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

 

[pause] exploring examen

At [pause] last week we spent some time exploring the ‘Daily Examen’ or ‘Prayer of Examen’, a form of contemplative prayer which has grown out of the writings of Ignatius of Loyola.  If you’re curious to know more about its development and history, you can find some great info here.

There is a great ‘short form’ of the five steps of Examen over at gravity |center for contemplative activism

Below you’ll find a short video featuring Chris Heuertz co-founder of gravity speaking about the practice of Examen.  His explanation fleshes it out beautifully.

If you have your own thoughts and reflections about your journey with Examen, or if you’ve found any other helpful resources we’d love to hear about it.  Feel free to respond in the comments.

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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[pause] for a bite

Don’t forget [pause] for a bite will be happening this Sunday 12pm at the Powell’s.  We will be roasting the ‘fatted pig’ so to speak.  Come along, bring a friend, we look forward to seeing you!

(You can find more info on our facebook events page or contact us by emailing : admin@taongawesleyan.org.nz )

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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Typhoon Haiyan: Responding to Crises

When we find ourselves faced with crises like typhoon Haiyan which recently devastated the Philippines, we can easily feel overwhelmed by both the magnitude of the destruction and our own inability to contribute meaningfully to the problem.  The news on our screens, in our Twitter and Facebook feeds, brings us face to face with the realities of disaster.  And yet for most of us our hands & feet are left unable to touch the lands or faces we see before us, to bring the healing and hope we wish we could dispense in an instant.

It can leave us feeling lost, debilitated.

Here are some ways you can mobilize your ‘body’ to reach out in a very real way to those in need.

Pray

Take some time to pray for those affected by, and those responding to this crisis.  If you are unsure where to start and need some help we’ve put together a prayer resource here:  10 for 10,000: A Prayer for the Philippines

Give

There is an old Whakatauki which says,

Nā tō rourou, nā taku rourou ka ora ai te iwi‘         ‘With your food basket and my food basket the people will thrive.’

With a disaster of this size, it may seem like you don’t have anything significant to give.  But if each of us shares the little we have, it becomes a whole lot.  Please consider giving to one of the many organisations who are working to provide emergency services and aid to the region over the coming months.  Even a very little can go a long way.

Here are some links to local organisations who are responding to this crisis:

TEAR Fund Christian Action

OXFAM New Zealand

 New Zealand Red Cross

unicef New Zealand