Contrary to The Australian newspaper's headline suggesting that the Pope's coming to Australia would renew the flame of faith, the real change to life of the Christian community in Australia arising from World Youth Day is likely to be located elsewhere, much closer to the grass roots and away from the headlines.
It will come, if it does from the reality of Christians from across the globe meeting each other, face to face and in small groups, receiving ecumenical hospitality from Australian Christians of other traditions and discovering our connections across the barriers of nations, institutional self preservation and ancient theological quarrels.
Let me offer a small testimony from an informal service that my wife and I attended last night.
Hosted in an Anglican chapel, using an Iona service for justice, we had musical accompaniment from members of Chemin Neuf, a Catholic community with an ecumenical vocation and were lead in a meditation on how Jesus might respond to the experience of Palestinians on the West Bank by a young couple of anabaptist persuasion who had recently been on a delegation with the Christian Peacemaker Team in Hebron.
It was a wonderful time of sharing, in making some of those connections that will work for life and gesture towards the freedom, challenge and love offered in the call of Jesus to follow.