Somehow I managed to survive 22 hours in Wellington, earlier this week. Wellington is a fine city, recently voted 4th best in the world according to somebody or other (much to the chagrin of Christchurch). But it is a pedestrian's city and my 22 hours involved several trips in a car shifting things here and there in streets with little room to manouvre and next to no parking spaces.
On the flight back I had something to read which I ought to have read because I have a deadline for completing it, but I did not read a word. I had a window seat on a crystal clear day with an uninterrupted view of the east cost of the South Island from the tip of the Marlborough Sounds to Christchurch city itself. I never tire of such views which included mountains, rivers, valleys, beaches, towns and villages, much of which is familiar to me from ground travelling by road. What a difference a new perspective makes to familiar scenes. In this case the grandeur of the northern South Island is extraordinary from the air. When God renews the heaven and the earth it is difficult to envision how this part of the world might be improved!
Then to a funeral service for Bishop Maurice Goodall, Bishop of Christchurch (1984-90), a familiar figure in my life as a family friend and a notable figure because his prompting led to me offering for ordination when I had not expected to do so. He ordained me deacon and priest. The service was a lovely tribute to +Maurice who, as someone said in the course of the service, was the kindest man they had ever met. (For local readers, a public memorial service for +Maurice will be held in Christchurch Cathedral this coming Monday 8th November at 2.30 pm.)
+Maurice was an extraordinary pastor with accomplished, impactful ministries in parishes, City Mission, cathedral, and diocese. My last and lasting memory of +Maurice is seeing him recently at an evening service in his local parish. This service is geared for young people and the congregation make up is dominated by young people. But at the age of 82 +Maurice was there as often as possible, wanting to encourage the next generation, a faithful servant of the gospel to the end.
God is good!