15 August 2020

Yes, this is going up late. The emotions of the last week, with the lockdown happening in the north island, the uncertainty of what would happen next, and the continuation of the same level of increased social distancing for another 12 days left me falling asleep on the way home this afternoon (Kea was driving: I woke up 20 minuses down the road. She was enjoying the drive — and I had not woken as she drove through deep gravel where the roads are being realigned.

What we need to remember in these kind of times is that they end. We also need to remember to take time to rest. The idea is that one day a week you do… as close to nothing as possible. You shut down the shops. You eat stuff you made yesterday. You rest. Six days you can train and work. But one day you rest. We often do this more on a Saturday than Sunday, because Sunday with church can be hectic.

Isaiah 56:1-5

56 Thus says the Lord:
“Keep justice, and do righteousness,
for soon my salvation will come,
and my deliverance be revealed.
2 Blessed is the man who does this,
and the son of man who holds it fast,
who keeps the Sabbath, not profaning it,
and keeps his hand from doing any evil.”
3 Let not the foreigner who has joined himself to the Lord say,
“The Lord will surely separate me from his people”;
and let not the eunuch say,
“Behold, I am 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.

There are those who do not have kids. They either could not, or they found that they found abiding love too late, or they simply don’t have the drive to woo and win a spouse. But in the obedience of the LORD there is a greater name than that of father or mother, and those were great names, worthy of honour, and that gemology qualified you as a member of one of the tribes of Israel.

To a kiwi, nothing unusual about genealogy: to be part of iwi (some of which have considerable assets you better be able to demonstrate that you are connected by descent.

But God considers more than that. He has put us in nations, but when he sees us he deals with us as needy individuals.

Matthew 14:34-36

34 And when they had crossed over, they came to land at Gennesaret. 35 And when the men of that place recognized him, they sent word around to all that region and brought to him all who were sick 36 and implored him that they might only touch the fringe of his garment. And as many as touched it were made well.

Now, there are those who say that this does away with nations and families and tribes and the general need to maintain the land and people we are part of. May that never be. I have approved of some things Maori do: but I am not Maori, and it does not matter how many times we say that we are one people the cultural and tribal divisions remain. The fact that we have lived next to each other since around 1850 has led to war — at times quite violent conflict, There have been those who have made peace between tribes and the colonials, and here the work of Christ who heated in the pagan nation next to Galilee is an example.

We should not aim for that level of unity. Doing the will of God in our families and in our neighbourhoods is challenging enough.