Encouragement for the journey
Greetings fellow travellers
One of the things that I have been pondering as I begin this new internship placement in earnest now is the question of communication. When you are in a new relationship there is a lot of uncertainty and many new discoveries to make. There is the history of this fellowship to learn and begin to understand, and that is made up of the stories of people past and present. Then there are the stories of individual people in the congregation and the story of the north shore itself and how it has changed and developed its own character as a place. And there is the character, flavour and shape of worship each week, given a different voice and nuance by the different folk involved in leading and preparing.
My involvement in all of this is essentially a matter of communication – of listening and sharing, of giving time and attention. Because of how new everything is, as I have prepared for worship I have had at the back of my mind the question ‘who are these people that I’m talking to? What do I know of them to be able to meet them where they are with the gospel?’ Any communication that doesn’t ask this question has limited hope of being heard, and rightly so. Why waste your time listening to someone who hasn’t got a clue what your life is like? Why give your attention to someone who hasn’t considered who will be listening?
This is a good question for me to consider at this stage of my time here, but it’s also a good question to take to the gospel itself. Who were the people Jesus was talking to? What did Jesus want to communicate that would be good news for poor, oppressed Jews? And for the rich? And for powerful rulers? And for Roman officers? And for the marginalised? And that is also good news for us today and for people throughout all the ages between and still to come?
Somewhere between Jesus’ first proclamation that the kingdom of God was near and Peter’s first sermon on the day of Pentecost, the good news become that Jesus is the Christ; that God has come near, so near in fact to be one of us, and that through Jesus God has worked the reconciliation of all things.
Could it be that the good news of the kingdom of God is that the kingdom itself looks like, tastes like, smells like, and has the flavour of Jesus’ life? And that is a life of love within us, among us, not far from us…as present and as near as you allow it to be?