Kia ora e te whānau,

The demands of the gospel, while sound simple – to love others, to be peacemakers, to do justice; in fact are at times downright inconvenient, and at times feel impossible!

In some ways the easiest ways to express our commitment to Jesus’ way is to act in public ways, to attend protests, make donations, write letters. These actions take a bit of juggling of our diaries and budgets but not much else.

What seems much harder is when it involves us at a person to person level, with strangers, colleagues, fellow church members and family.

The Austrian philosopher Martin Buber, described the need for us to develop ‘I-Thou’ relating, seeing others as whole, unique and of value. He contrasted this with an attitude of ‘I-It’ – subject-object.

He encourages us to move away from relating which is transactional ‘what I can get from this’ and more into a genuine relating which values the dignity and personhood of the other.

During this Waitangi week it seems important for us as a nation to bear this ‘I-Thou’ in mind. (See the message below from Rt Rev Fakaofo Kaio, the current Moderator of the PCANZ) And especially important for us at St Andrew’s at the moment, during a time when we’re forming a ministry settlement board, and in a time of transition. There are small ways in which we slip into ‘I-It’ relating – by criticising instead of understanding, being quick to jump to conclusions instead of remaining patient, talking about people instead of going to the source.

Let’s remember, we are all doing our best. It’s a time when we need to draw on the resources and skills of the community. Thank you to those who have stepped up, and will continue to do so.

With our Unitarian Universalist cousins, who have this as one of their main principles, let’s affirm the inherent worth and dignity of every person.

We are fortunate that in our community we have a wide variety of skills and talents, interests and passions. This coming Sunday we will acknowledge three people: John and Margaret Harper who will officially become members, even though we’ve known them for a while now. And Mark Stamper, our new music co-ordinator. We’re looking forward to getting to know him.

See you there!


Catriona Cairns

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