Bible ReflectionMates
Mates

Mates

I wrote about the, “ANZACs. Our Mates the Diggers.” and described the world renowned and incredible mateship that Australians are known for.  Why is it such a revered and honoured attribute?

Why is it that it doesn’t matter if you grew up poorest of the poor, or with a silver spoon in your mouth and that true mateship extends beyond social standing? There is no division. There is just ‘together’, ‘oneness’, ‘me mates!’

Why is it that when we read about it, or have the privilege to experience it, that it makes our heart swell and we stand in awe of it?

Now while we hold that thought, consider when Captain Pedro Fernandez de Quiros in 1606 gave this continent its name “La Australia del Espiritu Santo” or literally “Great Southland of the Holy Spirit” (Read more: Australia Day…what it means to this Aussie!).

Maybe, just maybe, therein lays a link between Australia, the Holy Spirit and mateship.

Let’s explore this a little further…

The priests then withdrew from the Holy Place. All the priests who were there had consecrated themselves, regardless of their divisions.  All the Levites who were musicians—Asaph, Heman, Jeduthun and their sons and relatives—stood on the east side of the altar, dressed in fine linen and playing cymbals, harps and lyres. They were accompanied by 120 priests sounding trumpets.   The trumpeters and musicians joined in unison to give praise and thanks to the LORD. Accompanied by trumpets, cymbals and other instruments, the singers raised their voices in praise to the LORD and sang: “He is good; his love endures forever.” Then the temple of the LORD was filled with the cloud,  and the priests could not perform their service because of the cloud, for the glory of the LORD filled the temple of God.
2 Chronicles 5:11-14

Solomon made, through great pageantry and celebration, massive sacrifices (22,000 oxen, 120,000 sheep), and as king prayed, the first time a king did so in 400 years, and…

When Solomon finished praying, fire came down from heaven and consumed the burnt offering and the sacrifices, and the glory of the LORD filled the temple.
2 Chronicles 7:1

The “glory of the LORD filled the temple of God“.

Notice though, and this can easily be missed,  “All the priests who were there had consecrated themselves, regardless of their divisions.” Their divisions were ordained by God according to their families and unique purposes. Yet, when the priests entered the holy place, they had to disregard the lesser place of service to enter the greater place of divine Presence.

So it is today, “without regard of divisions”, churches are entering the holy place of Christ’s Presence. Regardless of ethnic background, and from many denominations, we see church leaders functionally uniting with one another across cities and nations throughout the world. They are becoming a holy body of Christ:

In him the whole building is joined together and rises to become a holy temple in the Lord.   And in him you too are being built together to become a dwelling in which God lives by his Spirit.
Ephesians 2:21,22

Being “built together“, in unity… and Jesus prayed:

“My prayer is not for them alone. I pray also for those who will believe in me through their message,  that all of them may be one, Father, just as you are in me and I am in you. May they also be in us so that the world may believe that you have sent me.  I have given them the glory that you gave me, that they may be one as we are one—  I in them and you in me—so that they may be brought to complete unity. Then the world will know that you sent me and have loved them even as you have loved me.
John 17:20-23

We see that where there is unity, we will see love.

I believe this is the primary reason why our hearts swell when we observe or hear of mateship. We all have a built in desire to be loved and to love.

Mateship. Yes, we stand in awe of it because it is love.

Greater love has no one than this: to lay down one’s life for one’s friends.
John 15:13

Be a mate!

2 Comments

  1. Hi Peter,

    After reading your blog about this subject I just wanted to let you know this.

    In your article you say…

    “We see that where there is unity, we will see love.
    I believe this is the primary reason why our hearts swell when we observe or hear of mateship. We all have a built in desire to be loved and to love.
    Mateship. Yes, we stand in awe of it because it is love.
    Greater love has no one than this: to lay down one’s life for one’s friends.
    John 15:13”

    About Dad…

    When we have conversations with Dad…he usually comes around to something that relates to ‘war’. I drives me crazy, but, its not about an actual ‘war’; or any specifics; what’s underlaying and attracts Dad to the subject of war is ’mateship’. I stumbled on this fact about 17 years ago when Dad and I were going over an ex-navy boat in dry dock, Brisbane. Dad was fascinated. I was interested in the vessel and the compactness of the fittings while Dad was fascinated at the many old photographs in frames, plastered on every spare inch of the walls. I was a tad bored with waiting for Dad, but then I took a step back and observed his behaviour.
    He peered into each photograph as if ‘searching for something’; he lingered on each and every one. I noticed Dads usual (testy) mood, ‘lift’ as he discovered more photos and he particularly got stuck on photos of large groups of men, standing together. Dad was very quiet. Dads mind was in a world of his own for hours.
    Finally I asked Dad…”Are you looking for someone Dad?”
    He said “no.”
    “Then what’s so captivating?” I asked; “what’s so great about war pictures? Is it the same time as you were a kid?”
    Dad simply said “No…it’s the mateship!”

    Dad went back into the world of his own for some time…glued to the photos.
    It dawned on me…
    Dad has always been a ‘loaner’…prides himself on ‘doing his own thing’; ‘not being a follower’ (many quipets about this); ‘makes his own decisions’; ‘wont be told what to do’ ….etc. When in fact, Dad has always ‘craved’ having lots of mates.
    There was no ‘envy’ about the photos of the men on the ships but a deep loneliness for the ‘mateship’ they shared but he could never have; he would have laid down his life for a mate but never got the chance.
    I think Dad put himself into a self inflicted exile from other people so he couldn’t get hurt again (because people/ friends (in the early times) let him down). Over many years dad became lonelier and lonelier, more inner angry and drove people away with his attitude.
    But his secret, basic desire is to be loved.

    Eve xx

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