Led by the Spirit into the Wilderness: Reflections on Lent, Jesus’ Temptations & Indigeneity

Reflections on and study material prepared for a mission program on Aboriginal justice hosted by The Uniting Church of Australia, 2002. 14 pp.

Sunrise in a caravan park in Deniliquin in northeast Victoria, Australia. I awaken to a cacophony of screaming cockatoos and galahs, a manic morning-song chant of praise. Outside the tops of the gum forests are turning bronze, leaves fluttering in the soft breeze of dawn like a thousand Tibetan prayer-flags. Surrounded by beauty, I reflect on the quiet epiphany that occurred yesterday.

Our group had stood under the canopy of a different gum tree forest on the riverbank across town. We were listening to UCA Aboriginal leader Vince Ross as part of a February 2002 Uniting Church of Australia Commission for Mission delegation that spent a week on a tour of Aboriginal communities in northeast Victoria. Vince was telling his story of growing up in a fringe-dweller’s camp on this very spot, a place of bittersweet memory that he called “Gumtree Lane.” Vince’s moving tale bore poignant witness to racist violence and exclusion—and to courage and survival. He spoke of drunken brawls and extraordinary kindnesses, of gnawing hunger and comforting music—and of being touched by the Spirit at age twelve. At the end of his testimony, he went to the site where the old shed of a church had stood. He bent down and drew a series of concentric circles in the sand, with linear marks extending to each of the Four Directions. “This is our symbol for a corroboree—a gathering of the people,” he explained quietly, tears trickling down his cheeks. “You know, after all we Koori people have been through—we are still here”…

Full Article: Led by the Spirit into the Wilderness: Reflections on Lent, Jesus’ Temptations & Indigeneity SKU: 02-4-Pb