At Team Training Day on Saturday the 23rd of June, Bishop Eleanor preached on being whānau together on mission, reminding us of the rag tag bunch of people that Jesus gathered as his whānau. When we think of the twelve disciples, Ellie told us, we often picture stained glass window-like pictures of people who were sanctified and pure – but they were all completely opposed to each other, culturally and politically, and were not exactly cream of the crop. She told us that in modern times, it would be like Jesus choosing an oil exploration executive along with a plastic-free campaigner as his disciples and expecting them to work together!
Yet Jesus calls them to be with him, so they can be sent out with the authority of God. “When Jesus brings that crew into town, it looks a bit mental!” Ellie exclaimed. They’re not tasked with talking about Jesus, they are taken literally from their jobs and sent out to declare healing, forgiveness and freedom. They are sent to declare “utter liberation for where there is the greatest darkness and oppression.”
When we are called together, we are the family of God – which is an incredible privilege. We are not becoming the family of God, Ellie said, but we already are the family of God. “That is a work in itself,” she told us, “and it takes effort and discipline – but it is an enormous joy and a gift.” Because we are already the family of God, we get to inherit the family business: “to release our world from the powers of darkness and into the kingdom of God’s glorious light. The two go hand in hand – both take equal work [being family and doing the family business].”