From the Vicar
Sunday, 4 December
Sunday, 27 November
Do we long for Christ’s coming or are we caught up in the busyness of the end of another year and the rush of Christmas? As with Lent (another season of preparation) one way of marking Advent is by taking up a new daily practice for the season. It could be pausing at midday for a short prayer, adding an element of worship to your evening, or perhaps just giving yourself extra time each day to sit in quiet contemplation and long for the coming of Christ. Then we can join with the rest of the Church in expressing that ancient desire, “O come, O come Emmanuel.”
Sunday, 20 November
Last Sunday’s readings, where in the gospel Jesus encouraged us to have “patient endurance” in the face of trials and tribulations, included this verse from 2 Thessalonians 3: “And as for you, brothers and sisters, never tire of doing what is good.” It’s the Bible asking the Church (which means all of us) to keep being faithful, because God is faithful. To go out and meet Jesus in the messiness of the world, and to be his hands and feet in amongst that mess. It’s asking us to leave a Christ-shaped wake behind.
Sunday, 13 November
Sunday, 6 November
Which, when you think about it, is a pretty good description of what Christian witness should be. Not a self-righteous, moralistic screed (there is enough of that in the world at the moment, even without the Church) but rather lives that reflect the liberating forgiveness, the transforming power and the relentless love of our God. Of course such lives cannot be manufactured, they cannot be put on or faked. But they can be lived. Saints, the BBC speaker explained, “are human beings who have an irreducible desire to travel towards the centre of things, to the dwelling place of God.” Let us be inspired by the Saints of history and pursue the heart of all things by seeking more and more of God. Let us live our lives to the full!
Sunday, 23 October
Sunday, 16 October
Sunday, 9 October
Sunday, 25 September
The encouragement is found in Luke 16:10, “Whoever is faithful in a very little is faithful also in much.” Don’t despise what it is that you can do, whatever that may be, as too small, not worth it or not good enough. It may be much more than you realise. Lest we forget it, God’s plan to rescue our world, to heal its brokenness and to make right our mistakes, doesn’t rely on the councils of nations. For God’s plan is his Son. And where else should we expect to see Jesus at work, but among his faithful people.
Sunday, 18 September
Sunday, 11 September
Sunday, 28 August
Pentecost, Sunday 5 June
Sunday, 24 April
Sunday, 6 March
(1st Sunday of Lent)
Sunday, 20 February
Sunday, 6 February (Waitangi Day)
Sunday, 8 August 2021
Sunday, 18 July 2021
Sunday, 25 April (ANZAC Day)
Easter Sunday, 4 April 2021
Sunday, 14 February 2021
Sunday, 8th Nov, 2020
My earliest political memory is of being in primary school and sending a card to a classmate who was away ill for a month. To cheer him up I included the biggest joke of the year, “What goes up and never comes down? Muldoon’s prices!”. The tragedy for me was that the 1984 snap election then took place with Muldoon losing, so by the time my friend returned to school he told me that my joke was all wrong and that it should have said “Lange’s prices”. Such was my introduction to the vagaries of politics.
This last month has been something of a festival for political junkies with first our own election and referenda and then, this past week, elections in the United States. Of course, like a World Cup final, the nature of elections is to have winners and losers and so some of us will have been delighted by the results of our own ballot and others of us will be counting the years to the next vote and a chance to try again. The elections in America are more distant but, this year in particular, I think we have all been keenly interested and might even have had our own (sometimes strong) views about who should win or lose.
Is there any guide for Christians when thinking about politics? Can we claim that God is on one side or another? In the past I have heard preachers claim exactly that - unfortunately they don’t always pick the same side!
This year I have been reminded that a lot of what Jesus spoke about is very relevant to the political season, especially perhaps in countries where the divisions are the greatest. What am I thinking of? Teachings like, “love your enemies” or “bless those who curse you, bless and do not curse” and even “turn the other cheek”. I am not suggesting that as Christians we shouldn’t be interested or involved in politics, nor am I saying that we shouldn’t campaign and advocate for those ideas, policies or values that we believe in. Quite the contrary, I believe that part of our call as Christians is to be active in the public space - to use the opportunity we have as citizens of a democracy to influence our nation.
Politics matters, as do elections. But the Kingdom of Heaven is much bigger than who sits in the Beehive (or the White House) for the next term. In a world where politics is about winners over losers, which (in some countries at least) sees political differences as grounds for division and hostility, we should remind ourselves that for Jesus the priority was not to beat our opponents but to love them. For in doing so we testify to the power of the Gospel to transform our world.
Sunday, 18th Oct, 2020
The cathedral at Salisbury is considered one of the best examples of Gothic architecture, although it is its spire (at 123m the tallest in the United Kingdom) that gets all the attention. Visitors come to marvel at its spiky heights, or to look with unease at its supporting pillars - which noticeably bulge from carrying the weight of the tower. Perhaps such unease is warranted, it has now been discovered that some of the cathedral is held up by workmen’s lunch wrappers (well, in a manner of speaking).
This week it was reported that masons working on the restoration of the cathedral have discovered that gaps between the stones have been plugged with hundreds of oyster shells. It is believed that these were the remnants of medieval stone masons’ lunches, they would have carried the oysters up with them and (when done with lunch) used the shells to pack out the stones as they were laid. Today’s restorers use more modern techniques but still, struggling to replace one block that weighed 380kg, they marvel at what masons in the 13th century were able to achieve.
There is of course something of a parallel between the restoration of an old church building and the process of renewal in a local church. Indeed, the Catholics call this process divine renovation. Renovation is a concept with which we, as DIY property-mad New Zealanders, are familiar. It is not about the full-scale demolition of what has gone before but at the same time it is more than a fresh coat of paint. It’s about getting in and restoring and reinvigorating what is already there, while also updating and replacing where needed. It is divine because as we seek the renewal of our Church – and this should be our constant prayer – we are asking God to be the builder.
As Anglicans we are proud to enjoy a wonderful heritage of worship. But that doesn’t mean there is no need for renovation. To a certain extent elements of our worship have always been changing and so from time to time you will notice some changes in our services or music. The intent behind this is the same as with any renovation, it is to enhance what has gone before by bringing what is needed for a new generation. As we begin to plan for ways for bringing children and families back into our Church life, these are things we will have to consider and try. In the meantime, hearing the story of Salisbury’s physical renovation I am very grateful for our (comparatively) younger, and easier to repair, old wooden buildings!