Sounds of Iona – January 2024

Three lit Advent Candles in the Michael Chapel on Iona

Image: Advent Candles in the Michael Chapel on Iona on the shortest day, 21st December 2023. Credit: C. Penney

When we met him in October and asked him what message to take home to the Iona Community about the climate catastrophe, Pastor Ray Minniecon, of Scarred Trees Ministries in Sydney encouraged us to remember John 3: 16 “For God so loved the World that He gave His only Son, that whoever believes in Him shall not perish, but have eternal life.”  

Over this last twelve months I have been in the company of a remarkable community of light-bringers,  humble, radical change-makers whose lives and talents are offered as a living sacrifice for the greater good of all creation. They, you ‘so love the world’ that you are willing to live sacrificially. You are ‘voice-walkers’ – you walk in the world close to your vocation no matter where you live or what you do.  

However you have joined us in community this year, whether as guest at our centres, as staff on our pay-roll, as Trustee or committee members, as members and associate members living the Rule of Life – I pay tribute to your commitment to community, and to this Community, and share my gratitude and that of our Trustees for all the wisdom that you bring to God’s world sorely in need. 

As we move through this last weekend of Advent, and the joyful, expectant, full-to-brimming times of Christmas, Epiphany and the birth of our Jesus Christ, may we hold in God’s light all who make sacrifices, big or small, for the sake of the love of life: 

We hold in the light of Christ….
islanders and ocean-dwellers in the Atlantic, Pacific, Indian and in all oceans where homes and habitats and livelihoods are threatened by surge and storm.
May they know God’s peace.  

We hold in the light of Christ…
indigenous peoples around the globe who stand up for a voice, speak out for a place at the table of power and share generously their millennia-old unbroken stories of creation and salvation and justice.
May they know God’s peace.  

We hold in the light of Christ…
those engulfed in and displaced by war or violence, those holed up in their homes, children terrorised by fear, hostages held against their will, loved-ones consumed by grief, terrified penniless refugees, families fleeing violence, seeking shelter and solace, food and water.
May they know God’s peace. 

We hold in the light of Christ….
all God’s creation: “all lands, waters, sky, trees, plants, animals, birds, fish, rocks, mountains and – all peoples” that in this oikumene, the whole inhabited earth, we may discover again hope through our deep interconnection.
May all creation know God’s peace. 

We hold in the light of Christ….
the quiet diplomats, powerful prayers, silent companions, bed-bound spiritual directors, skilled negotiators, deep listeners, gifted craftivists, creative writers, radical word-smiths, gentle healers: those who in their ministry of availability offer love and hope in the face of overwhelming strain.
May they know God’s peace. 

Come Lord Jesus –
as we watch and wait,
may hope be the companion of hardship;
wonder be the companion of worry;
joy be the companion of fear;
and the longing for a world
of justice and peace
be our hearts desire
and our people’s will
now and always,

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