Growing in Love: Worship Day 3
May 8, 2022
Members of the reconvened Assembly began Day 3 by coming together in prayer, worship, Bible Reflection – and joyful dance - as they prepared again to discern the Spirit together.
Marrpalawuy Marika from Gan Gan in North East Arnhem Land gave an Acknowledgement of Country (written by Rev Dr Amelia Koh Butler) and led an opening prayer in Dhay’yi language and English, inviting “those who have ears, to hear the voice of spirit in creation now and until the end of time.”
Like the previous day, participants gave their Acknowledgement of Country by singing in Gubbi Gubbi language. Assembly Worship Coordinator Megan Laurie-Thomson read a meditative reflection from Jan Sutch Pickard, called The Vine, gently leading us into the time of Bible Reflection.
Students from Nungalinya College again led us in reflecting on the theme Dwelling in Love with a presentation in person and on video, sharing their particular insights and understandings of what it means when Jesus says, ‘I am the vine, you are the branches’.
A reading of John 15 was shared in 11 different languages and then Mandy Mangurra, a teacher at Nungalinya, and a burgeoning artist, shared a reflection on her painting Transforming.
“God gives everything those plants need to grow in that place. This is like us - we need to be in our community. We need to share his love with our own people. We need to be transforming our own community and helping them to grow," said Mandy.
Gemma Alange Ngambe who is based in Wadeye shared a story on the idea of God as a tree.
“A tree is God and the branches are us and the seeds and flowers are our children. And the tree, the branches, the seeds are all God’s message and the flowers is where we spread the good news.”
“So in your own life you think about yourself as a tree growing or use other images to think about your faith. So the tree, the branch, the flowers – the flowers blossom. They are beautiful, their smell, their taste is God’s word that we all listen to and pray to be faithful in God’s ways.”
The Assembly then paused to pray for the community in Wadeye where Alange is a leader in the Catholic Church – for God’s spirit to hover in and throughout to show them God’s way of peace and justice as they experience a time of conflict.
The final reflection came from Robert Maliwalnawuy Gaykamaŋu and Milminydjarrk Helen Garrawurra who are church leaders at Miliŋimbi, in North East Arnhem Land supporting the community there and travelling to other communities. They shared a little of their stories and reflected on the intimate relationship we share with Jesus as the vine and the branches.
“Jesus said I am the vine and you are the branches – in my understanding he is the main tree and is the head of that tree and we are the branches and in that branches we produce fruits and if we can’t produce fruits that branch will dry out and break down,” said Helen.
Robert and Helen then shared their love of singing and dancing getting all Assembly members dancing to the song Djesuy nhuna nhäŋala which is a joyful reminder that we are held in God’s love.
“Whatever we do, we sleep, or walk, God is there watching us all the time and he looks after us. Sometimes we turn away from him, we run away, but God is there looking at us and waiting for us, when we are going to go back to him.”
At the end worship, the President thanked Michelle Cook for her work in bringing the voices and theological insights of the students from Nungalinya College to the Assembly.
Read more and engage further with the Bible Reflections by reading the Bible Reflections Booklet. The videos will be made available after the Assembly meeting.