I have been reflecting on giving up coffee around two years ago. I gave up when I started consuming five or more cups a day, and noticed that I was feeling ‘wired’ most of the day and also had a low level of anxiety through the day. So I was surprised last week to again feel ‘coffee wired’ and initially thought that Alayne may have been spiking my herbal tea with caffeine! She assured me that she certainly had not, and the disappointing thing was that I had had no coffee!
When I tried to locate my feelings and examine them, I realised that I was in fact feeling stressed and worried about all the different issues facing the Diocese, and in particular issues that concern me as Bishop. As I sat with Jesus and explored these fears, I was deeply reminded of God’s constant reassurance.
“Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid or terrified because of them, for the LORD your God goes with you; he will never leave you nor forsake you” Deut 31:6
I share this as I realise that many of us in the Diocese at this time have a level of anxiety about our lives and the future. As a Diocese we have chosen to boldly embark on a journey into the unknown. Following our God into a space where often what we have known previously seems to no longer be as relevant for today. The temptation as our fear and anxiety increases is to try to run away; run back to what we have known from our childhood.
What I am attempting to do instead is to throw myself more consciously into God’s mercy. I recognise that I cannot control the future; I can only participate in it. I spend precious time drawing aside each day and letting God remind me that in a world of flux, he is the constant. I remind myself of his promises to never leave or forsake us. I remind myself that in the turmoil, you and I are God’s beloved children.
I still miss the coffee though!!
In closing, on a different note, I would like to send a personal invite out to all the tradespeople of the Diocese. A few years ago, I came across an amazing mission group Mobile Mission Maintenance (MMM). They travel around Aotearoa supporting mission initiatives by offering building support.
They are truly a blessing to many churches and Christian groups. I want to invite you, if you are interested, in finding out more, and to attend their support evening this Saturday night – details below. For those handy men and women among us, this is a great missional opportunity.