Three cultures came together when a Tongan woman and a Māori man were ordained on a South Taranaki marae on Saturday... read more
On Sunday we begin once again our Church's new year and the annual journey through the life, ministry, passion, death and resurrection of our Lord. We will follow the way to his ascension, to the gift of the Holy Spirit at Pentecost and the birthday of the Church, to the Queen of Festivals on Trinity Sunday, the feast when all is brought together in the wonderful dance of mutuality and love of Father, Son and Holy Spirit, the three persons in one, Creator , Redeemer and Giver of Life, the ultimate expression of loving relationship that we all hunger for.
And then in the 'ordinary' Sundays, we reflect on all that we have proclaimed and learnt as once again and in so many ways for the first time we have been drawn into this deepening embrace of love, this deepening growing in faith and understanding, this growth in discipleship, this commitment to prayer and faithful service as daily seek out what God is up to in our world, roll up our sleeves and join in. This is the journey you are going to embarkl on? Yes?
So here we are again at Advent, a season pregnant with possibility, with hope. New life is being brought to birth. Indeed a baby is soon to be born. New life is germinating inside each one of us and in the Church, again and for the first time, new life is stirring within humanity seeking to break out of all that binds us. Mary is pregnant with a new life which will shatter the darkness of our world. All that separates and injures and destroys is and will be overcome by all that unites and heals and creates. The light will not be overcome!
We are here because we believe this, or we are here because we want to believe this, because we yearn for a better way, we yearn for the redemption of the whole world and of all people. We are part of a huge human hunger from not only us Christians, but indeed from people of many faiths and many of no faith, who hope and dream and dream and become passionate for health and wholeness, for peace and justice for all creation. This is our human hope and determination. This is the human spirit that will not be denied.
These Advent wreathes are symbols and signs. Their purpose is to assist us in our searching, in our hoping, in our deepening in faith as once again we being this journey, this deepening journey, this way of the Lord, this pathway to becoming the people God created us to be, to become the person I am. I want to become who I am, as God created me to be
Candles of Hope, of Peace, of Love of Joy. Four candles that we will light over the next four Sundays. Four lights to lighten our way on our journey. As we reflect on these lights we prepare ourselves for the birth of the one who can realsie all our hopes and prayers - the word made flesh, the light who shines into our darkness, and the darkness will not over come it. And then the Christ Candle that we light on Christmas Day. Jesus Christ, the light of the world.
And so then, as we prepare to bless these Advent wreathes and begin our annual pilgrimage:
We are called to proclaim the truth…and let us believe:
It is not true that this world and its people are doomed to die and be lost.
This is true: I have come that they may have life in all its abundance.
It is not true that we must accept inhumanity and discrimination, hunger and poverty, death and destruction.
This is true: the deaf hear, the dead are raised to life, the poor are hearing the good news.
It is not true that violence and hatred should have the last word, and that war and destruction have come to stay for ever.
This is true: death shall be no more, neither shall there be mourning nor crying nor pain anymore.
It is not true that we are simply victims of the power of evil who seek to rule the world.
This is true: the God whom we seek will suddenly come to God's temple, and God is like a refining fire.
It is not true that the dreams of liberation, of human dignity, are not meant for this earth and this history
This is true: it is already time for us to wake from sleep, for the night is far gone and the day is at hand.