Message from Peter Beck
Monday 01 June 2020
Yesterday we gathered in worship again at The Community of the Sacred Name. There was a great turnout for our Pentecost celebration ! We fare welled Helen and thanked her for her time as our interim Priest in Charge. She and Jenny before her helped to hold this parish together as St Luke’s has journeyed through the uncertain time of ‘no fixed abode’. Thank you to both of them, and God bless.
This week there will be a mass on Thursday at 9.30am at the Community of the Sacred Name, with a morning tea catch up for those who can make it. Over the next few days we will be looking at re-instituting our regular services post the lock down which has thrown so much into disarray.
This coming Sunday is Trinity Sunday, the Queen of our Christian Festivals, and my first time ‘on deck’ as your Interim Priest-in-Charge. The Eucharist will be back at our former regular time of 9.30am. Be assured that we will be following the strict guidelines for level 2 that our bishop has given us.
I do hope you will feel able to join us as we gather as a parish family to worship, and I totally understand if you would rather not at the moment. Fortunately it looks like it won’t be long before we are in Level 1. Let’s hope so.
On the Day of Pentecost, as we heard yesterday, St Peter quoted the words of the prophet Joel to the crowd he was addressing:
‘God says, I will pour out my Spirit on all people. Your sons and daughters will prophesy, your young will see visions, your old will dream dreams.’ Shortly we will all gather together again to reflect on our life and ministry and our future as St Luke-in-the City. Let us dream our dreams. Let us deepen the vision that has guided this parish over many years and look forward with confidence and renewed energy to what God has in store for us.
Dag Hammarskjold, UN Secretary General in the 1950s gave a memorable quote which I have cherished though my life:
‘For all that has been, thanks! For all that will be, YES!’
OUT OF TRAUMA COMES HOPE AND NEW LIFE, says Peter Beck
I have the privilege of living close to the Ōtākaro-Avon River in Richmond. Most days in lockdown my wife and I walk or cycle along the river trail which winds alongside the river from the city centre to the sea. The trail is alive with people out in their bubbles, walking the dog or the kids, or jogging, biking, enjoying all this place has to offer.
As we walk, I reflect on what a transformation has happened here over the last decade. The earthquakes brought devastation on an unprecedented scale to this area – village communities were destroyed and the ties that bind communities together were ripped apart.
But what was once a place of trauma is now an oasis of healing. The spirit, the wairua of the people and of this land will not be defeated. People reached out for a vision for the rejuvenated eastern suburbs to create a multipurpose river park from the city to the sea.
Together we are reinvigorating the indigenous habitat and developing community initiatives which enhance this special place, to make it a go-to place where the city comes to relax, rejuvenate and play.
It is a huge collaborative and sometimes fraught effort between grassroots community and voluntary and statutory agencies. There is a long way to go but as I walk along this track I can feel this land healing from trauma, embracing creativity, connectedness between us and the environment.
This is an analogy for what the world is going through now. How are we going to shape our future beyond this pandemic? The virus has forced us to press the pause button on the political, economic and social systems of our world. Many are reflecting on just what kind of society we had. Was it fit for purpose? Do we want to simply press the start button, to "get back to normal"?
I sincerely hope not.
We have a chance to challenge the grotesque inequality, self-interest, poverty and injustice of the old normal. There, so few had so much and so many had so little, and we had brought ourselves to the edge of environmental catastrophe.
We are at a watershed moment. As we prepare to release the pause button, surely we know it makes common sense if we are to survive and prosper. We need a vision of well-being and equity for all humanity and our fragile planet.
It is often in the darkest of times that we see the best in people. That was certainly true in our city after the quakes, and across our nation in these weeks of lockdown. The human spirit of care, compassion and courage will not be denied. This is the spirit that can shape our future. Out of this trauma can come hope and new life.
I believe that love is stronger than hate, that life is stronger than death. That's the profound truth of Easter for Christians. This is a prayer which both challenges and encourages me. Whatever your faith may be or not, I invite you to embrace its sentiments:
God of many names, the lover of all peoples, Give us a vision of our world as your love would have it be; a world where the weak are protected and none go hungry or poor, where all the blessings and benefits of life are shared so that everyone can enjoy them, where people of every race, colour, gender, sexual orientation – the whole kaleidoscope of humanity are each treated with mutual dignity and respect, a world where our planet home is nourished and cared for, where peace is built on justice and justice is guided by love. And give to us the courage and inspiration to build such a world.
To that I say Amen.
A Prayer for these Times (from ANZPB)
God of the present moment,
God who in Jesus stills the storm and soothes the frantic heart;
bring hope and courage to us as we wait in uncertainty.
Bring hope that you will make us the equal of whatever lies ahead.
Bring us courage to endure what cannot be avoided,
for your will is health and wholeness;
you are God, and we need you. Amen.