Letter from the Vicar – 14 February 2016

Dear Friends,

 

Welcome to S. Michael’s on this First Sunday in Lent. Today we celebrate Mass and then we will move across to the parish hall for a light lunch and the first of our Lenten Studies.

Lent is a time when we go back to basics and recall the foundations of our faith in the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ. The writer of the Book of Deuteronomy had a similar intent in calling his hearers to remember the story that had led them to the land that had been promised them. They were asked to take some of the first-fruits of that land and present them to the priest, with the words that told the story of their faith tradition. An inclusive celebration follows, involving aliens along with Levites and all the people of Israel.

This is the basis of our story as Christians, a story fulfilled in the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ. We here at S. Michael’s also have a rich story to tell. I am delighted that Fr Michael Blain is here to help us understand where we have come from and the riches that we bear. This exercise helps us to understand the greatness of God and the courage of our ancestors in the faith, upon whose shoulders we stand. As with the Israelites, we are apt to forget our story and to become consumed with the problems of the present. When we understand the past, we can put our present decisions into context and begin to see a way forward.

As Christians we have often bemoaned the exclusivity of the Jewish faith as it has been presented to us in parts of the New Testament. This reading from Deuteronomy is far from being alone in the Old Testament in proclaiming the universal embrace of God to all people, and the desire that all should be included in the celebration of God’s goodness. Lent is a time for us first to consider how, as a Church now, we limit the full participation of people who might be considered ‘alien’ in some way, and then to resolve to give them a full welcome to the celebration. When we have enacted this and borne the cost of it we will have understood something very important about the journey of our Lord to the cross.

May you have a blessed and holy Lent.

 

Yours in Christ,

Fr. Andrew Starky

 

Parish Notices

> Reminder: the current Trumpet email address is printed every week on page 2.
> Sales Table: Sundays in the hall after Mass. Details Anne Ladd (981 5012).
> You are invited to a cup of tea or coffee after the evening service each Sunday.
> Bible Study Group meets tomorrow and weekly during Lent, 7:15 pm in the school staffroom. Details Peter Oakley (960 0974).
> Women’s Fellowship Group meets in the old library in the school on Tuesday after the 10:00 am Mass. Speaker Jon Russell.
Parking available off Durham Street, all welcome. Details Pat Evans (358 0127).
> Vege Co-op: orders and deliveries on Wednesdays. Details Kathryn Starky.
> Meditation Group meets on Wednesday on 5:15 pm in the parish lounge.This year the group is meeting on the first, third and fifth Wednesdays of the month. Details Margaret Maclagan (359 9215) or Kathryn Starky (385 0197).
> Bishopspark Open Day: Wednesday 1:30–4:00 pm. Afternoon tea provided.
> World Vision Night of Hope at S. Aidan’s Church, Friday at 7:00 pm.
> Earthquake Commemoration: there will be a Requiem Mass at S. Michael’s on Monday 22 February at 7:00 pm.
> World Day of Prayer will be held this year at S. Michael’s, 4 March at 11:00 am. Details to follow.
> Needlework Group meets monthly. Details Ros Calvert (322 6078).
> Book Swap: Sundays in the hall and weekdays in the lounge. Koha to parish.
> Headspace: 10 March 9:00 am–2:00 pm, Grace Vineyard Church, 150 Ferry Rd. A pastoral training day with health specialists, equipping and resourcing leaders in the church for the future health of our churches and communities and focusing on mental, emotional and community health. Speakers include Bishop Victoria. Free entry, lunch provided. Enquiries ken@kingschurch.co.nz or 366 3437. Register with debbie.baugh@cdhb.health.nz for catering.
> Inasmuch basket: please continue to support the City Mission with your gifts of groceries and other household items.