Tuesday, July 30, 2013

Woven together

I started with the realisation that I’ve been attending the same church for 21 years.  I feel like I’m part of the fabric of this community, I’ve been woven into its very texture. 

Photo Credit: ©  Ellashouli Used with permission.

Although I’ve occasionally visited services at other churches, this is the one that feels like home.  Like in family, I am known there, with all my faults and failings, yet I’m also fully accepted and loved.

This church is more than just a community club.  Although we do socialise together, more importantly we worship and pray together.  We challenge each other, and support each other.

Luke the Physician describes the earliest known Christian church as follows:

The fellowship of the believers
(Acts 2:42-47 NIVUK)
They devoted themselves to the apostles’ teaching and to fellowship, to the breaking of bread and to prayer. Everyone was filled with awe at the many wonders and signs performed by the apostles. All the believers were together and had everything in common. They sold property and possessions to give to anyone who had need. Every day they continued to meet together in the temple courts. They broke bread in their homes and ate together with glad and sincere hearts, praising God and enjoying the favour of all the people. And the Lord added to their number daily those who were being saved.

(Some online resources for background reading about Luke and the book of Acts can be found here)

Okay, we’re not that good.  We don’t meet daily, we don’t share communal property, and miraculous wonders and signs are a  rarity.  And to be honest, if I did find a 21st century church that did meet daily and share communal property I’d probably by quite cautious of it, and checking it carefully on cultwatch.  There are lots of Christian Communities that are very good, but I can also think of lots of examples that start well then go astray.

Why is that, I wonder?

While I was reflecting on the good things about our church, I decided that what makes a great church is relationship:

  • Between the people and God
  • Between the leadership and the congregation
  • Within the congregation
  • Between the Church and the wider community

Relationships are like the warp threads that bind the individuals together into a unique community.

Photo Credit: ©  Ellashouli Used with permission.

The quality and depth of relationships is, in my opinion, the most important characteristic our 21st century church has in common with the 1st century church.

What do you think makes an awesome faith community?

Sunday, July 28, 2013

Déjà vu

I have clear memories of my Dad taking me to this park when I was first learning to ride a bike, thirty-mumble years ago.

Back then, I wasn’t confident crossing the bridges, and would always wobble over just before the bridge.  My Miss Seven had no such problems.

The duck pond hasn’t changed much in three decades, although there has been some work done making a feature of the spring, and some strategically placed seating.

Now I get to enjoy taking this generation to practise their bike riding.  And one day, they might bring their children here too.

(Apologies for photo quality – using my phone camera)

Thursday, July 18, 2013

Gap-Filler Mini-Golf

The surreal doesn’t even seem surreal any more.

A mini-golf course scattered around a broken city.  Seven holes (we only played six of them) in seven different “gaps”.  This is now a city with more gaps than non-gaps. 

Yet the children noticed none of this.  They can barely remember Before.  Normal is playing a hole of mini-golf surrounded by broken buildings and rubble.

It wasn’t strange to them.

The flooded remains of a basement was thought to be a strange swimming pool. 

We had fun. 

And there is more colour and life in this broken city than Before.

We are survivors.  And this city is also a survivor. 

We can never go back to Before, but I’m looking forward to the New.

Thursday, July 11, 2013

Saint Benedict

Today, July 11th, is the “Saint Day” of Benedict of Nursia, Abbot of Monte Cassino, Father of Western Monasticism, c.550.
(Image source)
One of the the staples of my prayer life, the Church of England Daily Prayer, is a direct descendant of the Daily Office that Benedict taught his followers.  A style of prayer that has truly stood the test of time (15 centuries good enough for you?) and has also proven very adaptable to 21st century technology.  I read the Daily Prayer using a smartphone app. (There’s also an iphone app, but since I’ve not used it I can’t vouch for it).
Eternal God,
who made Benedict a wise master
      in the school of your service
and a guide to many called into community
      to follow the rule of Christ:
grant that we may put your love before all else
and seek with joy the way of your commandments;
through Jesus Christ your Son our Lord,
who is alive and reigns with you,
in the unity of the Holy Spirit,
one God, now and for ever.
(Source: http://www.churchofengland.org/prayer-worship/worship/texts/festivals/lesser-festivals/benedict-of-nursia.aspx)
Updated: I know I could have written this better.  Just as well there's others out there who do.  http://garynealhansen.com/2013/07/11/feast-day-of-st-benedict-of-nursia/

Wednesday, July 3, 2013

Medallion Medley

I first fell in love with this pattern when I started to learn to crochet.  It was my goal and ambition to learn enough to be able to complete it.

Big Sister managed to source me some Australian wool at far more affordable prices than NZ wool.  This project takes a bit.  So I started hooking it in January.

It’s taken six months, and I’d set the target of having it ready to assemble in time for the annual Hanmer Craft Weekend.

2013-06-29 09.00.522013-06-29 14.13.13GEDC0113GEDC0117

Now they say that what happens in Hanmer stays in Hanmer, so I won’t offer any further detail, but let you imagine what 15 crafting women in one house for a weekend could be like…

There’s something about having snow on the ground outside, and a view straight up to a mountain, to motivate me to finish a shawl.  I just wanted to be able to wear it and get out there to play modelling with the camera.


And yes, I’d made a hat and mitts to match.

Linking in with Matariki Crafting and Wardrobe Wednesday.