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Hope for Justice & Reconciliation : Isaiah's Voice in an Australian Context

Posted on 11 September 2013 Gavin Glenn

Both the Australian church and nation face difficult times. National reconciliation, the place of worship in contemporary mission, injustice at work through work-related death, grief and bullying, the tension between business and theological understandings of corporate governance, and the suffering brought by post-traumatic stress to victims and perpetrators of violence challenge the foundations of modern life.

The book of Isaiah brings together prophetic words about trust and justice in times of difficulty, words of hope in times of captivity, and words of judgment as the community reshapes its life after overwhelmingly tough times.

While a great distance lies between contemporary Australia and the situations of ancient Israel evident in Isaiah, the poetic structure of voices in Isaiah can speak across that distance. Both the authors have listened both to Isaiah's ancient voice and the voices of those struggling with today's difficult times in ways that call the church to rethink with imagination its prophetic role in society.

Until the end of 2011 Howard Neil Wallace was Professor of Old Testament at the Uniting Church Theological College, Parkville, Australia, where he served for 18 years. Prior to that he was Lecturer in Old Testament for 11 years at United Theological College, the Uniting Church College in Sydney. He is now Minister of the Word at Mulgrave Uniting Church in Melbourne.

John Bottomley is a Uniting Church in Australia minister and Director of Creative Ministries Network, an agency of the UCA. After congregational ministry in Melbourne’s outer suburbs, John’s experience as a researcher in a ship-building yard galvanised his interest in workplace issues. His ministry seeks to integrate the arts with an informed faith to address the gospel imperative for healing, justice and reconciliation in response to suffering and injustices.

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