See, I am doing a new thing![Isaiah 43:19, NIV]
Now it springs up; do you not perceive it?
I am making a way in the wilderness
and streams in the wasteland.
Kia ora whānau
In the last month in our land we have witnessed Matariki celebrations in which we acknowledge the coming of a new season and look forward to the promise of spring and new life. Even in the part of the year where the darkness seems endless, God is unchangingly faithful in transforming his people into new creations.
This month has been a full one in the diocesan calendar. Our AYM team took over 150 young people to Discipleship Camp – 150 young people gathering intentionally to go deeper with God! And God worked among this group in miraculous ways, with healings and with many committing and re-committing their lives to follow Him.
When anyone says yes to Jesus they become a new creation – as His church we are surrounded by new creations and we must never forget that is what we exist for. Each generation creates a new expression of what it means to be His people – and so following Discipleship Camp our AYM team have established a youth service, hosted in our mother church – run and lead by young people – to engage in worship and to continue to go deeper together exploring the ‘I Am’ sayings of Jesus. Three weeks in, this has been a phenomenal experience each time. All are welcome, not just our youth and young adults! We are here for the vibrancy of our young people’s faith – so bring a car load next week, or ask your youth leaders in your parishes how you can support this.
This month too, we spent time exploring with a group of people who have offered themselves for discernment to the Vocational Diaconate. At the marae where the weekend was held, we heard from tangata whenua about the weaving gatherings held for pregnant mothers and their mothers, friends and supporters. Together they gathered to make wahakura – sleeping baskets for newborns – with flax gathered by the marae, and each basket furnished with donations of home made bedding and garments from the wider Pahiatua community. Each wahakura is a beautiful expression of what it means to be Christ’s body for the next generation – with God’s help each of us are bringing forth the future; bringing forth life – supporting where there new life is growing. We collaborate together, across multiple generations, and provide the wrap around of a whole community.
In your prayer and devotion times this month, we encourage you to reflect on what it means to help to bring new life to God’s church in your context. Who can you encourage as they step out in faith, whether young or not so young, so that God’s church continues to resound with the coming of spring:
All around them, though out of sight, there were streams chattering, bubbling, splashing and even (in the distance) roaring. And his heart gave a great leap (though he hardly knew why) when he realised that the frost was over. (Edmund, realising Aslan was coming, from The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe)
+Justin and +Eleanor