Kia ora o te Whānau

The power of stories and storytelling is a popular theme at present but perhaps it always been that way. Now that we have so many platforms on which to share stories – print, audio, social media, cinema, Netflix, Neon, Lightbox and so on, not to mention television – storytelling seems so much more prevalent. I have recently read Anthony Doerr’s latest book “Cloud Cuckoo Land” which tells several stories over time, woven into one. It’s a brilliant book that really gets to the heart of being human, having a soul – and a conscience – and surviving. It is the power of storytelling writ large.

The Hebrew Bible reading for Sunday 13 February is from Jeremiah, one of the Hebrew prophets. Prophecy could be described as storytelling with a particular purpose. In Chapter 17 Jeremiah rages against bad and destructive behaviour, especially by leaders of his community, that he knows is in flagrant disregard of the Covenant (the agreement between God and the ancient Israelites). He implores people to turn back to God and trust in God’s ways, not man’s ways for the good of community. The essence of his message sounds rather familiar, despite the difference in the era.

As we are leading the service on Sunday, Jeremiah set Ben (Gray) and me thinking about the stories that have shaped our communities and how we live today.  It was tempting to settle on the theme: ‘How we got into the mess we are in today’ but that seemed overly gloomy. In fact despite his despair, Jeremiah had hope for the future. We need to hold on to hope too – there are plenty of reasons why and it is central to the Christian message.

On Sunday Ben will share his (and some of my) thoughts about the ‘The stories we live by’ and what stories we could usefully adopt to help us live our lives well, inform what we value and protect life as we know it. Come and join us!

With my Parish Council Convenor hat on, being mindful of growing Omicron case numbers, we will not have a shared lunch on Sunday but we will have a regular morning tea in our normal red traffic light settings. Please do keep your masks on as much as possible.

The Cuppa and Chat group, which normally meets on Wednesday morning, has decided to suspend its gatherings for the next few weeks.

A further word on the current COVID situation. While we are watching the case numbers climb steadily, so far more slowly than predicted, it appears from the experience in Europe and elsewhere that in highly vaccinated populations the current surge will peak and then the case numbers will drop away again. A small group of us (Pam Fuller, Katrina Harper, Sue Hirst and me), delegated by Parish Council, are keeping a close watch on developments and will let you know if and when it is time to resume Zoom services on Sundays.

Arohanui, Lynne

PS Anthony Doerr’s 2014 novel “All the Light We Cannot See” was an equally brilliant example of storytelling that got behind the popular stories and myths of the Second World War.

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