Tena koutou, and greetings church family.
Those of you interested in sport will know that in the last few months the country has witnessed the celebrations as well as the dejections of players in the FIFA women’s world cup as teams have been based all over New Zealand.
We have seen people from around the world visiting our country and enjoying the beautiful scenery and resources that make NZ uniquely “God’s zone”. We live in a very special place and I’m sure many when returning from overseas will identify with the expression “it’s so lovely to be home, there’s nothing quite like it”.
Irish-Kiwi scribe, politician and proud New Zealand patriot Thomas Bracken described his adopted homeland as “God of nations” in the 1876 poem that would become the national anthem and, in 1890, wrote an ode to Aotearoa entitled God’s Own Country, likely spawning our self-conferred nickname Godzone.
Jesus also talked about a home, and spent His ministry talking about the Kingdom of God, the place we as Christians call our spiritual ‘home’. We can read about it in his conversation with the Priest Nicodemus.
Jesus Teaches Nicodemus — Matthew 16:13-20
1Now there was a Pharisee, a man named Nicodemus who was a member of the Jewish ruling council. 2He came to Jesus at night and said, “Rabbi, we know that you are a teacher who has come from God. For no one could perform the signs you are doing if God were not with him.”
3Jesus replied, “Very truly I tell you, no one can see the kingdom of God unless they are born again. a ”
4“How can someone be born when they are old?” Nicodemus asked. “Surely they cannot enter a second time into their mother’s womb to be born!”
5Jesus answered, “Very truly I tell you, no one can enter the kingdom of God unless they are born of water and the Spirit. 6Flesh gives birth to flesh, but the Spirit b gives birth to spirit. 7You should not be surprised at my saying, ‘You c must be born again.’ 8The wind blows wherever it pleases. You hear its sound, but you cannot tell where it comes from or where it is going. So it is with everyone born of the Spirit.” d
16For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.
Folks we have a wonderful country here in New Zealand, but our spiritual home is more important. Jesus wants us to share this message and invite new people to God’s Heavenly ‘home’. Perhaps this week you might begin a conversation around home and country and what that means to you physically and spiritually.