25 September 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
March 2004

Passion -The Film

Dear People of St Johns and St Philips

The film "the Passion" has got enormous publicity. It is a topic of general conversation and for that reason alone we cannot ignore it. The film shows the last 12 hours of Jesus' life before the crucifixion. It is clear that it is extremely violent to the degree of being gratuitous violence. Martin Marty says "I don't take to depictions of violence. It puzzles me that conservative Catholics and Evangelicals who oppose violence in films find it fine if Jesus is in one. If you get your kicks from the sight of blood and gore, this is a way to get them "sacredly."

Jesus' death is not about how much suffering he went through, but the significance lies in WHO was suffering and to what end. Jesus' death is meaningless without the full shining glory of the resurrection and the life and works of Jesus.
A disturbing theological emphasis which Mel Gibson, the producer, claims for the film is one which is foreign to our Protestant tradition, [but is within a strand of Spanish Catholicism in particular] that suffering in itself is desirable to produce holiness and the more the better. In one interview Mel Gibson said "I don't think it's as brutal as it really was".. Raymond Arroyo,the interviewer asks, "There is a sense of beauty in the violence, and I don't quite know if I'm expressing that correctly, do you sense that?" Mel Gibson replies "Good, yes, I do, I mean that is a definite intent to do that. To make it lyrical, to make the violence lyrical. In a way, to find the beauty in it!" This I find alarming and verging on sadism.

The Roman Empire WAS brutal, crucifixion WAS brutal. One thing this film may bring out in our violence ridden world is a graphic recognition of Christ's humanity for those who believe in a comfortable gospel where Good Friday has been forgotten - but it will be a cruel awakening. Maybe it will bring some to ask more about this Christ, but at what cost to Christ's message of love and forgiveness and what message about the nature of God is given? The discussion which arises from it will also cause us to search our own understanding of God in the central part of our faith.

It is our human violence that is demonstrated at the cross to which God says a resounding NO in the resurrection of Jesus. We do not need to wallow in our violence, [the scriptures do not]. Yes, Christ knows pain, not only physical but also the pain of human betrayal and the Godforsakenness of the cross and therefore we can know that he walks with us down some very dark roads. But that is because of the gracious YES to us of the God who bears our torture and breaks the cycle of violence by returning to us love and life and forgiveness, the costly grace we find so difficult to understand. Jesus shows us the way is one of love and that could just get lost if we dwell on our violence in a medieval version of the Passion story. [Definitely not for children]

May the peace and love of God be with you all as we travel toward Easter


Rev. Margaret Anne Low

 


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