This morning I attended one of the many actions organised by Love Makes a Way in response to the leaked incident reports from the Nauru detention centre that the Guardian published last week. I put on my clerical collar, got on the train with my paper dolls, drank some coffee and made my way to Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull’s electoral office.
Shortly after I arrived one of the team members from Love Makes a Way and Common Grace asked if he could interview me about why I was there. The question has been turning over in my mind all day.
Over the last few months our congregation has been reading the book of Ezekiel and reflecting on prophetic imagination together. We’ve been coming back again and again to this understanding of the prophets:
Prophets are those who have glimpsed something of God’s glory and who work to see that made manifest on earth. They are passionate that the community of faith will love God with all their heart and so following from that will love their neighbour. Prophets offer a critique when love of God and love of neighbour have been misplaced. Following critique, prophets offer energising words so that God might nurture and nourish a community who will live with love of God and from that love of neighbour.
We’ve read a lot of passages, like Ezekiel 34 last Sunday, reminding us of how seriously God takes covenant living- living well together in community. This is the Creator God who finds what has been created precious beyond belief whose care for each thing is intimate and profound. In the words given to Ezekiel it’s as though God wants to shake the people out of their complacency and make them realise they cannot continue to live and act without justice and care as they have in the past.
When I see the way that we treat asylum seekers in Australia my heart breaks and I hear the critique of God to me and to the communities I belong to. And the way we treat asylum seekers is just one example of systematic abuses within our society as we have seen in the horrific treatment of young Indigenous people in the Don Dale detention centre, or our complacency in the face of climate change.
What will it take to break the hearts of our political leaders?
When will we as a people decide to live out of generosity rather than fear?
Why did I stand with 35 people outside the Prime Minister’s office this morning?
Because I want to love God with all my heart, and soul, and mind, and strength. And I want to love my neighbour as myself, even the neighbour I have never met who lives in a tent in a detention centre on the island of Nauru. I want to be shaken out of my complacency and see our wider community change.
As a follower of Jesus I want to bear witness against the injustice and cruelty we see in our current policies. And I want to bear witness to the hope that we could be a society of courageous grace and compassion.