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 – We are part of this community

2012
> The Gift of Many People - Seven Years On.
> The Golden Rule - Don’t 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
September 2008

Finding Pearls

We were sitting on a pearl lugger which had plied the pearl fields of the Torres Straits waters in Northern Australia. She had worked the “Darnley Deeps” ,commonly called the diver’s graveyard, down to depths of 40 metres and held the record for amount of pearl shell collected. She also had been used to take the Olympic Torch on part of its trail in 2000.
A few large shells softly gleaming with iridescent colours lay on the hatch. A blister, a huge milky natural pearl attached to the shell, showed the size and beauty of the pearls and pearlshell that had been taken over the years.

But pearling has always been dangerous. One wondered, as we tried the pearl meat handed around. [for the record it was chewy and tasteless], what made people risk their lives to reach the pearl. The Biblical story of the merchant in Jesus' parable who found the perfect pearl and sold all he had to get, it did not risk as much as those who hunted the pearls. Even relatively recently the job was considered so dangerous that it was said one could only have five years,: two to learn the trade, and three to make money. If one was still alive after that, their luck had probably ran out. A pearler needed lots of luck.. They constantly risked their lives to sharks, fever, lung infections and the bends,. What was it about pearls which attracted so much passion?
Money was certainly one motive , enough people thought them so desirable that they would literally pay a fortune for them. Maybe Jesus' story of the merchant was not so unusual, a beautiful pearl, or string of the elusive natural matched pearls was precious enough to give everything else away. Was Jesus trying to tell us that God's kingdom was about someone seeking, who had the depth of passion pearls produced in those who sought them

As we sailed into the setting sun, the dangers of the pearl divers seemed far away. I reflected that the ship we travelled on was called Anniki, -a Hebrew root for God is gracious. But grace is costly as well as free.

Pearls, unlike other gems, are formed by a living animal. Natural pearls form because a parasite or irritant gets in between the shell and lining of the mollusc and the creature reacts by wrapping it with secretions to make sure it does not harm. As the shell grows so do the number of layers placed around the irritant. The threat is not rejested but enclosed with layers of pearl shell. After a few years growth, every now and then, the pearls shell hunter opens the shell to find a pearl. A perfect pearl is the result of how the animal reacts to an irritant.
Shells with no stressor, just provide pearl shell but those which have the pearl have had that irritant to deal with.
Is that not also the way of life? People and communities who have faced enormous difficulties and suffering, can reveal a beauty and strength of character which inspires and gives others hope. That which has been a costly path, hidden and endured, has been formed into something priceless.
We don't seek suffering or difficulties, but Paul in his letter to the Romans says "Therefore, since we have been justified through faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ, …We also rejoice in our sufferings, because we know that suffering produces perseverance; perseverance, character; and character, hope. And hope does not disappoint us, because God has poured out his love into our hearts by the Holy Spirit, whom he has given us. " Romans 5


Rev. Margaret Anne Low

 


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