Showing posts from June, 2014

The Binding of Isaac

Gate Pa – Pentecost 3 2014 Readings: Psalm:                                 Psalm: 13                                                         First Reading :                    Genesis 22:1-14                                                 Second Reading :              Rom 6:12-23                                             Gospe l:                                Matt 10:40-42                                                                What I want to say: This is a very hard but important reading. In it we are given a glimpse of the angst within the Godhead around the Jesus event, and an image of the faith, love, trust and hope we are invited into as followers of the way. Briefly look at others who have lived out that life. What I want to happen: People to grow in faith, love, trust and hope The Sermon      1.        Introduction: Our first reading from Genesis is hard story hoping that when wrote theme

A very difficult story

Our reading from Genesis this week is a very difficult story. Over the centuries it has engendered heated debate. Is it really a story of an abusive God, a deluded Abraham? Is this advocating religious violence at its worst? It would be simpler to avoid it and find a nicer reading. But we cannot ignore it simply because we find it disturbing. It comes to us as part of a long tradition. For thousands of years it has spoken to faithful people about God and faith. Today we are invited to wrestle with it for ourselves. The first thing I want to note is that the stories of Abraham are foundational to Judaism, Christianity and Islam. Muslims tell this story slightly differently from what we read in Genesis. They understand that Abraham loved both sons equally, and after Hagar is expelled, Abraham continues to spend half the year with his son Ishmael, and half with Isaac. Jews, and us Christians, have a different understanding. But all three faiths tell this story from Genesis. For Jew

Standing on Te Ranga, longing for a better way.

We can bring a number of emotions to our gathering this week. Yesterday, Saturday we remembered the Battle of Te Ranga, the follow up to the battle here at Pukehinahina. This was a short sharp and deadly battle with left between 110-150 Maori dead, including Henare Wiremu Taratoa and Rawiri Puhirake. In our church calendar we remember Taratoa on Saturday, the day of his death. The loss of life, particularly that of kaumātua in this battle led nga iwi o Tauranga Moana to surrender shortly afterwards. This in turn resulted in significant land confiscations, which in turn resulted in both the loss of mana and the economic base of life for Maori. That loss and the socioeconomic effects of these events are still felt today. Sadly these events also led to the end of Te Haahi Mihinare (The Maori Anglican Church) in this region. It was said that Maori were taught to look up to heaven in prayer and when they looked back down the Europeans had taken their land. All this leaves me (John)