Spirit & Life

No Failures; Only Feedback

Luke 21: 29-36
Then Jesus told them this parable: “Think of the fig tree and all the other trees. When you see their leaves beginning to appear, you know that summer is near. In the same way, when you see these things happening, you will know that the Kingdom of God is about to come. Heaven and earth will pass away, but my words will never pass away. “Be careful not to let yourselves become occupied with too much feasting and drinking and with the worries of this life, or that Day may suddenly catch you like a trap. For it will come upon all people everywhere on earth. Be on watch and pray always that you will have the strength to go safely through all those things that will happen and to stand before the Son of Man.”

1 Thessalonians  3: 9-13
Now we can give thanks to our God for you. We thank God for the joy we have in his presence because of you. Day and night we ask him with all our heart to let us see you personally and supply what is needed in your faith. May our God and Father himself and our Lord Jesus prepare the way for us to come to you! May the Lord make your love for one another and for all people grow more and more and become as great as our love for you. In this way, God will strengthen you, and you will be perfect and holy in the presence of our God and Father when our Lord Jesus comes with all who belong to him.

Jesus is right again – our fig tree has certainly demonstrated that summer is approaching! Advent is upon us and Christmas draws near. This year, I had the absolute joy of being part of the Christmas Pageant! As a Christmas Elf, I was able to energetically engage and wave at the 35,000 strong intergenerational group of Christmas-ready community members at the Adelaide Oval. The Pageant Team comprised a wide range of society, all with a commitment to bring joy and delight to the wider community. As a clown or elf, your role is to create a link between the float that goes before you and the one following behind. I was between Winter Wonderland, as seen in the photo, and the List Keeper.
The List Keeper brought back the memory of a little person who was DEEPLY distressed by the thought that there was a list kept that decided the fate of whether you were included in the love of Christmas or not. She was horrified that some “poor person” was left out if they had made one mistake and never forgiven. In her mind, God “loves us and helps us know how to be the best person we can be”. “We all make mistakes and this is how we learn”. On our fridge, I had the sign stating ‘There is no failure – only feedback.’ As a family of highly intelligent, high functioning dyslexics, we travelled through schooling life making mistakes according to the current world view, yet demonstrating fantastic abilities in multi-intelligence areas that broke through human constraints! The List Keeper idea is not representational of the unconditional love God offers us all, yet there are certainly some List Keepers around! I may have massaged the role of the Pageant List Keeper by suggesting it was a more like a Stage Manager and Event Coordinator, to enable the little person to sleep better.
The readings this week echo faithful voices from across millennia who all live with a deep assurance in God, acknowledge their mistakes and find hope in God’s Love. This Advent:
Let us let go of List Keeper judgements.
Let us offer our lives as a living gift.
Let us live in the Way of Jesus, and bring love and kindness to God’s world.
Let us recognise that our failures do give us feedback.
Let us then, celebrate our joy with God, as we listen and learn of a new way of being.
Let us give thanks to God for each other, for in our diversity, we find the whole body of Christ.
May the Lord make our love for one another and for all people grow more and more.
In this way, God will strengthen us, and we will be perfect and holy in the presence of our God and Father when our Lord Jesus comes with all who belong to him. A gift indeed!
Praying with Psalm 25:1-10
Jesus, as we celebrate Christ-mass,
We turn to you with joy!
To you, O Lord, we offer our prayer;
in you, our God, we trust.
Save us from the shame of mistakes;
don’t let the List Keepers gloat over us!
Failure does not come to those who trust in you,
but to those who are quick to go against your Ways of love.
Teach us your ways, O Lord;
make them known to us as we listen to your feedback.
Teach us to live according to your truth,
for you are our God, who saves us.
We always trust in you.
Remember, O Lord, your kindness and constant love
which you have shown from long ago.
Forgive the sins and errors of our days.
In your constant love and goodness, remember us, Lord!
Because you, Lord, are righteous and good!
You teach us all the path we should follow.
You lead us to live humbly in the right way and teach us your will.
With faithfulness and love, Jesus,
You lead us all and teach us to keep your promise.
With you, there is always an advent of learning new ways to live
Amen, to that!

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We pay respect to the Elders past, present and emerging across the many Nations of this Country.