Every Race Is Chosen - The Antioch Of Asia

Pre-Australia Day warm-up in Buderim: I join thirty indigenous and twenty settler people for a BBQ, picture unveiling and tree-planting at St. Mark's Church. St. Mark's has removed settler trees and invited indigenous folk to plant native trees on 'its land'. A smiling indigenous elder says 'We welcome you to share our land'. Historic!

Australia Day Eve Prayer Meeting. Mixed agendas. Narrative 1: Some settlers were god-fearing, no indigenous people were Christians - we should pray for their repentance, not celebrate sin - says the 'All Australia Indigenous Prayer Network' White Fella leader. Narrative 2: Indigenous people were dispossessed by the British Empire's invaders. The settlers should repent for their forebears' sin. Narrative 3: Do not judge others by the speck in their eye: remove the log in yours. Since God promises the best of every people will be celebrated in the eternal city (Rev. 21), pray for the best to come forth.

Australia Day: Heather arrives at church as everyone outside prepares for a celebration of diversity. She has ashes on her forehead. We greet an Aboriginal dancer before she drives me to Brisbane airport. I lunch at Melbourne airport with Belinda and Brent, who outlines and discusses our joint book on Celtic Christianity in Australia.

Two days in Singapore to rest by a hotel swimming pool? Not yet. The phone wakes me. Friends of friends at St. Hilda's church want us to meet - if I can take a taxi almost right now. What a delight. St. Hilda's is a large square which includes spaces for traditional and charismatic styles of worship, kindergarten children, accommodation and units let to a mission school, and offices. Colin and Linda Chee welcome and inform me. Over 27% of Singapore's population of 5.5 million are Christians - its largest faith community. It could be the Antioch of Asia, sending out missionaries as once Antioch sent out the apostles Paul and Barnabas. Linda is writing a book to celebrate St. Hilda's 80th anniversary, is interested in my forthcoming book on Hilda, and they would like to network. I wonder whether churches in this land's seething mass of activity might ever be open to such counter-cultural new monastic practices as roots, rhythms and relationships. Later I tweet: 'Restore monastic values to missionary churches and so reverse the decline of Christianity' and 'May Asia's Muslims learn to know Jesus better through Christians who learn from them to pray in the rhythms of the sun'.

They ring a British church member, Dr. Jonathan Robbins, who joins us for lunch. Jonathan catapulted from a boy who never passed an exam to Director of Research and Development in human learning. He was born amid Dorset Celtic Christian roots. He relished our Community's DNA 'to release the song locked in every human heart', inspired by Saint Hilda and the illiterate cowherd, Caedmon - for his passion is to do the same.

Next day I prayed for Asia in the Botanic Gardens, sent Brent a chapter from Dubai airport, and was welcomed at Newcastle's cold and cloudy airport by Carol, followed by a three hour wait for the tide to open, and the joy of returning to fellow travellers in a way of simplicity, purity and obedience - once I got out of bed.

Posted at 09:16am on 30th January 2014
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