In the space of only a few weeks, we have seen the best and the worst of our human nature.
You will remember the extraordinary acts of bravery, sacrifice and compassion in response to the devastating bushfires that ravaged so much of our nation. It was a privilege for us to be a part of that, and it made us proud to be Australian as it unfolded.
Fast forward a few weeks, and we have seen the panic buying that has almost emptied our nation's supermarkets. Our Prime Minister described the response as being very un-Australian.
Worse than that, we have also seen heated arguments and fighting over tissue! Sadly, at times it has been each one for themselves. So what is it to be Australian? Is it standing with and by your mate, and standing up for him or her? What defines your life? How would you like to be remembered?
We are obviously living in uncertain and anxious times. The landscape is changing by the moment. It's important that we take care of ourselves. It's even more important that we, who are adults, are modelling appropriate and helpful responses for children. They need to know they are loved and they need to be assured we are doing everything we can to care for them. We need to be listening.
It is important we are not complacent. For now, we can accept the necessary inconveniences and disruptions, knowing they are for the greater good.
Let us be willing to give up some of our privileges and freedoms to protect those among us whose lives may be at greater risk.
It is also good for us to support government and community efforts to meet the needs of those economically vulnerable people, even if it comes at some cost to us. In these times, we can live simply, so that others can simply live.
Take good care of yourselves. Look out for those near you, especially those more vulnerable. Let us live together and work together and we will get through this.
God's Word encourages us in this: "Carry each other's burdens, and in this way you will fulfill the law if Christ" (Galatians 6:2). What is that law? It is to love others as you love yourself. When we do that, we will be a blessing to others, and we will be building a better, more resilient community and shaping a better future.