Category Archives: Hospitality

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HOMELESSNESS IS UGLY

Working on the streets and being involved in peoples lives is challenging.
I get that, I get that it creates inconvenience, I get that it may  not ‘be a good look’ for the streetscape and I even get its ugly…….HOMELESS IS UGLY, BUT its not those who are homeless which makes it ugly!!

I read a recent article in the online version of one of our newspapers The Age,following is a quote from our Lord Mayor taken from that article.

“We should be supportive of people that are vulnerable, but we shouldn’t romanticise the situation,” he said.
“There are challenging, illegal behaviours that we shouldn’t put up with, whether people are homeless or not.”

As I walk the streets on our city, I witness some of the behaviours of those who are not ‘the homeless’, so why do we make statements about those who are vulnerable and often have no voice??


Perhaps Mayor Doyle if we prioritised some real solutions, and made as much effort to care for vulnerable people as we do for the ‘top end of town’ we might believe you actually care.
Just because you give $$ to some organisations to give bandaid solutions, don’t think you can wash your hands of this issue.

You give them soup, but they want their lives back.





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THEY CALL IT DEMOCRACY……..

Back loitering tonight, its cold and wet. I sense despair on the streets tonight………..mean while many of our senior politicians make excuses about their own fate after the election. Leaders spew out hateful words about ‘others’ who are different…. one multi millionaire business man even suggested we needed a ‘dictator’ to sort things out!! I wonder if there are many who give a ‘*flying f*#k’ about those who live in misery.
This poem, while written in a different time,  still reflects,I reckon on our society today. Obsessed with home ownership, status, creating personal wealth and the accumulation of more stuff we don’t need, sadly this includes some of us ‘churchies’ too!!! 
They lie, the men who tell us in a loud decisive tone
That want is here a stranger, and that misery’s unknown;
For where the nearest suburb and the city proper meet
My window-sill is level with the faces in the street —
Drifting past, drifting past,
To the beat of weary feet —
While I sorrow for the owners of those faces in the street.

And cause I have to sorrow, in a land so young and fair,
To see upon those faces stamped the marks of Want and Care;
I look in vain for traces of the fresh and fair and sweet
In sallow, sunken faces that are drifting through the street —
Drifting on, drifting on,
To the scrape of restless feet;
I can sorrow for the owners of the faces in the street.

In hours before the dawning dims the starlight in the sky
The wan and weary faces first begin to trickle by,
Increasing as the moments hurry on with morning feet,
Till like a pallid river flow the faces in the street —
Flowing in, flowing in,
To the beat of hurried feet —
Ah! I sorrow for the owners of those faces in the street.

The human river dwindles when ’tis past the hour of eight,
Its waves go flowing faster in the fear of being late;
But slowly drag the moments, whilst beneath the dust and heat
The city grinds the owners of the faces in the street —
Grinding body, grinding soul,
Yielding scarce enough to eat —
Oh! I sorrow for the owners of the faces in the street.

And then the only faces till the sun is sinking down
Are those of outside toilers and the idlers of the town,
Save here and there a face that seems a stranger in the street,
Tells of the city’s unemployed upon his weary beat —
Drifting round, drifting round,
To the tread of listless feet —
Ah! My heart aches for the owner of that sad face in the street.

And when the hours on lagging feet have slowly dragged away,
And sickly yellow gaslights rise to mock the going day,
Then flowing past my window like a tide in its retreat,
Again I see the pallid stream of faces in the street —
Ebbing out, ebbing out,
To the drag of tired feet,
While my heart is aching dumbly for the faces in the street.

And now all blurred and smirched with vice the day’s sad pages end,
For while the short `large hours’ toward the longer `small hours’ trend,
With smiles that mock the wearer, and with words that half entreat,
Delilah pleads for custom at the corner of the street —
Sinking down, sinking down,
Battered wreck by tempests beat —
A dreadful, thankless trade is hers, that Woman of the Street.

A ‘mens club’ on one  of  our city streets.
DREAMS is the name, I wonder if dreams are made or shattered here???

But, ah! to dreader things than these our fair young city comes,
For in its heart are growing thick the filthy dens and slums,
Where human forms shall rot away in sties for swine unmeet,
And ghostly faces shall be seen unfit for any street —
Rotting out, rotting out,
For the lack of air and meat —
In dens of vice and horror that are hidden from the street.

I wonder would the apathy of wealthy men endure
Were all their windows level with the faces of the Poor?
Ah! Mammon’s slaves, your knees shall knock, your hearts in terror beat,
When God demands a reason for the sorrows of the street,
The wrong things and the bad things
And the sad things that we meet
In the filthy lane and alley, and the cruel, heartless street. 

