Yesterday morning I called into a Christchurch cafe for an advertised FFF cuppa-conversation. When I arrived the cafe looked a bit crowded and I wondered if such a popular cafe was a good place for easy conversation about important matters.
Then I realised that these people, spread around three tables in groups, were there for the same reason as me. Over the next hour more people arrived and as I spent time at each table I was moved to see that in the midst of the laughter and easy conversation, here were people who were taking their relationship with Jesus seriously.
Then later yesterday I had an email from Christina in Hamilton: “Just to let you know we had a wonderful FFF cafe meet at Zenders this morning, six people attending and a wonderful discussion… openness to “enlarging the space of our tent”.
Thank you to all who take the initiative and arrange these gatherings. Clearly they meet a need, and provide some people with the only opportunity in a week an opportunity to chat with others who are taking life and faith seriously.
In today’s first reading we hear of people who are taking life and faith very seriously.
After a camping trek lasting forty years through Middle-Eastern desert, Moses and his followers reached the point where they could look down on the promised land and were ready to descend from the high ground to cross the Jordan and enter their God-given home. However at the end of the third chapter of Deuteronomy, immediately preceding today’s fourth chapter first reading, Moses is reminded by God that because of his earlier lack of trust he will not be permitted to enter the land.
Our refusal to trust the promises of God has consequences.
While Moses is not happy about this, angry at God and blaming the people, he seems to shift very quickly, not dwelling in anger but learning from his earlier mistakes and turning with even greater-than-before respect of God to speak seriously and positively to the people:
“Now, Israel, take notice of the laws and customs that I teach you today, and observe them, that you may have life and may enter and take possession of the land that the Lord the God of your fathers is giving you.
“… And indeed, what great nation is there that has its gods so near as the Lord our God is to us whenever we call to him?
“…But take care what you do and be on your guard. Do not forget the things your eyes have seen, nor let them slip from your heart all the days of your life; rather, tell them to your children and to your children’s children.’
While there clearly a powerful message in these blessing words of Moses, I’m even more inspired by his willingness to accept a “no” from God in answer to his prayer (to enter the Promised Land), and then, after a burst of anger and disappointment, learn from his mistake and move in a new direction in relationship with God.
Now that’s really worth taking seriously.
FFF IN THE CAFE… Send your name and the name of a cafe or bar to firstname.lastname@example.org Scribble FFF on a table napkin, take a seat and wait.
DROP IN AT A GATHERING:
Monday 20 March 2023 (and every Monday)
10.00am at Moko (Kudos) in the Bush Inn Centre Christchurch (Directions) Trish
Wednesday 29 March 2023
10.30am at Cafe 28, 28 Cornwall Street, Lower Hutt (Directions) Catherine
Tuesday 11 April 2023 (and second Tuesday of every month)
10.30am at Zenders 44 Hopkins Road, Newstead, Hamilton (Directions). Christina
What a brilliant idea.