Tag Archive: kids spirituality


diversity in language and liturgy

I went to an event this week that talked about racism and how most people make it to the level of “tolerance” but rarely make it to “acceptance”. Acceptance is the level where diversity is incorporated and celebrated. A panel was asked: “What signals that a space is safe?” And the answer is: “Evidence that you have done your own work on this.”

So, how a space is configured, it’s art and decorations might contribute to safe space but so too does language. Churches often talk about being spaces of “welcome” but in how many languages are you saying it? Do you express the multiculturalism of your community? Do you have it in Braille? Is it large print for the elderly? Colourful for the children? Indicate that those who are LGBTIQA+ are welcome?

I don’t necessarily mean literally having a welcome sign that incorporates all those things but holding space to learn from how someone with a Vietnamese or Sri Lankan cultural lens experiences God, what does the God who calls us to look and see, or hear and listen, mean to someone who is blind or deaf? What does faith in a triune God mean to someone with an extra chromosome? How does someone identifying as LGBTIQA+ who has been disavowed by their family relate to a Holy Father?

In no particular order, playfully explore language and liturgy now that invites you into another way of knowing, follow links for more…

THE LORD’S PRAYER: MAORI & POLYNESIA

Eternal Spirit,
Earth-maker, Pain bearer, Life-giver,
Source of all that is and that shall be,
Father and Mother of us all,
Loving God, in whom is heaven:

The hallowing of your name echo through the universe;
The way of your justice be followed by the peoples of the world;
Your heavenly will be done by all created beings;
Your commonwealth of peace and freedom
sustain our hope and come on earth.

With the bread we need for today, feed us.
In the hurts we absorb from one another, forgive us.
In times of temptation and test, strengthen us.
From trial too great to endure, spare us.
From the grip of all that is evil, free us.
For you reign in the glory of the power that is love,
now and forever. Amen.

The New Zealand Book of Prayer

ABORIGINAL LORD’S PRAYER

(there is a lovely sung version of this)

You are our Father, you live in heaven
We talk to you, Father, you are good
We believe your word Father, we are children,
Give us bread today
We have done wrong, we are sorry,
Help us Father, not to sin again
Others have done wrong to us and we are
sorry for them, Father today
Stop us from doing wrong, Father
Save us all from the evil one
You are our Father, you live in heaven
We talk to you, Father, you are good.

Easter to Pentecost

Wondrous God, lover of lion and lizard, cedar and cactus, raindrop and river, we praise You for the splendor of the world! We thank You, that woven throughout the tapestry of earth are the varied threads of human diversity. Created in Your image, we are of many colors and cultures, ages and classes, gender and sexual identities. Different and alike, we are Your beloved people. Free us, we pray, from fears of difference that divide and wound us. Move us to dismantle our attitudes and systems of prejudice. Renew our commitment to make this a household of faith for all people – gay, bisexual, lesbian, transgender, and straight – that all who worship and minister here may know the grace and challenge of faith. In our life together, grant us minds and hearts eager to learn, reluctant to judge, and responsive to the leading of Your loving Spirit. We ask in Christ’s name, Amen.
Rev. Ann B. Day, Shaping Sanctuary

Alternative language for Psalms and Scripture…

Child Play by Joy Cowley

Father Mother God,
every now and then you call me
to drop my burdens at the side of the road
and play games with you.
I respond sluggishly.
Carrying burdens can make me feel important
and sometimes I’m afraid to drop them
in case I suddenly become invisible.
But when I do let go for a while,
how simple life seems –
and how beautiful!

God of play and playfulness,
thank you for castles in the sand,
for swings and slides and soap bubbles,
kaleidoscopes, rainbows,
and wind to fly kites.
Thank you for child-vision
of flowers and stones and water drops,
for child-listening to the universe
humming inside a seashell.
Thank you for showing me one again,
a creation filled with laughter
and the enjoyment of your presence.
An thank you, thank you,
dear Mother, Father God,
for the knowledge
of your enjoyment of me.

Aotearoa Psalms: Prayers of a New People by Joy Cowley

Laughing Bird Liturgical Resources – Australian scripture paraphrasing.

