Daily Reflection, January 26, 2023

Australia Day

Readings:

Isaiah 32:15-18
1 Corinthians 12:4-11
Matthew 5:1-12a

Reflection:

I remember the Australia Days of my childhood. Always a long weekend, regardless of where the 26th fell in the week. A full stop to the lazy, hazy days of January and a sign that the school year was soon to begin. The questions around the day were ‘ Beach?’ and/or ‘Barbie?’ In my youthful ignorance, I did not perceive any complexity about the day, but neither, overall, did the nation.

Today, the questions around Australia Day are many. Do we? Don’t we? Rename? Reframe? The youth of today are not as ignorant as I was to the suffering and brokenness that this day emphasises for First Nation peoples.  A young friend posted on social media that we each need to have a definitive position on the day and take appropriate action. There is perhaps a different ignorance in that response, each news bulletin and commentary brings more to contemplate, a diversity of views from all sides.  We need to listen and discern together. We are both blessed and needing to provide blessing. We need to recognise those that mourn and do what we can to comfort them, listening to their stories and pain. We need to hunger for what is right and find a way forward. We need to be merciful so there is forgiveness and healing, that we recognise the past but are not bound by it. We need to understand our own poorness of spirit so we can embrace the many gifts, skills and knowledge of First Nation peoples. We ask that the spirit from above be poured on us so that justice and integrity will come to live in this land (Isa 32: 15-16).

Alison Gore is a parishioner at St Paul of the Cross, Glen Osmond. She works in education and formation.