Tūrangawaewae To Come: Encounters with Jesus in Berhampore and Island Bay
Recently I read the section of Luke’s gospel where Jesus gives his disciples their missionary training regime. He sends them out to the villages to find ‘people of peace’. He tells them to stay with the ‘person of peace’ (Luke 10:1-12). My purpose in this series is to update you with stories about people of peace that I encounter in my wanderings in the vicinity of Berhampore and Island Bay. The names I use are fictional.
Encounter 1: Ahmed
When I told the barber why I was in Wellington and that I needed a new computer he immediately recommended Ahmed. So I went down the street to Ahmed’s store. Ahmed was away at prayer. He goes to the mosque in the early afternoon so I couldn’t buy anything off him that day. I needed to time my visits around his prayer routine. But the next time I was down the street I visited and he offered me a great deal on a new laptop which I could carry around in my bag. He was very thorough and seemed to offer wise advice and extensive backup support. We got on well. Shortly afterward he friended me on facebook. When I was next in the shop looking for a new keyboard and mouse for the office at work he didn’t try to sell me a keyboard but gave me a free second hand one and a great discount on a mouse. He commented that since I was using it for my church work he was happy to help. He mentioned in passing that he was very interested in something I had posted on facebook on ‘spirituality’. I couldn’t recall what he was referring to. What struck me was that he, a Muslim, didn’t see me as the opposition. He at least imagined that there might be some overlap between his concerns as a Muslim and my work as a Christian ‘Community Minister’. I wondered to myself whether I would have done the same to him if I were in his shoes. It made me think of the story Jesus told about who my neighbour was. He didn’t just tell us that we should be kind to our enemies, he told a story about how one of the enemies demonstrated the kindness of the reign of God… Tomorrow I am going to the ‘open day’ at the Mosque.