It was a wonderful Sunday, wasn’t it! Wonderful to hear about the mission happening on Tuesday mornings at Kingston Kids, wonderful to reflect on how the Spirit continues to lead us in genuine mission and genuine relationship, ‘coming alongside’ others, and wonderful to welcome Josephine into our community here, and to hear her reflections on how the Spirit of God had led her to us and would continue to lead us onwards.
My favourite bits from Caroline’s talk – apart from her conclusion, “I would say, ‘Mission Accomplished!’ were the testimonials she included from Kingston Kids participants, “Playgroup is something we look forward to and its helps us feel connected to our local community. We have found a warm, fun and supportive environment.” Or, “We have made so many connections and continued friendships beyond the playgroup, which has been the biggest takeaway.” During this pandemic when a great number of our Kingston Kids families are cut off from grandparents and other families in other places, the love and support and friendship we are offering is meeting a huge need.
I was reminded, after the service, by Jeanette that, had the Ethiopian eunuch read on in Isaiah, he would have read that, as a eunuch, as someone formerly treated as ‘other’ socially and religiously, he was now fully embraced by the God’s love, a full participant in the worship of God, one of God’s people. Isaiah 56 reads:
Do not let the foreigner joined to the Lord say,
“The Lord will surely separate me from his people”;
and do not let the eunuch say,
“I am just a dry tree.”
4 For thus says the Lord:
To the eunuchs who keep my sabbaths,
who choose the things that please me
and hold fast my covenant,
5 I will give, in my house and within my walls,
a monument and a name
better than sons and daughters;
I will give them an everlasting name
that shall not be cut off.
I love so much the statement – it is not really a question – that the Ethiopian eunuch makes, “Look, here is water! What is to prevent me from being baptized?”
The answer is a resounding, “Nothing!”
I am reminded of a story Nadia Bolz-Weber, the founding pastor of the House for All Sinners and Saints in Denver, Colorado, tells of a leader of their church, Stuart, who is gay, turning up for the evening service looking much more conservatively dressed than usual. It turned out that earlier that day he’d participated in the christening of the child of friends and had been asked to be the child’s godparent. At a gathering at their home afterwards, however, they surprised Stuart by rallying the attention of all their guests to say a few words about why they had chosen him as godparent.
“We chose you, Stuart,” they said, “Because for most of your life you have pursued Christ and Christ’s church, even though as a gay man all you’ve heard from the church is that ‘there is no love for you here.’” It was as if his friends, Nadia writes, had said to him, “You, Stuart, convert us again and again to this faith.”
And I am reminded also of our conversations at Sundays at 6 with Martin Maneedul Cowling, of his determination to cling to the love of Christ when the church repeatedly pushed him away; his clinging to and claiming the words of John 3:16, “For God so loved the world that he gave his only Son, so that everyone who believes in him may not perish but may have eternal life.”
God’s love. Everyone. Go live it. The mission of God is that simple.
This Saturday, as you will know from previous emails this week, we are invited to come and share love and life with others at Roz and Sherab’s home (57 McEachern Crescent, Melba) to raise funds for pandemic assistance in India through an NGO called Aman Biradari. You can make a funds transfer by giving to:
NAME : Roslyn and Sherab Namgyal
ACCOUNT NUMBER : 732647029
DETAILS: Covid Fundraiser
And next Sunday, 9 May, we gather to continue reflecting on authentic mission – on our local mission – remembering God’s love poured out on us. Looking forward to seeing you there!
Grace and peace,
Rev Belinda Groves
Team Leader, Canberra Baptist Church
Office Hours: Tuesday to Friday (9am-5pm)
11 Currie Crescent, Kingston ACT 2604
Ph: 02 6295 9470