Rend the Heavens and come down!

(Last Updated On: December 1, 2023)

“Oh, that you would rend the heavens and come down, that the mountains would tremble before you!”  (Isaiah 64:1)

Hi Fighter,

Happy New Year.

In the church’s official calendar, this Sunday is the beginning of the New Year. We start a new series of Bible readings, and parish clergy change their outfits and the décor of their buildings to include more purple – the colour of Advent.

Purple is the colour of royalty, anticipating the birth of the coming King. It’s also the colour of penitence and grieving, which is a bit confusing. Then again, what is there about the church that is not confusing?

The readings for this Sunday – the first Sunday in Advent – are always apocalyptic, meaning that they depict the end of the world, or at least the end of life as we know it. The Gospel reading, most especially, gives us images of the whole cosmos being shaken. This feels a bit close to the bone at the moment with the world again on the brink of global conflagration. Even so, that’s not why I by-passed the Gospel reading today. Rather, it was the words of the prophet, Isaiah. They really resonated with me.

“Oh, that you would rend the heavens and come down, that the mountains would tremble before you!”  (Isaiah 64:1)

I find myself expressing exactly this same frustration every time I see a new post from Gaza. I don’t want to see any more images of dead children, yet how can I dishonour the dead by looking away. I see the anguished faces of their parents – people grieving, screaming, desperate. “Come on, God! Make an appearance! Do something about this! Rend the heavens and come down!”

Exasperation with the Almighty over apparent lack of activity is evidently nothing new. Isaiah was part of a community that had experienced conquest, death and displacement, yet had not lost faith. They refused to interpret their humiliation as the defeat of their God. Instead, they saw it as God’s punishment and accepted it. Even so, surely, by now they’d been punished enough. Surely, it was time to start over.

Part of the problem for Isaiah and his community is that they knew what their God was capable of.

“For when you did awesome things that we did not expect, you came down, and the mountains trembled before you. Since ancient times no one has heard, no ear has perceived, no eye has seen any God besides you, who acts on behalf of those who wait for him.” (Isaiah 64:3-4)

Isaiah’s people knew that their God could bring justice in the most spectacular way. They also knew though that it was a waiting game. For better or worse, God is not a vending-machine, such that we put our prayers in one end, push the button, and out pops our answer. We wait, and a lot of us feel we’ve been waiting for far too long.

‘Do not be angry beyond measure, LORD; do not remember our sins forever. Oh, look on us, we pray, for we are all your people.” (Isaiah 64:9)

We are tired. We are impatient, and yet we must move forward in hope – a hope not based on faith in any of our politicians or civic leaders, but a hope grounded in the conviction that we are God’s beloved people – all of us. We have not been forgotten. We are valued. Justice will come.

Our Sunday Eucharist

We shared another wonderful Sunday Eucharist last weekend. My old friend, Dr Andrew, was with me from the beginning. Brother Doug was busy driving his daughter to the airport and didn’t join us until after the blessing at the end. Even so, it was good to connect with him. Dear Father Elias contributed another wonderful, pre-recorded reflection on the Kingship of Christ. I’ve republished that with full transcript on our member site (here). You’ll also find it included in the video below.

The other great addition to this week’s video is the hymn, “Guide me, O, Thou Great Jehovah”. We sang it last Sunday, led by a Welsh flash-mob. The singers are all supporters of the Welsh Rugby team and dressed in their club colours, many with a beer in hand as they sing. Thank you, Tommy, for the link to this one. I’ve replayed it to myself countless times now. I really love it!

It’s all in the video below which is unedited this week. I thought I’d save some money by not getting it trimmed. Also, some have said they prefer having the prayers and the Eucharist left in. Let me know what you prefer. If you’re happy with what you see today, raw and unedited will be the new normal. 😉

This Sunday we welcome back our dear brothers, David Baldwin and Tom Toby, to the panel. Unfortunately, Dr Stephen Sizer is tied up this week in a conference in Kuala Lumper and can’t give us his usual pre-recorded homily. I haven’t come up with anyone to take his place yet. If you feel called to fill the breach, let me know.

