Saturday, September 26, 2015



(Ngatiawa - February 2015)
She sits
on rock benches
flickering candle on
charred altar
embraced in
young Tarore.
Come away awhile
she hears
in stillness
and buzzing fly.
Rest in me.

Mother Hen

Mother Hen

(Ngatiawa - February 2015)

She stood
at my coming
from the room
little feet
under wings
pyramiding out
gathering in
impatient ones.
We look,
she and I,
I am safe;
kia ora e manu;
five chicks
chirp free.
Their quest
goes on
I am left
to wonder,
how long
o Jerusalem,
how long?

Waitangi Day 2015

One hundred and seventy five years

ago a man hurriedly put on his

hat and urgently rowed ashore, all

were ready to sign his new treaty.

Those waiting were arikinui, men

of mana and cunning who

knew the deceptive ways of the English.

They did not trust this man under the

hat but saw a wave coming and

sought a way to preserve what was theirs;

their tino rangatiratanga and a

way to live with these new white invaders.

Today they gift us this land and this

treaty, this hope that

two peoples can live together each

honouring and learning the way of

the other. Are we brave

enough this year to celebrate this

promise and live the way of

Te Tiriti?

Friday, September 25, 2015

deeper and larger

I am on hoiliday next week.
These are my very initial thoughts on our RCL readings for October 4. Again, others will be preaching so this will be it from me.

Today we are invited to consider how we read scripture. Do we read it to confirm our beliefs and find support for both our understanding of God and how we are to live that out? Or are we constantly invited to have a deeper and larger vision of who God is; to let go of our preconceived notions of who we are and find new ways of being loyal and fruitful followers of God. Today’s readings are all about the second way.
The God of Job simply refuses to be defined. When catastrophe happens, Job’s friends use their theological models to help Job confess his great and manifold sin. But Job refuses and calls God to account. In the end both Job and his friends are held to account. God is so much bigger than all we can imagine and will not be confined by our theology.
Jesus too lovingly invites both the rich young man and us to a bigger view of what it means to follow God. The rich man believes he has obeyed the commandments (fat chance) and hopes that will be enough to gain eternal life. One thing he lacks, compassion and generosity towards the poor.
Today we mark the life of Saint Francis. He let go of his preconceived notions of God and immersed himself in God’s love. He embraced his own poverty and lived a generous and compassionate life. He saw all creation as God’s beloved gift. I wonder if we are able to follow in his footsteps and find the crucified and risen Christ in ALL we meet, and in all creation?

Wednesday, September 23, 2015

A Biggger View

Last week we heard a passage from Proverbs 31:10-31  that many of us read as extolling very traditional roles for women. And it is not unknown for women in particular to not want to read it.  There is in fact no getting away from fact that those traditional roles are an important part of that reading. But I also suggested that it is more than that. The women described in this reading were not mousey submissive chattels. They were strong women who ran their households with imagination, and flair, and generosity. It is I think an invitation for men to choose their wives carefully, and to not just look for what their society deemed to be important, and for women to be more than they were traditionally described. And so some read it as championing traditional roles, and others as championing woman taking more significant roles both in their household and in their communities. This week we hear the story Esther, a story of the kind of strong woman proverbs refers to. It is an interesting story – it does not directly mention God once! This young woman, chosen for her beauty, uses all her cunning to save her people from plans of murderous Babylonian Prime Minister, Haman, who ends up hung on his own gallows by his own schemes.
The reading from Proverbs is an example of how we are too often tempted read scripture as a conservative moral voice that either seeks to preserve the status quo, or take us back to the good old days. And we miss how much of it is this radical voice that invites us take much bigger view of world and God’s desire for that world;  including strong women. In fact, I wonder what the story of Ester might say to us about how we see and treat immigrants and refugees.
That is also what is going on in Marks gospel. The Jesus presented in Mark’s Gospel just keeps pushing for a much bigger view of what reign of God entails, and what our role is in it as loyal and fruitful followers. Sadly, too often we are still with the disciples still missing the point, lost on conversations about who is in and who is out and who is at the top of the pecking order. Still stuck with the same questions and concerns that our society revolves around.
Last week we hear Jesus talking about leaders being servants and then embracing a child and saying,
“Whoever welcome/embraces one such as this child welcome/embraces me, and whoever welcome/embraces me welcome/embraces not me but the one who sent me!”
To which John replies this week with
“Teacher, we saw someone casting out demons in your name, and we tried to stop him, because he was not following us.”
Straight back to the big questions of who is in and who is not and how to keep all this under control. John, and sometimes (a lot of the time) we,  are not hearing radical nature of what Jesus is on about. What stops us hearing? What do we need to let go of that we really can we “welcome/embraces one such as this child.”