Wednesday, April 26, 2017

NZ's Most Televised Rural Priest

I do not imagine that I would get much traction if I went to the executives of one of our TV channels and said, "Could you please do a sympathetic profile of one of our hard working rural priests, at least ten minutes long, and show it at prime time viewing?"

However there is another way to achieve the same end!

Imagine an interesting farmer, the interest of our world famous in New Zealand "Country Calendar" in that farmer and that the farmer was also a priest, and maybe ...

In fact, this past Sunday evening, Country Calendar featured Tracey Peters, a farmer on land between Taihape and Waiouru (central North Island).

For the first part of the programme we were taken on a televisual journey of her farms, her varied interests and the challenge of farming on her own account since her husband died many years ago. Then the Rev Tracey Peters emerged!

Among her "varied interests" it turns out that Tracey is 0.25 FTE priest in the Parish of Taihape (Diocese of Wellington) and the remainder of the programme sympathetically portrayed her shepherding of the flock in that parish.

The title of the programme is "Tending the Flock."

You can read about the programme (and some of its dialogue) here.

You can watch the whole programme "on demand" here.

Since the ministry of our rural priests does not get much airtime I think Tracey now qualifies as "NZ's Most Televised Rural Priest"!

Tuesday, April 25, 2017

The Infinite Stupidity Which Lies Behind ANZAC Day

"Einstein famously said, “Only two things are infinite: the universe and human stupidity.” Then he added, “And I’m not so sure about the universe.”" So begins a brilliant Moth story about maths, romance, astrophysics and the unity of all things, which you can read here (or see on the YouTube clip embedded in it).

The bit about infinite stupidity sprang to mind when later in my Monday reading I came across an enlightening post about the origins of ANZAC Day ...

I have read a bit about Gallipoli and the ill-fated attack begun on 25 April 2015. I have been familiar with the facts of its general stupidity as an operation: a prior naval attack had failed to set the situation properly for a military attack; the landings were mucked up; the strength of the Turks was underestimated; too much was decided in London.

But I had thought the general strategy was not stupid, that securing the Dardenelles would lead to the securing of Constantinople and that would provide the way for a new flank to open against Germany and shorten the war.

But reading this post at "Not PC" I now realise that much, much more stupidity was at work. The plan was less about opening a new flank against Germany and more about cravenly offering the Russians a vital conquest in their geopolitical strategic plan. To say nothing of the stupidity of thinking that in return the Russians would meekly give up other parts of that plan. As if!

Worse, from the stupidity point of view, there was no particular need to help Russia in this way at that time.

So, as the Not PC post points out, somehow a futile battle for a faulty plan led by fallible generals and politicians not our own - a plan we Down Under blithely went along with, like good colonies, eager to please their masters - becomes the myth of the forging of new, proud, independent nations.

Well, we weren't particularly "new" as a result of WW1 (see what we did in WW2) and we certainly did not become "independent" soon after (and are we yet a republic with our own Head of State?) but we do have reason to be "proud."

Whatever happened before, during and after Gallipoli from a geo-political or military strategic perspective, our men (and our women nursing them) fought bravely and sacrificially.

We will remember them.

Monday, April 17, 2017

Rest [UPDATED]

I have now completed my self imposed Lenten task to blog everyday through Lent.

It has been more demanding than I bargained on, even though most posts pointed readers to other posts.

So I am going to have a rest from blogging for a week or so.

"Rest" has another meaning, however, this morning as I write. Over the weekend the Diocese of Christchurch learned that a treasured colleague, Andrew Starky, died suddenly on Holy Saturday.

Please pray for his wife Kathryn, their son Daniel and their extended family, as well as the Parish of St Michael's and All Angels who have lost their Vicar.

Andrew held other responsibilities in the Diocese and leaves an empty place at important decision making tables. We are all bereft.

His funeral is 11am Friday 21 April at St Michael's and All Angels.

See now this moving post by Fr Ron Smith.

UPDATE:

It was a moving, solemn service, now viewable on YouTube.

An obituary published in the Press on Saturday is here.

Bosco Peters has published the eulogy he delivered at the service here.


Sunday, April 16, 2017

Paschal [Resurrection] Homily

By St John Chrysostom (from here) (H/T Andrei)

If anyone is devout and a lover of God, let them enjoy this beautiful and radiant festival.
If anyone is a grateful servant, let them, rejoicing, enter into the joy of his Lord.
If anyone has wearied themselves in fasting, let them now receive recompense.
If anyone has labored from the first hour, let them today receive the just reward.
If anyone has come at the third hour, with thanksgiving let them feast.
If anyone has arrived at the sixth hour, let them have no misgivings; for they shall suffer no loss.
If anyone has delayed until the ninth hour, let them draw near without hesitation.
If anyone has arrived even at the eleventh hour, let them not fear on account of tardiness.
For the Master is gracious and receives the last even as the first; He gives rest to him that comes at the eleventh hour, just as to him who has labored from the first.
He has mercy upon the last and cares for the first; to the one He gives, and to the other He is gracious.
He both honors the work and praises the intention.
Enter all of you, therefore, into the joy of our Lord, and, whether first or last, receive your reward.
O rich and poor, one with another, dance for joy!
O you ascetics and you negligent, celebrate the day!
You that have fasted and you that have disregarded the fast, rejoice today!
The table is rich-laden: feast royally, all of you!
The calf is fatted: let no one go forth hungry!
Let all partake of the feast of faith. Let all receive the riches of goodness.
Let no one lament their poverty, for the universal kingdom has been revealed.
Let no one mourn their transgressions, for pardon has dawned from the grave.
Let no one fear death, for the Saviour's death has set us free.
He that was taken by death has annihilated it!
He descended into Hades and took Hades captive!
He embittered it when it tasted His flesh! And anticipating this, Isaiah exclaimed: "Hades was embittered when it encountered Thee in the lower regions".
It was embittered, for it was abolished!
It was embittered, for it was mocked!
It was embittered, for it was purged!
It was embittered, for it was despoiled!
It was embittered, for it was bound in chains!
It took a body and came upon God!
It took earth and encountered Ηeaven!
It took what it saw, but crumbled before what it had not seen!
O death, where is thy sting?
O Hades, where is thy victory?
Christ is risen, and you are overthrown!
Christ is risen, and the demons are fallen!
Christ is risen, and the angels rejoice!
Christ is risen, and life reigns!
Christ is risen, and not one dead remains in a tomb!
For Christ, being raised from the dead, has become the first-fruits of them that have slept.
To Him be glory and might unto the ages of ages.
Amen.

Saturday, April 15, 2017

Kiwi iResurrection

Ok so its Holy Saturday and not yet the Day of Resurrection, but not only "needs must" - planning a blogging holiday next week, and a special guest blogger is working on tomorrow's post - but the fact is, a new Kiwi site for the Season of Resurrection has actually begun this week. It has resurrectional (is that a word?) reflection materials for every day of the week.

Go to resurrection.nz and work your way through, daily, this week and onto the Fifty Days following.

This is an initiative of the Diocese of Auckland!