John Morrison – 28 May 2017

Kristine and I attended REVIVE, the annual conference of the Baptists of NSW & ACT, in Sydney last weekend. The theme was “See – Local and Global”, deriving from John 4:35 – “Wake up and look around, the fields are ripe for harvest”. As usual, the speakers for the main sessions were inspiring and challenging and the workshops we attended were also excellent.

For me, the highlight was the two sessions from Andrew Palmer, the State Director for Global Interaction. In his second address, which concluded the conference, he talked about the impact Jesus had on the Samaritan woman he met at the well of Sychar, and the impact that she had in turn on her community as she shared with them about her encounter with Jesus. By contrast, the disciples had little impact on this occasion. They failed to see what Jesus saw and failed to share what they knew of Jesus.

Andrew’s address tied in neatly with the consideration of this story by Baptists throughout NSW and ACT during May mission Month this year. The themes of the Global Interaction material are The Barrier-crossing God; The Gift for all Cultures – Jesus; The Transformational Encounter; and The Power of Testimony. As you can see, there is a focus on sharing the Gospel cross-culturally, something we have been taking to heart.

I understand Cameron Eccleston from Baptist World Aid Australia brought a similar challenge in his sermon here last Sunday, but from the story of the Good Samaritan. The Samaritan and the Jew he helped didn’t just have different racial identities – they also had very different theological and religious backgrounds. That highlights the vision and scope of Jesus’ message and its challenge to us.

There are many ways in which we have the opportunity and the call to be modern Good Samaritans. The following letter is a heart-felt response from someone we have been able to help in the spirit of Jesus’ teaching. It’s from a detainee on Manus Island, called Naeem, a leader who has been able to co-ordinate assistance to many fellow-detainees through the help we have provided. This letter was read at the Church Quarterly Meeting last Sunday, but I include it here as an example and inspiration for us all.

A Commendatory Letter
Canberra Baptist Church

I Naeem Bangash extremely indebted to you all (Glenn Jackson and Family) for their precious help and support in my all these days of chaos and uncertainty. You have not only imparted your help to me but also a number of refugee and asylum seekers have been benefited by you and your church through precious gifts and necessities of life. Although we are not able to repay these gifts and timely helps materially but we believe almighty will surely reward you with heaven in the life to come. May God bless you with all sorts of happiness and success. Ameen.

Love From Manus

John Morrison