Anglican Diocese of Armidale

The Anglican Diocese of Armidale exists to glorify God by introducing people to Jesus and helping them home to heaven.


In Focus

Arrivals and departures

Tuesday, April 02, 2019

Yesterday was a big day for my family as we suddenly became a bigger family. As I woke to the pre 6am alarm, my first reaction was that such a time should not exist and that to be woken earlier, well that should never be allowed. It made yesterday not just a big day in our family but a long day. On the way to the airport for a flight to Townsville, a text message arrived: “Waters broke at 4.30, Caesarean at 7.30.” Our other pregnant daughter was called into action to mind our first grandson while brother and sister- in-law were off to the hospital to deliver not one child but two. Twins!


I will admit to being an anxious flyer but I am a more anxious father and grandfather. From

Sydney to Brisbane contact with the outside world was cut off. In a coffee shop opposite

departure Gate 20 to Townsville, the coffee was a secondary thought to getting a news update on the arrivals. To my frustration I had not charged my phone so after a frantic search for a charging station, I received the news of the safe birth of two small boys. I apologise to all the gender removers but I have become the grandfather of two healthy male boys.


My first reaction was to thank God who knitted them together in their mother’s womb, breathed life into them and entrusted their little lives to a family who would take that trust seriously. I prayed that these two boys would know they have been beautifully, wonderfully and purposefully made. I prayed they would understand that they are made in the image of God. I prayed they know their inherent dignity and cherish with respect this same God given dignity in others.


While I could have prayed for the barista to make the coffee hotter, I found myself praying that these two boys would grow to be great men bringing blessing to the world they have entered.


I didn’t pray they be great sportsmen or academics. Nor did I pray that they be rich and famous. I did however pray that they’d be powerful people. Not powerful like the modern elites whose political ambitions come before their constituents. I prayed that their power would be seen in their love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. These were the attributes of Jesus Christ and I know of no more powerful person for good. There is no greater calling and no greater expression of a person’s power in life than to live a life where you lay it down for the good of others. I believe that this is a worthy prayer for our children but the journey to a life like this is fraught with difficulties. That being the case, I prayed that God would extend His grace to these two boys and that they would know the forgiveness of God when they fail and that they would prove merciful toward those who might fail them.


On arrival in Townsville, phone now charged, I rang for the names. It is good to pray for people by name and really good for a grandfather to remember his grandchildren’s names while he can. I have learnt in the age of strange name that as a grandfather you don’t react. I have to admit there was a time when Tigerlily would have tested me but it’s grown on me. Thankfully I was not tested. Noa was first and River was second. I could live with these but did wonder if the names were inspired by the waters breaking at 4.30 in the morning.


As a grandfather I spend a little more time reflectively than I used to. As I sat awaiting my

departure considering the new arrivals, I was reminded that this is the reality of life lived each day under the sun. Arrivals come and departures go. Children are born and grandparents die, sadly not always in that order. Whether you’re just arriving or just departing, there can be nothing more important than the hope and promises of God for life. Big days, bringing bigger family, makes the bigger life God offers so important.


Like an airport, the arrival lounge of the joy of new life in this world is not that far from the

departure lounge of death’s grief. But what if death could give birth to a new arrival lounge of

eternal joy beyond which there is no departures, just the promised presence of God with us and a reunion with loved ones and the promise of forever fellowship. Well that’s the promise of Easter! It is a great comfort for a grandparent or parent who welcomes Easter’s Christ to know they can depart in peace knowing that the arrival of our children and their children is in safe hands.