Mark 1: 4-11

John the baptiser showed up in the desert preaching to the people. He called them to be baptised, to completely turn their lives around and receive God’s forgiveness for their toxic ways. Everyone came flocking to John from Jerusalem and from all the rural districts of Judea. They owned up to their wrongdoing and were baptised by John in the Jordan River, promising to mend their ways.
John was dressed in rough clothes made of camel hair and animal skins. He lived on bush tucker – grasshoppers and wild honey. This was the guts of his message: “After me comes the One who is way out of my league – I wouldn’t even qualify to get down on my knees and lick his boots. I’m only baptising you with water, but he will baptise you with the Holy Spirit.”
During those days, Jesus came from Nazareth in Galilee and was baptised by John in the Jordan. The moment he came up from the water, he saw the sky open up and the Spirit coming down like a diving kookaburra and taking hold of him. And a voice filled the air, saying, “You are my Son; the love of my life. You fill me with pride.”

©2001 Nathan Nettleton www.laughingbird.net


Dadirri – A Reflection By Miriam – Rose Ungunmerr- Baumann

NGANGIKURUNGKURR means ‘Deep Water Sounds’. Ngangikurungkurr is the name of
my tribe. The word can be broken up into three parts: Ngangi means word or sound, Kuri means water, and kurr means deep. So the name of my people means ‘the Deep Water Sounds’ or ‘Sounds of the Deep’. This talk is about tapping into that deep spring that is within us.

Many Australians understand that Aboriginal people have a special respect for Nature.
The identity we have with the land is sacred and unique. Many people are beginning to
understand this more. Also there are many Australians who appreciate that Aboriginal
people have a very strong sense of community. All persons matter. All of us belong. And
there are many more Australians now, who understand that we are a people who celebrate together.

What I want to talk about is another special quality of my people. I believe it is the most
important. It is our most unique gift. It is perhaps the greatest gift we can give to our
fellow Australians. In our language this quality is called dadirri. It is inner, deep listening
and quiet, still awareness. Dadirri recognises the deep spring that is inside us. We call on it and it calls to us. This is the gift that Australia is thirsting for. It is something like what you call “contemplation”.

When I experience dadirri, I am made whole again. I can sit on the riverbank or walk
through the trees; even if someone close to me has passed away, I can find my peace in
this silent awareness. There is no need of words. A big part of dadirri is listening.
Through the years, we have listened to our stories. They are told and sung, over and
over, as the seasons go by. Today we still gather around the campfires and together we
hear the sacred stories.

As we grow older, we ourselves become the storytellers. We pass on to the young ones
all they must know. The stories and songs sink quietly into our minds and we hold them
deep inside. In the ceremonies we celebrate the awareness of our lives as sacred.
The contemplative way of dadirri spreads over our whole life. It renews us and brings us
peace. It makes us feel whole again…

In our Aboriginal way, we learnt to listen from our earliest days. We could not live good
and useful lives unless we listened. This was the normal way for us to learn – not by
asking questions. We learnt by watching and listening, waiting and then acting. Our
people have passed on this way of listening for over 40,000 years…
There is no need to reflect too much and to do a lot of thinking. It is just being aware.
My people are not threatened by silence. They are completely at home in it. They have
lived for thousands of years with Nature’s quietness. My people today, recognise and
experience in this quietness, the great Life-Giving Spirit, the Father of us all. It is easy for
me to experience God’s presence. When I am out hunting, when I am in the bush,
among the trees, on a hill or by a billabong; these are the times when I can simply be in
God’s presence. My people have been so aware of Nature. It is natural that we will feel
close to the Creator.

Dr Stanner, the anthropologist who did much of his work among the Daly River tribes,
wrote this: “Aboriginal religion was probably one of the least material minded, and most
life-minded of any of which we have knowledge”…

And now I would like to talk about the other part of dadirri which is the quiet stillness and the waiting. Our Aboriginal culture has taught us to be still and to wait. We do not try to hurry things up. We let them follow their natural course – like the seasons. We watch the moon in each of its phases. We wait for the rain to fill our rivers and water the thirsty earth… When twilight comes, we prepare for the night. At dawn we rise with the sun. We watch the bush foods and wait for them to ripen before we gather them. We wait for our young people as they grow, stage by stage, through their initiation ceremonies. When a relation dies, we wait a long time with the sorrow. We own our grief  and allow it to heal slowly.

