Monday, July 28, 2008

Between a rock and a hard place

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Between a rock and a hard place

Sometimes this is where we find ourselves - a choice toa go in either direction wll have problems, or we are overwhelmed by a situation, by illness, by changes in society, by political events, by an inability to see or focus on a hopeful future. We feel we cannot make a decision without consequences that affect other people.

This morning at the Geelong Interfaith Women's Group I was fortunate to meet with a most gracious woman, Leonie Rastas, a nurse, whose focus these days is on the spiritual aspect of healing people in pain, grief, or overwhelming difficulties. She is part of Pastoral Health Services in Geelong, a Christian Health Promotion charity facilitating Health and Wellbeing in Mind, Body and Spirit. The Pastoral Nursing project was developed by Referend Granger Westburg,a Lutheran Pastor in the USA in 1980.

I had never heard of this before but this service is available in Geelong and involves prayer, consultation, referrals, massage, sung prayers with actions. Leonie told stories - with permission of the people involved - about a woman in absolute fear of the dentist, a grieving young couple, a gentleman with a stroke, and other stories. Also Leonie was part of the recent Youth Day in Sydney and with the 300,000 others changed Sin City for a few days! The kind of work of Leonie does is not mainstream but involves discomfort, tears, foolishness even. She gave us a prayer to read:

May God bless you with DISCOMFORT
At easy answers, half-truths, and superficial relationships
So that you may live deep within your heart.
May God bless you with ANGER
At injustice, oppression, and exploitation of people
So that you may work for justice, freedom and peace.
May God bless you with TEARS
To shed for those who suffer from pain, rejection, starvation and war
So that you may reach out your hand to comfort them
And to turn their pain into JOY
And may God bless you with enough FOOLISHNESS
To believe that you can make a difference in this world
So that you can DO what others claim cannot be done.

This idea of being between rock and a hard place made me think of our friend Lorini Tevi in Fiji who had to make a difficult choice - the Methodist Church gave her three months to think about it - to be part of the process of the Interim Government's method of 'moving forward' or to stay with the Methodist Church Standing Committee with a unified voice against the Interim Government. Lorini felt that God was calling her in a certain direction which was unpopular with the leaders of the church she loves and grew up with. I think we have to respect the dissident voices that make us feel uncomfortable so our prayers are with Lorini in these awkward times in Fiji.

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