When Alistair was sharing details of his recent walk on one of the routes of the Camino de Santiago, he made a comment about the prayer our Parish Choir offers in the vestry before entering for worship. He said it was so easy to say the familiar words without entering fully into their meaning. This remark caused me to ponder on that prayer we all know so well and pray regularly—the Lord’s Prayer. I have to confess I get quite distressed if a congregation romps through it at great speed, without the measured pacing that allows everyone time to consider—even if only briefly—the magnitude of each phrase. This ability to reflect also needs to be true even when we are chanting. I remember once being gently and kindly taken to task by a priest from Tikanga Maori for leading the chanting of the Lord’s Prayer in Maori too quickly during a Marriage!
There is the story of a saintly person who used to spend a long time in prayer each day, but was said only to use the Lord’s Prayer as the trigger for these devotions—yet he never ever got further than the first phrase!
I am grateful to those who, Sunday by Sunday, lead us in intercession during Mass. These intercessions demand thoughtful preparation and can often remind us of people and issues we might not normally include in our praying. Our tradition is always to draw the intercessions to a conclusion with “Hail Mary…”. Once again, it is easy to allow the familiarity of these words to obscure what we are really saying. This is true, of course, throughout the communally said and sung parts of the Liturgy as well as in the hymns—enjoyment of a tune can distract attention!
Another example, which I have had to address for myself, occurs when we make our confession. It is so easy just to rattle off the words and receive absolution without any real and remorseful consideration of things we regret about our behaviour, of our waywardness or those aspects of our lives that have gone askew.
There is a constant risk that, in both public and private times of prayer, we allow a faithfully familiar pattern to set our spirits at ease rather than stirring them to life!
May God bless you all.
Canon Craufurd Murray
- Inasmuch basket: The City Mission helps as many people as possible, families and individuals, who are struggling to cope in winter conditions. Please continue to support them by putting your gifts of groceries and other household items in the basket at the back of the church.
- Sales Table & Marmalade: Sundays in the hall. Details Anne Ladd (981 5012).
- Book Swap: Sundays in the hall and weekdays in the lounge.
- You are invited to a cup of tea or coffee after the evening service each Sunday.
- Bible Study Group meets tomorrow, 7:15 pm in the school staff room. Details Peter Oakley (960 0974).
- Women’s Fellowship meets in the lounge Tuesday at 10:45 am (after the 10 o’clock Mass). Speaker Revd Anne Price. All welcome. Details Pat Evans (358 0127).
- Meditation Group meets on Tuesday, 5:15 pm in the parish lounge. Details Margaret Maclagan (359 9215).
- Vege Co-op: orders and deliveries on Wednesdays. Details Jill Woodside.
- Luke’s Spirituality Centre—Voices of Aotearoa: Trevor James on J.K. Baxter. Wednesday 6:00–7:30 pm at the Mary Potter Community Centre, 442 Durham St North. $10. All welcome.
- The Oxfords: three singers are expected at our services today. Free lunchtime recital Thursdays 18th and 25th August, 1:00 pm in the Christ’s College Chapel. Free concert with Christ’s College Choirs Saturday 20th August, 6:00 pm in the Christ’s College Assembly Hall.
- City Mission AGM: Thursday 4:30 pm at the Community Room, 276 Hereford St.
- Anglican Living AGM: 31 August 4:30 pm, Community Room, 276 Hereford St. Speaker Darral Campbell, Alzheimers Canterbury: Living Well with Dementia.
- Needlework Group meets monthly. Details Ros Calvert (322 6078).
Pastoral Care Team
West: Claire Preston 342 4650 Central: Michael Goodson 355 5374
North: Brenda Withell 383 2422 South: Jill Woodside 338 9590
East: Stella & Alistair Kinniburgh 021 0240 3247