We wait for the right time for our ceremonies and our meetings. The right people must
be present. Everything must be done in the proper way. Careful preparations must be
made. We don’t mind waiting, because we want things to be done with care. Sometimes
many hours will be spent on painting the body before an important ceremony.
We don’t like to hurry. There is nothing more important than what we are attending to.
There is nothing more urgent that we must hurry away for.

We wait on God, too. His time is the right time. We wait for him to make his Word clear
to us. We don’t worry. We know that in time and in the spirit of dadirri (that deep listening and quiet stillness) his way will be clear.

We are River people. We cannot hurry the river. We have to move with its current and
understand its ways.

We hope that the people of Australia will wait. Not so much waiting for us – to catch up –
but waiting with us, as we find our pace in this world.

There is much pain and struggle as we wait. The Holy Father understood this patient
struggle when he said to us:
“If you stay closely united, you are like a tree, standing in the middle of a bushfire
sweeping through the timber. The leaves are scorched and the tough bark is scarred
and burnt; but inside the tree the sap is still flowing, and under the ground the roots are
still strong. Like that tree, you have endured the flames, and you still have the power to
be reborn”.

My people are used to the struggle, and the long waiting. We still wait for the white
people to understand us better. We ourselves had to spend many years learning about
the white man’s ways. Some of the learning was forced; but in many cases people tried
hard over a long time, to learn the new ways.

We have learned to speak the white man’s language. We have listened to what he had
to say. This learning and listening should go both ways. We would like people in
Australia to take time to listen to us. We are hoping people will come closer. We keep on
longing for the things that we have always hoped for – respect and understanding…
To be still brings peace – and it brings understanding. When we are really still in the
bush, we concentrate. We are aware of the anthills and the turtles and the water lilies.
Our culture is different. We are asking our fellow Australians to take time to know us; to
be still and to listen to us…

Life is very hard for many of my people. Good and bad things came with the years of
contact – and with the years following. People often absorbed the bad things and not the
good. It was easier to do the bad things than to try a bit harder to achieve what we really
hoped for…

I would like to conclude…by saying again that there are deep springs within each of us.
Within this deep spring, which is the very Spirit of God, is a sound. The sound of Deep
calling to Deep. The sound is the word of God – Jesus.

Today, I am beginning to hear the Gospel at the very level of my identity. I am beginning
to feel the great need we have of Jesus – to protect and strengthen our identity; and to
make us whole and new again.

“The time for re-birth is now,” said the Holy Father to us. Jesus comes to fulfil, not to
destroy.
If our culture is alive and strong and respected, it will grow. It will not die.
And our spirit will not die.
And I believe that the spirit of dadirri that we have to offer will blossom and grow, not just within ourselves, but in our whole nation.

Miriam-Rose Ungunmerr-Baumann is an artist, a tribal elder and Principal of St
Francis Xavier School, Nauiyu, Daly River, N.T.
© Miriam-Rose Ungunmerr-Baumann. All Rights Reserved.

Experiencing Dadirri

Clear a little space as often as you can, to simply sit and look at and listen to the earth
and environment that surrounds you.
Focus on something specific, such as a bird, a blade of grass, a clump of soil,
cracked earth, a flower, bush or leaf, a cloud in the sky or a body of water (sea,
river, lake…) whatever you can see. Or just let something find you be it a leaf,
the sound of a bird, the feel of the breeze, the light on a tree trunk. No need to
try. Just wait a while and let something find you, let it spend time with you. Lie
on the earth, the grass, some place. Get to know that little place and let it get to
know you- your warmth, feel your pulse, hear your heart beat, know your
breathing, your spirit. Just relax and be there, enjoying the time together. Simply
be aware of your focus, allowing yourself to be still and silent…, to listen…
Following this quiet time there may be, on occasion, value in giving expression in some
way to the experience of this quiet, still listening. You may wish to talk about the
experience or journal, write poetry, draw, paint or sing…
This needs to be held in balance – the key to Dadirri is in simply being, rather than in outcomes and activity.

It’s also worth looking up Miriam-Rose Ungunmerr’s Stations of the Cross and the Aboriginal Eucharistic Liturgy.

