Reaching out to the vulnerable

Andy Fleming
Andy Fleming

By Andy Fleming, Associate Chaplain

For many people, the lockdown, or aspects of it, has created a vulnerability never before experienced. As you are all aware, we humans are relational by nature and enduring an extended time of not being able to be physically with and around others has created a vulnerability for many of us that we are unaccustomed to. However, I have found it’s created a greater sense of community. On my trips out of the house to walk my dogs or pick up groceries, I’ve had more conversations with ‘strangers’ around the neighbourhood or behind the cash register than I’ve ever enjoyed, and seen the same with others. There appears to be a greater level of acceptance and patience at this time, as if we all understand each other’s vulnerabilities.

Interestingly, I first became aware of this with our students last term in online forums. There was a conscious effort by many students to reach out to others in our school and wider communities who may be feeling vulnerable, when they themselves are supposed to be the ones being looked out for.

In the book of Mark, Jesus spends time with his disciples teaching them how to live well in service to their communities. One well-known passage that is often referred to as a lesson in reaching out to the vulnerable is Mark 10:13-16. Here we find the disciples admonish those who bring children to Jesus. Jesus is indignant with the disciples and explains that it is the children who are most welcome in God’s kingdom and that they should accept these children as they would God’s kingdom. In biblical times, children, like the poor, sick and dispossessed, were among the most vulnerable in society.

Myall Creek article photo

‘Welcoming’ and accepting a child, and those who are vulnerable, is a Christ-like response. Our students regularly show us the way to support those who are in need. In a time when their typical avenues to serve the community are closed, they never cease to find new ways to reach out to those who may be suffering: ideas such as writing letters to students in Kamilaroi country and at Black Mountain School; identifying acts of kindness witnessed in the community and looking to respond to damage at the Myall Creek memorial site in an act of reconciliation with the Myall Creek community are just some of the ways our students are reaching out to the vulnerable. It is both very impressive and encouraging.

Prayer for the beginning of Term 4

Loving God,
Father, please hear us when we tell You of our concerns of sending our children and educators back to school.
Know that we are striving to make all of the right decisions and need Your love and power to help us overcome any difficulties.
Please watch over everyone as times and routines are about to change once again.
We know that we can do anything through You, so please help us ensure health and semi-normalcy in the coming months.
We give our hearts to You, now and forever. Amen.
Author unknown

Peace with you,

Chaplain Andy

Jesus and child
Illustration by Rebecca Marshall -