Wednesday, May 29, 2013

Te Pouhere Sunday

This Sunday is Te Pouhere Sunday, a day set aside by the General Synod / Te Hinota Whanui to celebrate the adoption of our a revised Constitution / Te Pouhere in May 1992, which established our three-Tikanga Church.
Our first constitution was agreed to in June 1857, by a general conference held in Auckland. This allowed the Anglican Church in New Zealand to become an autonomous province with the right to create its own structures and appoint its own bishops. This constitution was a radical piece of work, offering a balance between diocesan and general synods, and establishing a synodical form of government which allowed bishops, clergy and laity equal voice in the decision making processes. It caused a lot of disquiet in the mother church.
Sadly no Maori were present at this conference or at the first General Synod in 1859. The Native Church remained under CMS until after the New Zealand Wars when responsibility was handed over to the settler church. Māori continued to struggle to have any voice at General Synod, or to have much say in the ministry among Maori for over 100 years.

The website for the AnglicanChurch in Aotearoa, New Zealand and Polynesia - Te Hāhi Mihinare ki Aotearoa kiNiu Tireni, ki Nga Moutere o Te Moana Nui a Kiwa offers the following overview of how our new constitution came to be.

“Bicultural Development and Partnership
Since the 1970s the Maori people in New Zealand have moved out of the shadow of European dominance and assimilationist policies. The Church of the Province of New Zealand committed itself to a re-examination of the principles of bi-cultural development and partnership stemming from a re-consideration of the Treaty of Waitangi signed in 1840 between the British Crown and the Maori tribes of New Zealand. In 1978 Te Pihopatanga o Aotearoa originally set up in 1928 with a bishop acting as suffragan to the Bishop of Waiapu, was inaugurated as a semi-autonomous body with representation in the General Synod for the first time. A more comprehensive review of the implications of the Treaty of Waitangi was undertaken in 1984, and a Commission was set up to examine the constitution.
A Revised Constitution
The General Synod/Te Hinota Whanui adopted a revised constitution in 1992, which provides an opportunity for each of the three partners, tikanga (= way, style, or cultural model) Maori, tikanga Pakeha (European), tikanga Pasifika, to express its mind as an equal partner in the decision-making process of the General Synod and to exercise mission and ministry to God's people within the culture of each partner. With the adoption of this constitution, the Church of the Province of New Zealand became The Anglican Church in Aotearoa, New Zealand and Polynesia/ Te Hāhi Mihinare ki Aotearoa ki Niu Tireni, ki Nga Moutere o te Moana Nui a Kiwa. The seven dioceses in New Zealand and the Diocese of Polynesia remain unchanged, but within Te Pihopatanga o Aotearoa five Hui Amorangi (= regional bishoprics) were established, and four bishops have been ordained to serve those areas in conjunction with the Bishop of Aotearoa.”
Today we celebrate Te Pouhere. “Pou” means post, like the large posts that hold up a whare nui; and “here” means to guide. Te Pouhere is the framework that guides how we live, pray, meet together; and how we give freedom to each partner to join in Christ’s mission in their own cultural context. We celebrate that God is still at work, inviting us to deepen our relationship with one another, and to learn from each other what it means to be followers of Christ in the South Pacific.

Saturday, May 25, 2013

Joining the Dance

Trinity Sunday 2013


Hebrew Scripture:               Proverbs  8:1-4, 22-31 
Psalm:                    Psalm: 8 
Epistle:   Romans 5:1-5        
Gospel: John 16:12-15                                        

What I want to say:

suggest that a good understanding of the Trinity is important to help us understand who we are and what is ours to do
explore Social Trinitarianism
suggest things we might need to let go of
what is my vision

What I want to happen:

People to be more engaged in knowing Jesus and making Jesus known

The Sermon 

1.       Introduction:

St Augustine of Hippo Walking along the water's edge on a delightful day,
                pondering the mystery of the Trinity - severe headache
                                coming close to breaking the code of the mystery.
                Suddenly at his feet was a small boy       asks what he is doing
                The youngster replied, "I am pouring the whole ocean into this small hole."
                Augustine said, "That's nonsense.  No one can do that." Augustine says that is impossible
                the child replied, "Well, neither can you, Bishop Augustine, unravel the mystery of the Trinity."
                Then the boy disappeared.

