On Tuesday afternoon around 3pm I was driving through Lower Hutt on High Street when I suddenly saw debris flying all over the road. It came out of nowhere accompanied by a strong wind as I saw everything flying around I realised I was caught in a mini tornado something I have never ever experienced before in the flesh. I drove around the corner and the Christmas window display at New World came crashing down onto the footpath, there were stuffed animals and Christmas tree decorations strewn all over the road. I was lucky to have missed it by seconds. It was all so fast and freaky. It took me a long time to get home to Wainuiomata probably just under an hour as the traffic was moving very slowly given all the debris that suddenly appeared on the road. When I got home I thought it had been snowing as a pile of hailstones had accumulated against my garage door and the grass was white. I was worried about Peanut and Snoopy but they were fine.

It got me thinking about some of the out of nowhere storms in our lives that just come out of the blue, short and destructive but leave behind a huge mess to clean up. I’m not going to try and give examples of what some of these storms could look like or be, but I know you will know what I am talking about.

The first wedding I took here in Wellington was on the 11 November this year whilst I was still recovering from my concussion. I forgot to sign the marriage license which was so unlike me I have never made such an error in my 32 years of ministry. Obviously, an impact of the concussion injury. The young couple lived in Wainuiomata and were gracious enough to come to my home for me to sign it when they returned from their honeymoon in Rarotonga. I told them “Did you know you were living in sin all this time?” I’m glad they realised I was only joking. During my little homily at their wedding, I talked about marriage being like paddling a “waka” canoe together, if we paddle in harmony with one another, we can reach each destination as a team. However, if one decides to go in a different direction to other you will just go round and round in circles and not get anywhere never reaching any of your goals. These types of indecisions can lead on to bigger storms in our relationships.

This Sunday my reflection is titled “The downside of Piety” based on the lectionary reading from 1 Thessalonians 5:16-24. I don’t often do reflections from the Epistles but the Gospel reading was once again about John the Baptist, for me 3 Sundays in a row is too much. Interesting title you might say? Having grown up with a literal interpretation of the bible spoon-fed to us from the pulpit all our lives at church I have grown very averse to this type of preaching and theology. We were told that we should turn the other cheek and that we should be quick to forgive when someone wrongs you whether you are right or wrong. When conflict arose from the pews it was condemned from the pulpit and even if you weren’t involved you felt the wrath and the shame even in your innocence. It was hell fire and brimstone at its best. I will say more about this in my reflection on Sunday. I was going to include a poem I wrote regarding playing church and walking in white suits and cardboard faces with smiles painted on. Unfortunately, I do not have my personal computer at work this morning so I can’t access it, so if I remember I will include it as part of my reflection on Sunday.

Well, we are almost one week away from Christmas, and I still have 3 orders of service and 3 reflections to write for Christmas Eve morning, Christmas Eve and Christmas Day and all this whilst I am still recovering from concussion. I have faith it will happen. I sort of laugh to myself when I re-read my reflections from the past two Sundays, I do wonder whether I am sharing too many personal examples from my life and whether they may or may not be appropriate or not but hey that’s where my head is at at the moment and the good thing is I have had some positive feed-back from many. I wonder whether something in my head clicked into place when I hit my head and shifted my thought patterns?

Anyway, whatever you are doing over the Christmas period I hope you will find time to attend one or all of our Christmas services if you are in town. We will be having our usual Sherry and Christmas Cake at our Christmas Eve service at 7.30pm. Pam Fuller has a notice asking if you are spending Christmas on your own and would like to have a shared meal here at SAOTT then to let her know asap.

For those of you going away, safe travels and for those of you staying home we hope you will be able to come and join in our fellowship. If you are needing a ride to church, please let us know. Ia manuia le Kirisimasi, Fei.

You can read the full E-news here: https://mailchi.mp/de3c4b364b17/this-weeks-newsletter-from-st-andrews-on-the-terrace-9416852

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