An "Eighth Day" Transformation
written by Rev Gary Heard

The church has decided to change its name: to "The Community of the Eighth Day". The symbolism and imagery is rich, impregnated with important insight, and
an indication of our future direction. This reflection expresses an aspect of that imagery. Watch for the church's emerging web presence.

Two contrasting events in history: September 11, 2001. As images of the burning towers of the World Trade Center in New York were beamed across the world, newscasters kept repeating “You are watching a real event, not a simulation. This is actually happening.” Many people reported the sensation of disbelief, as though they were watching a movie scene unfold. Strangely enough, the realities of that day reflected a plot from a Hollywood Movie in the planning stages. Turn back the clock six decades to H.G. Wells’ famous “War of the Worlds” broadcast. Panic gripped the United States as many people believed the staged radio play to be a report of actual events. In such a short time people’s trust of the media had been turned around from one of a presumption of belief to one of disbelief.

Another contrast is found in the reporting of two air disasters. Listen to the grief and anguish of the reporter covering the crash of the Hindenburg. There is deep pain in his voice as he is overcome by the gravity of what is unfolding before his eyes. He is overcome with emotion. Contrast the response of the commentator to the Challenger disaster in the late 1980s: “We have a malfunction.”

There is no doubt that we are living in a different world from that of our parents and grandparents. These two examples demonstrate just a small part of this difference, and are not isolated examples. George W Bush got it at least partly right when he indicated that the old paradigms have changed, prompting him to embrace the notion of preemptive strike as an appropriate foreign policy response to the terrorist threat. The policy (the merits of which we might want to debate!) is born of a realisation that we have entered a new day in international relations, where the rules of war are no longer promulgated by nations, but inflicted by terrorist cells. Whether we like it or not, we have entered an “eighth day world” where new challenges emerge, where nation states are under siege, and where people’s sense of identity and purpose is being questioned and redefined.

As we enter and embrace an encounter with this “Eighth day world”, we take comfort in the words of Jesus: I still have many things to say to you, but you cannot bear them now. When the Spirit of truth comes, he will guide you into all the truth… (John 16:12-13) As we grapple with these challenges, we do so in recognition that Jesus indicated we would need to grapple with many things he never faced, but that the Holy Spirit would guide us through.

October 5, 2003
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