Pānui o ngā Pihopa / Bishops’ News: Prayers and Parties

Pānui o ngā Pihopa / Bishops’ News: Prayers and Parties

He brought me to the banqueting house, and his banner over me was love. Song of Solomon, 2:4 [NIV]

Dear whānau

Greetings in the name of the risen and ascended Christ, who was, is, and is to come.

It has been so encouraging to hear of the stories of God’s transformation taking place across the Diocese during the Thy Kingdom Come period of prayer from Ascension to Pentecost. Thank you to our Cathedral whānau for the resources provided during this time.

What we love is that the range of stories we have heard reflects the diversity of Christ’s body in this place; a fitting celebration for what is the birthday party of the church which continues to work to lengthen and extend the banqueting table we are invited to. Over this last ten days, many of you have undertaken 24-hour prayer vigils within your churches. The Sunday morning of Pentecost saw many different parties – our Cathedral was decorated with a massive installation of swathes of red fabric and a celebration family lunch.

St Thomas’ Newtown held a slap-up breakfast and early morning dance party prior to the service. Members of St Michael’s Kelburn went prayer walking. Churton Park whānau borrowed the Prayer Ambulance and took opportunities for prayer out into their local streets and shopping precincts. St James Lower Hutt in partnership with Chilton St James school hosted an Iftar meal; enjoying the privilege of new friendships as they joined members of the local Muslim community in breaking the Ramadan fast.  If you have further stories we would love to hear them – please email in either to our office or to Duncan Brown, communications advisor.

In each of our places we have been praying that our communities would encounter the love of God afresh. We encourage you all to continue to pray that God will break our hearts with the things that break his. As we reflect on this, it’s timely that this coming weekend will see (at latest count) over 35 parishes take part in the push to mobilise our people to sign submissions in support of the Zero Carbon Act, and keep our government accountable to targets to reduce New Zealand’s carbon emissions. If you are not at a Sunday service, please keep an eye out on Movement about how to submit.

As Christians we have the opportunity to speak hope into a situation which for many seems hopeless and which affects so many who have little power and little voice and are at the mercy of the greed and over-consumption which marks so many of our Western lifestyles.  When we reflect that we each have a God-given say in controlling the banqueting house to which God invites all creation, how shall we use that power?

The 14th century mystic Julian of Norwich was given a vision of a hazelnut in the palm of her hand. Her understanding of this tiny and fragile thing was ‘the first is that God made it, the second is that God loves it, the third is that God preserves it…God is the creator and protector and the lover.’ As we contemplate the enormity of the challenge of climate change, be encouraged that every small action we do to speak hope into this situation is an offering that we bring to Christ’s banqueting table.

+Eleanor and +Justin