St Matthews Digital
23 July 2017
Guest speaker Helen Robinson speaks on Faithfulness
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Good morning, everyone. My name is Helen Robinson and is I was so welcomed in introduced, I work at the Auckland City Mission right next door. It is a great privilege to be here today and there is a very genuine sense of a thanks for this opportunity. To be welcome here into your community. I hail originally from Wellington and after a number of years working there, I traveled overseas and on my return can be Auckland and I've been working at the city mission for the last four years, in a variety of roles as I begin today. I want to acknowledge the really special place that the mission has for st. Matt's, you are our neighbor and we are connected. I'm very conscious that there are people part of this congregation who are staff members at the mission who are board members at the mission. I'm aware that many of you.
You are donors and volunteers. We come here regularly for staff events.
A drama club meets in this fiery. Beautiful room, our detox unit at the back, comes over once a week for the AA meeting downstairs. Funerals are held in this place, a monthly meal is prepared by your parishioners with love and care. And commitment. The leader of our Medical Center is on the poster outside your doors.
And all of this and I could go on and on shows me very clearly, the connection is strong and true between the two of us there is a sense of openness and an openness of the doors and the buildings which actually shows me the openness of heart that is here.
And in that sense of neighborhood or being neighbors, I do get a real sense, that our gifts, our complement one each other, so that the two of us can really become stronger together.
The mission for me is a really privileged place to work and Incredibly humbling. One of my common Reflections when I'm there is that I often feel like the veil is lifted and the truth is revealed the poverty, the need the desperation strips us all and actually brings to the surfaced Beyond The Mask beyond the pretense. The very real reality of Being Human for us all People come to the mission and suit for very simple things. Physical mental health, sobriety food, clothing, shelter, affirmation, belonging relationship, a place to call home in these very real human needs. Unite us all.
And there is a lot at the heart of the mission. I believe that is about being simply that human reflecting on the scriptures and preparation to for today. I became very aware in that first reading of Jacob of God's promise in response to a very human need for land for a place to belong in a place to call home.
And so much of the beauty of this reading, seems to be in the expression of God's faithfulness. When I read it and sat with it, I felt a deep sense of reassurance. I wasn't alone, the promises. The God is with us.
I am with you and will watch over you wherever you go.
And that promise was made to me to you in all people of this Earth.
I was also struck by Jacobs humility. Surely the Lord is in this place and I did not know how many times have I felt that in my life. Surely the Lord is in this place in yet. I was asleep. I did not know. Jacob, one of the great leaders of our ancestors are sulli, dependent on God fell asleep.
He did not see what was right before him.
He did not see God who was in his midst.
During the week, I had a very real and palpable experience of this. Reassurance, one of the services. The mission offers is a kind of Gateway or portal for people who are seeking, emergency accommodation, and particularly access to James, Liston hostel in. There was a woman who had been sent down appropriately. So from work and income for us to have a conversation in all things being well to place her at James list and And in doing so provide the social work support that she needed to get back on her feet.
She was obviously very frail in her thirties and desperately alone, and I was called in, because the situation was getting rather serious during the conversation. And in the assessment, she disclosed to the social worker, the year that just before, walking in the door that she had overdosed, that she had taken 25 pills of a drug. That means within the next 10 minutes she would stop breathing.
So we quickly rushed next door in got our GP and nurse and called the ambulance under what we call lights and Sirens, which is a real one. One, one call and was sitting with this woman in this interim space between the acknowledgement of a very desperate need in the arrival of the ambulance. I was in the room a GP in the nurse and there was one spirit Here next to the nurse and for some reason that I have no idea why this very frail. Woman, stood up set next to the nurse and grabbed her hand.
At the lowest lowest moment of her life, she needed a hand to hold. And I am so grateful for the opportunity that we were able to do that. And that our nurse and her hand was willing to provide that reassurance that this woman needed.
The poignancy of that moment has set with me all week and it takes me back to the times of my life, where I've needed a hand to hold or a hand to hold my hand.
The moments that win the loss, and the pain is beyond words.
moments where actually no one can make it better because it just is And that in that moment when someone held my hand, I knew I would get through it.
I'm also conscious of the moments in my life where I've been given an opportunity to be that hand for someone else.
The veil is stripped in the truth of our humanity is revealed I have to acknowledge with this woman and I would have to in all honesty. So most days at the mission, that the utter sense of power land.
Powerlessness is pervasive The deeps, the extent of the pain and the need the structural change that's needed. The enormity of the task is utterly overwhelming.
It is very, very easy. And in all honesty, quite common that such enemies as bitterness cynicism disappear. Exhaustion, lurk around the corner and sometimes even take Center Stage.
And I am the first to acknowledge how most days I would like to Forfeit.
Hand in my card and say I'm done. It's too much too hard. The fear is too big for me.
And I am in those moments taken back to a place that says, I do know that I can do what I can do.
I do know that I can do what I can do and those words of Mother Teresa, a haunting at the moment and that moment we are not called to be successful.
We are called to be faithful.
We're not called to be successful. We are called to be faithful faithful to what is right in front of me today here now Faithful to my own giftedness.
Faithful to what it is. I can do.
And when I reflect on the gospel story, I hear that called for faithfulness, I hear the call to Integrity.
I hear the call to a Clarity of purpose. It is not a called, thank God to perfection.
Rather 12 remain awake into we're aware of who I am, aware of who you are aware of. Who is my neighbor?
In the presence of God in our midst.
That's faithfulness means that you are. I thank God. Don't need to have the answers. We don't need to be a chief specialist clinician. We don't need to know the answers to the structural change. So deeply needed? We don't need a million dollars. I you don't need to solve The World's problems.
Simply we are called to do the one thing that we are called to do today.
Faithfulness, I believe in the end is the antidote to complacency and it is complacency, which is the real enemy in our midst.
A number of weeks ago, I had the privilege of sitting with a group of you who Faithfully every month, make a beautiful lunch for those every Sunday or once a month on a Sunday for those that are drop-in center, I left very conscious of the joy. The commitment the kheer.
The attention, the faithfulness of this group of people who provided lunch so beautifully. And with so much appreciation once a month I saw the faithfulness.
I saw the faithfulness.
And I see the faithfulness of st. Matt's as a congregation generally.
I see your faithfulness.
This faithfulness opens our heart, opens all our hearts and helps us to see what is real faithfulness helps us to see the reality so that we like Jacob can wake from our sleep and say Surely the Lord is in this place and I, I was not aware of it.
Surely the Lord is in this place.