Another Winters night out on the city streets 
I left the dreadful corner where the steps are never still,
And sought another window overlooking gorge and hill;
But when the night came dreary with the driving rain and sleet,
They haunted me — the shadows of those faces in the street,
Flitting by, flitting by,
Flitting by with noiseless feet,
And with cheeks but little paler than the real ones in the street.

Once I cried: `Oh, God Almighty! if Thy might doth still endure,
Now show me in a vision for the wrongs of Earth a cure.’
And, lo! with shops all shuttered I beheld a city’s street,
And in the warning distance heard the tramp of many feet,
Coming near, coming near,
To a drum’s dull distant beat,
And soon I saw the army that was marching down the street. 

Then, like a swollen river that has broken bank and wall,
The human flood came pouring with the red flags over all,
And kindled eyes all blazing bright with revolution’s heat,
And flashing swords reflecting rigid faces in the street.
Pouring on, pouring on,
To a drum’s loud threatening beat,
And the war-hymns and the cheering of the people in the street. 
Life is a blur for many in the ‘most liveable city’
Local Council make it hard for people, often moving them on.

And so it must be while the world goes rolling round its course,
The warning pen shall write in vain, the warning voice grow hoarse,
But not until a city feels Red Revolution’s feet
Shall its sad people miss awhile the terrors of the street —
The dreadful everlasting strife
For scarcely clothes and meat
In that pent track of living death — the city’s cruel street. 

??

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The Home of the Lost and Found

Easter Saturday Vigil

What happens when a few people,with no idea of what they are really doing, don’t seek notoriety or claim success,  are aware of their own ‘issues’  and failings, take risks, love people and seek to see where God is and join in??……….. well you get something like this…
children hiding chocolate eggs in the park for other children,whose  parents score their ‘stuff’ in this park, where dispossessed people meet, hot chocolate, hot x buns and conversation for those whose backyard this is, a meeting place during the day to converse as together we share life in the simple day to day stuff………….





The Saturday of Light
or
The In Between Days Liturgy 
for 
Easter Saturday
Father forgive us, for we know not what we do.
In the Eastern Orthodox Churches, today is known as the Saturday of Light, it is the first celebration of Easter and the first time the “Hallelujah” is used since the beginning of Lent. The sadness of Friday has passed and the faithful wait for the Light to shine in the darkness once more, renewed for the beginning of the liturgical year. 
We give thanks for the traditions of the faithful in other places.
The Church has a history of making solemn the celebrations of it’s seasons. We, called to live in hope and joy, more often than not live in the struggle of fear, of doubt and in ignorance. It is only what is appropriate, for on this night long passed, those followers of the Light sat in mourning, in disbelief and in terrible fear. For the Light that shined around them had gone out and they knew not where to find Him. The land had turned to darkness, the veil was rent, the women wept at the foot the cross, His disciples had fled in mortal terror. Only John stayed, to keep comfort His mother and to hear that sinner’s great prayer “truly, this man was the Son of God”. 
LORD we are scattered like sheep with no shepherd
Lifeless He hung there, bruised for our transgressions, heavy with the weight of the world. The Jesus of the miracles, of the parables, of the teachings, the Jesus of the highways and the byways, somehow, had become the Jesus of the garden, the Jesus of the trial, the Jesus of the cross. Where should they turn now? He had the words of eternal life, and now, that life was over. Were they condemned because the light had come into the world and that light was the light of men? What now when there was darkness? Where is light in the darkness, where is faith, hope, joy, love? The darkness of this Saturday was darker than any before.
Between dark and light
Between death and life
LORD grant us Faith
and strength to keep searching for the Light
Scripture is filled with stories of darkness, from the creation in Genesis, the barren womb of Sarah, the slavery of Egypt, the time before the Torah, poor Jonah in the belly of the great fish, that time when there were no prophets in Israel and God had taken the light of revelation from the people who would declare His truth. Beside the rivers of Babylon, exile, genocide, the darkness prevailed. Hope was lost, doubt was everything, and in the hearts of men and women, terrible fear. 
LORD in your mercy, HEAR OUR PRAYER
Yet…..God in the darkness is still the God of light, even the darkness of a new tomb, sealed by rock, and guarded by enemies. He clothes Himself in light as a garment, He made two lights in the heavens, He made the stars also. He is the God of Life we are never to forget, those stars are meant to remind us of the glory of the creator of all light.
LORD we seek you in the glory of your creation, light our path we pray
We too are in darkness, sometimes, in despair, loneliness, loss, uncertainty, in the fear that things will never be bright again. We stumble in the darkness of our own faithlessness and arrogance, in the dark night of legalism without grace, judgement without justice, crown without cross, in the darkness of plenty in a land barren of salt and light.
You LORD, only you, be our light in the darkness
For the Jews, the new day starts at the sunset of the old, a new beginning in the darkness of the day before. Night before light, blackness before the morning, the waning moon before the rising sun. The Rising Son. 
LORD the Son rises.
Life must overcome, the life that is the light of women and men, of girls and boys, of lost and found, is rising. This is the story of tomorrow, and the story of tonight. For what went on in that tomb was life besting death, which now will have no sting. Mourning has been soothed with the oil of joy. Beauty for the ashes of despair. This is the Good News of the light and of life. The Son is rising anew, for the first time, forever.
LORD we pray
for those trapped in darkness, LORD we pray
for those who prefer the darkness, LORD we pray
for those in the darkness of addiction, LORD we pray
for those who suffer abuse, LORD we pray
for those who abuse, LORD we pray
for the wealthy, LORD we pray
for the poor, LORD we pray
for those in war, LORD we pray
for the soldier, LORD we pray
for the child soldier, LORD we pray
for those without a safe home, LORD we pray
CBD
for those seeking refuge, LORD we pray
AltarInTheWastelandfor those without clean water, LORD we pray
for those stricken with illness, LORD we pray
for those who minister to them, LORD we pray
for those without power or voice, LORD we pray
for those in power, LORD we pray
for us, LORD we pray
for the weak, the weary, the sad, the broken, the fearful, the despairing, the grieving, the hungry, the ignorant, the doubting
LORD hear our prayer.
It is the custom of Christians to wait until the new night of tomorrow, to kindle the candles that brighten the new year. We of faith, gathered here now, in faith, knowing that tomorrow is already history, light these candles, because for us, tomorrow is here, tomorrow has already come. Life and light are ours, the new light of tomorrows miracle shines in our hearts, darkness is no more. The life is the light of women, and men, and we prefer the light.
Let us light these candles, and go forward, bearing the light into the all our tomorrows.

