Two days ago, the Olympic Games opened in Rio. All the revelations about drug-taking in sport have soured the build-up to these Games and may have created an atmosphere of cynicism towards new records. Inevitably there is suspicion that drugs will still be used in the hope they evade detection. This is disappointing for the ‘clean’ athletes who have dedicated themselves to their particular sports and proudly represent their countries.
Problems associated with illegal drug-taking and its anti-social effects are now daily news items. There is a frequent cry that the Government should be doing more both to reduce and prevent such behaviour. Often these comments seem to lack any appreciation of the place of personal responsibility. People choose to take drugs. Their action may be caused by many different influences and motivations, and there is no doubt that some of these are tragic and require a compassionate response. But we cannot live our lives without self-discipline. It is a sign of our respect for who we are as well as for others.
I have been wondering whether issues surrounding drug-taking reveal a spiritual vacuum in our society. That is to say, does it reveal an emptiness of the soul and a longing to fill it with something that seems to offer happiness or solace or which acts as an escape? These may be short-term outcomes but they ultimately prove to be illusions that sadly can lead to addiction.
But let us not conclude by thinking these issues are invariably ‘someone else’s problem’! They raise questions for us about our own will-power and also the extent to which we fill our lives with things that ultimately turn out to be illusory. The Rio Games motto is: Live your passion. For us, living our passion should mean a dedication to live Christianly—i.e. allowing ourselves to be open daily to the Spirit of Christ in every dimension—every aspect, relationship and environment—of our lives. This is incredibly demanding and we know only too well how often we fail through our weakness of will. But let us take heart from each other, from regular sacramental sustenance, and in the knowledge (as Scripture reminds us) that God’s grace will always be sufficient for us.
Even though we may have cause at times to question our fitness, let us enjoy ‘running the race’ of faith in Jesus Christ.
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. Clothing and larger items may be delivered directly to 276 Hereford Street.
- Sales Table: Sundays in the hall after Mass. Freshly made marmalade is now available. 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.
- Vege Co-op: orders and deliveries on Wednesdays. Details Jill Woodside.
- Parish Trust meets Wednesday at 5:15 pm in the parish lounge.
- Celebration of the Festival of the Holy Name: Saturday, 10:30 am at CSN.
- Saturday Breakfast: 13 August, 9:45 am in the parish lounge. Details Anne Ladd (981 5012).
- Bible Study Group meets next on 15 August, 7:15 pm in the school staff room. Details Peter Oakley (960 0974).
- Luke’s Spirituality Centre—Voices of Aotearoa: Trevor James on J.K. Baxter. 17 August 6:00–7:30 pm at the Mary Potter Community Centre, 442 Durham St North. $10. All welcome.
- 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