Thursday, April 30, 2015
From the Wayside Chapel by Graham Long
Dear Inner Circle,
Walking in our front door and heading in for choir practice, a young woman struck up a conversation with a homeless person. It was an interesting, easy flowing exchange that ended when the man said, “I’m not really homeless, I’m just outdoorsy”.
At the door this morning a young fellow stopped me to announce that he had a new girlfriend. “I’m happy for you” I said. He told me that his secret was that he’d told the young woman that he was me! He said she was chuffed to be keeping company with Rev Graham Long, Pastor and CEO of The Wayside Chapel. “Gosh” I said, “So you’re not planning for this to be a long term relationship then?” This poor young bloke is very unwell and didn’t understand how I could foresee a problem. “Well” I said, “She might find out you’re lying to her and I doubt that she’ll take it well, or, she might meet me and see that you’re impersonating a poor old burnt-out has been.” I went on to ask the fellow why he wasn’t happy or content to be himself and claim to be only himself when meeting a young woman. Unfortunately the man is unwell and he slipped into gobbledygook.
Last night the building was buzzing with a large AA group meeting, hand massage and nails going on with the Twilight Team and the Honeybees choir filling the building with their beautiful sounds. The special thing about last night for me is that my dear daughter is a Twilight volunteer and she was doing some of the hand massaging and nail painting. I’m so proud of her I could burst. When I walked out of the building the Honeybees were singing with full blown angelic power, “Hallelujah”. Perfect!
I’m staying light this week to balance the heaviness and often intemperate commentary that’s everywhere in the air today. My word to the sad is that there are times when the only gift possible for humanity is to carry a heavy heart. Your hope for a dignified and fair world has been offended. In times of such grief its common to strike out with angry words and quick judgements. We need to not shield ourselves from the full sadness that comes from the haunting thought of bullets ripping through the flesh of those executed yesterday but we also need to know that our grief is just that, grief. It is not the time for us to find new ways of offending Indonesia. Let the grief blow us where it will but let the healing begin soon. Indonesia’s position on the death penalty will not move while we are waving our fingers and beating our chests. Both countries are sickened by the work of drug pushers and both countries could work together to form policies and practices that are humane and constructive. Australia is not superior; we’re not even more humane. If there was a referendum calling for the death penalty for peadophiles in this country, I promise you it would be successful. There is a dark side in both our countries and it requires people of good will in both countries to look for the best in the other and work for the best of both.
A lovely man is sitting in our cafe just now who said to me, “There’s a lovely freedom of speech vibe down here. As long as everyone believes the same thing”.
Thanks for being part of our inner circle,
Rev Graham Long
Pastor and CEO
The Wayside Chapel
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