Significant events in our lives stay in the memory, and sometimes even the dates of
those events are locked in as well. Today, 28 August, is one of those for my family. It
is the day on which we arrived in New Zealand, at the invitation of the Bishop of
Wellington, thirty-five years ago. With this anniversary looming, I have reflected
during the past week on what I am about. Writing a report for the monthly Vestry
meeting helped focus my thoughts, and I was pleased to find that the Epistle reading
appointed for the Vestry Mass was from 1 Thessalonians 2. However, I then
discovered the Lectionary was selective and certain verses were omitted—among
them the one that had captured my attention: ‘So deeply do we care for you that we
are determined to share with you not only the gospel of God but also our own selves,
because you have become very dear to us’ (verse 8). These words seem to speak
volumes about the kind of outlook I would hope for in parish clergy.
But there is another profound insight that comes immediately to mind, from the
beginning of Paul’s letter to the Romans: ‘I want to be among you to be myself
encouraged by your faith as well as you by mine.’ I am constantly thankful for what I
receive in this way from parishioners. I am also increasingly aware of the wide
variety of ministries that extend outwards from S. Michael’s into the city and the
wider community. And, for all of us, when we feel we are not achieving or offering as
much as we would like to, Paul reminds us that ‘by the Spirit at work within us, God
is able to accomplish far more than all we can ask or imagine’ (see Ephesians 3: 20).
Recently, we have been blessed by the gifted music ministry of The Oxfords, who
have enriched our worship over the past weeks. We thank them for their special
contribution to our Parish Choir and wish them ‘Godspeed’ as they return home.
Thanks be to God.
Canon Craufurd Murray