Image: Konstantina, ‘Raining on Eora: Garigal’, 2022 (detail). Ochre from Garigal Country and acrylic on canvas.

‘To safeguard the integrity of creation …’

Table Groups
Easter 7, Year B

WORKSHOP: This week each table group will read, engage and respond to one of the Gospel readings from Mark, or another reading that points us to what is truly of value. Each group will in turn, read, engage then offer the treasures found within.

The booklets on each table contain slightly different prompts, in the hope that these will support engagement – we noticed that …; we thought this was important for us here at SSUC because …; Generous God, we pray that we may …

The Mission of the Church is the Mission of Christ:
to strive to safeguard the integrity of creation,
and sustain and renew the life of the earth.

Table 1:   Mark 3: 31-35 – Jesus’ mother and his brothers.
Jesus’ mother and brothers arrived and sent in a message asking for him. A crowd was sitting around Jesus, and they said to him, “Your mother and brothers are outside looking for you.” Jesus replied, “Who is my mother? Who is my family?” And looking around at everyone there, Jesus said, “This is my family! Anyone who does the will of God, that person is my sister, my brother, my mother.”

Image: Mural by Rebecca Wilcox, artist and youth/family worker at Miramar Uniting Church in Wellington. Collaboration with young people, 2018. The mural speaks of spaciousness, diversity and richness in God’s new reality. (

Table 2: From an interview with Kate Constantine in the SSH May, 2024.
Here Konstantina talks about her Lens Series – paintings that explore two perspectives on the same subject “where one group believed in linear time and the other had no construct of such a thing”. Her reflections on art practice evince sadness as well as deep compassion and grace.

“A lot of the time I paint duplicates, the same thing from two different viewpoints. As a fair-skinned Aboriginal woman, I walk in both worlds. I walk in a privileged white world where I’m degree qualified. I haven’t experienced the huge amount of racism that some of my brothers and sisters have experienced. And then I’m also a part of the black community. I’m a Gadigal woman, I’m Koori. My children are Aboriginal children.

“I try to find the beauty in both, but it’s also very pertinent to realise there are two very different systems at play, and to be extremely conscious of that. You think of the justice system, the education system, the health system. It’s all one-stream policy, and unfortunately this country isn’t built on a one-stream policy. It’s built from the same subject matter, human life from two very different perspectives. So, I like to paint that.

“These are exactly the same painting, even to the point where these outlines have been traced and exactly the same colours are in exactly the same order. But using a different technique to show, I suppose, a visual representation of what it’s like to look through two different eyes.”

“A Western society doesn’t value the same cultural constructs that we value. We value kinship and family above everything. We don’t value capitalism like a Western society does. If it means we have to choose between getting paid and not getting paid, most will choose not to get paid rather than compromising their morals and principles. That is often then misconstrued as laziness or sitting on welfare. But why would you want to work hard for a society and a belief system that’s not yours?

“My painting isn’t a reflection of all Aboriginal people. It’s a reflection of my identity and my journey through identity. Bringing up fair-skinned Aboriginal children so they have a better sense of self than I did growing up. I’m in my 40s. They’re little, I’ve got a 3, a 5 and a 9-year-old, and I don’t want them to turn 20 and go, ‘I don’t know where I came from and I don’t understand why it’s important’.

“There’s space for all of us but we have to create it as humans. And this is a meditative practice for me. I can paint for 10 or 12 hours straight … I go down into a deep-time space. By the time I get to the end of a series, I feel I can finally articulate it. I can speak to it in a better way than I could understand in words at the beginning. I can fully comprehend by doing. It’s the doing that allows me to process the emotion, the thinking.”

Image: Konstantina, ‘LENS: Gadigal (A)’ and ‘LENS: Gadigal (B)’, polymer and acrylic paint on canvas. 

Table 3:  Mark 10: 17-31 – Jesus teaches about the kingdom of God.
As he was setting out on a journey, someone came running up and asked, “Good Teacher, what must I do to share in everlasting life?” Jesus answered, “Why do you call me good? No one is good but God alone. You know the commandments: No killing. No committing adultery. No stealing. No bearing false witness. No defrauding. Honour your mother and your father.”

