Kia ora All Saints Whānau,
I sit here writing to you, marvelling at the mystery of life. This week we have rolled as a community through the highs and the lows together. We have felt grief as we preparing to support our friends Gerald and Diana in the farewelling of their son Thom. And we have shared joy together with Andy and Emily in the safe arrival of Jasper and Arlo earlier this week. On Tuesday, Summer, the kids and I popped up to the hospital to visit with the Spences and were greeted by a very excited Leon. He was sitting with Andy and Jasper and when we asked who his daddy was holding he responded with great pride, “baby Jesus!”. Straight from the mouths of babes! I thought to myself, “well I guess he has just come from there so… easily confused”. There is a prayer in the ANZPB that goes like this:
God our comforter, you are a refuge and a strength for us, a helper close at hand in times of distress. Help us so to hear the words of our faith that our fear is dispelled, our loneliness eased and our hope reawakened. May your Holy Spirit lift us above our natural sorrow, to the peace and light of your constant love; through Jesus Chris our Lord. Amen
We know that during life we go through trials and tribulations, and something that is ever present in my heart and mind is how close and real our God is, not only during these times, but all the times in our lives. It always feels, however, as though it’s during the times of intense joy and intense pain that we sense and feel that closeness more evidently. It’s also during this time when we as brothers and sisters wrap around each other, sit in the ashes together, feel the joy together, listen, bring offerings of food, serve one another, make cups of tea, laugh, cry, share stories. We point each other to the refugee and strength of God, and praise God together for all he has given.
Discipleship is the whole of life. It’s not just the bit we do on Sundays. We share in each other’s journey, both in joy and in pain. We show up for one another. We go deep with one another. We practice vulnerability and we love well.
So let us not miss the beauty around us as we sit in this time as a community, both mourning and rejoicing with our friends, and constantly pointing each other towards our great God! With love, Guy Benton