Australia’s “boat person” issue is complex. I
understand the arguments of my Christian friends who see the issue as
completely one of social justice and providing hospitality to those in need. I
also understand the issue of the business of people smuggling driven by profit
and responsible for untold deaths at sea. I understand those whose loving heart
simply wants to embrace need. I also fear the reality that money triumphs need and
those who arrive are not necessarily the most in need. I understand the plea
for compassion. I know however that sometimes love must be tough.
Some time back I determined to react to the
issue in two ways. Firstly I determined to stop thinking about the politics as
frankly whatever I thought made no difference. Secondly I determined to pray. I
admit my prayer was driven by desperation; what else could I practically do? I
determined to pray especially for those in authority, as I knew behind all the
rhetoric men, women and children continued to drown.
On taking up the role of a Chaplain in the
Royal Australian Navy I forfeited my right to express a political point of view
on this topic. I determined to keep praying.
Then a few months ago I was shocked to
receive a posting for 2014 as Chaplain to Fleet North, the Patrol Boat Fleet
based out of Darwin. I realised that God cared little for my politics but maybe
cared a little more about what I was practically doing to make a difference.
Then a couple of weeks ago I was crash posted as Chaplain on a major warship for
9 weeks from mid October this year to assist in what the new government is
calling Operation Sovereign Borders.
I still don’t know about the politics. I do
know that young men and women in the Navy are the meat in this political
sandwich. I know that they are doing it very tough rescuing people at sea. I
know their job is to serve their nation and government and my job is to serve
I invite you to pray too.
“I urge, then,
first of all, that requests, prayers, intercession and thanksgiving be made for
everyone — for kings and all those in authority, that we may live peaceful and
quiet lives in all godliness and holiness.This is good, and pleases God our Savior”