LORD, in your goodness, hear our prayer

POPUP

broken people in a broken world
working on mending together
offering hope where it would appear 
there is none to be found
light where often there is only darkness
love where love is often lost


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heaven don’t miss it for the world


heaven don’t miss it for the world….
so said the sign on the road side…..

It appears like we think Heaven is somehow going to be better than The World????

When we pray for God’s will to be done on Earth as it is in Heaven, what are we asking or expecting??

Its seems  we are just biding time, or waiting for ‘pie in the sky in the sweet bye and bye rather than steak on the plate while we wait’?

Don’t get me wrong, I’m eager for things to be ‘put right’, whatever that looks like.

All new things or all things renewed??

Its Easter, perhaps its time to get on with God’s will being done on earth, rather that waiting for your insurance policy to be invoked.

Don’t hide Jesus this Easter, get out there where its happening and be part of things being renewed…….if your looking for Jesus this is where Jesus will be…..





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on the turning away

Hey you, hey you, yes you…I wanna talk to you, this is what I heard as I loitered intentionally recently on the streets of Melbourne.

‘It was a bloke who I knew from a community in  another suburb.

I had not see him for a while, and to be honest the last encounter had been a little strange.
Strange, because this man spotted me riding my motorcycle, jumped in his car and started to follow me!!
This man, has a history of severe mental health issues.

This chance encounter was a bit different, although I did have an uneasy feeling, and I made a snap decision to keep it short.

After a brief conversation we went our separate ways.

I was reflecting on that encounter recently while listening to some Pink Floyd on vinyl.

I considered the words from the song, on the turning away.


On the turning away
From the pale and downtrodden
And the words they say
Which we won’t understand
“Don’t accept that what’s happening
Is just a case of others’ suffering
Or you’ll find that you’re joining in
The turning away” 
It’s a sin that somehow
Light is changing to shadow
And casting it’s shroud
Over all we have known
Unaware how the ranks have grown
Driven on by a heart of stone
We could find that we’re all alone
In the dream of the proud 
On the wings of the night
As the daytime is stirring
Where the speechless unite
In a silent accord
Using words you will find are strange
And mesmerised as they light the flame
Feel the new wind of change
On the wings of the night 
No more turning away
From the weak and the weary
No more turning away
From the coldness inside
Just a world that we all must share
It’s not enough just to stand and stare
Is it only a dream that there’ll be
No more turning away?

I am aware that not all those I encounter are my ‘responsibility’, however on this occasion i wonder if a meal or coffee together may have been appropriate? I may never know, I can only hope that we meet again, or I hear that still small voice and respond.




