The Uniting Church in Australia is going through a wide consultation process at the moment called The Act 2 Project. The aim is to get in touch with who we are as the Uniting Church, whether our structures are fit for purpose and what sort of change we need to embrace for the future.

As part of this project, a number of people have written theological reflections. At the Church Council retreat in February, we looked at one of these reflections by Sureka Goringe called ‘On Needing God’. Sureka is currently the director of Uniting World, the Uniting Church’s aid and development agency.

In her provocative paper she articulates our theological culture as one where our understanding of God “compels us to love our neighbour, serve our community and fight for a more just world,” but “we’re not convinced that the love of God, the offer of grace, the redemption of our personal and communal brokenness, are things that others might need or want.” 

She prompted me to reflect on whether our focus outwards on social justice stops us from feeling our own vulnerabilities or need for healing and in the process actually stops us from turning to God. I wonder what the idea of needing God brings up for you?

This Lent at BUC we are considering some of the many ways in which we turn towards and away from God. Often it is some sort of disruption in our lives that makes us re-evaluate things, but also allows a space for God to break in and prompt that turning. 

Sureka ends her paper with this vision “I dream of the Uniting Church having the language and the spirit-filled fervour to share this good news, while keeping alive the prophetic practice of justice and radical hospitality.” 

Does this vision resonate with you? What is your story of faith and how might you share this good news with someone else? This lent, I encourage you to read the paper and have a conversation with someone about what it provokes in you. 

Sureka’s paper can be found here    

Cath James, Minister: CYYA