in light of that should abandon all further attempts to talk about Trinity
                it is a mystery
                leave it at that
trouble is who understand God to be
                shapes how see church and purpose of church
                                our role in that
                how we see life and how we live that
eg only see God far off majestic power being
                holed up in heaven
                watches us from a distance
                life all about pleasing that God
                                reduced to being good moral person
                church becomes mirror of that power
                                accumulates for itself all trappings power and importance

    2.       Dietrich Bonheoffer

reading Bonheoffer
– how quickly German church succumbed to Hitler
                many Germans, Christianity and God were seen through lens of Germaness
something intrinsic to being German
being German came first
extraordinarily judgemental here suggest
                most people not clear about who is God
                led to lack understanding about who they were
                what it meant to follow Christ
so easy for that to happen
same things happening in America today
suspect would be many other countries as well.
Why think good grasp of Trinity is important
shapes understanding of God
in turn shapes how see ourselves
how see church
how see ministry and mission

     3.       Brian McLaren Social Trinitarianism

-          another book read this year – Brian McLaren’s “Why did Jesus, Moses, The Buddha, and Mohammed Cross The Road?
-           spends a chapter talking about Trinity using Social Trinitarianism
-          built on much odder understanding trinity comes out astern orthodox Church
-          basic image within Trinity is dance of life and love
-          heart of Trinity three person in deeply self-giving, honouring, fully receiving relationship – i.e. all imagine best relationship with another person can be
-          that is found in Trinity and more
-          word persons here is tricky
-          when use it describe us talking about separate entities
-                  eg Bonnie, I and say Michael son
-          we can be met separately as individuals
-          described and understood separately
-          meet us and know us without ever having meet or know other two.
-          not what person means here
-          inter-persons – only met and only knowable in relationship with other two persons
o   Father is only father of Son and sender of Spirit
o   Son is only Son of Father
o   Spirit is Spirit of Father and Son
ð  one with and in each other
ð  to meet one is to meet them all
ð  co-eternal – Father did not come first
ð  equal
ð  no person Trinity is subservient to other
ð  within Trinity three persons dance - dance life and love
what kind of universe this God create?
what kind of church God want to see?
what kind of life does this God invite us into?

     4.       AGM

in light of that want make few comments as go into our AGM
last week finished wondering what we might be invited to let go of
come to AGM suggest few things:
                making this church the centre thinking about church
                                point of church isn’t church
                                point of church is not keeping this place going and getting more people to come on Sunday
                                measure of church isn’t what happens here on Sunday mornings (whenever services are)
                point church what happens the rest of the week
                how we live out being in Trinitarian dance of life and love every day
should not do things because get more bottoms on pews
do them because that what it means to followers of Christ
that is what it means to join in the dance
that is what it means to join with risen Christ in on-going work bringing life to world
read how to shrink your church –
grew church using pragmatic methods growing churches
problem was focus was on church, not on being faithful to gospel
Success is about "doing." Faithfulness is about "being," and it's really hard to measure.
Colleague asked for his vision for parish
                which gave
what do I want to see happen?
at pastoral care meeting
                want us to care for each other – how might we do that?
                what do YOU want to see happen
                what do we think God wants to see happen
have to do that together
I cant tell
                same as last year
                want us all to work out who is God for us
                – who are we as God’s people
                in light of that what does it mean to be faithful in this place
is not my role to provide a vision
or to tell you all what is to be done
that is our task together

Saturday, May 18, 2013

The Miracle of Pentecost

 Gate Pa – 19th May 2013 – Pentecost Sunday

First Reading:  Acts 2:1-21                               
Psalm:             Psalm:   104:24-34,35b
Epistle:            Romans 8:4-17           
Gospel:            John 14:8-17   

What I want to say:
miracle of Pentecost is not that Spirit God came down in power and allowed early followers to win converts through signs and wonders
miracle Pentecost
            people able worship God in own language
            early followers stopped looking day when God return and they would be in winners circle
                        with humility and love worked among both poorest and wealthiest
living out – loving God with heart, and soul and mind and strength, and loving neighbour as themselves.
What I want to happen:
what expectations or hopes are we invited to let go of this Pentecost?
once we let those go, where do we see Spirit of God at work in those around us?