Leunig







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National Anthems ARE NOT FOR THE FAINT HEARTED

I often wondered why we don’t sing the other verses to out NA.I am happy to be a citizen in Australia, sadly our history is littered with hurt and mistakes.One would have thought we might have learnt from them, but it appears not.



A verse from our ‘anthem’ with additions in brackets by me….Beneath our radiant Southern CrossWe’ll toil with hearts and hands;To make this Commonwealth of oursRenowned of all the lands;( for being a pack of bastards)For those who’ve come across the seas ( to stop the boats and send them back)We’ve boundless plains to share;(not really but it sounds good)With courage let us all combine(courage to do the right thing is lacking)To Advance Australia Fair.(actually Dutton cannot read so me missed this point)In joyful strains then let us sing,Advance Australia Fair. ( then stick our heads back up our bottoms)










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BUT FIRST COFFEE

Ok Ive had my coffee now and Im ready!!

After returning from a two week holiday it has been a rude shock getting back into work and the ‘normal’ routine.

Just five days after returning I along with my partner (The Ruth), officiated at a wedding, it was a little over an hours drive, so we decided rather than come home after the practice run we would stay with friends and drink coffee.

It has been 4years since we last spent time with them, so it was a great time of eating and talking, oh and coffee !!

As we chatted about what events both personally and globally had taken place since we last spoke it wasn’t long until wefound ourselves in familiar territory, as we drank coffee.

sorry this is really bad!!

Issues of strained or broken relationships, conflicts in work environments along with confronting family matters, all part of the challenges we face and we deal with the stuff of life, as we drank coffee.

It is so good to have people who are able to share the stuff of life, both difficult and joyful with us, more importantly, having been entrusted with this stuff we need to be trustworthy.


As we face the challenges and joys of 2016, may we in the positions of trust and support, honour and respect this trust, so together we share the journey of life, over coffee.


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IMAGE IS EVERYTHING.

A business in the building next to my office declares ‘Image is everything’, it is also the subject for my ‘sermon’ on Sunday.

Im finding it a tad confronting?

I’ll let you know how it goes.

Meanwhile i may take the advice my 3 year old grandson gave to his mum recently………….

Jed – “Mummy why do you do brush your hair every day? “
Me – “To stop it getting knotty and to make me feel pretty”.
Jed – “but your not pretty”.
Me – “well…. maybe not today, because I’m just in trakkie daks, but when I get dressed up I look pretty, dont I? “

Jed – “um, not really, even then, you should look in the mirror more Mummy”.

Time for a look in the mirror me thinks??

PS: welcome to 2016.


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Just Desserts

A recent end of year dinner meant I was asked to provided dessert.
Those taking part included a number of us who know each other well, and new friend and three recently arrived short term visitors from China.
As I though about what i would prepare I set about thinking of the guest.
I assembled together a number of fresh ingredients, including a variety of berries, some ingredients out of the ‘fridge, which had been opened and partially used and some items I had recently been given as a gift, along with some fresh basil and mint from the garden.
I set about preparing the dessert, which was assembled in a glass measuring jug.
Some ingredients were place carefully, others randomly and others were ‘forced’ into place.
The resulting item would not win any awards for presentation, nor for great culinary skill.
It may however inspire those at the table, if they took the time to think about it, at how it represent the group and how we see Christmas.

Perhaps it was ‘lost’ on them, I may never know, and you will never know what the mix of ingredients tasted like!!

Thanks Brad Hodge


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ten things i hate about Christmas…only ten? I hear you ask!!

1: buying s stuff for people we don’t like and they don’t need

2: the intense loneliness and pain it brings for some

3:pretending its a sacred time but still buying into the craziness

4:the ‘debate’ over Xmas vs Christmas, Satan vs Santa.

5: stupid sayings i.e. he’s the reason for the season, to which I reply, what summer (or Winter if you’re else where)

6: threatening kiddies that Santa won’t come if you’re not good!!

7: wasting food and money

8: there is no number eight!!

9: stupid Church signs including Jesus was born to die??

10: we trot baby Jesus forgetting he grew up!!

Christmas is really
for the children.
Especially for children
who like animals, stables,
stars and babies wrapped
in swaddling clothes.
Then there are wise men,
kings in fine robes,
humble shepherds and a
hint of rich perfume.

Easter is not really
for the children
unless accompanied by
a cream filled egg.
It has whips, blood, nails,
a spear and allegations
of body snatching.
It involves politics, God
and the sins of the world.
It is not good for people
of a nervous disposition.
They would do better to
think on rabbits, chickens
and the first snowdrop
of spring.

Or they’d do better to
wait for a re-run of
Christmas without asking
too many questions about
what Jesus did when he grew up
or whether there’s any connection. 


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