Ramble for Kirwan Uniting Church Keeping in Touch pew sheet 7 August 2022
As I type this, I’ve come back from Retreat a day early to take a wedding. It was my fifth North Queensland/Carpentaria Presbytery Retreat – doesn’t time fly! All but one of them have been at Cardwell, at a beachfront camping and caravan site. I love the place, the view from my room and the retreat common area (where we meet for morning communion, the morning’s keynote talk, share meals and fellowship) is awesome. Straight across to Hinchinbrook Island, from behind which the sun rises spectacularly. A couple of highlights: “How great thou art” being sung concurrently in Tongan, Samoan, Fijian, Vanuatuan, Korean and, of course, English, was one. And another was my introduction to a song which you all know, I expect, but I hadn’t heard it, John Williamson’s Give me a Home among the Gum Trees. With actions 😊 “But when my mates all ask me, the place that I adore, I tell them right away … Give me a home among the gum trees …”
So, I wrote of Cardwell, “I love the place.” The hymnwriter paraphrases Psalm 26, “We love the place, O God, wherein thine honour dwells”. Psalmist David declares his favourite place in the same context as Williamson’s mates asking him what is the place that he adores. Verse 7, “… proclaiming aloud your praise and telling of your wonderful deeds.” Jesus told the woman at the well (John 4) that it wasn’t at a particular place, not even Jerusalem, that God would be worshipped, but “The house where you live, the place where your glory dwells” (Ps 26) is in believers’ hearts, in spirit and truth. And (Matthew 18) “where two or three are gathered in my Name”. John Williamson again: “A sheep – or two”. Oh, and the Shepherd is there.