Seeing people as Jesus sees them
It was a sombre morning worship at 15th Assembly on Thursday as black-clad Assembly members were invited to symbolically reflect on the brokenness of the world and ask for communal forgiveness.
Assembly members wore dark clothing to support Thursdays in Black, an international campaign backed by the World Council of Churches to support the right of women to live in a world without rape or violence.
The Synod of Western Australia led worship, with Claire Ligtermoet offering the prayer of Confession and Declaration of Forgiveness. Members were asked to pass around a ceremonial bowl filled with salt water symbolising tears.
They were invited to bring before God the times they had felt hurt or caused hurt for others. A small container of essential oil was placed on each table and members were invited to use it to anoint a sign of the cross on their neighbour as a sign of communal forgiveness.
The salt water and oil were symbols derived from the morning’s Scripture reading of Luke 7:36-50, where the woman declared a “sinner” by the religious authorities washed the feet of Jesus with her tears and anointed them.
Rev. Dr Seforosa Carroll led the Bible study, reflecting on Jesus explaining to his disciple Simon the transforming power of the women’s act of hospitality, love and grace.
Rev. Dr Carroll said that we are all socialised to see things a certain way but that this story calls us to “a different way of seeing, believing and believing”.
It teaches us to “see the face of Christ in the other as Jesus sees”.
To conclude the study Assembly members were asked to reflect on who they think the outsiders are and “how do we create intentional spaces of welcome, acceptance and belonging even when we don’t agree”.