15.11.03

10:00pm here on Saturday evening and the Wallabies (Australia) have just beaten the All Blacks (New Zealand) 22-10 in the first semi-final of the Rugby World Cup. Next week they play the winner of tomorrow evening's match between France and England. Great game, but why have they left it till now to fire?

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14.11.03

BeneDiction is in need of help to keep this well known blog afloat. Benediction has been generous in help and encouragement to many bloggers. Can you help now?

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On Wednesday, (third post), I wrote of my disgust at the government's actions concerning some refugees landing on Melville Island. Their boat was towed back into international waters and they have been returned to Indonesia, which has rightly declared that it is not a dumping ground.

The Minister for Immigration, Amanda Vanstone, obviously well schooled by her predecessor, declared that the Turkish men had not asked for refuge and that they could not have done so because they were not in an Australian immigration zone. Of course they weren't. In a panic, ad hoc reaction, the government had excised Melville and several thousand other small islands from that zone.

It has now been revealed that they did indeed ask for refuge. They said they could not return because things were "bad." They described conditions in broken English, but their meaning was apparent. One even showed the word "refugee" in a Turkish/English dictionary.

This whole episode has made the government look incredibly stupid. I don't know who is being fooled by the government's stance. After all, it is not very long since we had the concocted story of children being thrown overboard from a refugee ship, a story which was contradicted by naval officers. It also highlights the amazing lack of compassion from the government.

For those who've come across the seas, we've boundless plains to share...While they are busy excising islands, perhaps they had better excise some of our anthem. I am troubled and disgusted.

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13.11.03

memories mingled with thanks
I came across this interesting article about the history of Remembrance Day in Montreal this morning. It was once merged with Thanksgiving but has been separate for a long time. Here in Australia, we do not have a Thanksgiving time set aside as both Canada and the USA do. However, both Remembrance Day and ANZAC Day celebrations have been steadily growing over the years and many who attend are quite young.

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11.11.03

Remembrance Day

At the eleventh hour, of the eleventh day, of the eleventh month, we will remember them.

It is Remembrance Day here in Australia and in many Commonwealth nations.

Here are some Australian references to Remembrance Day and its celebration.


The Ode


FOR THE FALLEN

With proud thanksgiving, a mother for her children
England mourns for her dead across the sea,
Flesh of her flesh they were, spirit of her spirit,
Fallen in the cause of the free.


Solemn the drums thrill: Death august and royal
Sings sorrow up into immortal spheres,
There is music in the midst of desolation
And glory that shines upon our tears.


They went with songs to the battle, they were young,
Straight of limb, true of eyes, steady and aglow,
They were staunch to the end against odds uncounted,
They fell with their faces to the foe.


They shall grow not old, as we that are left grow old:
Age shall not weary them, nor the years condemn
At the going down of the sun and in the morning
We will remember them.

They mingle not with their laughing comrades again,
They sit no more at familiar tables of home,
They have no lot in our labour of the daytime,
They sleep beyond England’s foam.


But where our desires and hopes profound,
Felt as a well-spring that is hidden from sight,
To the innermost heart of their own land they are known
As the stars are known to the night.


As the stars shall be bright when we are dust,
Moving in marches upon the heavenly plain,
As the stars that are stary in the time of our darkness,
To the end, to the end, they remain.



The Ode comes from For the Fallen, a poem by the English poet and writer Laurence Binyon and was published in London in the Winnowing Fan; Poems of the Great War in 1914. The verse, which became the League Ode was already used in association with commemoration services in Australia in 1921.


More information about the ode can be found here.

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I used to regularly mind my little grand-daughter, just over three years old. I haven't been there for a while and noticed that she had a new fish. She used to have a male Siamese fighting fish. "What happened to your fish?" The little face became very solemn. "I killed Dorothy," she said.

I discovered that she thought Dorothy looked hungry, so she crumbled a chocolate wafer biscuit into the water. This made the fish all dirty, so she scooped it up in a tin, added some detergent and shook vigorously. Needless to say, the fish didn't survive.

I laughed, then though that we do the same thing. We are determined to make people conform to our standards. We expect new Christians to immediately behave as we think they should. That we may be wrong in our interpretation of "christian behaviour" is conveniently overlooked. That any of them survive is amazing. We shake that tin very hard sometimes.

The reality is that each of us is responsible for our own behaviour and choices. That is a full time job without taking on anyone else. We are called to exercise love in our relationships, not to harass others. Those who are strong are to look after and nurture the weaker ones, not offend them and cause them to slip.

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