Living and learning in liminal spaces
From: Rev. Katherine Rainger, Senior Chaplain
My first teaching job was at Gordon Primary School in south Canberra, or north Cooma as we used to say. I lived in Watson at the time. For my colleagues, my daily commute along the Majura Parkway from one end of Canberra to the other was unthinkable! Both my home and my work are now northside, however, my fondness for the Lanyon Valley, and my friends who live in that part of Canberra, remains.
This sense of connection has made the pictures of the ACT burning particularly poignant. It is intense, it is scary, and it is heart-breaking. I am thankful for all who are fighting the fires and offering practical support in really hard conditions. I am praying for them, and for us all, in this time of destruction, grief and uncertainty.
The Jewish and Christian scriptures contain testimony from people over the centuries who have cried out to God in the midst of trauma. The book of Joel records these words:
“To you, O LORD, I cry. For fire has devoured the pastures of the wilderness, and flames have burned all the trees of the field. Even the wild animals cry to you because the watercourses are dried up, and fire has devoured the pastures of the wilderness.” Joel 1:19-20
In this passage, both the prophet and the wild animals are given voice and agency. Both trust that in the midst of their suffering God will hear them, even as their circumstances remain difficult. Prayers of lament name what is wrong and protest that all is not ok. From this place of bearing witness, creative and determined action that seeks to change the situation can be born.
As a school community, at the cusp of a new school year, we stand in a liminal place. Many exciting possibilities lie before us individually and collectively. At the same time, we remain deeply aware of the unjust and tragic aspects of life. May the Spirit of God empower us to continue to act for the common good with the gifts that have been given to us. May our school community be a place where all can grow in friendship, wisdom, faith, hope and love as we live and learn together.
For those who are new to Radford this year, I would like to extend a special welcome. I look forward to getting to know you and hope that you enjoy being a part of this community as much as I have.
With school starting again, Morning Prayer will also recommence in the Radford Chapel from 8:05am – 8:20am on Monday, Wednesday and Friday. All are welcome.
Rev. Katherine Rainger