We visited the Blue Mountains just before we left Sydney and were suitably wowed by the vast acres of forest stretching out below Katoomba’s Echo Point. As we ambled down a path there between eucalyptus trees, I noticed the bark. It looks as if someone’s scribbled on it or done some crazy modern machine stitching embroidery. This particular tree was very near the sandstone cliff on the other side of the path, where tourists over the years have graffitied their names. (Judyth has just informed me they’re called scribbly gum trees and the scribbles are caused by the larvae of a moth.) Two sorts of writing on the landscape, one organic and one static.
I have a huge amount to process and act on from our Australian trip: coming to terms with the way Messy Church is spreading so far afield, with the ‘bigness’ of the place and the ‘bigness’ of the reach of Messy Church there potentially, with the enthusiasm of people to be part of it and to use it in their own way, wondering how on earth BRF can help resource and support the goodwill there from the other side of the world, pondering what might happen in cultures very different from my own, thinking about the ecumenical nature of Messy Church and how that will work with the church culture there, thinking how many times I heard ‘This has come at just the right time for our church’ and what that means in ‘kairos’ timing, how significant it is that the Exodus came up over and over again during our trip and so much more. I’m enormously grateful to the Uniting Church and to Judyth Roberts in particular for giving us the opportunity of visiting this breathtaking country.
And while I’ve desisted from spray-painting graffitti on any part of the city or countryside, perhaps some of the words I’ve shared about what God is doing through and in Messy Church have been scribbled down organically on hearts and in minds where, in his own time and in his own way, God can grow and transform them into attitudes and actions and use them to bring more families to know and love him.