Message from the Diocesan Ministry Educator
Here in New Zealand, if you are awake just before dawn and willing to go outside into the chill, look towards horizon in the north east and you might see Matariki (the star cluster also known as the Pleiades). Matariki reappeared this week. It is the beginning of the Māori New Year which is traditionally a time for whānau to gather together to reflect on the past and to remember those who have died during the last year. It is also a time to give thanks for our many blessings, to celebrate the present as well as making plans for the future and opening ourselves to new learning. I wonder which of these practices comes most easily to you at this time… Reflecting on the past? Giving thanks for all that is good in the present? Or planning for a new future?
At this time, I am very thankful to be a New Zealander. I have laughed good-heartedly at the suggestion that kiwis enjoy two degrees of separation from one another—that any of us can reach anyone else, anywhere in New Zealand, through just two intermediaries which basically means that we know someone who knows someone who knows that person—but since lockdown I think it might actually be true! We are connected: woven together. At a meeting of Te Raranga last week (a citywide network of churches) one Christian leader, a Māori woman, spoke about the significance of this connection. She reminded those who had gathered that lockdown would never have worked if we didn’t already have a strong commitment to whānau in our society. “You can’t force 5 million people to stay home,” she said. “We put people first, our elders, our vulnerable, our little ones, not money, that’s what we do. Other nations haven’t done that.” “What is the most important thing?” she asked, referring to an ancient Māori proverb.“He tangata, he tangata, he tangata. It is people, people, people.”
With that in mind, may these words from NZPB Night Prayer light your way over the coming days:
God our Creator, our centre, our friend,
we thank you for our good life,
for those who are dear to us,
for our dead, and for all who have helped and influenced us.
We thank you for the measure of freedom we have,
and the extent to which we control our lives;
and most of all we thank you for the faith that is in us,
for our awareness of you and our hope in you.
Keep us, we pray you, thankful and hopeful
and useful until our lives shall end.
Diocesan Ministry Educator