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Shifting focus - Pastor's pen for 15th October 2023

City from Forrest Hill in evening light Oct 2023

There's a run I often do from home up to Forrest Hill and down into Centennial Park for a few loops and then back down the hill. It includes the spectacular view from the top of the hill but also tricky little bush tracks with knobbly roots where you'd better be sure where you are putting your feet. One minute you are looking more than 50km away to the Hunua Ranges and the next you are looking just a few feet ahead in the shadows of the bush.

This is something like a parable of ministry in our times; We try to see the big picture of how the Spirit is moving in Aotearoa, our communities and denomination. Then we are picking through the pastoral conversations and administration of each day. We zoom out, we zoom in. I think it is helpful to have a sense of the 'big picture' as we deal with the details of our weekly calendar, a perspective of the wider church as we live faithfully in the local situation.

Attending General Assembly this year has re-connected me to wider trends and shifts of focus within our Presbyterian family. Having had a couple of weeks away from Sunday church, it's been great to reconnect with people face to face. It was especially good to participate in 'Dinners with You' on Sunday night, hosted by our Session elders. I was able to 'zoom in' from the national to the local.

National and regional mission initiatives are a helpful thing, but unless they rest upon the simple hospitality and witness of the local church, they will be fruitless. Our unity around the Lord's table and our conversations around the community dinner table are foundational to our witness in this neighbourhood. These simple things are a forerunner and a picture of the wedding supper of the Lamb in the coming kingdom of our Lord Jesus Christ.

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