Kia ora e te whānau,

Theologian Paul Tillich wrote that genuine love will always appear to some as a kind of extravagant waste. Niki will be reflecting this coming Sunday on the story of the woman anointing Jesus with precious perfume, this action too, seen by some as a waste, an extravagance. 

In popular culture love is often seen as a sentiment, a feeling, and the word is used so much that the connection with a deeper perspective has been lost. The gospel tends to instead speak of love as something costly, even subversive, counter-cultural. Think of Jesus’ descriptions of love – forgiving seventy times seven, the father who welcomes his son who has wronged him, love that involves giving up one’s own life even. This Jesus understood the woman’s act not as a waste but as love without bounds.

This week the court case in Christchurch has been very much in our minds and our news – victim impact statements allowing some to express their grief and pain. Several times the word ‘forgiveness’ has been used – I think of Farid Ahmed who with extraordinary courage spoke words of forgiveness for the gunman within days of the shootings. Farid describes forgiveness as the only way he knows to live out his faith. 

We seek also to live out our faith by practicing love, I see it as a life-long practice – so often we are focused on wanting to hold onto our version of things, protect our patch, we close our minds to others. This way of Jesus is a costly path we follow, may we allow ourselves to be shaped and challenged as we travel.

Niki will be using this from Archbishop Don Tamihere as our blessing on Sunday:

“Let love be the pandemic. Let kindness be the contagion. Let love be your motivation.

Let love be your karakia. Let love be your tikanga. Let love be the miracle”

See you then,



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