Kia ora e te whanau
I diverged from the lectionary this week, although I stuck with John’s Gospel because the loaves and fishes story in John 6: 1-21 drew me. I wove the story with some of the eight points of progressive Christianity in a brief exploration of the notion of generosity. In the reading, a boy gives Jesus his meagre portion of 2 small fish and 5 barley loaves to feed the large crowd on a grassy plain above the Sea of Galilee near Capernum. In first century Palestine, barley was cattle food and held in contempt. Somehow this meagre portion of the humblest food is stretched to feed 5000 people in a story that features in each of the four gospels, twice in two of them, suggesting the story is of major significance to the early Christian community. If we ignore the implied miracle, is there something in the story for us in 21st century Aotearoa New Zealand? I think the story might be a message about generosity, one that we as individuals and a community may learn from in these days when Covid-19 has highlighted inequities in our society. Although we have moved out of lockdown, many people will face ongoing hardship in the months to come because of job losses and business closures. The government is doing its best to alleviate some of these hardships, but on top of already long-term hardship for many, there will remain a gap. Do we have a role as a Christian community in working to close the gap? That is something we can think about.
But also, these past weeks have been difficult in various ways for many of us. Be gentle on yourselves as we emerge from 7 weeks of lockdown. Whether we have been going out to work as usual, working from home, or simply sheltering at home, this new stage is quite a change. Those of you able to spend time in person with family and friends, enjoy. For those of you who do not have that possibility, I hope you can find something special to do to celebrate our increased freedom to move around.
Whatever your situation, I wish you well, I wish you peace..
You will have heard the Prime Minister on 11 May announce the resumption of many activities at level 2 but she also told us that churches will have to wait a little longer to be able to hold services again. The next government announcement will be on 25 May.
This means we will continue with our online services for the time being. The Presbyterian national office has asked us to develop a Health and Safety plan and has provided some guidance. Our plan must be lodged with Presbytery before we resume services
in the church. We have re-convened a COVID-19 health and safety committee made up of Parish Council members and our Centre Manager, Laetitia Brunell. The committee will meet next week and build on the plan we developed back in March.
Meantime Laetitia and Jillene have returned to the office with the arrival of level 2. What a great job they have done operating from their respective homes. A huge thank you to Laetitia and Jillene!
Just to let you know too, that the South Island Organ Company has been in touch about dismantling the organ now that they can operate again and travel to Wellington from Timaru. Dismantling and shipping was due to take place 20-24 April but of course had to be postponed. Now they are keen to get going. More about that next week.
I hope you are enjoying breaking your bubble, meeting family members, going to a cafe or restaurant, shopping in a place other than the supermarket, returning to work or doing an activity of choice.
To view the full e-news click on this link: https://mailchi.mp/a9c08c61b7bc/this-weeks-newsletter-from-st-andrews-on-the-terrace-3858449