On Yuggera and Yugambeh Country the warming sun has risen, birds are singing outside the window.
But it feels so hard for us to lift our heads to sing.
On Bunurong Country, the rain falls in unison with our tears of lament.
After an enormous year of advocacy and prayer, the result of the referendum has taken the air out of our lungs. We are left with questions…
What do I do with this grief and all the emotion?
How do I hold the weight of this?
What do we say to our beautiful movement that is Common Grace?
It is with weighty tears that we first say thank you. It has been a long journey of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples calling for justice and change that led us to this momentous moment in our nation’s history. For all those who have been a part of the ‘Listen to the Heart: Christians for Voice and Justice’ campaign and those who have been in the generations before us faithfully fighting for justice, truth-telling, and the flourishing of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples - we thank you.
Thank you for your efforts in campaigning with us for a Yes.
To all our Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Christian family, our Elders and community members,
To all the churches, faith communities, individuals, schools, families and children,
In fact, the entire Common Grace movement,
Thank you for being on this journey.
We look back and are overwhelmed with gratitude for all your efforts - the conversations you held with strangers and friends with grace and courage, the Yes badges you wore and posters you pasted up, the table talks, concerts, events, walks, and services you attended and hosted. And your generosity to help make all this possible. Your faithful presence gives us strength and hope.
Although we are heavy with pain and grief, we are aware that now is not the time to rush ahead. Wisdom tells us that we must be present to and listen to the pain, distress, and exasperation rising in waves within and around us. For us as Aboriginal Christian women, this means taking the time to sit in the sadness, taking time to rest and connect to Country, and bringing our groans of distress to God through prayer. In doing so, we honour the gravity of our lament for the setback this result brings to the decades of faithful work of our Aboriginal people and allies towards reconciliation and justice in these lands.
We are proud that the movement of Common Grace was present at this moment. You were with us. In solidarity with our Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander community.
We are proud that we took the time to deeply listen to and be led by our Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Christian Leaders; of centering the past and present calls for love and justice; of having countless conversations and praying faithfully.
Even as we lament, we draw solace and comfort from this: that we still stand united, and that there are so many of us willing to act together for change and for justice.
Common Grace, of course, will respond. Our journey of seeking Jesus and justice will continue, and we will provide the next steps on this journey as a movement. But those next steps are not for today. Today we feel, we grieve, we pray, we hold.
We know that hope will come.
But today we will stop to feel the sadness.
And then we’ll be back.
We yearn for God's kingdom to come.
With sadness and heavy hearts, we thank you again.
Bianca, Safina and the Common Grace team
We have been incredibly blessed by the Common Grace movement's passion to pray for voice and justice, and we humbly ask for continued prayers for:
- Our Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander community who are in dismay
- Our Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander leaders who have been so faithful and strong
- Our Elders and old people
- Our children
- The seeds that have been sown to continue to grow and take root
- Continued momentum to build from the movement, the conversations, and the exposure of the reality of racism and injustice
- Love and Hope
With the result of the referendum not being what we had hoped, prayed and campaigned for, Common Grace is creating a space to gather together in lament. You are invited to join the Common Grace movement on the evening of Tuesday 17th October as we grieve, lament, and pray in response to the Voice not being achieved. Register to receive the Zoom link.