Rising from the ashes to a New Beginning

By Bindy Taylor

Posted in News

Ex-Moderator Rev Sue Ellis has written a 46-day devotional study for Lent that focuses on building hope out of loss.

“As Lent approaches and residents of Australia are left in shock and turmoil, it feels like an opportune time to pray for people to turn to Jesus for hope, healing, comfort and courage to face the future,” says Sue.

Sue knows firsthand what it is like to experience the devastation of bushfire. A scene she will never forget is the wall of flame that roared down the mountain behind her hometown of Melrose in the summer of 1988.

“An orange hue lit up the sky, before quickly turning dark and gloomy as thick smoke and clouds rolled in, and the Mount Remarkable National Park was consumed by fire,” she remembers.

Sue and her family were evacuated from their home while residents and the Country Fire Service confronted the fire with every water appliance available. The scene brought to mind scripture from Joel 2:2, as Sue recalls watching the fire challenge residents like a great and powerful army; it was something Sue had never seen before, nor wished to see ever again.

“… a day of darkness and gloom, a day of clouds and thick darkness. Like blackness spread upon the mountains a great and powerful army comes; their like has never been from of old, nor will be again after them in ages to come.” Joel 2:2

Many communities in Australia have experienced just what Sue did that day. This summer, Australia has experienced some of the worst national fires in known history. Fires that have left the nation reeling with feelings of defeat and despair, powerlessness and frustration, confusion and overwhelming grief. Death and destruction visited and wielded its power.

“I learned many lessons from that bushfire in 1988,” says Sue. “I experienced the ferociousness of bushfire, but also the power of community spirit. I realised the necessity of land management and witnessed a new care for the mountain and the rural environment as a result of unforeseen fires.”

Ash Wednesday begins on Wednesday 26 February. This day is significant, as it is the first day on a journey towards the life-changing demonstration of the greatest power in the Universe - the power of God’s Love revealed in the man, Jesus of Nazareth. Power that has changed the world by changing darkness and gloom to eternal light and joy.

Sue’s Lent devotional study booklet ‘We Will Rise’ is available for pre-order from MediaCom Education now. Much of its profits will be donated to the SA Government Bushfire Relief fund and the Synod Bushfire Relief fund.

Join Sue in praying for fresh hope and new beginnings:

God who offers new beginnings through Jesus Christ, be with all those who are recovering from bushfire loss and destruction. Grant courage to every person who seeks a new beginning in this moment, as our thoughts turn to you and the upcoming season of Lent.  Amen.



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