Either way, I look forward to having you join me at www.thesundayeucharist.com from midday on Sunday. You can also join us through Facebook , YouTubeTwitterLinkedInor Streamyard. I do look forward to sharing this Eucharist with you. 😊

Let me work your corner

If you’d like to see my work continue, please click here to make a one-off donation or if you can afford a monthly contribution, sign up at Patreon.com and choose either:

Middleweight – $10/month (community mentoring)

  • Enrol in the Fighting Fit training program
  • Access member-only training videos
  • Engage in the members-only forum

Super-Middleweight $50/month (remote mentoring)

  • All of the above +
  • One-on-one mentoring via email, phone, or Skype

Heavyweight – $100/month (in-person mentoring)

  • All of the above +
  • Training with Father Dave’s Old School Boxing Academy

Superheavyweight – $200/month (intensive in-person mentoring)

Every dollar helps keep the wheels turning – the websites, the newsletters, the broadcasts, the boxing club and the bush camp. Sign up at Patreon.com.

What’s On?

  • Saturday, December 2nd – Boxing from 2 pm @ Balmain PCYC
  • Sunday, December 3rd – Eucharist at noon via thesundayeucharist.com (or through Facebook , YouTubeTwitterLinkedIn or Streamyard).
  • Monday, December 4th – AMPS present “Too Many Dead – an enquiry into Australia’s Excess Mortality” @ 429 New South Head Rd, Double Bay. from 6 pm.
  • Tuesday, December 5th– Boxing from 5 pm @ Balmain PCYC (adults, 6 pm)
  • Thursday, December 7th – Boxing from 5 pm @ Balmain PCYC (adults, 6pm)
  • Saturday, December 9th – Support Julian Assange rally from 12.30 pm @ The PM’s office in Marrickville.

You may notice that there’s no mention of weekend activities at Binacrombi in the calendar above. Summer is our quietest time of the year. That’s chiefly because most of our patrons are trailbike riders. If you’re looking for a quieter (trail-bike free) time away, now is the perfect time to come and train, swim, fish, box, pray and enjoy the wilderness. My schedule is flexible at the moment so let me know if you’d like to join me on a particular weekend, or even midweek. I believe Binacrombi still has much to offer anyone in need of renewal. Don’t be backwards in coming forwards.

The new event that I have mentioned above is the AMPS event this coming Monday as it features our dear brother, Dr Andrew, as one of the three speakers. AMPS stands for the Australian Medical Professionals Society and are a leading voice in challenging the current dominant medical narratives (click the pic for full-size)

The other event I’ll mention here, but that is not in the calendar, is a boxing event on the Gold Coast on December 23rd where I’m scheduled to do an exhibition bout.

I received a call on Tuesday to offer me a professional fight this Saturday on the Gold Coast. I said I’d take it. Even so, negotiations fell apart over the following 24 hours and it didn’t come together. I was offered the exhibition bout in its place and I took it. Hopefully, something good will come of it but I don’t expect anyone to fly to Surfers Paradise to support me. God willing, it will lead to bigger and better things.

Finally, I’m still trying to organise our next Gaza webinar with Rev. Stephen Sizer, Mimi Al Laham, and Miko Peled. I hope to have a confirmed date and time by next week. I’m also working at putting together other online webinars on other keys topics of interest, including:

  •  Palestine
  •  Freedom for Julian Assange
  •  Updates on Syria
  •  A theology of Freedom

This last topic was suggested by Rob Gilland, and it aligns entirely with the theme of Naomi Wolf’s latest book, “Facing the Beast: Courage, Faith and Resistance in a new Dark Age”. We may not be able to get Ms Wolf on this webinar, but we have a good pool of theologians who have been doing a lot of thinking on this.

I hope the webinar idea appeals to you, and I’m keen to hear of other issues you’d like to have aired. My hope is to do these forums every month over 2024, if not more regularly. Do please share with me any thoughts and ideas you might have.

That’s enough for now. Keep me in your prayers as I do you.

Your brother in the Good Fight,

Dave
www.fatherdave.org
www.fighting-fathers.com
www.thesundayeucharist.com
www.binacrombi.com.au
www.oldschoolboxing.academy
www.israelandpalestine.org
www.prayersforsyria.com
www.boxersforpeace.com
www.warriorweekends.com

P.S. If you’re in Sydney, don’t forget the rally for Julian next Saturday.

About Father Dave Smith

Preacher, Pugilist, Activist, Father of four

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