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Michael's blog

Dare to fail

Shortly before I finished a placement at a church where I had ministered for some time, I was faced with an important decision.

A homeless man had been sleeping on the front veranda of the church office. I met him one night coming out of a meeting. Being June, the night air was unusually cold. Inside, we had several bar radiators on; outside, there was no such luxury. I went and got him my sleeping bag.

The gift of failure

I was dux of the year in secondary school for four years in a row. The last two years of secondary school I was not; I was devastated. I had failed.

It felt awful. I had disgraced myself.

Looking back, I recognise that I invested too much of my identity in being top of the year. However, I didn’t understand that then.

It took me a while to figure this out, and I had to figure it mostly on my own. Comments like ‘Well, you can only do your best’ didn’t help. Secretly, I thought I must not have done my best.

Bear much fruit

This week marks the 39th birthday of the Uniting Church. Thirty-nine years ago, three branches, the Congregational, Methodist, and Presbyterian churches, joined together to form the Uniting Church in Australia. It was a new shoot on the vine that is Jesus Christ. (‘I am the vine; you are the branches’, John 15: 5)

What a journey this new, growing graft on the vine has called forth! At times, it has been exacting.

To its enduring credit, the Uniting Church has nurtured so many pilgrim people, who have dared to risk the uncertain prospect that is the way of Jesus.

Love one another

Yesterday, I received a letter of thanks from Dr. Ibrahim, the Grand Mufti, for attending the Iftar dinner that he hosted last Saturday night at Fairfield.

I was a little taken aback; normally, it is the guest who writes to thank the host. I intended to thank him, but he beat me to it!

It reminded me of Jesus’ saying, ‘love one another.’

I am learning much more about what this means from someone who is, by religious definition, outside the Christian community.


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