Posts Tagged ‘Prayer’

Five Christians were arrested after their group held a prayer vigil in reaction to what they described as Australia’s “cruel treatment” of asylum seekers on March 21.

Christians released

Commonsense prevails. They look like dangerous violent radicals, don’t they?

A spokeswoman for the group has said the charges were dismissed after they pled guilty to trespass in Sutherland Local Court this afternoon.

She said the magistrate noted that the protest was peaceful. “This was the other end of the scale to the Cronulla Riots,” she said.

Earlwood resident Justin Whelan, 38, was one of those who faced court over the protest he described as an appeal to Mr Morrison to “rediscover the ideals of his maiden speech”.

“I have witnessed first-hand the conflict and suffering in Iraq, Afghanistan and Palestine I feel compelled to take action to draw attention to the plight of asylum seekers,” he said.

He was joined in court by Blue Mountains resident Donna Mulhearn, 45, Zetland resident Jaxon Jennings, 21, and Woolloomooloo resident Jody Lightfoot, 28. The fifth member of the group, 33-year-old Midland resident Jarrod McKenna, did not appear in court.

The group was supported by approximately two dozen protesters who gathered outside the court to hold another “asylum seeker prayer vigil”.

Protest spokesman Matt Anslow said the vigil participants had come from different Christian denominations, including Catholic and Uniting Church, as well as non-Christians.

Mr Anslow said his group had not had any contact with Mr Morrison since the March 21 protest.

“We recognise that we’ve been a party to allowing our government to continue these policies,” he said. “Today is less about an outcome, it’s about support”.

He had told the media that the March protest was not intended to target Mr Morrison in a negative way.

If ever a man needed praying for, it's this guy.

If ever a man needed praying for, it’s this guy.

“We were praying also for Mr Morrison, not in a way that was condemning or judgemental,” he said. “We were actually praying that Mr Morrison might have a change of heart. In his maiden speech for Federal Parliament, Mr Morrison gave a really amazing outline of his vision that included justice and compassion for vulnerable people. For us, we were hoping Mr Morrison might have a change of heart and join us.”

Wellthisiswhatithink has another and less gentle point to raise. What on earth were police officers doing wasting their taxpayer-funded time arresting these people in the first place? And once arrested, why on earth were they taken to court and not simply released? Who took that ludicrous decision?

I am reasonably sure the Christians who “invaded” Morrison’s precious little office would have left quietly if asked to do so, or would have allowed themselves to be moved outside, even if resisting passively. That should have been an end to the matter.

In a free country, people are free to say what they like, where they like, even if that causes minor inconvenience. What an utter nonsense this all was. Will the police in charge at this and other protests be counseled to show a little more restraint, and commonsense? Like hell they will. Will the prosecutorial authorities get dragged over the coals for wasted time, money and effort. No, they won’t.

Ridiculous.

As a Christian on Easter Day, I saw this on a website, and I fell to thinking. Especially because the final line on the poster I saw, underneath the hands, said, forcefully and somewhat cynically, “So don’t tell me about the power of prayer.”

I was confronted. Made to think. So good on whoever devised the poster, rather agressive though it was. We all need to be made to think, at Easter-time more than ever. An aside to my religious friends: atheists have their messages for us, too.

But, of course, its core proposition is unfair.

When religious people pray, we frequently ask for other things other than peace, an end to violence, an end to sadness and despair, and end to hunger, a fair sharing of the world’s resources, and so on.

In fact, generally, being only human, we are usually asking for messes that we have created in our own personal lives to get cleaned up, or for health and happiness, or even for wealth.

And sometimes, because we ask for things we don’t really need, and as God knows this, then sometimes his answer is therefore silence, or, simply, “No”.

So I cut the bottom line of the poster off. And this Easter Day, when Christians celebrate the simple but astounding belief that death is not the end of life, but rather the beginning, I would like us all to consider that, if we are to spend 10 minutes praying, then we need to spend them praying for others, other than ourselves.

And we then need to spend an equal amount of time, or more, campaigning against the evils of this world. In Jesus’s name, and in the name of our common humanity.

Because if Jesus of Nazareth was anything, he was an agitator. Knowing more than any man before or since how the world could be, he refused to accept the world as it was. He refused to accept violence, and hatred, and selfishness, and pomp and ceremony, and misrule and exploitation of the poor, the weak, the persecuted.

So spend time on your knees, by all means. But spend an equal time or more arguing with our fellows for what Jesus taught us.

Yes, Christians need to get into Church more often, but also to get out of Church more often, into the community. That might be as simple as speaking to friends or work colleagues. Not about how much we’d like to see them in Church, but how much we’d like to see more of Jesus in ourselves, and in them.

That way, we may repair some of the damage done to Jesus’s Church by scandal, selfishness, greed, and pomposity.

And on the need to heal the world, all Christians can agree. The religious and the secular can agree. Christians and Muslims and Jews and Janes and Buddhists can agree. That would be a good start. It might even lead us to heaven on earth.

I believe in the power of prayer. I have seen it wreak incredible, mystifying, astounding and inexplicable things. Not once, but often.

But I believe in the power of people modelling Christ much more.