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Encouragement for the Journey 25 / 3 / 2012

Encouragement for the Journey

Greetings Fellow Traveller,

This weekend is an opportunity to celebrate with our neighbours, what it means to belong in community with one another.

I am sure we have our own understanding about who is our neighbour. Yet, when I reflect upon the teaching of Jesus, who told the parable of the Good Samaritan in response to the question: who is my neighbour? We discover that being a neighbour is not dependent upon both being the same kind of person in terms of ethnicity, religion, social status and cultural background.

Rather, being a neighbour is showing compassion and love to the one who is very different to me, this at the heart of Jesus’ teaching.

Indeed the context of this parable is that we demonstrate our relationship with God, by how we treat our neighbours the one who is very different to us.

Loving God and loving our neighbour are mutually inseparable and inter – dependent. You cannot have one without the other.

Last year I found this poem from the Persian Poet Sa’di, for me he embraces the teaching of Jesus in his poem The Rose Garden

 Human beings are like members of one body

created from one and the same essence.

When one member feels pain,

the rest are distraught.

You, unmoved by the sufferings of others, are unworthy of the name human.

 Meanwhile Peace in the Dignity of Difference

Alf

 

March 27, 2012 in Ministry Team's Blog by

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Encouragement for the Journey 18 / 3 / 2012

Encouragement for the Journey

Greetings Fellow Traveller,

Today we rejoice in the Sacrament of Baptism. This is always a special time and a reminder how we care for our children. The following poem challenges our attitude and behaviour with and around children:

Children Learn What They Live

 If children live with criticism,

They learn to condemn.

If children live with hostility,

They learn to fight.

If children live with ridicule,

They learn to be shy.

If children live with shame,

They learn to feel guilty.

If children live with encouragement,

They learn confidence.

If children live with tolerance,

They learn to be patient.

If children live with praise,

They learn to appreciate.

If children live with acceptance,

They learn to love.

If children live with approval,

They learn to like themselves.

If children live with honesty,

They learn truthfulness.

If children live with security,

They learn to have faith in themselves and others.

If children live with friendliness,

They learn the world is a nice place in

which to live.

 Copyright © 1972/1975 by Dorothy Law Nolte

This is the author-approved short version.

Even though written some years ago, it is still relevant and applicable in this current era of the 21st Century.

Meanwhile Peace in the Dignity of Difference

Alf

 

 

March 27, 2012 in Ministry Team's Blog by

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Encouragement for the Journey – 11 / 3 / 2012

Encouragement for the Journey

Greetings Fellow Traveller,

For the past six weeks I have been working on a DIY project. I will spare you the details, but, it requires lots of energy and commitment to achieve the required results. While working on it earlier this week, I allowed my imagination to wander and I thought what would it be like to be a professional builder? All kinds of images flooded into my awareness and I admit I prefer my current role in ministry. Someone has suggested that what I am is a builder, namely a community builder, a person who along with others builds a faith community.

This metaphor of building a community is a popular term, but, I prefer the metaphor of a community emerging, rather than building a community, that is too mechanical for me, we people are not pieces of wood that can be cut, shaped and nailed together.

Community means different things to be different people; one such description will never fulfil the varieties and functions of community. We know when we are part of one and when we feel estranged from a community. Community is one of those buzz words, of our 21st Century Western Society. Why? Because deep within our DNA, there is an inherent desire to belong with others on the journey. This lies deep within our human spirit and makes its presence felt for example in times of disaster and suffering drawing out of us compassion, generosity and caring. This was evident by those who went through the Canterbury earthquakes and continue to experience living with aftershocks.

The great religious traditions seem to agree there is a spiritual weave that draws humanity together, forming community. It becomes visible; emerging from that which was once previously invisible, to becoming alive and tangible.

If we talk about building community, we are doing injustice to what is already present; I suggest we recognise what is all ready emerging within our inter-dependent and inter-connected world; we may describe this as webs of belonging.

I like many things about being in community, but I prize one aspect over all, no one person has their own way. There are always others to be considered and accommodated, so the community grows and develops as we teach each other to care, practice compassion and to seek justice. This happens within the Divine Mystery we name as God, at whose loving heart is the mystery of community. I offer this quote from Henri Nouwen for your journey:

 ‘Community is first and foremost a gift of the Holy Spirit, not built upon mutual compatibility, shared affection, or common interests but upon having received the same divine breath, having been given a heart set aflame by the same divine fire, and having been embraced by the same divine love.’

Meanwhile Peace in the Dignity of Difference

Alf

 

 

March 13, 2012 in Ministry Team's Blog by

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ENCOURAGEMENT FOR THE JOURNEY – 4 / 3 / 2012

Encouragement for the Journey

Greetings fellow Traveller,

Today we celebrate National Children’s Day. The theme for this year’s celebration is:

TREASURE OUR CHILDREN’

This is a most welcome call to us all, considering New Zealand has the highest rate of child abuse in the Western World. According to the Paediatric Society NZ ‘On average, one child in New Zealand is killed each month by their parents and notifications of suspected abuse to Child Youth and Family (CYFS) are increasing by 2,000 a year.’

It is true that we measure a society, by how it treats its most vulnerable and weakest citizens. Here at St Aidans, we seek through a Kids Friendly approach to honour and treasure the children who come through our doors. Let us continue to do so, in ways that are respectful and creative. The following quotes may offer you food for thought:

‘Our society must make it right and possible for old people not to fear the young or be deserted by them, for the test of a civilization is the way that it cares for its helpless members. ‘ Pearl S. Buck (1892-1973), My Several Worlds [1954].

‘The test of the morality of a society is what it does for its children.’ ~Dietrich Bonhoeffer

‘A decent provision for the poor is the true test of civilization.’ ~Samuel Johnson, Boswell: Life of Johnson

“…the moral test of government is how that government treats those who are in the dawn of life, the children; those who are in the twilight of life, the elderly; those who are in the shadows of life; the sick, the needy and the handicapped. ”  ~ Last Speech of Hubert H. Humphrey

“A nation’s greatness is measured by how it treats its weakest members.” ~ Mahatma Ghandi

“Any society, any nation, is judged on the basis of how it treats its weakest members — the last, the least, the littlest.” Cardinal Roger Mahony, in a 1998 letter, Creating a Culture of Life

“A society will be judged on the basis of how it treats its weakest members and among the most vulnerable are surely the unborn and the dying,” ~Pope John Paul II

Meanwhile Peace in the Dignity of Difference

Alf

 

 

 

March 6, 2012 in Ministry Team's Blog by

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