It’s always pleasing when a theme like that of “Community” in this edition of Ruminations, coincides with the life of the church and the world around us.

As I write, we are in Reconciliation Week, which names how vital relationships are in our community and points to the need to work for justice with the first inhabitants of our land.

The wider church calendar has the week leading to Pentecost as the Week of Prayer of Christian Unity. The theme this year is “Justice, and only justice, you shall pursue …”, in reference to Deuteronomy 16.18-20.

The second part of the verse is “… so that you may live and occupy the land that the Lord your God is giving you.” There are interesting echoes of what justice looks like, and how reconciliation in our nation might be pursued in the years ahead.

The third marker is that of Pentecost, celebrated this year on 9th June, the day when the church was ignited into life, when people of all nations spoke – and heard – the gospel. Once the Spirit appeared, the huddled group of disciples grew in character, courage and numbers, and the community surged.

The first deep indicators of this new community were the breaking of bread, prayers and teaching, sharing goods with others in need, worship, wonders and signs of the Spirit’s presence. True community, indeed!

So, as this season for many of us goes unrelieved by good rain, and we face the challenges of living in rural communities during difficult times, what will be the hallmarks of our community, as disciples of Christ?

In what ways can a meal shared with a friend echo the Spirit’s urging? What can we offer to someone hungry for hope about our God who has always been faithful, in small and larger ways?

When we reconcile with our neighbours, asking and offering forgiveness; when we seek justice for our Aboriginal sisters and brothers – or for anyone – does that not proclaim our faith in the One who has reconciled us?

We worship, witness and serve, not because our circumstances are good, but because God is faithful, because Jesus is our hope, and because the Spirit breathes life.

May the blessing of God find you this day:

to refresh your paddocks,

to inspire your relationships

to renew your life and faith. Amen.