Rambling for Kirwan Uniting Church Keep in Touch newsletter 3 May 2020
Our fellow shut-ins are coming up with all sorts of diversions to keep themselves sane during lockdown. Many are learning a new language, or a musical instrument. I was all for taking up the bagpipe, but Leisa pointed out that among our near neighbours are some church members. We don’t want them to move to Belgian Gardens just to escape the wail of Amazing Grace. They might not travel all the way to KUC after restrictions end.
Jigsaws are a common pastime. You buy, or are given, a great big box with a lovely picture on the outside. And then you open it to find hundreds of strange little shapes which don’t look as if they could have anything to do with the beautiful scene on the box. But with care and perseverance, qualities entirely lacking from my personality, you discover how those strange shapes fit together to form a gorgeous panorama, exactly like the picture on the box.
We’re like a jigsaw at KUC, except someone – something – has taken the completed picture apart and scattered the pieces around Townsville. We know what the picture is, though, we remember it well, the beauty of so many pieces of the whole, all so different from each other, but all fitting together. Ephesians 4 puts it: … we will grow to become in every respect the mature body of him who is the head, that is, Christ. From him the whole body, joined and held together by every supporting ligament, grows and builds itself up in love, as each part does its work.
That picture will be reassembled in God’s good time. His ancient people, the Jews, were scattered in exile, but prophets continually reminded them that exile and dispersion were temporary. Today’s scripture readings feature God the Father and the Son as the Good Shepherd.
Here’s Jeremiah’s promise from God (chapter 31)
… they will pray as I bring them back.
I will lead them beside streams of water
on a level path where they will not stumble,
because I am Israel’s father,
and Ephraim is my firstborn son.
“Hear the word of the LORD, you nations;
proclaim it in distant coastlands:
‘He who scattered Israel will gather them
and will watch over his flock like a shepherd.’
For the LORD will deliver Jacob
and redeem them from the hand of those stronger than they.
They will come and shout for joy on the heights of Zion;
they will rejoice in the bounty of the LORD.