Wait, Saturday again? Didn’t we already have our Saturday of mission? Yes. We did. I made that witty joke about it being the original Sabbath, remember? Well here we are again: Saturday, day eight and we started it nice and early.
We met before 8am to drive out to a property for brunch, seated on hay bales and joined by the Oxley Vale team from Moore as well as the mission team from Brisbane School of Theology (where Gibbo now is. ‘the song is ended, but the melody lingers on’). We walked down the long dirt road to a sheering shed to hear Bishop Rick Lewers speak about the diocese of Armidale and rural ministry. We heard about the difficulties and isolation of rural ministry, but also the need, importance, and opportunities. Rick reminded us that this kind of work is possible because of the reality of God’s sovereignty and of God’s grace.
While most of us headed back to base, Tom B headed on to go shooting with a guy from St Peter’s. I don’t know what you know about Tom, but I think Kate summed it up best when, in the middle of Tom’s recount of chasing and killing a deer (with a knife he had forged himself), she remarked “but you seem so normal”. He is and he isn’t. And for a guy who wants to minister long term back in the commodious Shire, he seemed almost too comfortable in rural ministry (complete with Akubra [just one kubra?]).
Meanwhile the ladies on team got ready for the Ladies High Tea. Several tables filled with women of all ages heard the ineffable Candice teach from John 10 that Jesus is the good shepherd who gives life to the full and that we can trust that He really does love us.
Then there was a quick reset of the church for the 5pm service where Tim preached on the topic of ‘a Christian response to Muslim Extremists’. The rest of the team jumped into run the kids’ spot and each of the Sunday School groups (saturday school? sabbath school?). Teaching from Matthew 21 that Jesus is the servant King who comes gently riding on a donkey, ready to offer up His life for us.
And with just one (very full) day of mission left and a big drive home tomorrow, this is the last night most of us will be here in Tamworth. It’s our last dinner, our last night staying with our billets, our last ‘big sky’ sunset stretched out above us. And while I know that in reality last Saturday was seven days ago, I can’t help but feeling as though I have been here for six or seven weeks. Which is probably because the past eight days have been so full and stimulating (we may have been tired this week, but we have never been bored) and tomorrow will be no different. Hey, has anyone seen Ross?