22 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 2004

Upside Down Christmas

Dear Everyone

Carol the summer and welcome the Christ Child
warm in our sunshine and sweetness of air.

Put plenty of sunscreen on this Christmas, the warmth of our sunshine carries some dangers.
When New Zealand and British scientists put forward that there was an ozone hole over Antarctica, the more sophisticated American readings said that their results could simply not be true, they did not fit the expected pattern and therefore were disregarded.
Later, it was realised that the American computers had received the same readings, however when they were analysed, those readings were discarded as errors because they were too far off the expected data. The computer programmers had placed a restriction, based on predetermined limits, on which results would be deemed acceptable, and in doing so excluded the possibility of anything unknown being picked up if it was outside those boundaries.
In fact, it was not a scientific exploration, there were too many barriers to allow the freedom for new data to change existing theories. The so called exploration was, in effect, merely to confirm what was already thought to be the situation.. When the human restrictions were removed, the new results confirmed the New Zealander and British findings and the theories of the ozone hole were developed.
Scientific research has grown out of the Christian faith and world view. Scientific discoveries are made by being open to new thoughts, often outside the accepted square, and scientists fight battles over entrenched beliefs, when accepted norms are challenged, as fervently as those supporting religious beliefs .

The Christmas stories push us to expand our ideas. They challenge all our predetermined theories about in whom and where and how God acts.
We keep on wanting to contain this child of Bethlehem to fit with our ideas of what should be or is possible. We might discover something dangerous and out of control unless we eliminate possibilities beyond our boundaries,
Those who want to reduce the stories to historic facts and analyse them according to our scientific world view, even in the name of verifying their faith, will miss the child at Bethlehem, and the angelsong. They may get stuck at Herod?s palace looking in the expected places for the leaders, and miss travelling with the wise ones on that improbable journey, following a star or all things, to kneel at the manger with prophetic gifts.
Christmas is about wonder, suddenly! there are angels, suddenly! the sky fills with light and shepherds run to see a baby. Everyone gathers at the manger where the baby lies. All our conventions are questioned, Mary?s pregnancy out of a recognised relationship, Joseph?s faith in sticking with his beloved, despite disapproval and Luke?s story is written daringly, as a direct challenge to the King of King and Lord of Lords, The Prince of Peace, Augustus Caesar where the hosts of Rome are faced with the uneven contest of heavenly hosts. The Peace of God is seen reaching far beyond the Roman peace.
Good news! You should know it well, but the story still has the power surprise us with wonder.
Joy Cowley writes [Nativity, Psalms Down Under]
And here again is the star
that white flame of truth
Blazing the way for us
through a desert of tired words

Once more comes the music,
Angel song that lifts our hearts
and tunes our ears
to the harmony of the universe making us wonder how
we ever could have forgotten.


Tell your children the story of peace, give your grandchildren the gift of hope this Christmas the story, pass its love on to your neighbours. Christmas is a time of joy and wonder, even if there are tears and pain, for there is the discovery that there is more than we can tell.

Shepherds and musterers move over hillsides
finding not angels but sheep to be shorn;
wise ones make journeys whatever the season,
search for the signs of the truth to be born.

Right side up Christmas belongs to the universe,
made in the moment a woman gives birth;
hope is the Jesus Gift, love is the offering
everywhere, anywhere, here on the earth.

© Shirley Murray

Take time to wonder, for the love of God seeks us out Unexpectedly.


Rev. Margaret Anne Low

 


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