Sharing the Glory of God

Sharing the Glory of God!

Genesis 18:1-15 
Ps 116:9-17 
Romans 5:1-8 
Matt 9:35-10:23 

‘See, I am sending you out like sheep into the midst of wolves; so be wise as serpents and innocent as doves.’ Matthew 10: 16

Tena koutou katoa e te whanau o Te Wairua Tapu.

Well whanau, you can sense everything is returning to some normality in Sydney. More traffic on the roads, more people gathering in one spot and more freedom to move about, unless you want to protest, that’s a no-no! But people are still choosing not to listen. While all this is happening, I am being asked when we will return to Te Wairua Tapu and at this stage it could possibly be early next month depending on work getting completed on the church. So not just yet.

Therefore, we have been given more time to consider what we need to do before our return. And in today’s gospel from Matthew, ‘Jesus saw the crowds, he had compassion for them, because they were harassed and helpless, like sheep without a shepherd. So he says to his disciples, ‘The harvest is plentiful, but the labourers are few; therefore ask the Lord of the harvest to send out labourers into his harvest.’ Isn’t this what we have all been waiting for? The whole reason why we have spent so much time in isolation? To prepare us to re-engage with a world that has changed dynamically forever. Where everything is no longer white, black or gray. Everything that was sure, certain and even uncertain, is gone. Structures and institutions are trying to hold onto power while they are being de-constructed at the same time because people no longer trust anybody or any concept and idea that is being presented to them. Instead, they are asking more questions and, the more answers that keep coming, the more questions are being asked. The world we knew and the world we thought we understood is gone. All knowledge, power and control is under seige and people want it all torn down. That is the world we now face. 

But like I have said since writing this series of kauwhau. Be still, be patient and wait, be at peace, have faith and trust God. Nothing has changed. When we choose to follow Jesus, we choose to listen and live out his teachings. So Jesus tells us today that when we engage with the world we are to show compassion no matter where we go or whom we encounter because there will be many harassed and many helpless. We are, therefore, called not only to see the pain and suffering of others but to do something about it. But the paradox of the gospels is that Jesus always challenges our thinking and when we think we got it, we don’t and everything is not clear or definitive, yet it is. When we think we know which group or individual we are supposed to help, someone or some thought comes along and we have to alter our thinking and our being. 

The other point Jesus states, if you think or expect others to simply follow you, then forget it. There’s plenty of work to do but only a few end up doing it. I’m sure you know what I mean and this resonates with many who understand the sacrifice and commitment required to do any job. The problem when we take up our own cross, we expect everyone else to carry the same cross and do the same thing and bear the same burden. It just doesn’t happen like that. It takes time. And it’s in God’s time not human time. Many are called but few are chosen. So those who are chosen must learn to share the load. Each one must identity where they belong in the picture. Some think they can do everything and don’t need help, others believe they are chiefs but really they’re not and others think they can cook but really they can’t, others say they can do anything but only end up getting in the way. A couple of weeks ago, I alluded to identifying one’s gifts. Have you figured it out for yourselves whanau? Jesus names his twelve disciples. Are you one of the twelve Jesus is calling today? I don’t know. But Jesus is saying, it’s time to move and you better have clarity on what and where you can best serve the church and it’s mission. 

Jesus is clear about the mission; As you go, proclaim the good news, “The kingdom of heaven has come near.” This is the message we are called to deliver to the people and don’t expect the people to receive it with their arms opened wide. In other words, God has come through his Son Jesus Christ and therefore your words and your actions have to be real and authentic, if not, you’re in for a hiding to nothing. Why? Because God is the ultimate target that humanity really wants to tear down and destroy. But That’s okay. Our job is to continue planting the seed of God’s love in our little corner of the world at Te Wairua Tapu. And that love is in and through Jesus Christ. That’s all we have to do but we also know it’s not going to be easy. But that’s okay too. Amen.

Bountiful God, with a generous hand you sow the seeds of the Kingdom. Grant us the grace to cultivate your saplings, that all might find shade in the forest of love. Through Jesus Christ our Liberator, who is alive and reigns with you,  in the unity of the Holy Spirit, one God, now and forever. Amen 

The Venerable Kaio Karipa
The Sydney Maori Anglican Fellowship Church of Te Wairua Tapu