early Lamb of God prayer meeting in Christchurch, New Zealand
of a Man, and of a Dog, and of Almighty God
reflection on the beginnings of the Lamb of God community in New Zealand
by Roger Foley
This past month, May 9th, was the thirty-fifth
Anniversary of the founding of the Lamb
of God community in Christchurch, New Zealand. The photographs from
our founding year and following, tell their own story of a people called
and responding into a work of God, and slowly building a way of life which
today is perceived more and more as counter-cultural.
How did it start? On that day in 1979 I was walking
our dog, Mandy, and the time was early afternoon. As I crossed a road I
was suddenly struck with an over-whelming sense of the presence of God.
Without regard for where I was or for road traffic, I recall sinking to
my knees and then audibly hearing the words ‘Now is the time to build this
community’ and that was all.
God bless Mandy - she just stayed with me, and
sat in the middle of the road with her leash on! This word [Rhema]
came following four years of searching and endeavours to build some form
of stronger Christian relationships within a prayer group. Following this
‘event’ on May 9, 1979, the establishing of the Christian Community Lamb
of God moved ahead rather quickly. It was God’s timing.
The first exploratory Prayer Meeting was held
on July 8, 1979, and we still have four of the ‘founding twelve’ significantly
involved and active in the Branch, being John and Monica and ourselves,
Roger and Veronica.
We thank God for Christian Community. But let
me add that if you are looking for a ‘quick buzz or high, or a quick fix’
to the challenges of life - do not join a community. Christian Community
is a ‘WAY of LIFE’, it is a journey with a people seeking a common life.
There is no perfection this side of Heaven. But if you invest yourself
with this people then you will find a valid way of living this life journey
with and in God, and you will walk with faithful people who will be for
and with you. This is indeed a treasure not to be missed.
We are with our brothers and sisters in the Lamb
of God - and the wider Sword of the Spirit network of communities - in
and on this journey.
Postscript: We recently shared a
Lord’s Day Celebration in Christchurch to mark the 35th anniversary of
the founding of the Lamb of God. It was a memorable and joyful evening.
As well as sharing from our early years we had several young children stand
to share what is significant in their memories of community life. The children
witnessed to two joys in our life, being those many lamington makes [yes
- hard work but also where much relationship building and fun was had]
and the annual ‘Community Camp’ with the water slides, mud pools and holding
onto a sledge at speed down a bumpy hillside.
related article on Lamb of God > Land
of Awesome Beauty - Land That Can Take Your Life
Roger Foley is the senior
coordinator of the Lamb of
God Community. He and his wife Veronica live in Christchurch, New Zealand.