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One day in Wanaka

I remember that evening, stepping into that old little chapel off the side streets of Lake Wanaka, New Zealand… We’d just come off a series of long drives through the south island, and had rolled into town in the late afternoon a little saddle sore. Joyce was resting and recovering at our lodging, but I wanted to stretch my legs, and so took myself for a brisk walk around town.

I’d lost track of exactly which day of the week it was, as you sometimes do on holidays. But a familiar tune, and some hearty singing drew me towards a churchy looking building at one end of town. Turns out I was just in time for their weekly service. A double handful of locals, and just as many travellers and visitors like me made up the humble little congregation of worshippers that day. I met an Olympic snowboarder from Canada, a teacher from Denmark, a farming family from just outside of town… And we prayed, and sat together under God’s word, and oh how we sang. And I remember feeling the warmest I did that whole trip in that little town of not-exactly-strangers. True, we’d never met each other before, and half of us would probably clear out by the end of the week, but we weren’t strangers to each other. How could we treat each other strange when in fact we were family, united by a bond more profound than blood. Because if my Father, and your Father are the same, then in my book, that makes us family.