Dear Inner Circle,
The power of Wayside Chapel will always lie in our proximity to the pain of this world. That sounds great, doesn’t it? Yet, it is far more a commitment than a catch cry. The ability to sit with the pain of others rather than managing or minimising it takes extraordinary courage, discipline, and work. The impulse to “fix” is a human one, yet in nearly every case, it is a move away from relational intimacy towards a transactional existence, one in which we are reduced to objects. If all real living is meeting, then this possibility is lost in the exchange and robbed of its subjective glory. It never ceases to amaze me how many of us know this and still choose this path. It is a remarkable thing to love an ideal, but the true gold lies in being able to move from loving the ideal to the actual, warts and all, and it is a gift to all around us. It is a move from the head into the heart that makes its way into the world through our hands and feet.
We don’t think ourselves into a new way of living, rather we live ourselves into a new way of thinking.
Let’s be honest, this all sounds wonderful, but also wonderfully boring. The secret is that it is anything but. It’s a path littered with joy and laughter. In fact, speaking of gold, I can’t for the life of me get the glitter off. Last weekend we celebrated inclusivity at Sydney World Pride by marching together in the Mardi Gras parade, showing the millions of people who tuned in that we can also dance a new world into existence. It certainly wasn’t my intention to be covered in glitter and make-up, wearing an actual dog collar, but in no uncertain terms, it was made clear that I wasn’t just going to walk alongside, we were all going to sparkle as one.
All that glitters was gold that night, as we danced proud, showing our commitment to inclusion and visibility, and a life without loneliness, for ‘absolutely everybody’. Love Over Hate is a simple, clear message, almost as if nothing else matters. And it was a message that rang true to so many people who watched our heart with wings make its way down Oxford Street. I know this because LGBTQIA+ people of faith have reached out, and I’m grateful for their words. Love does the work, it always does, it has no other options.
Every time I’ve visited a different area of Wayside this week, I’ve been inspired by the staff I’ve spoken to, and the work being done to create a safe and loving community for our visitors. I have some very special news to share next week about our frontline services.
Until then, thank you for being part of our precious Inner Circle.
Rev. Jon Owen
CEO & Pastor