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The Commitment to Stay

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This house be blessed with peace! God’s kingdom is near.

By Eddie Green

“When you enter a house, first say, ‘May this house be blessed with peace.’ If someone there works to bring peace, your blessing of peace will rest on them. If not, it will return to you. Stay there, and eat and drink anything they give you. Workers are worthy of their pay. Do not move around from house to house. “When you enter a town and are welcomed, eat what is given to you. Heal the sick people who are there. Tell them, ‘God’s kingdom has come near to you.’ Luke 10:5-9 NIV

For those of us engaged with missional thinking Luke 10 holds a special place. It guides our understanding of engagement in community, place and the Kingdom. Whatever ‘town’ we are called to, be that geographical or cultural we aim to be and seek out ‘people of peace’, we commit to ‘stay’, and to ‘eat and drink’ what is placed in front of us.

Sanctum Collective came from a particular missional tradition as – “A network of emerging sacramental practitioners and dreamers. To worship, recharge, share ideas, pray and support in mission.” But as we grew in our regular gatherings we noticed that people came into our ‘house’ or ‘town’ that were not from the same sacramental background.

I remember well the conversation with two independent Baptist missioners, ‘we came because we are interested in prayer stations as mission – and you were the retreat that talked about it!’ They came and ‘ate and drank’ what we gave them, and we too saw the Kingdom coming near to us through them.

As Fresh Expressions continues its journey as a Network of Networks there are questions about how we support and serve one another in our diversity

When we as Individuals participate in other networks should we not come as those sent out by Jesus did – willing to bring and seek peace, eating and drinking what they set before us, even if is not what we would prepare for ourselves?

When we as Networks welcome people from other places, should we not do so as the best of the households and towns did, as people of peace, willing to receive the Kingdom from them even in difference?

A final reflection is this. Many of us have also been called to ‘stay’ in particular institutions or denominations. This too needs to be respected, but also those of us who are in secure roles, or those outside of these dependencies need to recognise the privilege this brings and how not everyone can be called to take the same risks.

If I was to express it liturgically for Sanctum it would be done like this:

We are a place of peace,
all are welcome here
as together we participate in God’s Kingdom
We come bringing peace,
we will stay, eat and drink,
as together we participate in God’s Kingdom
Heal us where we feel divided,
anxious or offended,
May we know your Kingdom,
come near to us,

And maybe each network could find their own expression of this too! It may be enough to simply say ‘Come and be missional with us – even if you are not like us!’