August 2017: Shifting Our Anchorage
The kingdom of heaven is like treasure hidden in a field. When a man found it, he hid it again, and then in his joy went and sold all he had and bought that field.
Again, the kingdom of heaven is like a merchant looking for fine pearls. When he found one of great value, he went away and sold everything he had and bought it. Matthew 13:44-45
Attending the UCC General Synod and DOC General Assembly this year opened my eyes to the similarities that exist in mission worldwide. The rallying call from pulpits and resolution after resolution aims at the heart of God’s Kingdom. The writer of Matthew’s gospel gives us a definition of the Kingdom of God that resounds in what we do every day. We – like the farmer, the merchant, the fisherman – search daily for things that provide us with a living, a life. And when we find what produces the abundance of life, we shift anchorage, to use a Pacific/Oceania terminology.
This shifting of anchorage is needed in order for life to thrive in abundance. If we do not shift/move anchorage a few things will happen. With a farmer, the land will be over-cultivated. With a merchant, business will operate at a loss. With a fisherman, over-fishing will result in the extinction of species native to an area. All of these are happening in our world today. Unless we shift to where life is present society will continue to deteriorate. Doing fixed mission is similar to justice and peace being confined to one place. There are rules and borders that define justice for those protected by it, while those living outside its reach are left unprotected.
We must be willing to move, and moving requires and warrants discomfort. If we do not move, then we are over-fishing our ocean or over-cultivating our land.
Let us shift anchorage and to where discomfort, worry, and even distress are found. There are the types of soil we need to cultivate, the waters we need to fish, and the business we need to engage in. At the end, the Kingdom of God will show hidden treasure and pearls in the people we serve.
Nikotemo Tapeko serves as a long-term volunteer with the Pacific Conference of Churches. His appointment is made possible by your gifts to Disciples Mission Fund, Our Churches Wider Mission, and your special gifts.