In December 1987 and January 1988 we were having some Long Service Leave. Along the way we saw a number of interesting signs. For example...
"No parking beyond this point" - just before Albert Park Lake, Melbourne. "Tickets must be displayed on dashboard of car for traffic officer to check. Failure to do so is an infringement" (St Kilda Beach). "Warning - this toilet self-destructs in 69 seconds." "Thanks for not smoking - we'd rather die of natural causes." "If we all work together, we will totally disorganise the system."
In a shop window at Port Campbell was a hand-written slip with these words, "Our mission is to analyse the situation and, through foresight and advanced planning, avoid or circumvent problems before they arise. Should the unexpected occur, then our aim is to swiftly and efficiently arrive at a workable solution...
"However, when you are up to your armpits in crocodiles, it's difficult to remember that your initial objective was to drain the swamp!"
We have been here in the north for two-and-a-half years now and have yet to see a crocodile. However, we have certainly run into plenty of reasons why we as a church can get distracted and diverted from our "initial objective."
Jesus was quite clear in his final words to his disciples - "All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptising them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age" (Mt. 28.18-20).
Jesus has already done the hard bit when he died for the sins of humanity. Our task is to be his witnesses so that other people will be drawn in as his disciples.
The Covenant of Prayer was a start. Keep praying for the other members of our congregation. Keep praying for folk outside the life of any church. Build bridges of friendship.
Remember to look up and to look out. We have, not only one another, but the promise of the Lord to be with us. We aren't really "up to our armpits in crocodiles"! So let's not get distracted from our initial objective. Our church is now well past its teething pains and its teenage years. Let's get into our real task!
God bless us all!
© Peter J. Blackburn, Link, August 2002