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Encouragement for the Journey 29 March 2015

Encouragement for the Journey

Palm Sunday 2015 (3)

Greetings fellow traveller,

Last Tuesday I watched on TV, the Black Caps play South Africa in the Cricket World Cup Semi Final. The sound of jubilation and scenes of mass celebration when NZ batsman Grant Elliot hit the winning runs was truly amazing. The following day, while travelling to St Aidans, I heard one radio commentator describing the moment NZ won the game, as a spiritual experience.

I readily accept that spirituality comes in various forms and practices. However, while reflecting and preparing for            our Palm Sunday Celebration today, I asked myself a question; which was more intense the level of emotion on the road to Jerusalem or at Eden Park last Tuesday? Now factually I will never know, but I do see similarities. At Eden Park, some took off their coats and shirts and waved them around their heads, while in the triumphal entry story, people took off their cloaks and threw them on the ground. Also in both happenings, there was a verbal expression of joy and celebration.

Another interesting similarity is that the media are portraying Grant Elliot as the saviour, because he was the one who hit the winning runs, thus ensuring the Blacks Caps are in the Cricket World Cup final. Then in the Triumphant Entry story, the crowd shouts ‘Hosanna’ which means save, rescue, and saviour, as Jesus rides along on a colt,

Our emotions are part of what makes us human, and in the Triumphant Entry story, some religious leaders want Jesus to tell his disciples to ‘cool it’ and keep quiet. Jesus has a wonderful answer,” if they were silent, then the stones on the road would break into joy.

I sense that the crowd at Eden Park on Tuesday had to celebrate, just as those early disciples had to celebrate. You and I need moments to celebrate, to rejoice and be glad, this we do in and through Christ as part of our spiritual DNA. A hymn we will sing this morning from Shirley Murray expresses this so well:

Give thanks for life the measure of our days,          

mortal, we pass through beauty that decays,

yet sing to God our hope, our love, our praise

Give thanks for those who made their life a light

caught from the Christ – flame, bursting through the night,

who touched the truth, who burned for what is right

 

And for our own, our living, and our dead,

thanks for the love by which our life is fed,

a love not changed by time or death or dread.

 

Give thanks for hope, that like the wheat, the grain

lying in darkness does its life retain,

in resurrection to grow green again.

Meanwhile peace in our celebration moments

Alf

March 31, 2015 in Ministry Team's Blog by

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Encouragement for the Journey 22 March 2015

Encouragement for the Journey

New Life

 

Greetings fellow travellers,

Last summer I spent 8 days at a Benedictine monastery in the Bombay hills just south of Auckland. A handful of nuns make up the small community along with a priest who visits daily. While the nuns are cloistered, the chapel had a separate area set aside for visitors so I was able to join in the worship, singing the hours at 5:20am for Matins, 8:30 for Lauds, 12 for Sext, 3 for None and 8pm for Vespers. Each day communion was celebrated.

After almost a week of a pared down liturgy of holy communion I was surprised to find that the Sunday celebration was far more elaborate and included a part where the priest walked down the aisle with a small bucket and a silver instrument that looked a bit like a baby’s rattle. He dipped this into his bucket and proceeded to splash the congregation with holy water, telling us to remember our baptism.

I was only six weeks old when I was baptised, so I can’t actually conjure up a memory of the event, but if I know what it means to be baptised then I can understand what this act and this call to remembrance is aiming to do. It isn’t about remembering the feel of the water on my head and the oil on my forehead, or about recalling an emotionally moving event or reminding myself about having made a conscious choice to follow Jesus. It’s aiming to help me remember that in my baptism I became so identified with Christ that I am joined with him in both his death and in his resurrection. Paul wrote this to the church in Rome:

 ‘Do you not know that all of us who have been baptized into Christ Jesus were baptized into his death? Therefore we have been buried with him by baptism into death, so that, just as Christ was raised from the dead by the glory of the Father, so we too might walk in newness of life. For if we have been united with him in a death like his, we will certainly be united with him in a resurrection like his.’

I wonder what it might mean, practically, to remember my baptism? Would it help me to walk in newness of life?

If I were to remember my baptism effectively, how might it change the way I live (what I spend my time – and money – on; where I shop and how I treat my stuff)?

The way I am in relationship with others and with myself? The way I pray?

I invite you to journey with these questions in this last week of Lent as we turn with Jesus toward Jerusalem and the events of Holy Week.

Blessings,

Roxy

March 31, 2015 in Ministry Team's Blog by

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Encouragement for the Journey 15 March 2015

Encouragement for the Journey

Ordinary Time

Greetings fellow traveller,

This week I took my seven-year-old grandson Luka to School. During our 10-minute car trip, we talked about the lessons he was having that day and what he was learning in RE (Religious Education – he attends a Catholic School). He shared with me the story of Jesus stilling the storm, almost verbatim from the biblical story.

