rain

It’s one of those Auckland days; a heavy wet heat rests on the city’s shoulders, the sky a bright silver grey.

A soft mist of rain falls steadily to ground, its almost imperceptible echo a welcome reprieve from the loud chorus of cicadas; its persistence a reminder of the unpredictable and untameable nature of the earth, the hopeful promise of things being made new.

In this moment of stillness my heart is pulled both near and far as I remember those who today live in the shadow of present or recent violence, disaster or tragedy.

I invite you to join with me in remembering:

We remember Ukraine
[silent reflection]

We remember Venezuela
[silent reflection]

We remember the Philippines
[silent reflection]

We remember Syria
[silent reflection]

We remember Christchurch
[silent reflection]

We remember…[insert your own thought here]…
[silent reflection]

A prayer for the faithful observance of the Treaty of Waitangi

Though Te Tititi O Waitangi was signed on 6th February 1840, it was not until almost 100 years later, in 1934 that Waitangi day was first celebrated.  On that day the Bishop of Aotearoa – Lord Bledisloe, prayed this prayer, expressing his hope for peace between Maori and Pakeha and that the covenant made between Maori and the British crown would be honoured.

For the faithful observance of the Treaty of Waitangi

O God, who in Thy beneficent wisdom 94 years ago ordained that strife and bloodshed between races and tribes in this territory should cease, and that the inhabitants of these islands should thenceforward be knit together as one people under the British Crown, grant that the sacred compact then made in these waters may be faithfully and honourably kept for all time to come, to the glory of Thy Holy Name, and the peace, contentment and ordered progress of a united nation, for the sake of Him Who brought peace and goodwill upon earth, Jesus Christ our Lord.

words for 2014

At [pause] last week we spent some time in a collective prayer of examen for Taonga.  We took time to reflect over the events of the past year; to look for God’s fingerprints in our experiences; to celebrate God’s action in us and through us; to grieve over dreams that didn’t come to pass; and to discern God’s vision for our future.

As part of our time together we identified some words which summed up the picture of community we felt God was breathing into us during our time together.

Take a deep breath, inhale each one.  Let it inhabit your senses.

warmth
refuge
belonging
sanctuary

 

A prayer for peace

St Aidans Prayer for the Holy Island of Lindisfarne

Lord this bare island,
make it a place of peace.
Here be the peace
of those who do your will.
Here be the peace
of brother serving man.
Here be the peace
of holy monks obeying.
Here be the peace
of praise by dark and day.
Be this Island Thy Holy Island.
I, Lord, Thy servant Aidan,
make this prayer.
Be it Thy care.

Amen

Advent 2: Peace

The season of Advent has been celebrated by Christians for centuries as a time of excitement and anticipation for the birth of Christ.  It is also a time when we celebrate and look toward the coming of the Kingdom of God. One of the traditions we use to do this is the lighting of Advent candles. The four candles of Advent (Hope, Love, Joy, and Peace) represent different values which characterise what the world could look like if Jesus reign was present in every area of life.  Each week a new candle is lit to represent the way in which that value is now present through Christ’s life on earth, to recognize our part in enacting that value in the way in which we live, and to anticipate its coming and completion when the Kingdom of God is finally realized on earth.

Today, as we continue our Advent journey, we light the candle of Peace.

As we light it we celebrate the peace that entered into the world in the form of a fragile, crying human child; a peace born of disquiet to bring wholeness, healing and reconciliation to all.

As we light the candle of peace we recognize Jesus’ call to us as disciples to be mediators of that peace in our world as we choose to live ‘as in the day’.

As we light the candle of peace we anticipate the time when the kingdom of God will be experienced in all its fullness and peace will truly reign on earth.

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the Child’s cry

The cry to God as ‘Father’
in the New Testament
is not a calm acknowledgement
of a universal truth about
God’s abstract fatherhood.
It is the Child’s cry
out of a nightmare.

It is the cry of outrage,
fear, shrinking away,
when faced with horror
of the ‘world’
-yet not simply or exclusively
protest, but trust as well.

‘Abba Father’
all things are possible with thee…

Rowan Williams

Advent 1: Hope

The season of Advent has been celebrated by Christians for centuries as a time of excitement and anticipation for the birth of Christ.  It is also a time when we celebrate and look toward the coming of the Kingdom of God. One of the traditions we use to do this is the lighting of Advent candles. The four candles of Advent (Hope, Love, Joy, and Peace) represent different values which characterise what the world could look like if Jesus reign was present in every area of life.  Each week a new candle is lit to represent the way in which that value is now present through Christ’s life on earth, to recognize our part in enacting that value in the way in which we live, and to anticipate its coming and completion when the Kingdom of God is finally realized on earth.

Today, as we begin our Advent journey, we light the candle of Hope.

As we light it we celebrate the hope that began in the promise of a messiah, and that gained new meaning in the birth of Jesus, and his life on earth; a hope that is extended to each one of us as a gift.

As we light the candle of hope we recognize Jesus’ call to us as his disciples, to be bearers of that hope in our world as we seek to reflect and offer Christ through the way in which we live.

As we light the candle of hope we anticipate the time when the Kingdom of God will be experienced in all its fullness, and all creation will be redeemed and restored.

Amen

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10 for 10,000: a prayer for the Philippines

 

Praying through the aftermath of a disaster like Typhoon Haiyan can leave us feeling unsure how to pray or what to pray for.  Below we have suggested ten different areas to help you focus.  You can use them in a variety of ways:

∞  Use the headings as a starting point for your own words of prayer

∞  Pray using the more detailed description below the heading.

∞  Using the single words as a point of focus spend 1 minute in silent prayer offering that area wholly to God

If it helps you to focus, set up 10 candles and light one candle as you move through each of the different prayer points.

Before you begin, find yourself a comfortable place to pray.

Food

(The rapid and continued distribution of food supplies to those who need it)

Water

(Access to clean safe drinking water)

Shelter

(Safe, secure shelter for those who have lost their homes or are unable to get back to their homes)

Loss

(For all those who lost their lives, and their family, friends and loved ones)

First Response Teams

(Wisdom and insight for those doing needs assessment; strength and courage to deal with the immensity of the task)

Hospitals and Emergency Clinics

(That emergency centres and hospitals would be adequately resourced with staff and supplies to provide the care needed by those injured.  Rest for staff as they deal with the continued strain of providing care in difficult conditions)

The Displaced

(For those who have lost their homes and livelihoods; the thousands now housed in emergency shelters.  For their physical and emotional recovery)

Police and Armed Forces

(As they deal with looting/looters and as they continue to support and enable rescue efforts & emergency services)

Generosity

(For soft hearts across the globe, that people would give generously to organisations working to provide needed services and care to the area)

Rebuilding

(For the long decades of rebuilding that will lie ahead for the people of the Philippines.)