A note from Keith
1 March 2013
This coming Wednesday we are holding a Prayer Gathering in the Wesley Church for all those involved in our congregations and across our services. A year ago we held a very meaningful event which helped to begin our 200th year and, as we begin Year 2 of this four-year journey, we shall gather again. We will begin at 6 o’clock and follow a similar format to last year, which will last one hour. People will stir our imagination and there will be opportunity for all to express their voice to God as we focus on Advocacy.
God is committed to justice and has a heart for the poor. However, I need to say that many Christians struggle with and are extremely wary of any mention of advocacy: some remain to be convinced of its biblical foundation, while others question its practical usefulness. At Wesley Mission, we can be rightly proud that we have never shirked our responsibility to be involved in the work of advocacy.
Justice is at the heart of God’s plan for humanity. God’s own activity in history and the compassion he shows to those who suffer demonstrate his nature which, in the ministry of Jesus, is set forth in an understanding of his kingdom. Jesus began his public ministry with a simple but profound announcement: ‘The kingdom of God has come near.’ (Mark 1:15) Jesus does not define the kingdom and explain all the intricacies that we might assume lie within it, but he did teach us to pray: ‘... your kingdom come, your will be done on earth as it is in heaven.’ (Matthew 6:10).
Those of us who are committed to working with God in sharing this good news with all people know that this means putting things right in the world and bringing a message of redemption and reconciliation. We resist the temptation to so individualise our understanding of God’s kingdom that we miss its wider application. The kingdom is characterised by ‘shalom’ which encompasses social justice, peace and personal integrity. Many of us tend to divide life into manageable sections, but the way of the kingdom demands that we reconsider our response to each other and our concern for those in the world who are hurting. This entails lifting our eyes above the life of the local church and our own personal relationships and struggles.
Advocating for the poor can be a sign of the good news. Whether it is challenging politicians to be concerned about the homeless, holding an AIDS orphan or sitting with someone who has no-one in the world, each of these is as much an expression of the kingdom of God as anything else we do.
Do join us on Wednesday and let’s pray together.
As Superintendent and Friend,
Rev Keith V Garner