The Challenge and Call of Community

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We are in the season of Lent - the six weeks that lead up to Easter - traditionally this is a time of fasting, prayer, repentance - even now the idea of what are you giving up for Lent (chocolate, coffee, tv etc) which reminds us of Jesus in the wilderness for 40 days, fasting despite temptation. 

It’s designed as a space where as we focus on the sacrifice of Jesus, we bring our hearts and lives before Jesus to ensure we are following wholeheartedly  - it’s a space for a WOF - to check the core parts of our life and faith are aligned.  To recognise our human tendency to selfishness and rebellion and to have our hearts ready for the reality of Easter - connecting with both the death and sacrifice of Jesus that we might be ready for the receiving of resurrection power.

In this space leading up to Easter we will explore what that means for us as a community, as a group called to follow Jesus together. 


Today we look at the lessons we can learn from the Kuaka about what it means to be part of a community and how together we can achieve amazing feats that seem impossible tasks.
First is collective power of the Kuaka -  the Kuaka don’t succeed out of individual success - they are a group of birds, who know their own gifting and uniqueness, yet also know how to work together to achieve a goal.

What are the overarching principles?

1.     Kawa - Guiding Philosophy - the collective goal, dream, unifying, light, Northstar, vision.  For the Kuaka it’s to migrate -  For us this Kawa around community is:  As Ephesians tells us “Jesus Christ loved the church and gave his life up for her” - that the collective body of people is God’s plan of transformation for the world.  That the cross is not primarily about individual salvation - but about a community of people - the church called to love one another and go on mission together.  That the mission is accomplished in and through the collective body.  That the counter-cultural call to unity in diversity, to our Common-Union in the cross of Jesus, to sacrificial agape love of one another.  To the serving one-another in love even those who we aren’t like, don’t like and won’t like us!!  That our being church together is not based on us being alike but on the call to sacrifice and serve one another in love and by this those who don’t know Jesus yet will see our love and be convinced that Jesus is true!  We talked around that last week - feel free to listen to the message.

2.     Tikanga - supporting practice - collective beliefs & values which inform attitudes and behaviour and support how we operate together.  That we contribute our unique skills and gifts within an agreed upon value structure.  We work in the same way together for a common goal.  Believe the same things and that strengthens us to contribute in an agreed upon way.  Within this collective dream there are is agreed upon Tikanga - supporting practice.  For the Kuaka this informs their flight - they shape up in a V formation - the Leader bears the brunt, but it receives the uplift of the birds on either side.  However, the Kuaka traverses such significant distances, not based on the will, the strength or power of the one - but on the collective strength, will and power of many.  As the one leading tires, another comes to take its place.   In this Flying V the elder Kuaka take the flanks - to protect & guide the young ones.  Each Kuaka is responsible for its own flight - it has to contribute but the journey is possible because of the combined effort.

3.     Kaupapa - collective endeavour - utilisation of this collective philosophy and practice to achieve the goal.  Every endeavour undertaken must contribute towards the Kawa - the guiding philosophy.  In its preparation for the flight each takes a different role based on their strengths - female Kuaka have longer beaks than males - so they can dig deeper in the mudflats and get more food.  The older ones fly on the outside of the V to provide protection, guidance and support the lifting air currents...Each Kuaka sacrifices personal preference for the good of the whole.  As a church we too have a Kaupapa found in Philippians is this:  once again a familiar passage but when read within the context of maturity & mission being accomplished by US takes on a whole new light...Our Kaupapa is:  In our relationships with one another have the same mindset as Christ...we are called to collective endeavour with the Kawa - vision of verse 1, the Tikanga - practices of verse 2 - 4 and the Kaupapa of 5 - 11 that collectively in our relationships with one another we choose the mindset of Christ, of the humility of the cross and the sacrifice involved - and as we do that the promise of chapter 1 happens - that God who began a good work in us, brings it to completion - and what is that completion?  2:15 - that as this happens we become a shining star - holding out the word of truth to a lost, dark and broken world.  Our mission is accomplished in shared Kawa, Tikanaga & Kaupapa. 

In the tedx talk Curtis Browne finishes with this incredible observation - he says while these principles are pulled out and seen, the invisible and unifying factor is the:

4.     Wairua-Tapu - these all must work in unison together and the intangible bond that connects them all is Wairua Tapu - the spirituality of our connection - the vital need of the Holy Spirit to bind us together in philosophy, practice and purpose. We can’t do this without the empowering, strengthening and sweetness of the Holy Spirit working in us. 

What can we learn?
I believe the Kuaka gives us a powerful picture of how to achieve a mind-boggling mission - that the overarching philosophy is shared, the way to work together is agreed upon, that leadership is shared, Roles are recognised and honoured and woven together, Individual responsibility is taken for the good of the whole, the entire flock is connected by the Wairua Tapu

What is speaking to you?