Monday, 2 May 2005

May Blog

I had been aiming to put up a blog about once a month, but now it is well over six weeks since I last wrote. The reasons are various. First, Margaret and I reached our fifty-seventh wedding anniversary on April 17, and we decided to have a slightly premature celebratory holiday up in the far north of New Zealand . This gave us the opportunity to visit old friends up there, to spend a few days with our eldest son at his farm, to have three wonderful days on our own in their holiday home by the Houhoura harbour, and then to return to Auckland via the Hokianga, where we lived for twelve years before coming to this retirement village. It was wonderful to revisit many of the magnificent beaches in the north and Father blessed us with sparkling autumn days.

After those fifty seven years together we had so much to look back on with immense gratitude to our Father. As we have learned more and more what love truly means, when it has been refined and tested in the fires of life, so have we come to appreciate more and more the loving Divine heart who has watched over us from the beginning of our shared pilgrimage. There is much more of our earthly road behind us now than in is front of us, but we look to complete our course with joy and great thankfulness. We are so conscious of still knowing only “in part” yet grateful for all Father has taught us through the many and varied circumstances of our lives.

Since we returned from our holiday we have been through some rather stressful experiences connected with huge new developments in the village. For us this has been finally resolved by a decision to move to a new apartment in a recently erected block which has magnificent views over Auckland 's western harbour, the Manukau. Hopefully this will be our final change of earthly location before Father's time comes to take us home.

Over these past few weeks I have been thinking a lot about the current emphasis on church planting. To be a church planter now seems to be one of the most honoured roles in Christian service. When I go to the scriptures of the New Testament and search for mentions of that particular function both in the Gospels and the teaching of Jesus as well as in the Epistles I can find none. The words “church planter” are not there anywhere! There is plenty, of course, to be found about the Church and about churches in different localities but who is the planter? Sometime soon I hope to write a fuller article about this and to examine the Scriptures in detail. Perhaps a huge paradigm shift in our thinking is needed?