The other replied, “Teacher, I have kept all these since my childhood.”

Then Jesus looked at the person with love and said, “There is one thing more that you must do. Go and sell what you have and give it to those in need; you will then have treasure in heaven. After that, come and follow me.”

At these words, the inquirer, who owned much property, became crestfallen and went away sadly.

Jesus looked around and said to the disciples, “How hard it is for rich people to enter the kindom of God!”

The disciples could only marvel at these words. So Jesus repeated what he had said: “My children, how hard it is to enter the realm of God! It is easier for a camel to pass through a needle’s eye than for a rich person to enter the kindom of God!”

The disciples were amazed at this and said to one another, “Then who can be saved?”

Jesus looked at them and said, “For mortals it is impossible – but not for God. With God all things are possible.”

Peter was moved to say to Jesus, “We have left everything to follow you!”

Jesus answered, “The truth is, there is no one who has left home, sisters or brothers, mother or father, children or fields for me and for the sake of the Gospel who won’t receive a hundred times as much in this present age – as many homes, brothers, sisters, mothers, fathers, children and property, though not without persecution – and, in the age to come, everlasting life.

“Many who are first will be last, and the last will be first.”

Image: András Böröcz, ‘The Camel and the Eye of the Needle’, cibachrome print, 1989.

Table 4: Konstantina, ‘On – Ngununy’, Gadigal Ngura, p. 206 – Gadigal artist Kate Constantine reflects on the gifts of Country and a long tradition of responsible, sustainable use.
Ngununy is food, is life. Nothing is wasted.

Shell is used for bara (fishing hooks) which the Gadigal dyin (women) invented. Imagine that, us amazing blackfellas – Blak women invented commercial/mechanised fishing!

We deliberately laid our middens with the shell of our eating. See, we were the original sustainable farmers. By laying bare our take from Country, we were advertising to our kin what had most recently been fished, ensuring they did not fish the same animal, allowing time for the cycle of life to re-establish itself, shoring up the supply, ensuring there was no over-harvesting. It seems so simple!

Image: Konstantina, ‘Turtle Dreaming’, 2018.

Table 5: Mark 14: 3-10 – A woman anoints Jesus with costly perfume.
While Jesus was in Bethany reclining at table in the house of Simon, who was afflicted with leprosy, a woman entered carrying an alabaster jar of perfume made from expensive aromatic nard. After breaking the jar, she began to pour the perfume on his head.

Some said to themselves indignantly, “What is the point of this extravagant waste of perfume? It could have been sold for over three hundred silver pieces, and the money given to those in need! They were infuriated with her.

But Jesus said, “Let her alone. Why do you criticise her? She has done me a kindness. You will always have poor people among you, and you can do them good whenever you want, but you will not always have me. She has done what she could. She has anointed my body and is preparing it for burial. The truth is, wherever the Good News is proclaimed throughout the world, what she has done will be told in her memory.”

Then Judas Iscariot, one of the Twelve, went off to the chief priests to hand Jesus over to them.

Image: Mosaic from the Cappella della Casa incontri cristiani a Capiago.

Table 6 (online): From the Raining on Eora Series: ‘Garigal’, 2022, by Konstantina, Gadigal Ngura, pp. 22-23 – Kate Constantine reflects on presence and the generous, honest, reciprocal sharing of Country.
On a recent trip to Country, I was called to Berowra. Berowra Waters to be exact. With nothing to offer Country but myself, I walked quietly through the scrub, talking to the trees and noticing how very occupied the bush felt. Never before have I felt a presence so strong.

The Old People were everywhere.

I was guided to a hidden lookout point that appeared to have been used by mob for thousands of years. It looked straight up the guts of the mighty Deerubbin (Hawksbury River). I was beckoned to a huge rock crevice and cave, no doubt used as a camp when the seasons were right. The gifts Country gave to me that day were innumerable; it felt like the least I could do was allow her to share with you her story.

Painted with ochres and natural earth pigments sustainably foraged on this day, this piece of work is Country sharing with you her beauty, scars and truth.

Image: Konstantina, ‘Raining on Eora: Garigal’, 2022. Ochre from Garigal Country and acrylic on canvas.