I sit in my office basking in the spring sun – with a deep sense of gratitude for all we have been given.
For the last few months the morning Lectionary readings have had us journeying through the Book of Acts. Today’s reading follows Paul on a difficult sea voyage where catastrophe seems imminent. Over the last few months in Acts we consistently see the rhythm of struggle and adversity, and God’s miraculous provision and ultimately God’s Kingdom expanding in the early Church.
We were reflecting at morning tea on this perilous journey and its relevance to us as a Church at this time. We often hope that the Kingdom will come amongst our neighbourhoods in a greater way without adversity, danger and struggle. Unfortunately at the core of the Good News there is the way of Jesus, his life, death and resurrection. We as a Church of Jesus must recognise the way of the Cross as central to our journey ahead as reflected in the Book of Acts. In the Gospels, Jesus consistently tells us that we also must pick up our Cross and follow him daily. Why? In the way of the Cross God’s Kingdom comes. Without the adversity, danger and struggle the resurrection power of God is not experienced.
As a Diocese and individuals at this time, we have the choice to embrace the way of the Cross or instead to attempt to believe that God’s Kingdom can come without difficulty and struggle, that his Kingdom will come through comfort and being nice. We find that as we enter into the way of Jesus and the Cross we find the unexpected grace and miracles of God breaking into our reality afresh. Throughout our Diocese I see many examples as Parishes and other Mission Units pick up their crosses. I see God working afresh amongst them bringing forth shoots of new life, just like in the Book of Acts.
Can I encourage us all to follow Jesus where he leads us even when it leads to adversity, danger and struggle because it is in this faithful obedient journey that God is experienced in new and life giving ways.
Finally as we journey down forgotten paths, can I encourage you to not focus so much on the path so as to miss the one who constantly calls us on. It is only as we focus on God, that we find our path and the resources to walk that journey wherever it may lead.
Bishop of Wellington