Fiona, a follower of Christ Jesus, by the will of God,
To God’s people in Blackrock and beyond, the faithful community in Urban Junction: Grace and peace to you.
I always thank God the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, when I think of you. For you have faithfully, with perseverance and enduring patience, served the Lord in this community. Through you, the Lord has been glorified, so that many – including those whom I love dearly – have seen his face through the kindness, gentleness and love which fills the place. Through the tech-savvy creatives, the scream-absorbing child-minders, the delicate musicians, the gentle pray-ers, the silent smilers and chair arrangers, the Lord has blessed me greatly. He has provided for me a great family.
His hands and feet in Blackrock have fed the hungry, given drink to the thirsty, visited the prisoner and welcomed the stranger. You have put aside your own comforts to support others. You have sought truth and sought after God’s heart, even in challenging times. He has shone his light through your splinters and cracks.
This last evening, as I thought upon these things, my heart was troubled and my eye shed a tear, for the time is coming (and has indeed come!) when we will jet off to foreign lands, into the throws of uncertainty where you, my brothers and sisters, will not be down the road. For it is written “Go from your country, your people and your father’s household to the land I will show you” (and then go again to another land, and another one, until you either quit or retire).
Thinking about the story Urban Junction has told and continues to tell – that God loves and pursues us, and through his Son is restoring this world to his glory – I am strengthened. This is not just the story of Urban Junction, but of the Church, Christ’s bride, extended throughout the whole world. The extended Family. For it is written: “Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged, for the LORD your God will be with you wherever you go.” God is with us wherever we go. He is unshakeable. Therefore let us rejoice that we have tasted and seen the effect of Jesus’ power and the outworking of his spirit in a community.
Finally, brothers and sisters, accept my deep felt gratitude for all that you have taught me and all the ways you have shown love. My fellow Matthew sends his greetings. Grace be with you. Amen.