I’m pressing pause here for the month of June. The past three weeks have been filled with beautiful, encouraging guest posts by some of my blogging friends. Today’s words come from “down under”, from Mike McArthur, whom I met through blog comments and because we both linked up with Ann’s Monday gift counting linky.I am grateful to share his words with you today! I pray you are encouraged by them, as I have been.
I live in the Antipodes, the place on the opposite side of the
earth to Britain. Along with Australia we are often known as
‘the land down under’, those odd upside-down places at the
bottom of the world. If you live in the northern hemisphere
your winter is our summer and your spring is our autumn. We
celebrate Christmas in mid summer and Easter reminds us more
of dying than resurrection.
Also, due to an arbitrary line down the globe which nobody can
see, we are first to experience each new day. So while you
drag yourselves through Friday afternoon we are relaxing on
These differences made little or no impact upon me as a child.
My world consisted of the small town in which I grew up, my
school, friends, family and the familiar brown hills around
us. Slowly I became aware of the world ‘out there’, a remote
place full of wonder and also where bad things such as
robbers, snakes and pollution were. The stars in the sky were
more real to me than the world out there.
You also have to understand that I grew up in the ’70s when
technology meant black & white TV. The primary window I
had of the world was through books and heavy, dusty
Things are different now. I check Twitter and Kris is saying
#Hellomornings when I am about to brush my teeth and turn in for
the night. My 5-Minute Friday posts are written on
Saturday and I know what is happening in London as quickly as
I know the news from here in NZ.
Our children are growing up in a much more connected and
complicated world than I faced as a child. Added to this, my
children are being raised as Christians. This is new for me –
I was a self-declared atheist by age 10 and nobody around me
went to church either. My children are growing up antipodean
to the culture surrounding them, they are citizens of an
upside-down kingdom hidden in the midst of a secular society.
A society which is antagonistic toward the Kingdom of God, a
society which powerfully molds our hearts and minds into
conformity with it’s values.
When I find the world ‘out there’ is crowding in on me and I
am forgetting what makes me a New Zealander the best thing to
do is to take some time to enjoy this land in which we live
and to remind myself of the history of the place and it’s
peoples. So also as Christians we do well to retreat from the
world’s clamor to reacquaint ourselves with who we are in
Christ and remind ourselves of the history of redemption of
all peoples. It is good to bask in the glories of being “in
Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new
creation. The old has passed away; behold, the new has come.
(2 Corinthians 5:17 ESV)
Mike McArthur lives in a small crooked cottage overlooking the
beautiful Otago Harbour in Dunedin, New Zealand. He is married
and father of two daughters and a son. Mike works at an
emergency poison centre, preaches occasionally at Roslyn
Baptist Church and blogs at Words of Eternal
Life. You can also follow Mike on Twitter @Mike_McArthur