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Encouragement for the Journey 23 March 2014

Encouragement for the Journey

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Greetings Fellow Traveller, 

I write this on the tenth day of the search for Malaysian Airlines plane Flight 370. Like many others around the world, I am sure you have your own ideas and theories of what may have happened to the plane. It is important to remember that while we may speculate on what occurred on board Flight 370, we do not yet know or fully understand. Alongside this we can only barely imagine what it must be like for the families and friends of the passengers and crew, living with not knowing, whether their loved one is dead or alive.

A question I have repeatedly asked myself since the plane went missing, is how would I react if I had a loved one on that particular flight? I am not sure how I would react. For who can predict the intense human responses to a catastrophic event such as this?

To live with not knowing, is part of being human, some unfortunately experience this in varying degrees of intensity. I recall Fleur telling me how her mother during World War 2 waited five years not knowing if her husband who was a sailor on the HMS Prince of Wales was dead or alive. She eventually learnt he had been held a prisoner in a Japanese Prisoner of War of Camp for five years.

Much prayer has been offered, and who knows what effect this will have on this mystery and those who are intimately affected by the disappearance of Flight 370. You may well ask what more can we do? These events’ surrounding this disappearance has reminded me to acquire understanding. Without understanding we will speculate. Understanding will also make a difference in our many interactions with others who we may meet on the journey. Understanding will lead us to compassion. This week I discovered this quote from William Blake:

If God is anything, he is understanding….

Understanding is acquired by means of suffering or distress or experience.

Will, desire, pain, envy etc, are all natural. But understanding is acquired.

Meanwhile peace and understanding

Alf

 

March 30, 2014 in Ministry Team's Blog by

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Encouragement for the Journey 16 March 2014

Cpmpassion wings

Greetings Fellow Traveller, 

The theme for our Café Church this morning is:

COMPASSION

This morning I want to introduce you to The Charter for Compassion. This is a document which urges the peoples and religions of the world to embrace the core value of Compassion. It is a call to bring the world together…

The principle of compassion lies at the heart of all religious, ethical and spiritual traditions, calling us always to treat all others as we wish to be treated ourselves. Compassion impels us to work tirelessly to alleviate the suffering of our fellow creatures, to dethrone ourselves from the centre of our world and put another there, and to honour the inviolable sanctity of every single human being, treating everybody, without exception, with absolute justice, equity and respect.

It is also necessary in both public and private life to refrain consistently and empathically from inflicting pain. To act or speak violently out of spite, chauvinism, or self-interest, to impoverish, exploit or deny basic rights to anybody, and to incite hatred by denigrating others—even our enemies—is a denial of our common humanity. We acknowledge that we have failed to live compassionately and that some have even increased the sum of human misery in the name of religion.

We therefore call upon all men and women ~ to restore compassion to the centre of morality and religion ~ to return to the ancient principle that any interpretation of scripture that breeds violence, hatred or disdain is illegitimate ~ to ensure that youth are given accurate and respectful information about other traditions, religions and cultures ~ to encourage a positive appreciation of cultural and religious diversity ~ to cultivate an informed empathy with the suffering of all human beings—even those regarded as enemies.

We urgently need to make compassion a clear, luminous and dynamic force in our polarized world. Rooted in a principled determination to transcend selfishness, compassion can break down political, dogmatic, ideological and religious boundaries. Born of our deep interdependence, compassion is essential to human relationships and to a fulfilled humanity. It is the path to enlightenment, and indispensable to the creation of a just economy and a peaceful global community. http://charterforcompassion.org/

Meanwhile Peace in our acts of Compassion

Alf

 

March 30, 2014 in Ministry Team's Blog by

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Encouragement for the Journey 9 March 2014

Encouragement for the Journey

Journey

Greetings fellow traveller,

I am writing this prior to going with my brother John to Gt Barrier Island. This will be my third visit to this wonderful island, which is situated 100 kilometres north-east of central Auckland in the outer Hauraki Gulf. My first visit was in the late 1990s when I went to supervise the methadone drug program on the island. My second visit was about eight years ago, when Fleur and I travelled over to take an ecumenical church service and offer pastoral care.

Returning to visit the Island will give me an opportunity to notice the changes that have taken place, along with enjoying special places of significance which evoke memories of past visits, conversations and moments of wonder.

When we leave a place and return after a period of time, we always remember it has it was, for that is what remains in our memories. We often forget that life continues to evolve and change in our absence. I was reminded of this while I was in the Arrivals Hall at Auckland Airport, waiting for my brother to arrive.

There were families and couples waving, hugging, kissing and crying tears of joy in their re-uniting with each other. I had no way of knowing how long they had not seen each other, I did not need to know, but to witness the joy of their re-uniting warmed my heart, then I had my own re-uniting with my brother.

When we are apart from someone, their world and our world continues to change, we go through all manner of experiences. Each will leave its mark upon us in a different way. It is important that we acknowledge this and allow ourselves to be surprised by the newness of being in the lives of others we may not have seen for a period of time.

In our ever changing lives and world, we are always within the One we name as God, who changes not, yet our experience of God is forever changing. For we each change in some way moment by moment with each passing day.

Meanwhile Peace and Go Well. Delight and wonder on your journey within the mystery of faith and love

Alf

 

March 30, 2014 in Ministry Team's Blog by

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Encouragement for the Journey 2 March 2014

Encouragement for the Journey Nat Kids Day

Greetings fellow Traveller,

Today is National Children’s Day. This week I found this sentence on the NZ Herald Web Site: Statisticians have revised the number of children in poverty in New Zealand from 265,000 to 285,000, or from 25 per cent to 27 per cent of all children. These are quite startling figures. I wrote the following two years ago and it is still very relevant and appropriate for today.

New Zealand has one of the highest rates 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

Meanwhile Peace in the celebration and care of our children

Alf

 

 

March 30, 2014 in Ministry Team's Blog by

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