My wife and I shared an umbrella like old times and explored via the open top sightseeing bus and cruise boat on the River Danube. We enjoyed a classical concert in St. Stephen’s Basilica on the first night and tea in a jazz club with a student friend on the second.
One of the things we learned on the tour was that Budapest has been home to numerous peoples and rulers over the centuries. This beautiful city has been under siege, conquered, destroyed and rebuilt many times.
Listening to this complex and sometimes sad and brutal history, we could respond in different ways. One minute we could feel cynical and say, ‘What’s the point?’ Heroes struggle and people work hard to create something beautiful only for it to be destroyed. It wouldn’t be hard to get discouraged! But the next minute we stop to admire something and can’t help but be amazed by the resilience and determination of human beings, with fresh generations rising to rebuild and bring about something new.
Jesus spoke about not just the possibility but the necessity of new beginnings to a man called Nicodemus in John ch3. He said no one can see the Kingdom of God in all its renewing power unless they are reborn inside.
He clearly meant more than human effort for He went on to speak of the work of God’s Holy Spirit in people’s hearts and lives, and the need for us to trust in something way beyond ourselves. Ultimately we need to have faith in Him and all He has achieved through His death and resurrection.
The first time someone does this can feel pretty radical, a profound change of direction, an exhilarating awareness of unexplored realities. But this is a beginning, not the end, so in fact we are constantly being renewed and redirected by Christ to rise and build that which is good. He is not afraid to take on the challenge of our lives, which can often seem in ruins. He is more than able to produce something beautiful. Yup. Even in us!
Therefore we should be careful not to grow dull or jaundiced in attitude, but remain prayerfully open, willing and obedient daily to His wise counsel and motivating love.
We say, Yes Lord, build Your Kingdom here!