In the Land of Pressed Serviettes
As I sat down for breakfast this morning, I noticed that my beautiful host family had put out something unusual for my first culinary experience of the day: a pressed linen serviette.
Unaccustomed to eating my Special K with anything other than a spoon, I took a moment to sit in bemused wonder at the small square of fabric that had been so kindly provided for me. For my new friends, it was an everyday domestic object; something that didn’t warrant a second thought. To me, a completely foreign element of a meal at home – especially breakfast.
And in that moment, as I sat at the kitchen table with the serviette in hand, it suddenly dawned on me: I was indeed on the North Shore.
Wahroonga is a suburb of wide-streets and large houses. It boasts a number of private schools, beautiful parks, and to my great delight: superb coffee shops. It’s a community of families, where children are raised and grandparents retire. For many, life is materially comfortable and financially secure.
Still, in a suburb where over 70% of residents consider themselves Christians; many are yet to come to faith in the Lord Jesus.
In part, this is due to the comforting illusion of self-sufficiency in a stable and wealthy suburb. A suburb that is both well established, and somewhat relationally connected; whose people are fiercely polite, and profoundly non-confrontational.
As a new friend lamented to me this evening: “In Wahroonga, it’s considered impolite to challenge people”.
And yet, in our first two days amongst the community, many conversations were had and invitations extended. At train stations and shopping centres, many people were invited to take part in this week’s events and festivities. And many people, whose instinct is to ignore and avoid, took flyers, answered doorbells, and came to church.
A woman who was so interested in what we had to say she returned to see what events she could come along to. A man who almost walked away, but stopped and came back. A child who was furiously taking notes mid-sermon.
Despite the comfort that breeds apathy, people were challenged and welcomed, taught and invited.
Nearly every street in Wahroonga is lined with enormous trees; deeply rooted and well established. It is my prayer, that as we minister alongside the saints of St. Andrews, the gospel would flourish and endure as beautifully as they.
It is also my prayer, that as we confront people with the truth of the gospel, we would convict them of the necessity of Jesus in their lives. That we, alongside the faithful in Wahroonga, would disrupt the lie of self-sufficiency and point people to an all-sufficient Saviour. A Saviour who is already at work amongst the people of this Northern suburb; this land of tall trees and pressed linen serviettes.