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Encouragement for the Journey 21 February 2016

Encouragement for the Journey

Friends

Greetings fellow Traveller,

This Sunday is our first Café Church for the year, with its theme: of the stranger in our midst. I would like to have been present for this one. However, I will be in Queenstown en- route to Lindis Ridge (Central Otago) for a wilderness retreat.

Members of our Kids Friendly Team are leading our Café Church today. Please offer them your support and encouragement.

Our theme of welcoming the stranger is so relevant for the living of our days in these ever changing times.

A stranger can be anyone. A stranger can be a family member, to groups of people whose way of life and being in the world, appear to be on first glance to be different to ones own.

This stranger image could be expressed through a difference of nationality, customs, mores, living patterns, ethnicity, religious expression, physical disabilities, politics, economics, and ways of dress, as well as other factors, contribute to distrust, racism, sexism, prejudice and violence etc.

You may be wondering how do I show hospitality to the stranger. Before we ask that question, we need to look inside ourselves, for there resides the prerequisite to our welcoming. We need to ask ourselves questions like:

  • How is our heart, does love or fear dwell there?
  • What is the foundation of our lives built on?
  • What are we afraid of in the eyes of the stranger?
  • Who is responsible for our unease around the stranger?

Once we are able to truthfully acknowledge our own fear and prejudice around the stranger, we may choose to welcome and practice loving hospitality to the stranger in our midst. This to me seems a healthy way of responding……

Meanwhile peace and welcome

Alf

February 28, 2016 in Ministry Team's Blog by

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Encouragement for the Journey 7 February 2016

Encouragement for the Journey

 Greenstone Moebius Band

Greetings fellow traveller,

I am writing this on Tuesday 3rd of February. I sense by the time you read this on Sunday 7th February; we will have seen a spate of protests having taken place across our nation. These will be mainly against the Trans-Pacific Partnership Agreement (TPPA), and it involves eleven Asian and Pacific-rim countries, including the United States. This agreement is being signed here in Auckland on Thursday 4th February at the Sky City Convention Centre. The negotiations for this TPPA have been shrouded in secrecy. The document is complex and opinion is divided on whether it is good or not so good for us here in New Zealand.

Another possible place for protest, could take place on the lower Te Tii Marae at Waitangi. The theme of protest this year is also the TPPA with some Maori saying that in accordance with the Treaty of Waitangi, Maori should have been consulted at the negotiation stage of the TPPA and not kept in the dark.

It is important that in any democracy, the voice of the people is heard, with people having a right to protest, in ways, which are peaceful without violence to people or property.

I am sure you have your own thoughts and opinions on such protests. At different moments in our world’s history, individual leaders of the Christian Church have been at the forefront of protest; from William Wilberforce (Politician and Evangelical Christian – abolition of slavery), Martin Luther King Jr (Baptist Minister – Civil Rights Movement) and Bishop Desmond Tutu – Anglican Bishop and Anti – Apartheid Campaigner). I leave you with this quote:

“One has not only a legal, but a moral responsibility to obey just laws. Conversely, one has a moral responsibility to disobey unjust laws.” Martin Luther King Jr., Letter from the Birmingham Jail

An important question, which only as individuals may we answer, should the Christ follower be involved in peaceful protest? If yes, what are the issues we may engage in? And, what is a right and peaceful way to protest?

Meanwhile Peace

Alf

February 28, 2016 in Ministry Team's Blog by

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