Welcome to S. Michael’s as we continue our journey in Lent. Many of us have heaved a sigh of relief as the rains have fallen softly on the paddocks and gardens of Canterbury in recent days. I was conscious how hard the ground had become, and how much it needed such a gentle rain.
In the season of Lent we can become aware how our heart has become hardened through the pains and struggles of life. We can find ourselves unwilling to be merciful, unwilling to be kind, unwilling to be understanding of others. Our prayer can seem as if it is running through the cracks as we struggle to cope with life’s demands. Just as it was for the people of Israel, it is so easy for us to focus on all the things that are not as we would like them to be, and to forget to trust that God will provide. It is hard to trust when all the evidence we see before our eyes screams the opposite. Instead of turning to God in prayer we are apt to turn against each other, and begin to look for scapegoats to blame.
Perhaps you find yourselves amidst a lot of criticism at the present time. Criticism can be hurtful, and there is always the temptation to become defensive. But if we can slow down our responses and bring that criticism and that hurt into our prayers, then God can show us a way forward that will be life-giving. Jesus knew he would receive criticism about his interaction with the Samaritan woman at the well, as we shall hear. He was willing to bear this criticism in order to convey the gift of living water to her. She was so delighted that she went into the city to proclaim, with joy, her testimony about Jesus.
There are times that, with the strength of God, we need to be prepared to bear disapproval. This is especially when it means bringing good news to those, like this woman, who are on the fringes of society. The gift of Lent is that we can allow our hearts to be moistened by the grace of God, so that we may become joyful heralds of our risen Lord to those who most need to hear this good news.
Yours in Christ,
Father Andrew Starky
Giving to S. Michael’s:
Next Sunday is the last Sunday in the 2016/17 tax year. Many people have already chosen to give by Automatic Payment. If you wish to change to this system please speak to one of the Wardens. Also, contact the Wardens if you prefer to use (or continue to use) the envelope system, so that the right number of offertory envelopes can be prepared. This year’s tax receipts will be available shortly.
- Flowers for Mothering Sunday: please bring small posies for blessing and giving to mothers and caregivers next Sunday, when we will be joined by the school community.
- There will not be Children’s Church next week because of Mothering Sunday.
- Lenten Appeal for Anglican Missions: envelopes available at the back of the church.
- Bible Study Group: Mondays 7:15 pm in the school. Details Peter Oakley (960 0974).
- Women’s Fellowship meets Tuesday at 10:45 am (after 10:00 am Mass). Celebrating S. Patrick—green theme for clothing and food, a limerick and/or an Irish joke. Any contributions for Walsh House for Easter would be appreciated. Details Pat Evans (358 0127) or Jill Woodside (338 9590).
- Workshop: care and presentation of church linen, and how to set up for the liturgy. Tuesday 7:30–9:00 pm in the parish lounge. All are welcome to attend.
- Meditation Group: Wednesdays 12:00–12:30 pm in the Pilgrims’ Chapel. Details Margaret Maclagan (359 9215) or Kathryn Starky (385 0197).
- Voices of Aotearoa—Writing in a Broken City: Fiona Farrell. Creative voices shaping our spirituality. Wednesday 7:00 pm at Mary Potter Centre.
- Ordination to the Priesthood: Ben Randall, Saturday 5:00 pm at the Cathedral. Ben’s first Eucharist will be on 4 April, 7:00 pm at the Cathedral. All welcome.
- HeadSpace 2017: 30 March from 9:00 am. Details from Alice and on poster.
- Euthanasia Seminar: 1 April 9:30 am at the Cathedral. See poster for details.
- Sales Table: Sundays in the hall after Mass. Raffle tickets, $2 each or 3 for $5, available Sundays in the hall, weekdays from the office. Details Anne Ladd (981 5012).
- Book Swap: Sundays in the hall and weekdays in the lounge. Koha to parish.
- Needlework Group: meets monthly in the lounge. Details Ros Calvert (322 6078).
- Inasmuch basket: please continue to support the City Mission with your gifts of groceries and other household items.