During the school holidays, much of the country was dealing with the bushfires and their devastating consequences. Each day, the smoke haze was a reminder to pray for others in need and reflect on the challenge so many others were facing.
My family and I were fortunate to be safe from the fires in Philip Island. In other holidays on the island we would sit on the beach and look at the shimmering lights way off in the distance, but on this occasion very little could be seen in the distance or heard nearby. The beautiful night-time array of constellations was mostly hidden, and the usually busy beaches were largely empty due to the air quality.
In such a dark and humbling time, who could have known what joy a small bell could bring. We set up fishing rods on the beach, and given the lack of visibility, we opted to attach bells to our rods to alert us to fish taking the bait. On the first night, we heard excited children’s voices nearby proudly announcing that they could hear Santa. We were glad to have brought a small joy to their day.
After a few days of catching nothing, on our last night, just as we were starting to talk about packing up, the little bell chimed to let us know we had something on the line. We swung into action and were thrilled to have finally caught a fish. The impact of that bell and the joy and excitement that noise created was certainly the highlight for our week away, surrounded by such devastation.
Whatever circumstances in which you find yourself in this year, may there be those bell moments that bring you joy and excitement in times of need.
In this year of reflection, may the following prayer guide each of us in our decision making.
Let us pray.
Our Father in Heaven, may your name be respected. May your ways in heaven be demonstrated here on earth. Give us what we need each day. We give thanks that you forgive us our mistakes and that you help us to forgive those who have done us wrong. Help us to make good choices in life that we can live with the consequences and deliver us all from evil in any form. Each new day help us to see your actions in our world for the Kingdom, all power and the glory are yours now and forever. Amen.
Middle School Chaplain