As we approach the Voice referendum, I hope we agree the church should be in prayer. While I will vote ‘yes’ for the Voice, I know thoughtful, considered Australians are voting ‘No’ out of concern for our First Nations and the best way forward. We might vote differently, but we share the same heart.
It might help if we had the humility to admit whether anyone knows the best way forward? The Uluru statement from the heart uses the word ‘Makarrata’ to describe the reconciling journey Australia is on. This is a word in the Yolngu language which literally means a “spear penetrating, usually the thigh, of a person that has done wrong”. That is not an easy journey of justice and reconciliation!
‘The Voice’ has not been an easy public conversation. This coming referendum is demonstrating how political processes have serious challenges. There has been increasing polarisation, demonisation, accusation. The nuances and complexities of how to make a difference has been lost. Yet, once the vote is settled, either way, nuance and complexity will be what we are left with.
The church should be in prayer. Humble prayer. Prayer that admits we know too little about how to deal with our painful histories and generational impact. Prayer that admits we are all sinners in need of a gracious God to help us act justly and be reconciled with one another. Prayer that asks God to lead us through these troubled conversations towards shared understanding. Prayer that asks God for the power to walk together towards the hope of a better future, for all Australians. Prayer that dares to ask of God, ‘your kingdom come, your will be done on earth as it is in heaven’. (Matt 6:10)