25 November 2017



2016
> The Hope of Christmas
> COMPASSION BREAKS DOWN BARRIERS

2015
> Northern Presbytery Moderator Christmas letter
> ANZAC DAWN REFLECTION
> Freedom of Speech or License to Stereotype?

2014
> Advent Hope and Interns
> 200 Years of New Zealand Christmas
> Prayer of the General Assembly 2014
> The Legal High Trade
> REFLECTION ON A JOURNEY
> Giving up for Lent - A Challenge from our Children

2013
> Christmas in the Graveyard
> FAREWELLS
> Mrs Hunters' Tea Party [Hunters Corner named ]
> PERSPECTIVE
> RISKS - HELP US GROW IN FAITH
> EMBRACING DIFFERENCE
> DOING OUR WORK
> 150years Ė We are part of this community

2012
> The Gift of Many People - Seven Years On.
> The Golden Rule - Donít Do or Do?
> WATER, WIND and FIRE
> COUNCIL FOR WORLD MISSION at ST JOHNS
> Signs of Spring
> YOUNG, MESSED UP AND ON THE GAME
> REAL WORLD - AND THE HUNGER GAMES
> The Journey to the Cross - An Easter meditation
> Can Jesus Heal Cancer
> CHRISTIAN HERITAGE in PAPATOETOE

2011
> LIGHT ON THE HILL
> LOOKING FORWARD
> GOOD WORDS
> ALCOPOPS and EXCESS DRINKING
> COMPASSION in ACTION
> Christchurch Reports
> Shattered Illusions, Faithful journeys.
> EARTHQUAKE
> The Windows, Images of Faith - Opening Day

2010
> THE CITY CAN NEVER BE THE SAME
> "The Hope that Comes from Faith"
> SPARKING SPARKIES
> ADVERTISING A NON-GOD!

2009
> PRAYING FOR THE COMMUNITY
> DATES THAT COULD DESTROY
> MERCY, JUSTICE AND LIVING IN GOD'S WORLD
> Warmth in the Frost
> GENEROUS GIVING
> Hunter's Corner - A Dilemma of Publiic Space.
> Easter customs to tell the Story
> Our Mother Tongue God is too Small
> Tragedy at Fox Glacier

2008
> THE BIRTH STORIES OF JESUS
> CONNECTING WITH - FAMILIES IN OUR NEIGHBOURHOOD
> WELL If you want it Quiet ......
> Finding Pearls
> Of Winter fuel and things
> Disaster and Relief Work
> Prayer on hearing the News
> Conflict of Interest
> Practical Christian in the community.
> Who are these Christians?

2007
> We still keep singing the Christmas carols
> Getting our pirorities
> Travelling
> Spring flowers shout that life is not dead.!
> Focusing on the task
> Change
> Real Families
> Water - Source of conflict
> Prayer

2006
> Violence and Children
> Faith and Reason
> PEACETIME AND HOPE
> Playdough and PC
> Violence to Children
> Climbing Everest
> Celebrating the Good things
> THE GNOSTIC GOSPEL OF JUDAS
> Focusing on the Essential
> Living with other Faiths
> SuperVolcanoes and other worrying things

2005
> Advent - Saving the Earth Saving its Peoples
> Halloween - The time of the Saints
> Responding to Terror
> Time of Winter
> Noah - a Story of Conservation
> Off the Tracks
> Moving On and Looking Back
> Tsunami Prayers

2004
> Upside Down Christmas
> From Assembly - Dean Drayton address
> In the Community
> Weaving together the threads
> 150 years of History revisited
> July - Faithfulness
> Getting 150 years in perspective -
> Passion -The Film
> Letter From Niue

2003
> Christmas hope
> Maintenance and Mission
> Annual reports June 2002- June 2003
> Who will come to the Party?
> Time to Change
> Unity is Strength
> Prostitution Laws
> Gone Fishing


Minister's Minutes
December 2003

Christmas hope

Dear Everyone.

As I walked up the garden path I noticed the changes. Sarah had been busy during the year. The garden was full of lavender, roses spilled over the steps and the scent of daphne filled the air. The door was open and a cheery voice said to enter.

She sat at the computer, "Hello, I?m just sending a note to David and Olofa and their family." Her family was scattered around the world this year, only the youngest was at home for Christmas.

Over the coffee cups with freshly baked muffins she began to talk, "I?ve got the decorations out, I?ve started decorating the tree, but it hardly seems worth it," she sighed deeply, "there?s only the three of us and our youngest is going away straight after Christmas ?" her voice trailed off ."I still miss Mother, although its been two years since she's gone, she always loved Christmas.
Somehow, it seems silly, but I?m beginning to feel lonely. Christmas has been that one time when everyone has come and the whole family has been together. I could even welcome Great Uncle John who always snored through the Queen?s speech and had a disgusting habit of spitting on the garden, but he died during the year. There are too many memories at Christmas." She looked sadly out the window and her eyes brimmed with tears.

The door burst open and her son came in with a friend to see the tree. A shy boy held back behind him. "Nana! Ishan has come to see." Ishan came forward awkwardly. "Ishan and his family haven?t got anyone to spend Christmas with, can they come for dinner?" My friend looked startled, "I?ll talk to Ishan?s Dad she said".

I was told that Ishan?s dad and sister were refugees. They had fled from certain death in their homeland and could not return. They were waiting for the government to give them refugee status but it was seven years now and they were still waiting to hear. This year was the crunch year. Ishan?s sister had started university but could not enroll next year because she didn?t have a passport. She had been at a local school for all her secondary schooling and was in all but status a New Zealander. Now she couldn?t carry on but had to sit at home and do nothing, "and she has so much potential".

"You know they can?t go back, a girl brought up in New Zealand couldn?t survive in their country, The women aren?t allowed to study or work and they?ve become Christians. They?d be killed if their people knew this. Apparently nothing can be done, the government?s backlog is so great that they will wait three years and during that time the children can?t enroll in any tertiary institution without a passport".

Sarah looked thoughtfully at the nativity scene under the tree. Did something move? The angel on the tree fluttered in the wind ? good news peace on earth. "Someone took them in and gave them space. He was a refugee, that child had to flee persecution. -", she whispered softly, "of course they can come to dinner and for Christmas, but maybe I need to do more. The Story is about justice and me as well isn?t it? I will welcome the child"

The lights on the tree came on and two faces peeped round the corner. They?d found the switch. The room filled with the soft light of many colours . The scent of the garden came as the breeze stirred and the song of the angels was in the hearts of those who heard.

The Christmas story is about the real world. Long ago one more human baby was delivered and greeted the world with crying. This Jesus showed us the true God dealing with real human beings with a saving grace that can make all things new. Christmas faith is not a fairy tale faith. It is for real people of flesh and blood.

Let us, this Christmas, welcome the Christ child into our hearts..

Come now, Lord Jesus, enter our Christmas
be to us no stranger in this new-made manger.
Come, small and human, born of a woman,
yet a Son much greater of our own Creator.
Come, cold and crying, comfort denying,
no place to receive you, few yet to believe you.
Come, poor and simple, our flesh your temple,
in your body feeling hurt as well as healing.
Come, gift and token, bread to be broken -
star and sign still point you, myrrh will yet anoint you.
© Shirley Murray

May God bless you and keep you


Rev. Margaret Anne Low

 


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