- A Charles Sturt University theologian’s sermon at the ecumenical service to open the 47th Parliament of Australia urged the congregation to heed the words of the Bible, ‘ … for the good of our country and for the good of each other’
‘God is in the world for good’ was the title and theme of the ecumenical sermon delivered by a leading Charles Sturt University theologian at the recent ecumenical service to open the 47th Parliament of Australia.
The ecumenical service was held at St Andrew’s Presbyterian Church in the suburb of Forrest in Canberra, on Tuesday 26 July and included readings by the Governor General, the Prime Minister, and the Leader of the Opposition.
Rev’d Dr Mathews introduced her theme by noting that a new semester has just begun at Charles Sturt University where she teaches biblical studies. With a colleague she is co-teaching a subject on biblical languages where they encourage students to be aware of the reasons that there are different English translations for the same Hebrew or Greek text.
She elaborated that the Bible is a diverse collection of literature which often uses poetry and poetic techniques to capture words to and about God and about our relationships with God and with each other.
“Good poetry and good literature evoke emotion and give us metaphors to talk about feelings as well as joyful or challenging situations we found ourselves in,” she said.
Alluding to an earlier Psalm and to metaphors concerning the natural environment she said, “As we move into this new parliamentary term may we do all we can to hear our natural environment roar and shout and sing again… ”.
Rev’d Dr Mathews concluded that, as they gathered that day in the heart of the nation, surrounding the nation’s leader leaders with prayers, she offered the hope that “ … these timeless words of poetry, of praise, encouragement, and challenge, get our hearts going again, for the good of our country and for the good of each other”.
Read the full text and hear audio of the sermon on the St Mark’s National Theological College website.
The Charles Sturt School of Theology is the largest public university provider of theological training in Australasia. It has campuses in Adelaide, Brisbane, Canberra, Sydney, and Hong Kong, and students can study both face-to-face and online.