We arrived at Ngatiawa in the middle of a minor deluge. Ngatiawa is a “River Monastery“, and river it was. A culvert was blocked, and the tributary creek that runs down to the Ngatiawa River overran the road and was making a mess of it. We worked to sandbag the road and cut a diversion back to the flowing side of the culvert. I had not met the bulk of the people, yet we worked as if we knew each other well. Shoulders touching, directions given directly and taken gracefully.

All this reminded me of Jesus and the community that gathers and trusts around Christ. Although we do not know each other truly, we trust that we are all known by Christ and, in pitiful yet hopeful ways, we are making efforts to know and trust Christ. This gives us the courage to trust each other, though there are no guarantees that this will “work”.

This trust is sometimes expressed through bearing each others pains and traumas, and often in working together for the kingdom of God. Each strengthens the other. The vulnerability of bearing burdens spurs on the work together, which in turn provides the memories that encourage sharing our burdens.

All this is taken up and made beautiful in Christ, who makes us ready to trust without guarantees, and calls us on from simply trusting our brothers and sisters in Christ, to reach out in trust to those beyond our circle.

*We are 3 months into our sabbatical, for those who knew this was happening. A lovely complete break in Melbourne, and then 4 weeks in NZ, most of it with the Urban Vision clan at Ngatiawa. Then 2 months in outback Australia. I’m hoping to blog more, but internet in the outback may prevent my best efforts.