Dear Inner Circle,

The past few weeks have really pushed us a nation. We managed to stick together through drought, fires and floods but this latest round is delivering a low blow to our ethic of solidarity in a crisis. It is revealing our deepest and basest fears. Our ability to stick together is what has helped us build a country that on a good day, is the envy of the world, but now, we are being looked on in jest. When will we realise that all our panic buying is not going to save anyone? When will we realise that our health is only as safe as the most vulnerable person in our community? We build up our immunity, not down. While I’m at it, here is a reminder of a couple of public health facts – no amount of racism, or toilet paper is going to keep people safe from infection.

Spare a thought for the elderly who cannot find their basics on their weekly shop, or for those of our community who are sleeping rough, who tackle a multitude of challenges on a daily basis just to survive. Life on the streets can age you in ‘dog years’ so someone in their forties, can look and feel way beyond their years. I was jolted back to life earlier this week while conducting a funeral for someone who spent so much of his life living in a local park that even the council gardeners showed up. Everyone present spoke of a man who would give you everything he had if you asked for it. This reminds us that when you don’t have much, there is enough to share around; and we could all do well to learn from his example.

Funerals are a time where we send people we love off with the dignity they deserve, even though they rarely found much of it in life. We share precious moments, surrounding them with a community where love is all that matters. I am sure there are Pastors who conduct far more orderly funerals, but at Wayside we often move between sobs and roars of laughter. This week we bid farewell to someone who “If you shook his hand, you shook the hand that shook the underworld of the Kings Cross.” Sadly, his life was cut too short, too soon. We let him go to his favourite songs, “Highway to Hell” and “Wish You Were Here”. It’s not the words of the songs that matter so much as a community that lifted one another and made even these songs, sacred. I love this place.

Thanks for being part of our Inner Circle,

Jon Owen
Pastor & CEO
Wayside Chapel

PS. Last Sunday it was International Women’s Day. This year’s theme was Each for Equal where we question bias and discrimination against women. In honour of the day, we wanted to share Raja Yassine’s powerful speech from Wayside Chapel’s recent Side by Side Conference, where Raja spoke about life as a Muslim woman in Australia. Truly inspiring, and a reminder for us to always remain connected and true to ourselves, even in the face of adversity. Watch it here

Want to receive the Inner Circle directly into your inbox every Thursday?

Subscribe Here