The Sermon 

  1.     Introduction:

what stood out for you as you listened and read story of what happened on first Pentecost?

      2.     Last Pentecost

last Pentecost I attended the ecumenical Pentecost service at HTT.
at the end sermon, time ministry and prayer, preacher prayed earnestly throughout it all
what remember praying for – Heaven ripped open and power God come down
interesting prayer
stayed with me
partly because really unsure what he was actually praying for
as said colleague who helped organise it
I thought Spirit God was present and at work in world now
-         what more looking for?

     3.     Islam and the disciples

10 days ago was Ascension Day
remember Luke’s recounting of Jesus ascending into heaven
what interested me in that story is that standing on Mount Olives
            after all happened – crucifixion, resurrection
            disciples still hoping Jesus will now rise up and restore Kingdom of Israel
                        with them in winners circle getting power and glory
hoped heaven ripped open and power God unleashed
Jesus must have been so disappointing for them
            what do we do now?
a lot happier with Muhammad
just finished reading a biography of life of Muhammad (His Life Based on the Earliest Sources)
            when faced opposition and persecution – Archangel Gabriel told the prophet to bear it with patience and humility
many fled to Abyssinia
            once numbers grew greater
            moved from Mecca to Medina
            started firstly defend themselves
                        go attack
                        soon became strategic decision for tribes enter Islam
                                    Muhammad great friend and ally
                                    terrible enemy
what occurred to me as I read this was
            Muhammad was exactly who disciples looking for
strong person
            lead them
            throw off their enemies
            lead them to glory
everything Jesus didn’t do
brings us back to today’s reading from Acts

     4.     Pentecost

two amazing things happen as result of events heard about today
first suddenly disciples stop looking for restoration of Kingdom of Israel
            let go
            let go need resist, fight back
            let go all longed for  be restore
            let go desire to be important and leaders
            let go need for heaven to be ripped open and for power God unleashed on world
instead got on with living as Jesus did
seeing all as God’s beloved, especially those on edge or beyond
so that church Rome renowned work among poor and slaves
that was what got them into trouble
how different disciples on Mount Olives
            “Is this the time you will restore the kingdom of Israel”
wonder what we being invited let go of?
what hopes aspirations more about us than God
what gets in our way?

     5.     Language

second thing struck me about this story is that people heard gospel in own language
commonly – language of religion is language founder
            Judaism – Hebrew
            Islam – Arabic
language worship conducted in
language a lot teaching occurs in
Official language of that religion
if establishing a new religion as followers Jesus
            language that religion – language Jesus
                        Hebrew or Aramaic
so what is happening here?
God is doing a new thing, an amazing thing
            God laying groundwork so that when new religion gradually forms
                        because of events of Pentecost
                        teaching and worship can happen in people’s native language
such an amazing thing that we in West couldn’t even keep it up
            soon Latin became the official language
more to this than language we use in worship
these disciples were soon to be scattered across known world.
            India, Armenia, Ethiopia to Rome and beyond
sense for those disciples as left security of Judah,
and travelled to far off places
Risen Christ was already there
already at work
they would never be alone
simply had to join in that work
God is reassuring them
God is inviting them see world very differently
God is at work in every place, and not just this place with these people
God is not a God of safety and status quo
God is changing the world
            invited those disciples to join in that work
            invites us to join in that work

     6.     Wondering

wonder in light of all that
what are we invited to let go of this Pentecost
what gets in our way
what hopes or expectations do we need to quit if we are to be followers Christ
once we let those go, where do we see Spirit of God at work in those around us?