Frohe Ostern! Happy Easter and sending love from my balcony in Berlin.
Right now I am very grateful for the warm sunshine, blue sky, birds singing, my friends and family who are healthy scattered across the world and for the front line staff who are giving so much to keep our world safe at this time.
Today, I reflect upon Jesus, his wonders, his stories and his commitment to faith. Personally, I was raised Catholic, (schooling, university and even a degree in theology). However, I chose to walk away from the Catholic Church years ago (and all organised religion to be fair) not just because of own my personal story but also how they value women (past and present) and the most vulnerable (especially Indigenous people and children) which drove a wedge between my values and theirs. Yet, I still have a deep faith connected to Mother Nature, spirituality and source.
As a little girl I loved the stories of the bible, singing hymns, going to church and holding space each week. Yet, as I grew into a woman I travelled the world, I saw with my own eyes just how the Catholic Church dominated, persecuted and took advantage of the most vulnerable people.
One Easter, I was privilege enough to attend mass in Boracay in the Philippines. I took time out from the beach, cocktail hour to sit and connect to the people around me. It was one of the most humbling experiences to date. As I sat in a wall less church surrounded by people so committed to faith, giving all that they could afford in the offering baskets being passed around. Looking back that morning was one of the most profound moments in my life. I was truly touched.
Three months later, after a quick dress change in the street, I was standing (laughing with Seb and Erik, sweating, huffing and puffing) at the top of St Peter’s Basilica in the Vatican, Rome. It was a scorching hot July summer morning in Rome. I was in awe at the wealth, expanse and sheer size of the buildings but something inside me started to shift. A moment of doubt, a moment of realisation and a moment of disbelief.
The more I travelled the more I learnt about the dominance of the Catholic Church, the Holly Wars or the Crusades against Muslims, the Jews and the Cathars. They didn’t teach me that at High School! The more I read, witnessed, experienced as I traveled especially through Europe the more conflicted I became between the message of Jesus and the actual actions of the Catholic Church.
Jesus stated that His primary purpose for coming to earth was to preach the Kingdom of God! So my reflection today has dawn me back to the bible, to Luke and more specifically 17:21, ‘No one will say, ‘Look, here it is!’ or, ‘There it is!’; because the Kingdom of God is within you.’ (GNB)
So I let that re-sink in.
Jesus wandered/walked sharing his message. He didn’t have a building, a church but he shared his wisdom and the messages from God to those who listened around him.
It’s a great reminder that God is already within us, he doesn’t need a label, a building or for me a need for religion to define that. Just space, time, stillness and maybe a little afternoon hobbling/wandering to reconnect to our faith.