Housesitting and off the shelf of an extraordinary library I discover the poetry of Stevie Smith… I think she and I have become friends and I just may have to visit again…

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I have believed

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I have believed
in things unseen
for as long as I
can remember
I remember fairies,
Borrowers, Father Christmas,
and more…
In the believing
one knows
the power of things unseen
to work to our good,
and the good of others,
whether they believed or not.
The seeds of faith were born here,
among flowers and thimbles,
cycles and stockings,
the seeds of faith were born.

Talitha Fraser

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We gather for prayer – everyone is sent out into the garden, in silent reflection, to collect something that speaks to the space they’re in and these are planted in our tray of red earth imported from Bron’s recent trip to Western Australia… our dryness, brittleness, zest, hope, strength, fragility, potential, healing…

We sing:

Everything I need is right in front of me (x2)
Can we be manna, manna?
Can we be manna for each other? (x2)

Humble yourself in the arms of the wild
you got to lay down low and humble yourself in the arms of the wild
you got to ask her what she knows and
we will lift each other up (clap) higher and higher (x2)

Can it be that what we need to feel fulfilled, heard, held, connected exists in the environment around us?

How can we be daily sustenance to one another? What can a garden teach us about how to do that?

Wilderness is speaking. What does it say? What can we learn?

With climate change our children are inheriting a legacy where the environment, weather, water and oil will all feature prominently in their future – how are we equipping them to meet it?  If our children,  godchildren, nephlings, neighbourlings and anyone who comes along asks of us: “why didn’t you do anything?”, how will you answer?  Whatever seeds of hope we might have, we must sow.

 

Mark 4: 8-9
“…still other seed fell on good soil, where it sprouted, grew up, and produced a crop—one bearing thirtyfold, another sixtyfold, and another a hundredfold.”
Then Jesus said, “He who has ears to hear, let him hear.”

 

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[n.b. this is communion and collection at the same time]

What’s this I’ve got here? (holding basket/kete)

What’s it made of? (grass/flax)
I’ve got a piece of grass here, is it strong? Pull it with me.  (it breaks)
What about this? (indicating the basket – pull, doesn’t break)
One strand of grass by itself isn’t very strong but the basket is lots of pieces woven together. So it’s strong. I can hold a lot.

Is there anything inside it? (let the kids come around and have a look, no it’s empty)

Let’s put some things inside.  What have we got to give to God today? (nothing?)
How are you feeling today? (invite children to reach into the basket with their hand and let go as they say how they’re feeling)
What news have we learned this week? (put in the basket)
What have you got to give? (include talking to adults) time? energy? money?  (put in my tithe) Maybe what we have is that we don’t have enough of these things, we can put that in the bag too. Everyone has something they can put in the basket, even if our something is our nothing.

Is it too heavy? (test it/pass it around children, not heavy)

Is it full?  (Children look inside, not full)

Room for more? (yes) Let’s pass it around the grown ups and see if the grown have anything they want to put in.  Grown ups you can say aloud what you’re putting in if you want but you don’t have to. Whether you have something in your hands or your hand is empty, everyone can hold, and reach into the basket.

Once it’s done the rounds, take it to the table where the communion is set up below the cross.  Rest the basket below the cross.

Jesus wants you to have this so you remember how much God loves you.  

We take everything we are, everything we have and bring it here to God.  Then we take the bread and the juice and we share them around – everybody gets some… Does [Molly] get all the bread while everyone is hungry? (No! We share it!)  Does [Simeon] get all the juice while everyone else is thirsty? (No! We share it!)

Does one of us get all the sad things that went in the basket? Or one of us all of the happy things? No.  We share it.

We bring it together then we share it out so I can taste your joy and share your burdens.

Jesus wants you to have this so you remember how much God loves you.

We can take that inside us and then when we take the bread and juice inside us, we have God’s love inside us and that way if my little brother gets hurt and I give him a hug, it’s like Jesus giving him a hug.

Today when we give out the bread and juice – don’t wait, don’t hold on to them – gobble them right up and take that in.  (pass around the bread and juice)

Let’s pray…

God, we bring this stuff to you, all mixed up together. Thanks that we can bring you the good stuff and the bad stuff, those things where we have lots or not enough.  We are grateful to share life with You and with each other.  Please use all these things  we give You to make the world a better place for everyone who lives in it. Amen

 

 

 

 

Facilitated by Mehrin Almassi from the Indigenous Hospitality House, in this bible study series we will seek to make connections between the story of the nation of Israel told in Lamentations and our own national story. We will look to see whether this book may help us to address our shared histories of displacement and endeavour to distill how we might move forward as a nation in light of the biblical example.

