The theme for National Reconciliation week (27 May – 3 June) this year is, More than a word. Reconciliation takes action. The aim is to urge the reconciliation movement towards braver and more impactful action.
Taking impactful action in whatever form takes bravery because it is often met with resistance by people who think they are doing the right thing by opposing you. This is what Jesus warned his disciples about just before he was arrested:
They will put you out of the synagogue; in fact, the time is coming when anyone who kills you will think they are offering a service to God. John 16:2
That evening Jesus called his disciples to impactful action by following his commands, loving the world and bearing fruit. But he made it very clear that they would face strong opposition. Up until now Jesus had been with them to counsel them through the opposition. But as he was about to leave them (both through his death, and then again through the ascension), Jesus said, ‘I will ask the Father, and he will give you another Counsellor to help you and be with you forever – the Spirit of truth (John 14:16-17a).
This Sunday the church celebrates the fulfilment of that promise with the festival of Pentecost. Ten days after Jesus ascended into heaven the Holy Spirit was sent in an amazing way with tongues of fire and enabling people to speak in different languages. This is the Counsellor, the Spirit of truth that Jesus promised would be with the disciples forever.
As the followers of Jesus today, that same Counsellor, the Spirit of truth is with us always as well. It is by the strength of the Spirit that we can follow Jesus’ call to impactful action today by following his commands, loving the world and bearing fruit.
One very practical way we can do that is by taking action during reconciliation week in a way that builds relationships and communities that value Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples, histories, cultures, and futures. Or it could be as simple as sharing with a colleague about the hope you have in Jesus, because even that can be challenging and met with opposition as well! But no matter what action you are called to take, remember that you don’t do it alone. The Counsellor, the Spirit of truth is always with you to guide you, equip you and empower you.
Spiritual & Cultural Leader