Pete Hughes, founder of KXC church in London – a church that sees itself as having a specific mandate to reach 20s and 30s, who are deserting the church in their droves – came to Oxford recently for the Next Generation conference over at St Aldates Church. His talks are online here, but I just wanted to flag up something he said in this conference.
Pete was talking about getting together with his friends in London to dream up what a redeemed London would look like. They did the same thing for Oxford too, and the result is an incredible, prophetic image of how things could be.
I know that we are unlikely to see all of this in our lifetime, and I believe that it’s going to take a miracle to see it whatever the case. Nonetheless – imagine if this were to happen.
* * *
It was 8 o’clock on a Monday morning and I was standing by Oxford station – and I saw a new Oxford coming down from the heavens.
I saw a teenager leap out of bed for sheer joy, laughing with the freshness of the morning. I saw elderly women skipping up the high street, and kids going to play at Meadow Lane. I saw a football match starting on Botley Park, and the teams were mixed races from every people group – asylum seekers and taxi drivers, policemen and prisoners, pensioners and politicians, people from every race and class were playing and laughing in the sun.
I saw a street party and a local festival, where people were eating and dancing as there was hope again. I looked across the whole of Oxford, and saw a community of hope, a community of grace, and a community of warmth. In the clearness of the morning I could see for miles.
And there was no more asthma. No more unwanted pregnancies. No more death, no more violence, no more overcrowding, and nobody was too busy. The River Thames was flowing with crystal clear water.
There were no more needles and condoms in the alleyways. No more family breakdown. No more hopelessness. No more discrimination. No more drunken clubbing, no more threats, or fears – no more need. No more sadness and tears, only joy and laughter. No more poverty, only real and useful employment.
The dividing walls were gone. Families and neighbours were restored.
There was no more rubbish.
No dealers, no guns, no knives, no dangerous dogs.
No racial tensions, just one harmonious mix in technicolour.
And I looked, and saw kids playing football in the street, and the neighbours cheered them on.
I saw homes without locks on their doors, where a welcome was always guaranteed.
I saw a playground with climbing frames that weren’t rusty, where children threw themselves in the air without fear of harm and teenagers helped little ones up to highest climbs.
I saw an Oxford where neighbours shared favours and returned them without pressure or obligations.
I saw an Oxford where hearts were unbroken, and partnerships were lasting, peaceful and happy.
I saw an Oxford where families ate and played together.
I saw an Oxford where tears were wiped away.
* * *
You can listen to the talk proper here. The section I’ve transcribed is from 25:00 to 27:20.
I hope I’m not violating copyright by reposting this – if so please contact me and I’ll take it down.