Celebrating the Gift of NAIDOC Week – Glynda Hoogsteden

Happy NAIDOC Week 2022 to you all!

It’s a time for all Australians to celebrate the history, culture and achievements of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Peoples and an acknowledgement of the contributions made by the recipients of NAIDOC Week awards. What an amazing array of worthy recipients we have this year. You can learn more about them and the meaning of NAIDOC Week at https://www.naidoc.org.au

Some of us are familiar with Aunty Jean Phillips, one of our most senior Aboriginal Christian Leaders across all denominations. She was born on Cherbourg Mission 285 kms north-west of Brisbane over eighty years ago and is still in fulltime Ministry, a powerful voice for justice and reconciliation.

This NAIDOC Week, Aunty Jean has called on Australian Christians to take time to learn about, acknowledge and honour the contributions of past great First Nations Christians. These inspiring stories of true heroes of the faith can be found at https://www.commongrace.org.au. Aunty Jean’s story can be found on this website too. The history of the township of Cherbourg is one of resilience in the face of adversity and is worth reading about. More information can be found at https://www.erc.org.au on the Resilience Stories page.

In 2021, Doctor Miriam-Rose Ungunmerr- Baumann was named Senior Australian of the Year, one of many honours that have been bestowed upon her. As a Northern Territory elder and Christian educator, Dr Ungunmerr -Baumann speaks about her people’s special respect for nature and their unique and sacred identity with the land.

She also speaks of a quality called Dadirri, and calls it “a unique gift and probably the greatest gift that First Nations Peoples can give to fellow-Australians”. Dadirri is inner deep listening, quiet still awareness, and waiting. Dr Ungunmerr- Baumann likens it to contemplation, in that it brings a wholeness, a peace and a deep sense of abiding in God’s presence.

Dadirri is a waiting and letting go. It’s a living in unison with country, with the natural rhythms and seasons of creation and life. It’s a waiting on God, on God’s perfect timing, and for God’s way to be made clear to us .

You can discover more at https://www.miriamrosefoundation.org.au/dadirri/.

We all know and experience the messiness of life. Somehow the curved balls keep coming, whether in our own personal lives, lives of those around us or across the country and the world.

In the turbulence, I draw on a kaleidoscope of inspired teachings, including those of Australia’s First Nations Peoples. I find solace in the deep, rhythmic, inner peace and closeness with God, the letting go and waiting on God. The awareness of a rich connection to the land has quickened my sense of the sanctity of all creation and is in harmony with the Celtic tradition of powerfully encountering God in nature.

Sometimes I am able to withdraw to a remote sandy shore, or the vast Red Centre, for a time of spiritual restoration. Most times, however, this is not possible. So I take little windows of opportunity, whenever and wherever they present to recalibrate and re-centre my scattered senses.
And I breathe .
Just breathe in the essence of God .
Being still.
Being still and knowing.
Being still and knowing that He is God.
And peace, grace and gratitude flow in abundance.