Connection to Creator (Spirit)

What do we think of when we hear the word Spirit? What do we think of when we hear the words Spirit of God?
What do we think about when we hear the term Creator Spirit?
What do we think is meant by each of these phrases? Are they related? Could they be?

Read Lamentations 3

Did the Israelite people have a sense of the Spirit of God – the Creator Spirit?
What was God like for the people of Israel? What was their experience of relating to God?
How do we relate to and/or experience God? Is our experience different to that of the Israelites? If so, can we think why?

Let’s read the Boon Wurrung Story.

What might this story teach us about the way the Boon Wurrung people experience the Creator Spirit?
What may this story teach us about the importance of our own stories in relation to local, national and international issues?
How else might we apply important narratives of the past to current situations needing attention?

Kids Activity

In parallel to grown ups run a kids session: talk about pictures as stories, songlines and place.

Will need:

  • messy clothes (if painting)
  • paint and brushes and/or lots of sticky dot stickers
  • paper
  • photos (bring along some or a camera to take some on the day)

What do you like about stories?
Look at this image? What is this a picture of?

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(girls, dog, trees…)

This picture tells the story of the time Talitha and Bron went to the park with Gracie.

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 What about this image? what’s happening here? who was there? but they aren’t in the picture… how do you know they were there?

(pictures can capture a “moment”, some part of a bigger memory, tobogganing and snow angels, other friends… reminder of something bigger that we can no longer see)

Pictures have two things, a place and a “happening”.

Using your pictures so far, talk about where they are happening and what is happening.

IMG_6501Indigenous stories tell something about a place and also about something happening there.

WHERE: Maybe there is a waterhole (blue), things grow there (green), drier sand/soil as you move away (orange), day rocks (red).

WHAT: An animal comes to the watering hole and then goes (tracks).

Ask children to share a memory, a story, and make a picture – collectively or individually (age depending). Then ask of each: Where is your story taking place? What is happening there?

How would you feel if you couldn’t got there again?  If you couldn’t do that again? (sad)

Today the grown ups are talking about the story of lamentations – a lament is a sound of grief and sorrow.  That’s what people in the story did when they couldn’t go back to the place they remembered or do the things they used to do there.

Learning:

our stories and our pictures can be used to tell each other about places we haven’t been and things we haven’t done, remembering and reminders can comfort us when we feel sad

let’s take a photo now, today of all of us together, making and telling stories so that we have a memory-capture. It’s good to take photos and write stories and make pictures because they help us remember

take your picture now to a grown up – tell them your story – use things inside the picture and outside the picture

 

 

Further to our Stations of the Cross walk on Good Friday I made a lift-the-flap book for each of the families that participated.  How can we bring the messages of the high holidays into the everyday?  Kids know who cartoon and TV characters are because they are shown images of them, if we want them to learn to recognise our elders we must show images and share the words of these people… you cannot know what you haven’t learned, what you haven’t learned you cannot love.

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God is…

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God is in the garden with the grubs and shrubs

God is in the laundry with the taps and tubs

God is in the kitchen with the pots and pans

God is in the bathroom where we wash our hands

God is in the bedroom with the lamp and bed

God is in the backyard with the bikes and shed

God is in you – and also in me

Whatever you look like, wherever you’re from

God lives within us and God’s kingdom comes

Talitha Fraser

The wisdom of the snow globe

Wonder and devastation111

A magic that alters

The landscape forever

To never be the same again

Wisdom of the snow globe:

  • Sometimes everything is all up in the air but eventually they settle down
  • Some things change, some stay the same
  • Things changing, and settling, changing and settling will happen again and again. You can rely on the rhythm but not rely on them always staying the same or always changing but the rhythm.
  • Wild vs. domesticated, good to have both (not just a house or snow  in a bubble but both – dynamic)
  • Can’t see during the flurry but you can when they settle down, therefore wait. It’ll be ok.