Early this morning, as I was crossing the park from the local police station to Wayside, I saw a familiar face surrounded by the police. He saw me and yelled, “He will tell you! Jonny, tell them that the drugs they’ve found on me aren’t mine!” I was intrigued so approached, “Tell them that there is no way that they got inside my shoes and backpack, except unless you put them in there when you gave them to me!” Not even he could sustain this lie and burst out laughing, “It was worth a try wasn’t it!?” After we all shared a laugh, the pathetically minuscule quantity that he would be charged for that could end him up in gaol, sobered me up. That we still have a system hell-bent on punishing those at the bottom of the rung, rather than treating this as a health issue is a sad shame and indictment on our system.
Many years ago, as aspiring youth workers, a few of us would take kids that the local community leaders had deemed out of control, camping. We would take them deep out into the central west bush and together, under the guidance of elders, we would live off the land. Almost immediately they would come to life, realising that we needed each other to survive. Very quickly they would assume roles and pride would soon follow. One would cut wood for the fire to heat water for showers, another would tend to the dogs whilst another prepared the food. One day they informed us that they had noticed that an old lady in town lived alone, and because it was getting cold, requested that we cut and take her a load of firewood for winter. The woman was delighted by this act of rare generosity.
We all have gifts to contribute to this world, and as leaders it is really up to us to make the space for everyone’s gifts to be called forth, nurtured and expressed. A gift without service can soon turn the eager giver to look for other, less life-affirming ways to contribute to the world. For these kids often there would be tears on the journey home. Is there anything more heartbreaking than feeling unloved and unwanted?
Our lives are like rich tapestries, and we are intricately woven together, formed and forged through relationships and our experiences of love and loss. From the front they may appear beautiful, but from behind a tapestry is a mess, and there is beauty in that mess. This Easter break, if you take anything at all from the season, may it be one where you risk revealing a little of your mess to those closest to you. The path of love is one where you feel a little safer to be who you are, with all the risk that entails.
Have a deep and meaningful Easter our Inner Circle, however you choose to spend it,
Pastor & CEO