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 – 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
May 2012

REAL WORLD - AND THE HUNGER GAMES

REAL WORLD - HUNGER GAMES - WHERE IS GOD'S WORLD.

As we see the chilling reports of a man in Norway who cold-bloodedly killed so many young people, we would like to say he is deranged, not in control of his thoughts and eliminate him from the society he has damaged. However it is clear that he is very much in control of his actions. He did precisely what he intended to do. It is his ideology, his beliefs of how the world should be, that, like the Nazi and other regimes before him, have governed his terrible rampage. Any attempt to appeal to his humanity will be pointless as he has designated those whom he has killed as being non-human. He sees the trial as his opportunity to spread his ideas.
What on earth can reach through and touch his heart and change him so he can see what he has done to fellow human beings? Punishment will not do it. Punishment will only reinforce his beliefs that violence is the answer - he just didn't have more might than the state. Also his identity is bound up in thinking as he does and we all cling to our identities.

The apostle Paul says, for us to be truly human, we need to realise that our identity, he uses the image of citizenship, lies not in ourselves or in an ideology which seems to give us worth, but is rooted in Christ's love. This then flows into our actions and relationships to one another. Strangely, it is love heaven sent, that can trickle into our earthly hearts. Like a vine creeping through the smallest cracks, love can force apart the strongest barrier with the life of a growing branch. I believe it is only God's spirit that can shatter the illusions this man has and then provide healing with the acknowledging that his actions are wrong.

There is a new film out for teenagers which gives food for thought. This imaginary world of the Hunger Games is a commentary on our own. Its plot is chilling and deals with the unthinkable, children being killed. But, I reflect that is what happens only too often in our own local community and our own nation and it raises some real questions for us.

J.W. Wartick reviews the movie "The Hunger Games". "It shows a world in which there is a huge difference between those in power and those without it. District 12, Katniss Everdeen's place, is bleak, black and white. There are sad faces looking out the windows, and children playing with sticks in the mud because they have nothing else.
In contrast, at the Capitol, where the people spend their time on themselves, it is colourful. Here they decorate themselves, and the places around them. Their showers cover them with the scent of the day; their food is the best; they do whatever they want.
This contrast is woven through the movie. The children have to battle to the death, yet everyone congratulates them as though this is some great honour. They are required to dress their best for the “reaping” in which the Capitol personnel chose who will fight in the arena. The people of the Capitol pack the stands to watch; they cheer wildly for their favourites. Yet the whole time the movie makes it clear there is something deeply wrong happening. How can these people be so excited, so utterly out-of-touch with reality, when children’s lives are at stake? "
The film points out how people deceive themselves about right and wrong. The society of the Capitol has an ideology is that 'might makes right' and that their comfort is the greatest good. But the question keeps hovering over the film. How are these people oblivious to what they are really doing? The same questions that we are asking in real life about the Norwegian, Anders Behring Breivik, and those who follow him.
The Hunger Games, provides a critique of our society, showing us the very kind of decadence and futility which we so often celebrate, and we are horrified and must act to resist the prevailing beliefs along with the heroine".

OK - its only a film but it does reflect the world our children grapple with - horrifyingly history and our daily news shows us that reality is often far worse.

If only the teenagers who see this film could know the reality of the Easter hope which Jesus brings to the world, the unlimited love which has room for the redemption of the people of the Capitol as well as rescuing the children of the Districts. Unless both happen there is no life, just the formation of another ideology with the potential for more destruction.

We have the strongest tool that there is, pointing to the one true Hope: that of Jesus and the Way he calls us into. Hope given by the God who loves the whole world. It is vital that we share this good news with the world and our neighbours.

May God be with us in the journey

[This is not a film for children but is appropriate for teenagers, and parents could use the film as a way to discuss some of the very real world issues it raises.]


Rev. Margaret Anne Low

 


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