Keep Turning Up

  Pictured: Steve standing outside the old hall at Papunya community, Northern Territory. His first concert there was in the winter of 1996.

Pictured: Steve standing outside the old hall at Papunya community, Northern Territory. His first concert there was in the winter of 1996.

The end of all things is near. Therefore be alert and of sober mind so that you may pray.  Above all, love each other deeply, because love covers over a multitude of sins.  Offer hospitality to one another without grumbling. Each of you should use whatever gift you have received to serve others, as faithful stewards of God’s grace in its various forms.

1 Peter 4:7-10

Twenty years ago I rolled into this remote community called Papunya in the Western Desert about 330kms west of Alice Springs. Sammy and Gordon Butcher of the famous Warumpi Band had invited me to come and do a concert with them. The old aircraft hanger style shed was the concert venue. We started at 4.00pm and went till after midnight. The entire town turned up, even all the camp dogs. It was one of those unforgettable events that connect your heart to a people. Over two decades I’ve been back many times to Papunya. I’ve sung at funerals, church services, music workshops… I’ve prayed with heart broken mothers at the clinic for their dying, petrol sniffing sons, and sat on the ground and listened to stories from the old men outside the store. 

There’s something about turning up. People see your love and the truth of Christ when you turn up, again and again. It takes about three cups of tea and some good conversations before genuine relationship is established out there in the bush. This world changes every week, nations and religions rage at war while politicians and the media promote their jaded propaganda. Terrorism and fear, broken promises, confusion and accusations.. it all reflects the pride, paranoia and lostness of the human state. And yet Jesus never changes. God’s love for humanity and his merciful compassion for us stays the same. He keeps turning up.

There are no ‘two minute noodle’ instant solutions for the complex problems the world is facing at the moment. It’s a long slow journey of unconditional love, forgiveness and understanding that will bring real change. It’s about getting back to the message of Jesus Christ and living by his simple, eternal law of grace.

My advice… Keep turning up. Keep turning up in your relationships, to church, to family and responsibilities, to work and to all that God has called you to. Don’t give up and get all critical and bitter. God will do His miraculous work if we keep turning up.

Jesus Christ. He is the same yesterday, today and forever.
Hebrews 13:8

Thanks for your prayers and support.

Godspeed.

Steve Grace