I hope the New Year finds you relaxed and recharged. Jenny and our family tramped the Heaphy Track in early January and I was again impacted by the beauty of our country. Actually, I must confess the Heaphy Track seems a long time ago as the Diocese launches into another year of mission.
This year has already had some significant moments. Late January we were welcomed onto Ratana Pa.
A group of 30 of us, including senior leadership of the Diocese, journeyed to Ratana for the annual birthday celebration of Tahupōtiki Wiremu Ratana.
Then last week we hosted the Taizé brothers from France including brother Alois, the leader of the Community.
We shared the most beautiful and powerful service with them in the Cathedral on Tuesday night.
In both experiences I was struck with how obviously God’s Spirit is working and also paradoxically how often we do not understand what his Spirit is actually doing. It is clear to me that God is present and miraculously working in all sorts of places. However I often struggle to understand the way in which he moves. Part of me just wishes that God would just move amongst us in predictable sensible (dare I say Anglican) ways.
Instead I find myself constantly asking “what is the Spirit saying to the Church?” I think for those of us who like to control our reality, it is a challenge to follow a God who doesn’t quite fit our expectations.
I wonder this year if God is inviting me to learn to live more in the uncertainty and to try to align my life to what God is really doing, as opposed to what I expect him to do. As we turn to Scripture we do see these two truths: God is at work and he moves in ways often that are beyond our understanding and expectations. As a friend who works in a prison context shared with me from one of the prisoners they worked alongside; “God moves in suspicious ways!”
Let us enter this year together confident in our God, confident in his work amongst us and humbly open to the journey into the unknown trusting in God’s goodness.
Bishop of Wellington