I was delighted with what I heard, that he could tell me the story, but also his ability to listen to the teacher, the vocabulary he used, and memory skills demonstrated, these showed a healthy child development.

However, when we mature into adults there is offered to us another way of approaching scripture in particular the parables of Jesus. It’s the way of letting scripture read our lives. This means listening to a parable as a description of our ordinary lives, in which the mystery of God is present offering us the opportunity to change and transform our lives.

I recall reading somewhere: parables are about ordinary life, to show what our ordinary lives may become.

In the midst of our ordinary lives, with its myriad of challenges, demands, grief’s, uncertainties, and unknowns there may come into our awareness an expectation that God will miraculously rescue us and change our ordinary situation into one of blissful utopia.

Not so.

Rather, in the midst of our ordinary lives, we are invited to change the way we respond and see the situation we are currently experiencing, through different eyes.

A parable offers such an opportunity, to read our lives, and to respond to God’s gracious presence in our ordinary lives, so we maybe transformed and life takes on a different hue.

Meanwhile peace in our ordinary lives

Alf

March 31, 2015 in Ministry Team's Blog by

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Encouragement for the Journey 1 March 2015

Encouragement for the Journey

Children's Day 2015

Greetings fellow traveller,

While travelling to St Aidans this week, I was channel surfing on my car radio and decided the concert programme was the most appropriate station while I was sitting in traffic, waiting to access the motorway system. The continuity announcer introduced a piece of music by Amadeus Mozart, which he wrote in 1764, when just eight years old. It was his first complete Symphony (Symphony No. 1 in E Flat.) For those among us who are music aficionados, it contained allegro molto, andante and presto.

Yes, Mozart was a child prodigy, but we would be wrong to think that only a few of us mere mortals actually have those seeds of greatness inside us. I am a great believer in the acorn principle. For each child born, is called into something very unique, we may describe this, as a seed or acorn of giftedness. For some that seed often lays dormant within the soul, while for others, for many reasons it starts to grow, first a tentative shoot, then a young slender tree, and then finally the mighty oak.

Today, at our Kids N All Service, we celebrate National Children’s Day. Here at St Aidans, a Kids Friendly Church, where each child, young person and Adult, has giftedness, which is particular and unique.

The most wonder – filled aspect of our giftedness, is that it is not just for personal enjoyment and satisfaction, rather, it is there also for the blessing of others.

Sometimes, we know what our giftedness is, while other times we are uncertain. A community of faith needs to be a safe place where we may learn, experiment and discover our giftedness, along with encouraging and creating space for one other to bring forth their own giftedness.

What amazing possibilities we are being offered here at St Aidans through each other’s giftedness. Of course the key is to ensure we give space for each other’s giftedness to shine, enrich and bless one another. That is something we may also celebrate today on National Children’s Day.

Meanwhile Peace

Alf

March 31, 2015 in Ministry Team's Blog by

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Encouragement for the Journey 1 March 2015

Encouragement for the Journey

 

Greetings fellow traveller,

While travelling to St Aidans this week, I was channel surfing on my car radio and decided the concert programme was the most appropriate station while I was sitting in traffic, waiting to access the motorway system. The continuity announcer introduced a piece of music by Amadeus Mozart, which he wrote in 1764, when just eight years old. It was his first complete Symphony (Symphony No. 1 in E Flat.) For those among us who are music aficionados, it contained allegro molto, andante and presto.

Yes, Mozart was a child prodigy, but we would be wrong to think that only a few of us mere mortals actually have those seeds of greatness inside us. I am a great believer in the acorn principle. For each child born, is called into something very unique, we may describe this, as a seed or acorn of giftedness. For some that seed often lays dormant within the soul, while for others, for many reasons it starts to grow, first a tentative shoot, then a young slender tree, and then finally the mighty oak.

Today, at our Kids N All Service, we celebrate National Children’s Day. Here at St Aidans, a Kids Friendly Church, where each child, young person and Adult, has giftedness, which is particular and unique.

The most wonder – filled aspect of our giftedness, is that it is not just for personal enjoyment and satisfaction, rather, it is there also for the blessing of others.

Sometimes, we know what our giftedness is, while other times we are uncertain. A community of faith needs to be a safe place where we may learn, experiment and discover our giftedness, along with encouraging and creating space for one other to bring forth their own giftedness.

What amazing possibilities we are being offered here at St Aidans through each other’s giftedness. Of course the key is to ensure we give space for each other’s giftedness to shine, enrich and bless one another. That is something we may also celebrate today on National Children’s Day.

Meanwhile Peace

 

Alf

March 17, 2015 in Ministry Team's Blog by

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