She finally took her daughter to get the jab. Reason? Her daughter loved dancing but she wouldn’t be able to go to her classes unless she was vaccinated. Her daughter hated needles. Her mother held her hand as the vaccinator did their thing, then once finished her daughter looked up at her mother and said, ok, now I can dance.
A few days later, her mother was near St Paul’s cathedral. Feeling like she was falling, she went in, only to have two black uniformed security guards meet her at the door.
They wanted to know if she was double jabbed.
She told them how she’d lost her job and had no future and she wanted to talk to her God, to seek guidance, but it made no difference. If she couldn’t provide her status, she wasn’t getting in.
Are you even Christians? she asked.
We work for a security firm, one replied.
Falling still, but burning now, she asked, what am I supposed to do?
They didn’t answer at first, but as she walked away one jibed, follow your path.
Unsure whether he was mocking her or not, she swung around and charged at the gap between them.
They stopped her.
What are you doing? one asked.
What does it look like? I’m following the path back to my God.
Still refused entry, but hurting, she wandered off and found us in the new Church, the one we were currently building on the stone steps of parliament house. We had no priests, the priests were too scared to come. And anyone could pick up the loudspeaker and offer the rest of us a sermon. Our walls were constructed from homemade banners calling for freedom, and as the line of police looked down from the higher steps, we, who owned no ceiling, other than the heavens, welcomed in all those seeking shelter from the tyranny. You could sit quietly, or talk, or make a speech. We had food supplied by the public and water. And while the government and the media were calling us all manner of names in order to try get the rest of Victoria to hate us, we knew this place was sacred, beautiful. These were the Steps of Solace, the foundation of our forming church, and this mother, who is now a parishioner, had just joined us.
For several weeks the protesters had been turning up daily and sitting on the steps, but after the bill flew passed the lower house and ended up in the upper house, the protesters set up camp. For two weeks they slept there, kettled between two parallel rows of orange bollards, installed by the council to try move them on. Instead the protesters used them as seats and the walls of their church.
The only church in Victoria where no vaccination status is required. A Church whose forming dogma is interwoven with decency. A church that celebrates mass each Saturday with a march through the city, where vaccinated, who are disgruntled with the Government walk alongside those who have chosen not to get vaccinated.
It is a church being built by the people. A Church called and calling for Freedom.
It’s true that after a great fight, we lost the battle of the bill. It’s also true that as the police move us on, a thunderstorm washed all of our chalk writing off these steps. But this isn’t the end. This is just the latest test of our resolve. It’s as if life is asking us two questions.
What do you want? . .Freedom.
When do you want it?
This Saturday we are meeting at the Steps of Parliament at 12pm then marching from there.
Make a sign and come down and hold it up high like a prayer. Unite with us again, or for the first time, and help us show those who are installing this authoritarian regime, that we can not only take a good punch, but rather than being dismantled, the church is now within us all, and building, forever building, and the battle to take back and defend not only our freedoms but our Childrens’ and Grandchildrens’ freedom, well, that war has just begun.
Michael Gray Griffith
Café Locked Out
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