The early missionaries to New Zealand were instrumental in the signing of the Treaty of Waitangi. They put the trust others had in them and their own skills to good use by working for the good of all people. At times the work they did was hard. Their motives were questioned by many, but they persevered, even when they were misunderstood. At times the care and love they showed for others brought fruit. It wasn’t the breakthrough in education, the signing of the Treaty of Waitangi or the stand against injustice that won Māori over, but the enduring love of the missionaries, their confidence and belief that all men and women are equal under one God, that made the difference.
I wonder how we can effectively use the gifts we have not only to show God’s love, but also to address some of the issues that our community struggles with. The Church cannot be involved in everything, but there is still some trust and some interest that it can use to enrich the lives of others. Sometimes that can be hard; sometimes our motives may be questioned, but by continuing to show love and care we, too, can engage the people around us. At times it is hard to really value others, to show them respect and attention.
One gift we can give to others is a peaceful, non-rushed presence and environment. That is partly what Open Church is about. We can invite others in to relax in a beautiful place, which has been filled with prayers of generations past and will continue to be a house of prayer. I hope that our church can be a place of rest for many a weary soul.