Tuesday, January 28, 2020

Hi to dead people

Some churches in Australia have taken to the habit of opening their services, not with a call to prayer, such as this Advent text:
The glory of the Lord shall be revealed, and all flesh shall see it together. (Isaiah 40:5)
but with this one:
We acknowledge the traditional custodians of this land we meet upon and their Elders past, present and future.
Future? How does one 'acknowledge' someone from the future? I can only imagine this came from watching too much Dr Who.

But that bit of grammatical humour is not the worst of it. This is a paean to an anachronistic view of the European settlement of Australia and is a highly politicized statement that seeks elevate one group of Australians over the rest. It also reflects a pagan world view completely at odds with the revelation of God.

I think of:
  • Psalm 8:9 O Lord, our Lord, How majestic is Your name in all the earth!
  • Psalm 24:1 The earth is the Lord’s, and all it contains, The world, and those who dwell in it.
When we meet as a church, we meet in terms of:
  • Hebrews 10:19-25  encouraging one another
  • 1 Corinthians 11:20 Therefore when you meet together, it is not to eat the Lord’s Supper, (castigating them for Not meeting to join in the Lord's Supper)
  • Matthew 18:20: For where two or three have gathered together in My name, I am there in their midst
The last one throws the 'paean' into sharp relief. We assemble in the name of our Lord; when we gather together Christ is in our midst (irrespective of our tribal, ethnic, racial or political location,  we are all one, humbly worshipping our creator; no one is 'privileged' in any way before him), but then we 'give respect', not to the Christians who've gone before us, not to the witness of the Spirit in the Word, not to our Creator and Redeemer, but to the spirits of dead people (this would be akin to dedicating your wedding service to your previous girl-friend while your bride is next to you), and we acknowledge their idolatrous beliefs about land (the land in Australian Aboriginal lore is not just an area of habitation, but a living spirit), when no land is sacred; but all a gift of God to us. Thus we really assemble in the name of the dead who's animistic beliefs we laud.

I can only regard this as blasphemous...and as rejection of our Lord. Not Christian! Separating people, not bringing them together.  Again. Not Christian!

Other commentators: Pellowe and Powell

Just wondering...did Joshua paid his respects to the Canannites, the traditional custodians of the Promised Land, and their gods and priests? I do note, however, that whenever the Israelites tried to bunk down with the Canaanite religion, they ended up in Babylon. 

What the welcome to country is (translated from the Noongar by Richard Walley):

May the good spirit watch over you. You’re looking at the land of my people, we call Whadjuk. Later on when you go home to your country, may the good spirit take you safely home. May the spirits of my people and the spirits of your people watch over us now.
If that's not paganism....

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