Discovering the Exceptional

By Reverend Andy Fleming, Chaplain

Picturesque by Lumbini Bandara. See artist statement below.

The Season of Creation is an opportunity to re-focus our attention to the parts of creation we enjoy. In an episode of Compass titled Awe Hunters, which coincided with the start of the Season of Creation, Julia Baird looked for the extraordinary that occurs in creation. The episode explores finding awe in the everyday, from the luminescence in Tasmanian waters to 500-year-old trees still being climbed by people. The benefits of finding awe increases our well-being, improving our mood and perspective.

Perhaps we can discover awe as we move through our daily routine. We are blessed with some pretty amazing views in most places around Canberra, taking note of flowers and new buds on trees at this time of the year that we might otherwise overlook and listening to the birdsong in the evening. There is a simplicity to discovering awe, we just have to be mindful of the things around us.

I am in awe of those who play music and sing. It might come from my own regrets of not continuing piano lessons or learning the guitar when I had the opportunity. However, at times, I am transfixed by the ability of those who play - students, staff and those in the church groups I’m involved in. One area I find joy in is when students sing together in Chapel. When a year group sings together, it can sound awesome.

I’m also in awe of those who share the love they find in God, doing simple acts for others, putting into practise what is taught in passages such as 1 John 4:11: "Since God so loved us, we also ought to love one another." Having been on the receiving end of this love, I’ve experienced gifts that have created some very cool opportunities. This love can be life changing.

As you move through this season, I encourage you to find the awe in the everyday and enjoy God’s gift of creation.

"Every moment and encounter
is an opportunity to be amazed by beauty,
enraptured by amazement,
and consoled by the traces of divine presence" - Social Justice Statement 2021-22.

A prayer by the Australian Catholic Bishops Office for Justice, Ecology and Peace

Creator God,
we stand in awe of all that you have made.

Fill our hearts with gratitude
for every good gift, great and small,
that feeds and forms us,
inviting and enabling us
to become people who are fully alive
in your amazing grace.

Go in peace,
Rev. Andy

Artist Lumbini Bandara statement for Picturesque

Picturesque is a watercolour work depicting the beautiful walk through Dairy Farmers Hill Lookout during spring. The painting sets the scene of my family, friends and I on one of our very frequent walks on this trail, a blush of light pink flowers blooming amidst the fields, pine trees uniformly growing amongst them. Inspired by Karen Rice’s landscape portraits, the artwork illustrates the background of the sunset sky in a layered gradient wash from dark blue-purple to pink, orange and yellow, whereas the foreground details the fine foliage of grass. As a newcomer to this city, it has not been difficult to adjust and appreciate Canberra’s picturesque scenery, which is so different from the rugged outback of Darwin and the urbanised cityscapes of Melbourne. Canberra possesses a discreet beauty that is consistent through all seasons, spring being one of the vibrant colours and varieties of flowers that I experienced for the first time last year. Picturesque portrays the best part of living in the quietly beautiful city of Canberra; the undisturbed ability to explore beautiful landscapes such as Dairy Farmers Hill with the people close to you.