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
October 2009

DATES THAT COULD DESTROY

The world around us is definitely changing and we learn more about our neighbours every day.. We were invited last week to an Eid celebration and housewarming by a Muslim family. Eid is when the end of the fast of Ramadan is celebrated. [Ramadan is the Islamic month of fasting, when Muslims refrain from eating, drinking, smoking, and indulging in anything that is in excess or ill-natured; from dawn until sunset.] We were asked to come on Sunday afternoon. But on Saturday evening we received a text message saying the new moon has not yet been sighted and eid would be on Monday, so come on Monday. We went and there was heaps of delicious food. Families wandered in and out and our hosts had already been around a number of other houses. Everyone was happy and had that sated look we get at Christmas. "Who had to sight the new moon " I asked, mindful of the way the Christian church had handled such things in the past. I was told that anyone in the community who saw the new moon and the Saturday night rang [or texted] a person at their local mosque who sent out the news.
I was fascinated and now understood why Eid was a moveable feast, like Easter.
Over the centuries the setting of the date of Easter has been a political hot potato and the setting of eid and Easter, which are dependant on the phases of the moon are current political issues in the European Common Market.
Our present way of life works on fixed dates. Moveable holidays mess up a whole lot of things like wages etc. Christmas is not a problem because it is set on a particular day. The reason for Ramadan being able to be observed as a statutory holiday is given because it is too mobile, and there is a movement to have Easter on a fixed date also. Unimportant stuff, well maybe but setting the date of Easter has a sad and torrid history in the Christian church and we may need to distinguish between what is really important and what is not..
In Judaism, each month includes the phases of the moon, and the Passover falls on the 14th day of the month, that is full moon. The determination of this date was a secret process carefully guarded in the Jewish temple and later, synagogues, and it was according to this calculation that Christ observed the feast. The early Christians were Jews and that tradition was powerful in their minds. But the Church resented dependence on the Synagogue for arranging its church year. Also, the Hebrew Passover falls on any day of the week and the Christians wanted a Holy Week beginning with Palm Sunday, proceeding to Good Friday and ending on Easter Sunday, the first day of the week, commemorating the resurrection. [which is why we worship on Sunday]

Therefore the Church had to set Easter for the Christian year. It was solved by the Bishops setting the date of the equinox and Easter was the first full moon after the spring equinox [Northern Hemisphere obviously] but the Eastern church still wanted to celebrate Easter on the 14th day of the lunar month and the Western Christians on a Sunday .
Anxiety over the date of Easter was one reason why Constantine the Great. summoned the Council of Nicaea in 325 A.D. There It was decided that Easter must be celebrated everywhere on the same day and this day must be a Sunday. It must be the first Sunday after a full moon following the vernal equinox, March 21 with one reservation.: "and if the full moon happens upon a Sunday, Easter-day is the Sunday after." The reason for this exception reveals the depth of the division between the Church and the Synagogue. For whenever the full moon fell on a Sunday, Easter would be celebrated on the same day as the Hebrew Passover. So, the postponement for a week, to avoid the coincidence.

At Nicaea they had to decide who was predict the full moon and announce the date of Easter. So the Bishop of Alexandria, [a centre of astronomy], was to declare the date each year. Travel was slow and the pronouncement had to be made in advance. It had to be based, not on observation of the moon in the sky, but on mathematics. So before each Easter the Bishop would send out a Paschal letter which among other things told people which full moon was to be Easter.
It is a sad commentary on humanity that something like setting the date of Easter has caused bloodshed and schism.

I hope the movement in Europe to make both Easter and Ramadan at set times does not end up doing the same. But maybe that rather odd passage in Colossians 2:15 -17 will have new meaning for us . Christ came to set us free, " He disarmed the principalities and powers and made a public example of them, triumphing over them in him. Therefore let no one pass judgment on you in questions of food and drink or with regard to a festival or a new moon or a sabbath. These are only a shadow of what is to come; but the substance belongs to Christ."


Rev. Margaret Anne Low

 


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