Kia ora, All Saints whānau,
Can you believe how quickly Christmas is creeping up on us! We are about two weeks out from the start of Advent and one week from our ordinations, which previously felt like forever away. I (Emily) am enjoying planning with Andy what our Christmas traditions will be with Leon and how we can create great memories whilst representing the reason for the season well. One of my biggest hopes is that we can instil in Leon an attitude of generosity and an aversion to consumerism. This is challenging when these values seem to be countercultural in our individualist world where we are taught to strive for status and riches.
In our House Churches over the coming week we will be looking at our second All Saints value of 'authentic community'. Truly authentic community involves putting the needs of others in our church whānau before ourselves, giving generously to those in need, and accepting help when needed, much like the early Church is described in Acts. This follows on well from Andy's talk last Sunday on Missional Living; we should be incarnational, opening our lives to others and not being afraid to be fully present in the spaces in which we find ourselves. In order to be a community looking out for one another, we first need to know what others need, which means truly engaging with those around us. Andy and I have been so blessed to have been invited into the homes of several parishioners over this year and have greatly enjoyed getting to know people despite being unable to offer hospitality in our own local home (as of yet - stay tuned). We hope that over time with continued deeper points of connection we can understand one another better and actively love one another so that none of us remains in need.
So I wonder how God may be challenging you in this next season: do you need to refocus your values to help you live generously and selflessly? Do you need to become aware of the needs of those around you? Do you need to consider how you become incarnate, opening your life to others? I encourage you to use the next couple of months to really dig deep into an active faith which causes us to care for each other deeply, bring light and life to those who need it, and keep Jesus at the centre of it all. And may God bless you richly as you do.
Ngā mihi nui,