The Spirit of Oneness and Common Humanity

(Published in News First, February 2008 - The monthly church newsletter of Warragul Uniting Church)

from Rev Chris Cohen

Dear friends,

Christmas, New Year, Australia Day; all celebrations and holidays within our nation. Days of significant and different meaning.

For Christians, Christmas is the time to remember and celebrate the birth of the one we recognize as ‘God with us’. We look back from this side of the Resurrection, looking to understand the birth of this Jesus. A central celebration of our faith. For others in our nation Christmas may be a significant milestone in the year, holidays, family time, a time to give gifts and eat together, a celebration wrapped in Santa Claus that has remnants of the ‘giving’ of God’s gift, Jesus.

New Year for most of us is a way of marking the end of one year, and all of its events – good and bad. And the beginning of a new year with all of its hopes and possibilities. For some a reason to party and celebrate, for some a reason for sadness.

Australia Day for many is to recognize our European beginnings, our oneness as a nation of people and some commonality in our aspirations.

All of these recent ‘special events’ reflect a sense of hope, oneness and common humanity at the heart. I believe at the heart of Australian culture, is a desire to identify with what is often called the ANZAC spirit. The ‘Simpson and his donkey’ spirit, the ‘Good Samaritan’ spirit, the sacrifices of a Son spirit, the giving of self for the other, ‘mateship’.

Although we might be reduced into thinking that is dead in our culture, my experience of people convinces me that this is alive and well in many and for others, lying just below the surface of our public face.

My prayer is that this year, this spirit might be recognized and celebrated more publicly and openly expressed by more people. For in this way we will continue to reflect something of the Spirit of the God of Easter that Christmas helps us to understand.

May this be a selfless, giving and rewarding year for each of you.

Yours in Christ,