Matthew 18: 3- And he said: “Truly I tell you, unless you change and become like little children, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven.
After boxing up our home last September and travelling 186 miles Northwards to Leeds in response to God’s calling, we have found our dwelling place here..
..Two miles up the road is a farm oozing with the very tangible presence of God, its foundation prayer and its currency faith. It is a charity with the wish to share Jesus with as many people they know, especially homeless and vulnerable adults. Its promise to care for life is much like the Saviour’s promise to us. No matter how downcast, beyond hope, or help these people are, no matter how old or able, there will always be love and support for them. I can’t even begin to explain the beauty of everything i’ve seen here.
I have been working on the farm when I am back from University and have had the chance of building relationships, and soaking up the precious nature of these people. The prayers they send heavenwards in the morning when we eat breakfast together are simple, yet laced with trust. Plea’s towards Jesus through broken speech, stutters, and mis-phrased sentences make their wishes so honest and true, much how God intended them to be. For many, Jesus has become their comforter and their knowledge of a true Father aside from many earthly Father’s they have been hurt by in the past. It is clear to see what years of physical abuse, mental abuse, mistreatment, sleeping rough and so on, have done to these people but, their hope in Jesus means they are new creations.
I had the delight of sitting down with one guy the other week and on discussing Christmas he also happily proclaimed that he was soon to be baptised. I don’t know much about his past, but it is clear to see how his past has conditioned much of who he is today. As he spoke, and spoke so happily about the date, time, plans, feelings etc., i stopped him part way through his next thoughts as i had lost track of who he was speaking about as it sounded as if he’d changed conversation and was speaking about a friend. When I then questioned him as to who he was talking about, he simply answered ‘Jesus of course.’
I thought over this discussion for the next few days. The way he spoke about Jesus was like he was seated just next to Him. He spoke with such abandon, largely unaware of a world view of Jesus and simply making Jesus his own. Joy scorched his face as he discussed the reasons which had led him to decide to be baptised.
We are called to have this faith yet it is suffocated amongst our facades and forgery. We often come before God, i know I have before, and in the presence of others, like the pompous Pharisee. We come with measured speech, and altered tone addressing God as ‘Father’ and ‘Most precious Jesus’, whilst being unable to befriend Him day to day in amidst our busy lives. I’ve before prayed what I think to be right rather than pouring forth the reserves of my heart. I’ve covered up shame with praises, and pinned my problems to other people’s pleas.
These people here, through the brokenness of their pasts, cling to Jesus trusting simply in Him. Many can’t even read the bible, many don’t know bible verses off by heart, how many wives King David had or where the Lords prayer is to be found, but, they do know about a man coming down to earth as a baby to save their sins many years ago. This is the crux of Christianity, not anything we, a 21st century society has made it to be. Their faith is simple but in no way diminished. God has welcomed them into His Kingdom with arms wide open, and the angels I’m sure are rejoicing.
Jesus said Himself, unless you change and become like little children, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven, and this, what i see at the farm, is childlike nature at it’s best. Jesus doesn’t call us to be false, he calls us to be free. He asks for humility instead of pride and trust instead of hesitancy.
A few final things. I had the privilege of spending Christmas day at the farm this year with many people in the Charity’s care. I had the joy of picking up two ladies in the morning who lived in Leeds to drive them to Church before we went to the farm, one of the ladies i picked up is on the photo above. She is 46 yet has the spirit of a child no more than 8. Every day is Christmas really, and as i knocked on her door on Christmas morning her face brought me such joy. Her enthusiasm is unquenchable and her presence is without blemish. As i stood next to her in the church service as she belted out mumbled words along to ‘Hark the Herald angels sing’ with her arm wrapped round my waist, i had only but to thank God for his wonderful Christmas gift. Jesus came for the lowly, the downcast and the down trodden as well as the privileged, and well-polished. His merciful eyes favour not one more than the other, yet his call for us to come as children is clear.
In my below par musings, i have no where near done this charity justice, so please get to know a little bit about them yourselves and have a look at their website.