By Darryn Hickling

Acts 17:22-31 and John 13:34-35; 14:15-21; 15:10-17

I’d like to start by looking at investment.

I called a friend recently and asked him what he was doing, he said, he was working on a special project:

Aqua thermal treatment of ceramics, aluminium and steel under a constrained environment. I was impressed. Later I realsied that he was washing utensils, under warm water, under the supervision of his wife.

A family of mice were surprised by a big cat one day. Father cat jumped up and said, ‘bow wow’! ‘What was that Father’, asked baby mouse? ‘Well son, that’s why it’s important to learn a second language’.

In the last six and a bit weeks it’s been interesting how langauge has emerged that has become part of the norm, like bubbles, levels, social distancing, eradication, and elimination (I thought they were the same thing, so I asked Siri and she told me that the meaning of both is, the total destruction of something) and covidiots (those who break the rules)…

The language around the budget…. The budget came out on Thursday. Remember the last budget. It was known as the Well-Being Budget.

There’s been alot of talk about the economy lately and no wonder under the current situation we find ourselves in. Extending our bubble to include our cousins from across the ditch to help to assist our economy. The wage subsidy of $14billion dollars, the largest monetary internal investment in New Zealand’s history. Sadly, the harsh reality is that unemployment will continue to increase before it decreases, jobs have and will be lost and the social cost as well to the over 70’s particulalry who volunteer their time in op shops, charities, businesses, meals on wheels, Church (when physically meeting) who are unable to now continue as they once did. Volunteers gave of their time, energy and wisdom. Maybe one day they’ll be able to return. What will be the social cost, post coivd-19?

Love one another as I have loved you. If you love me, you keep my commandment.

The farewell discourse has at it’s heart the thought that the disciples were not going to be left alone. What would happen once Jesus is no longer physically present? He outlines his plans that another will stand with them, the spirit of truth (an ancient concept). This is where the lectionary begins to prepare for us Penetcost – coming to a Church near you in a couple of weeks time.

The reading from Acts tells of Paul, who highlights he can name the statue to the unknown God and who thought that Jesus would return in his lifetime and return in the role of judge. Now we’re in some awkward territory, unless we consider that there was no return of Jesus in Pauls lifetime, what happens then with his thinking about judgement?  And the answer is…..I don’t know. To form some intelligent response requires more time than what we have.

Some thinking in the Church is that ‘we’re in the end times’, anytime (especially) when there is a natural disaster. My end time began when I was born, for there will come a time when, the form of time will no longer exist for me, as I won’t be living in it. Paul does promote and advertise community or more specifcally Christian Community, from his writings and those attributed to him, he has a social economic investment in mind. He points out to the groups forming and formed under the umbrella of Christianity or Christ how they are to treat each other and sometimes it’s with tough love. Not putting up with behaviour and practices which divide, and cause conflict rather than uplift each other.

If you love me, you’ll keep my commandments (thats a bit demanding isn’t it, Jesus)? What is it exactly that Jesus (in Johns writing) asks of his disciples to do?

Jesus prescription to living as people of the Way is to have love/aroha as the top priority. In fact it is the bench mark of community: “A new command I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another. By this everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another.” (John 13:34-35)

The word ‘love’ for the Disciples is to have love for one another, John 13: 35 (26) agape: affection, benevolence, charity; John 14:15 (25) agapao (to love in a social or moral sense) (Strong’s Exhaustive Concordance of the Bible).

Buying locally, is this a way of showing love? Economics of supporting local businesses.
Social Distancing, and we’re part of a team of five million.
Staying at home, your health and well being and mine are linked (thinking of others).

I’m not sure about you but I get annoyed seeing reports of people who have broken the lockdown rules. We’re in the midst of a worldwide pandemic and the arrogrance or ignorance of the intentionality of breaking the rules is not ok.

Even at level 2 and down to level one, we will be living with some form of restriction(s) distancing, potentially wearing masks, sanitising our hands when we enter and exit a building.  But these precutions can keep us all safe, a social economic investment. Economics isn’t all to do with finance. Showing aroha, is a form of economics and an investment into someone elses life.

What is the social economic cost of not continuting or supporting charities, locally, nationally or internationally?

Commandment to love. Now that’s strong language!

We may know of or have expereince with people who really stretch this commandment, due to behaviour or attitude, some of God’s disciples are really hard to love, to show love to, to even be around. I’ll try to show aroha.

If you’re like me, you find yourself thinking about or considering what was, what is and what will be? Uncertainty is alive and well, and living with us at the moment. I know that I can’t, or I function at a lesser capacity, when I don’t have the support of others around me. Those who will hear my concerns, let me say the word ‘shit’ and not get offended, those who encourage. Social economic investment. How do you keep the commandment to love? Who are those who receive your aroha, to whom you invest in?

Its’ one of those places that have been in the news on many occassions of late due to the impact of covid-19. She calls it a nursing home, others refer to it with different names. To some, at eighty years old, Urma has past her use by date and hasn’t been able to keep with the internet, laptops and zoom. To her zoom is related to taking off in a car fast! Early on during the pandemic Erma was contacted by one of the Church members and after some discussion, eagerly took on a pastoral care role, to phone four people, a check in, regularly, some of whom weren’t known to her previously.  A rather unassuming person, Urma had an ability to listen and care. In some circles she’d be known as a pastoral care warrior! Does she realise she’s living out a commandment? Social economic investment.



What local businesses get your business?

How can the Church become a ‘Social Economic Investment’ ambassador?

What does following Jesus (The Way), keeping the commandments and loving in a social and moral way look like?


A Praise Song for the Pandemic (from Work of the People)


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