam this week to catch up with wonderful people we met when they were staying in Adelaide for a visit. Now it’s our turn to see their city through their eyes. Our time in Europe will finish with the DRAE Regional Conference in Norway, 1-5 July. I'll be keeping a blog of the travels and learning if anyone is interested.

    Dear God, we pray for another way of being,
    another way of knowing.
    Across the difficult terrain of our existence
    we have attempted to build a highway
    and in so doing have lost our footpath.
    God, lead us to our footpath.
    Lead us there where, in simplicity,
    we may move at the speed of natural creatures
    and feel the earth’s love beneath our feet.
    Lead us there where, step-by-step,
    we may feel the movement of creation in our hearts.
    And lead us there where, side-by-side,
    we may feel the embrace of the common soul.
    Nothing can be loved at speed.
    God, lead us to the slow path;
    to the joyous insights of the pilgrim;
    another way of knowing;
    another way of being. Amen.

   (c) Michael Leunig, Common Prayer Collection, Collins Dove, 1990

I look forward to the mindful encounter with God at a walking pace over these next few weeks.

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