Showing posts from April, 2021


There are so many themes at play this week. On Thursday we coffered a place for our city to commemorate the battle that paved the way for the founding of Tauranga town. A dark and sad story. Amid the violence are moments of compassion that arose out of the deep wells of faith within people like Henare Wiremu Taratoa, Heni Te Kiri Karamu and Rawiri Puhirake. In our gospel reading (John 15:1-8) Jesus comforts his shocked disciples (this is part of his farewell speech) by using the image of the vine to invite them to “abide in me as I abide in you.” (John 15:4). To abide is to have a place where you are deeply at home. Henare, Heni and Rawiri offer examples of people who were deeply at home in God’s compassion, generosity, and life. They help us see how Jesus’ use of the vine offers an image of divine life welling up from beneath and within pouring out in their courageous act of offering water. Their fear and hate had been pruned allowing them to act in ways that changed the story. I wo

Dragged from our Graves to Life.

This sermon can be listened to here   Gate Pa – Year B   Easter Sunday 2021 Readings: First Reading:             Isaiah 25:6-9                             Second Reading:        Acts 10:34-43                           Gospel:                         Mark 16:1-8    What I want to say: Why is Mark’s account of the resurrection so short. Is something missing, or did Mark do this deliberately? Is he inviting a conversation about how Jesus went ahead to where his hearers were and are? Nadia Bolz-Weber says that “Easter is “a story about flesh and dirt and bodies and confusion…. God is interested in making me new. And new is not perfect. In the Easter story itself, new is often messy. New looks like recovering alcoholics, and reconciliation between family members who don’t actually deserve it. New looks like every time I admit I am wrong and every time I don’t mention it when I am right. New is every fresh start, every act of forgiveness and every moment of letting go of what

An unexpected Easter

In her book Pastrix [1] , Nadia Bolz-Weber describes Easter as “a story about flesh and dirt and bodies and confusion. And it is a story about how God never seems to adhere to our expectations of what a proper God would do, as in not get himself killed in a totally avoidable way. Jesus did not seem very impressive at Easter. Not in the churchy sense and certainly not if Mary Magdalene mistook him for a gardener. Perhaps Mary Magdalene thought Jesus was the gardener because Jesus still had the dirt from his tomb under his nails…. Depictions of Christ never show dirt under his nails. He looks more like a wingless angel than a gardener…. My experience however is the God of Easter is a God with dirt under his nails. Resurrection never feels like being made clean and nice and pious like in those easter pictures. Instead, what I subconsciously know is that God is not interested in making me spiffy. God is interested in making me new. And new is not perfect. In the Easter story itself, ne