Village life is a feature of Tasmania. People in our villages, small towns, know the village, their village, the town, each other.
Celebrations and sorrows are shared; what affects one effects all.
I am reminded of the words,
“Send not to know
For whom the (village) bell tolls,
It tolls for thee.”
Why? In the words of the poet, John Donne,
“No man is an island,
Entire of itself.
Each is a piece of the continent,
A part of the main.”
CMS SummerView’s Mission Conference connects me with the main. How?
The main comes into focus! People of Peru, Egypt, Poland, Rwanda, China, Australia, Albania, Indonesia, Sudan, Syria and more were spoken of and prayed for. We rejoice that people and resources from Tasmania are being sent to share in the life of the Global Village Church.
God’s Global Village Church has suffered much over the centuries.
The pagan Tertullian (160 – 225 A.D.) witnessed the suffering of Christians in Carthage and became a Christian himself. His conclusion? The blood of the martyrs is the seed of the church.
In our day, Christians in Egypt suffer persecution, including attacks by Muslim extremists and discrimination. In the past two Christmases Christians have experienced violence. On Christmas Eve in 2010, a Muslim gunman fired on worshipers leaving a church in Upper Egypt, killing 7 people and wounding 10 others. This Christmas as several thousand Coptic Christians were attending a midnight prayer service at the cathedral in Alexandria a bomb blast killed 23 Christians and injured about 97 mainly Christian people.
The suffering and celebration of God’s people, the Body of Christ, are of and for all of Christ’s people.
I recall the concept of the Body of Christ:
If one part (of the Body of Christ) suffers, every part suffers with it; if one part is honoured, every part rejoices with it. (1 Cor 12:26).
Jesus warned his disciples, Then you will be handed over to be persecuted and put to death, and you will be hated by all nations because of me. (Matthew 24:9).
Jesus prayed, My prayer is not for them alone. I pray also for those who will believe in me through their message, that all of them may be one, Father, just as you are in me and I am in you. May they also be in us so that the world may believe that you have sent me. (John 17:20-21).
What then is our participation in the Global Village Church?
What are we aiming for? We are to honour God, the members, past and present, of the Global Village Church by our actions. These witnesses, martyrs and saints who have gone before us, are now in the great cloud cheering us on. (Hebrews 12:1)
What are you praying for? What are your prayers for the Global Village Church in 2012?
See ‘A prayer for the Global Village Church in its suffering and sharing‘, here and other articles in the Tasmanian Anglican magazine February 2012. See, Bishop’s message of peace.