As we face another destructive storm this Easter, the terrifying power of water is never more present in our minds. The weather forecasts seem to be a timely reminder of what Bishop Justin preached at our Chrism services around the Diocese over the past three nights. We think of the waters of baptism as somewhat more calm than those of a hurricane, yet the Bible reminds us of just how powerful water can be: the great flood, the parting of the Red Sea, the crossing of the Jordan. Yet in each of these, the terrifying strength of water marked the beginning of something significant – the entering of God’s people into promises made. Filled with uncertainty, those who survived the flood, escaped the Egyptians and crossed the Jordan must have feared both the water and what lay ahead, yet what was apparent in each story and in the scriptures read, was the unfailing presence of God that accompanied His people into the call on their lives.
In Whanganui, Carterton and Wellington, the past three nights have offered beautiful and poignant opportunities to pause, reflect, and to re-commit to the sometimes terrifying uncertainty of walking in faith with our God – a commitment marked by the waters of baptism. In addition to the blessing of anointing and chrism oil to be used in the year ahead, the services were marked by resounding hymns of praise and declaration of God’s goodness, the whanaungatanga of both clergy and laity serving together, and the opportunity for all to receive prayer and anointing.
We now look forward to our remembrance of Christ’s sacrifice and the celebration of His resurrection from the dead – and we wish you all a happy, safe, and flood-free Easter!
For more photos of Wednesday’s Chrism service at the Cathedral, visit the Diocese’s Facebook page.