During the past week, we kept the Feast Day for the Builders of the Anglican Church in Aotearoa, New Zealand and Polynesia (1 September). My address at Mass that day was on the building-blocks of the Anglican Church, and on the foundations of Scripture, tradition, reason and experience. Strong and reliable foundations are necessary for any building. We are only too aware, at first hand, how destructive the forces of nature can be and their scant regard for the things we construct for our shelter and protection. And this has parallels in matters of faith. Often, for Christians, the environment is hostile. We are exposed to a world climate that frequently batters us with intimidation, ridicule, prejudice, greed and the gospel of self-interest. How, then, do we fare when subjected to the storms of life? Have we ever been surprised at how some of our strongly-held principles and values have folded with embarrassing ease?
When Jesus used an illustration about foundations in one of his parables, he spoke of the importance of the ground on which we choose to build. And since the damaging Christchurch earthquakes, we have become very conscious of the need for much ground improvement and remediation. This also applies to the life of the spirit. We need to be aware that, from time to time, some spiritual remediation may be required.
Reflecting on this, my mind has kept returning to an aspect of the Gospel a fortnight ago (Luke 13: 10–17), about someone ‘with a spirit that had crippled’ them and who could not ‘stand up straight’ in the presence of Jesus. It occurred to me that there are times when this person can be viewed as our representative. We all have conditions—attitudes, opinions, regrets, resentments, anxieties, insecurities—that cripple us, and Jesus calls us to come to him in order to be healed from them. He asks us to make the choice to draw closer to him. There is no coercion. But the outcome, if we respond, is that we are freed to change our stance and to look at the world around us differently. However, like the official mentioned in the Gospel, we may not feel that this is the right day on which anything about us should be changed. How wrong can we be! The beginning of Spring, in the garden, is a good time to improve the soil for planting. I would suggest it is also a very good time for some remediation in the ground of the soul.
That same Gospel passage spoke of ‘the entire crowd rejoicing’ at what Jesus was doing. We too can discover that same joyfulness as we experience the presence of Jesus liberating and releasing us from all that has a crippling effect on us.
Thanks be to God.
Canon Craufurd Murray
- Michaelmas: Festival Mass 29 September 7:00 pm.
- Parishioners with medical or first aid qualifications: please speak to Michael Graveston.
- Bible Study Group meets tomorrow 7:15 pm. Details Peter Oakley (960 0974).
- Meditation Group: Tuesday 5:15 pm in lounge. Details Margaret Maclagan (359 921).
- Needlework Group: Tuesday 7:15 pm in the lounge. Details Ros Calvert (322 6078).
- Rolleston Home Group: Wednesday 11:00 am, 107 Tennyson Street, Rolleston. Details Jenny Daniels (347 7629).
- Vege Co-op: orders and deliveries on Wednesdays. Details Jill Woodside.
- Quaker Lecture: A Peaceful World, Marian Hobbs. Thursday 7:30 pm. See poster.
- Cecilian Singers: Spring Cadenza, next Sunday 3:00 pm, Harewood Road Methodist Church. Guest artist Angus Simmons. Details Elisabeth Alberts (358 1155).
- Purging Carbon, dollar by dollar: 12 September 7:00 pm at S. Michael’s. Speaker Rod Oram—climate change, money and a sustainable economy. Introduction by Bishop Victoria, on our obligation to be good guardians of the Earth.
- Sales Table: Sundays in the hall. Helpers needed, speak to Anne Ladd (981 5012).
- Marmalade available on the sales table. Empty jars to the box in lounge please.
- Book Swap: Sundays in the hall and weekdays in lounge.
- Inasmuch basket: please continue to support the City Mission with your gifts.
Guest Preacher at Evensong
Tonight we welcome Revd John Paton, Precentor of Christ Church
Cathedral, Oxford, which is also the Chapel of Christ Church College.
John studied classics and was organ scholar at Merton College. He has
worked at Sherborne Abbey and Southwark Cathedral, and has been a
parish priest in Surrey. Now on sabbatical he has completed an intensive
German course at the Goethe Institut in Bonn. In Christchurch he
hopes to investigate what ChristChurch and Christ Church cathedrals
can do together to foster the link which they have had ever since the
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