Sabbath in the Church with the big blue (and white) roof


I originally (some months ago) booked accommodation in the Geelong (Victoria, Australia) area with a view to being involved in the 25000 Spins Great Ocean Road adventure. But as it turned out I was not able to be part of that due to insufficient fitness. So what to do with the accommodation? I could have cancelled the booking, but instead I kept the booking and planned to go to Geelong and do some sightseeing and shorter bike rides instead. So thats why I am in Geelong as a I write this.

Sabbath. The very word is based on the idea of rest – rest from the work of making money and a time to connect with God and His creation. For some people that means going to church every week and being cooped up in a building with windows that are hard to see out of. But for me, some of the most enjoyable Sabbaths have been outside – in the “church with the big blue (and white) roof”. Today is just such a day.

From my accommodation in Waurn Ponds I got on the bike and travelled at a leisurely pace along the Waurn Ponds Creek trail, the plan being to travel from one end of the Barwon River trail to the other. I was also on the lookout for spiritual lessons along the way. One thing that I did notice was the number of man made structures that were disused, and the quite large number of people using the river and surrounds – rowers and water skiers on the river, and a multitude of people running, cycling, walking along the paths that pass through the reserves along the banks of the river. Spiritual lesson #1: nature is more resilient than we think and outlasts our attempts at industry.

Old Paper Mill

Old Barwin Paper Mill

Old Factory

Old Factory

It became pretty obvious as I pedalled along that the City of Geelong has made a decent effort to provide open space for it’s citizens. The Fyansford Common is at the western end of the Barwon River trail and is a rather big open space dotted with native trees. There has also been a lot of tree planting done along the trail and plenty of other amenities, which gave the impression that one was riding though a carefully planned linear park with variety and beauty. As I thought about this I concluded that humanity much have an inate sense of natural beauty, and even how to help nature along to produce something truly beautiful. Spiritual lesson #2: effort brings rewards (and not just for the one/s putting in the effort).

A path runs through it

A path runs through it

Pixelated mirror effect

Pixelated mirror effect

Pixelated mirror effect

Pixelated mirror effect

Water lillies, Barwon River

Water lillies, Barwon River

Along the way I saw a number of rowers, all part of teams – some teams of 4, some teams bigger. It became pretty obvious to me from watching them row that precision and teamwork is essential to a good rowing team. That would get no-where if they all did their own thing whenever they wanted. Spirital leson #3: to get anything worthwhile done teamwork and putting aside of personal agendas is essential.

Rowers

Rowers

Rowers

Rowers

Another thing that I noticed is that the person in the boat that didn’t row but issued commands (don’t know what that person is called) was listened to by the ones doing the rowing. That person was effectively the leader of the team, telling the team what to do and when. Spirital lesson #4: Any good team needs a leader that has the best interests of the team at heart and that the whole team respects and listens to.

Bird making use of a bridge

Bird making use of a bridge

Bird at Buckley Falls Reserve

Bird at Buckley Falls Reserve

On the Waurn Ponds Creek trail there is an old church that was once a place of worship, but now is a place of learning. It still looks like a church, even with a cross at each end of it, but is available to more people than it might have been when it functioned as a church building. As I had a long cool drink at the water fountain on the trail near that old church I pondered that idea. Spiritual lesson #5: Sometimes church community organisations needs to be ‘re-purposed’ to remain relevant and beneficial to society.

Old Church, Belmont

Old Church, Belmont (I think)