My aim this month was to find some Kiwis who were meek, and therefore (according to Jesus) will inherit the earth.
It has been tough. Partly I've been distracted by life in lockdown, but mainly I've simply struggled to think of people who fit model of humility/meekness set by Jesus.
I discussed my thoughts about what Jesus meant by meekness in the 3rd beatitude at the beginning of the month. Over the month my shorthand for what I was looking for became 'a donkey-riding kiwi'. The idea is someone who leads in that strange 'upside down' kingdom way. I figure this is what Jesus is doing on Palm Sunday. So...not just someone who is humble, but someone leading out of a meek (πραΰς) character.
Who are these meek Kiwis? I could only think of two: Sir Michael Jones and someone I knew for a year at university I'll call Fred.
I guess Michael Jones is reasonably obvious. The donkey riding bit that stands out for me was his consistent refusal to play on Sundays. Completely incomprehensible to most Kiwis, and usually just filed under the cultural-religious category - a common depository for secular Westerners to deal with beliefs and behaviours that otherwise don't make sense. But Jones was offering prophetic leadership to a society that often places far too much weight on sport "For the Kingdom of God is not food and drink [and rugby], but righteousness and peace and joy in the Holy Spirit" Rom 14.17)
My other example of a donkey-riding kiwi was a bloke who taught me how to do evangelistic visiting at university hostels. Fred was clearly a donkey-rider in that most people found him weirdly focused on what he believed. He was always gentle and generous, but clearly was guided by a different light than most others around him.
Someone who went to school with him told me he was always exceptionally kind and lacking in egoism. When he became a Christian his humble character simply found a cause - a Jerusalem to ride his donkey toward. And I do wonder whether God has made only a few people humble like Jesus, and the rest of us need to discover our true selves in the other beatitudes?
Perhaps some of you feel I should have put in some secular examples. Ed Hilary, or even our Prime Minister? I'd love to hear of Kiwis you've known (or know about) who fit your definition of meek. They might be important people to know on day - Jesus says they'll inherit the earth. That'll be a shock to some of our well known national posers!