A buzz of energy entered the Synod meeting on Wednesday morning as a number of younger members presented a Bible study on ‘Following Christ – A Basis of Union perspective’. The presenters were Rev Deacon Michelle Cook, Joy Han, Anna Harrison, Kelly Skilton and Bethany Broadstock.
Joy Han and Anna Harrison opened the session with a joyful musical number where Joy shared her experience of being moved emotionally, physically and spiritually that reminded her of Christ’s power, primacy and centrality in her life. She spoke of her desire to explore further how we can be ambassadors for Christ and experience moments or journeys of being moved. The lyrics rang out – “We have decided to follow Jesus, no turning back, no turning back”.
Kelly Skilton from the Port Phillip East presbytery told a story of a vision she experienced almost three years ago. At first, she didn’t share it but on a pastoral visit one day she decided to tell others. She saw “this dry, dark, deep yellow desert ground, and through the ground there were cracks”. Kelly’s vision was of sweet water coming up through holes in the landscape.
After sharing the vision, Kelly discovered others had a similar vision and gradually connections were made of a shared vision. She asked herself what would have happened if she had never shared it. She urged the Synod members to see, listen, hear, share and start re-digging those wells.
Anna Harrison introduced ‘Poo Man’ to Synod. One day, a friend invited Anna to do some art. She declared herself a rubbish artist but went along anyway.
“We were given a Bible verse from Psalms 139 – ‘Oh Lord you have searched me and known me’,” Anna recalled. The verse made Anna feel raw and exposed because “I sometimes feel unlovely”, but it also made her realise that God saw her when she was unlovely and yet still saw her as beautiful. She started to shape Poo Man, a fairly gawky and lumpy clay fellow who now takes pride of place on the Harrison family dining room table. Poo Man continues to remind Anna of the love and grace of Christ and Christ in her.
Bethany Broadstock talked of a particularly painful time in her life and the irony that when she looked back at photos taken during that time, she looked content but was in fact feeling miserable. She had experienced feelings of pain and injustice and the crap of this time but then she came to realise that God never wanted her to feel this way again.
“There is something very direct about how God talks to us,” Bethany said. She told Synod members that our faith feels like an ongoing conversation and that sometimes sadness is an appropriate response but that we can be commanded by God to be awakened and healed.
“May we be open,” Bethany commented at the end of her presentation.
In concluding the session, Rev Deacon Michelle Cook returned to the lectern visibly moved and offered a prayer. There was a raw honesty and openness in each of the presentations and each of the presenters received enthusiastic applause.