Vicar Letter - 24th February 2023
Kia ora All Saints,
As an American immigrant to NZ, there are still a few things I struggle to adjust to. For example, I drive fine on the left side of the road, but when I walk across a street I almost always look the wrong way when checking for cars. I can accurately estimate outside temperature in Celsius, but I still can’t process my kids’ temperature or weight in the metric system. Seasons confuse me as well. More frequently than should ever happen, I have to pause and think really hard to remember what month it is. My seasonal and cultural cues of what time of year it is, like warmth/cold or the start of the school year, are all upside-down and confusing and it leaves me without any natural internal rhythms for the year.
In America, Lent begins close to the start of spring. Everybody is beginning to anticipate the end of the school year, but the craziness hasn’t begun yet. Christmas is far enough away and kids were all back to school after Christmas break by the second week of January. It’s something most people have time to think about in advance, we all get ready for it to come, and most have had a chance to at least think about what sort of Lenten discipline we might take on.
Meanwhile, every year in New Zealand Shrove Tuesday wacks me upside the head with its’ arrival and I’m shocked we are already here again. The start of the year feels like it’s only just really begun. The kids are still adjusting to being back in school. Just when everything gets back into peak business we are asked to pause and consider the eternal perspective of our lives. Are you kidding me? I’m so tired from getting back into the swing of things that Guy and I struggle to even manage a conversation after finally getting the kids in bed.
For years I’ve felt a bit cheated out of my desire for depth and contemplation (I feel cheated during Advent too, but that’s for another newsletter). But this year I’ve begun to consider that perhaps this time of life ramping up and business taking over actually might be the best time to be thrust into Lent. I’m disorganised, not feeling particularly spiritual, and definitely have no time for depth and contemplation. I am, however, deeply aware of how weak I am, how broken this world that we live in is, how silly it all feels at times, and how desperate we all are for a saviour.
Whatever state you find your heart in these first few days of Lent, I pray you can see clearly the eternal perspective that Jesus offers and notice in a fresh way the signs that we and all creation are groaning for Him. Draw near to God, my friends, and let’s go on this journey together.
24/2/2023 11:20:16 am
dont worry I have been here over 60 years and still have to work it out including what they call classes. inches and centimeters, yea joking. a blank
24/2/2023 08:24:20 pm
Thank you, Summer! That is so real to me.
1/3/2023 09:00:09 am
Thanks Summer for a thoughtful piece. I like your challenge that the busy, messy, awkward time is probably exactly the right time to seek out depth and contemplation.
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