Kia Ora All Saints Whānau,
I hope this letter finds you well and staying warm and dry. As we continue through this series on the Kingdom of God, I have found myself going about my day noticing how contrasting the world around me here in eastern Wellington is to Jesus’ teachings about God’s Kingdom. Wellington isn’t nearly as ruthless as the Roman Empire that was in power in Jesus’ time, yet still, it is quite ruthless in its’ own seemingly civilised way.
A few weeks ago, Guy and I, along with several members of our missional discipleship huddle, went along to Food for Thought in Kilbirnie to help serve alongside the amazing couple that run that ministry. Some of you may have gone to Food for Thought before or joined the group that went on our last ‘Go Sunday’. What an incredible night it was.
It was Sunday evening, and I was quite exhausted after a day of services and talking to a lot of people. I’m quite extraverted but I for some reason that night, I felt incredibly overwhelmed at the thought of having to find the energy to talk to people I didn’t know. I even said to Guy, “I’m just going to go with you so you can carry the conversation”. But within a few minutes of engaging with the people who came to share a meal that night, I felt like I had been hit upside the head by the Holy Spirit. Not only did I enjoy the conversation I found myself in, but I felt energised and inspired through it. We had connections that we didn’t realise with the people at our table and within the next week or so we ran into several out in the community.
I went to the library with the kids a couple of days ago and their toilet was broken, so when Quinn needed to go, we had to leave and visit the toilet at the Kilbirnie rec centre next door. There was a man sitting on the bench outside the library when we walked in and while I noticed him sitting there, I am a bit ashamed to admit that I didn’t really notice him. I left with Quinn and when I came back I realised that it was Peter, who Guy and I had talked with at Food for Thought the week before. In that conversation at Food for Thought, Guy realised that he had also met Peter at the barber in Kilbirnie and shouted him a haircut a while back.
Stopping to say hello to Peter outside the library, suddenly he felt like a friend. I introduced him to Quinn and he got a huge smile on his face. I’ve probably seen Peter in the community many times before, but not stopped to really see him. In the world we live in, Peter is probably often not noticed. And things in our society certainly aren’t set up well to ensure he’s honoured and well cared for. But in the Kingdom of God, Peter is first. The Kingdom is for all of us, but it’s for Peter over and above everybody (myself included) who passed him on the bench that day in front of the library and didn’t even take notice.
When we ask God for eyes to see the world as God sees it, everything gets turned upside-down. And, while the thought of allowing our paradigms to be altered so completely can be very overwhelming, in truth it is where the abundant life begins.
This week my prayer for all of us is for eyes to see the world as God sees it. Will you join me in that prayer? Imagine the power of God that can be ushered into our community if we are all intentional in the way we look for God’s Kingdom and live within it.