June 30, 2019




GATHERING Words by Bronwyn White
Peace be with you
And also with you.
We are this flame, ancient as the stars, new as the vulnerable spark.
We are not alone.
We are the light soaring, the shadow deepening, the dance between them.
We are not alone.
We are the heirs of the tribes and their fires, the healers and their circles.
We are not alone.
We are here for ourselves.
We are here for each

PROCESSIONAL HYMN ‘In our world we find delight’
Words: © 2016-18 Susan Jones. Music: © 2016 Vivien Chiu

In our world we find delight, for creation, day and night, brings us solace, joy;
Spirit grows, refreshes, gleams as the earth fuels richer dreams
just by being here;
May this beauty never end; May this solace always be here
May the human race take notice; And show divine compassion.

Looking into starry skies, galaxies defeat our eyes, distant stardust glows;
Spinning planets circle suns, stars are born, supernovae stun
Cosmos is our ‘hood;
May this beauty never end; May this universe remain here
May the human race take notice; And show divine compassion

Planet Earth spins like a jewel, let us care and not be cruel to this treasured gem
This blue teardrop hanging there; Childrens’ children need a share,
we owe this to them
May this planet always flourish; May its children still inherit
May we help this star to shine bright; Show Earth divine compassion

Let’s endorse humanity part of Earth’s full family, all made welcome here
Many genders, races, tribes, personalities that jibe,
all are welcome here
May all people feel accepted; Nations show true understanding
May all humans love each other; And show divine compassion

It’s a mystery who made this - evolution, hand-made care - multiple ideas.
But it’s not a mystery who needs to care for green and blue,
we have all been charged:
To make sure this never ends; That this beauty does remain here
That the human race takes notice; And shows divine compassion
Kia ora tatou.
Kia ora.

As we mark the passing of the shortest day of the year,
the rise of Matariki and the welcoming back of the light;
We ask for our spirits to also be transformed:
lightened from darkness while sheltered from scorching sun;
to be balanced between shadow and openness of consciousness.

As we remember the annual cycles of planting and growth, of life and death
we ask for our world to be nurtured not exploited,
flourishing not festering, clean, not cluttered.
So may it be
As we celebrate the newness of Matariki.

TE KARAKIA O TE ATUA (The Lord’s Prayer)

E tō mātou Matua i te rangi (Our Parent in the spirit world)
Kia tapu tou Ingoa (Sacred is your Name)
Kia tae mai tou rangatira-tanga. (Bring us Your Chiefly rule);
Kia meatia tau e pai ai (May it happen in the way that is to You, good)
ki runga i te whenua, (may it happen on earth)
kia rite ano ki to te rangi. (In the same way as in spirit world).
Homai ki a mātou aianei (Give us now)
he taro mā mātou mo tēnei ra. (The food we need this day).
Murua o mātou hara (Strip us of our sins);
Me mātou hoki e muru nei (Give us back what we have lost);
i o te hunga e hara ana ki a mātou.
(So that we, the slaves of sin, may be with you again)
Aua hoki mātou e kawea kia whaka-waia;
(Do not lead us into temptation);
Engari whaka-orangia mātou, i te kino:
(May we be whole, away from things evil);
Nou hoki te rangatira-tanga, (Through your chiefly position, is)
te kaha, me te kororia, ake, ake, ake, Āmine.
(the power and the glory, forever and ever, Amen)



We send you to the Rainbow Room programme to hear stories, ask questions
and have fun together. We bless you. Amen.

Feel free to pass the peace with those nearby or move to greet others further away. Passing the peace consists of shaking hands and saying “Peace be with you.” The response is “Peace be with you” or just “And with you.” Or, simply saying “Hello” is a good idea. Also feel free to simply observe if you wish!


Hebrew Bible Ecclesiastes 3:1-13 (sung as a hymn)

HYMN AA 113 book ‘Our life has its seasons’
Words: © 1992 Shirley Erena Murray
Music by Colin Gibson © 1992 Hope Publishing Co.

Our life has its seasons, and God has the reasons
why spring follows winter, and new leaves grow,
for there's a connection with our resurrection
that flowers will bud after frost and snow.
Refrain: So there's never a time to stop believing,
there's never a time for hope to die,
there's never a time to stop loving,
these three things go on.

There's a time to be planting, a time to be plucking,
a time to be laughing, a time to weep,
a time to be building, a time to be breaking,
a time to be waking, a time to sleep. Refrain

There's a time to be hurting, a time to be healing,
a time to be saving, a time to spend,
a time to be grieving, a time to be dancing,
a time for beginning, a time to end. Refrain

Gospel Matthew 2:1-10

Contemporary reading ‘Matariki and Winter Solstice’
by Lynne O’Brien with thanks to Juliet Batten and the Museum of NZ
Winter solstice or Yule falls on the 21st June. Matariki – this year – began Tuesday 25 June and ends 3 July. Like many winter solstice festivals celebrated around the world at this time, both place a strong emphasis on honouring the ancestors, hope – symbolized by the flame of a single candle in the darkness; renewal, and releasement. Both are also about one’s connection with nature and the seasonal cycles.

Matariki is the start of the Maori New Year. It is the coldest time of the year. Crops, especially the kumara, have been harvested, with stores now full. Too cold to plant, it is a time for reflection and giving thanks for the harvest that the gods – and ancestors - have provided. In the same way, the winter solstice marks the New Year for many other cultures. Yule mythology tells this is the night when the virgin goddess awakens to find she is pregnant with the child of light, faith and hope. Ancients feared that the light might not return and so lit fires to appease the gods and provide energy to boost the sun’s rays. Modern-day rituals involve the lighting of candles to encourage the return of the light, honour the continued love and support of loved ones in our lives who have passed over, and the power of the child of light and the spirit world to support us during winter-like times. Likewise, at Christmas, we light candles to symbolise Christ’s light in the darkness; the hope of renewal and new life, and the knowledge that we are not alone in our trials. Candles are lit at Matariki to remember the ancestors, encapsulate the hopes and aspirations for the months ahead and, like all other winter solstices, to release pain and disappointments from the year that has now passed. Like the Christ-light at Christmas, candles at Matariki remind us of the seven stars of the mother (Matariki) and her six daughters.

For the Word in scripture, for the Word among us, for the Word within us,
we give thanks.

REFLECTION ‘Welcome back the Light’ Susan Jones


Of the numerous stories associated with Matariki in Maori mythology, the most popular describes Matariki travelling across the sky annually with her daughters, to visit their tupuna wahine (grandmother) Papatuanuku, Mother Earth. Each star assists Papatuanuku prepare for the coming year, using their unique talents to bring Mauri to her different environments. Like the green man in pagan mythology, life force of the forest, Mauri is the life force, the vital essence or essential quality in each of us as individuals, as a community and communities of faith. In this tale, the gifts and talents – or Mauri - of the six daughters included tending of plants for food and medicine, care of the forests, wildlife, and waters, and support and encouragement of human tamariki (children of Papatuanuku and Rangi).

Your Mauri may be your kindness; a caring word or listening ear, a warm meal, or safe ride home. It may be gifts of music and song, gardening, knitting, teaching, writing, or being a loving parent or child. Perhaps you think your good works – your behind-the-scenes diligence - is unimportant, unnoticed. It is more likely it makes the difference between events running smoothly, on whom many people depend. Perhaps, Matariki marks the year in which you bring your light from behind the bushel, so others benefit from your Mauri.

In other stories, Matariki is seen as the homes of gods and the ‘place where souls returned after death’. According to Juliet Batten, elder Taranaki Maori would prepare a hangi and when Matariki rose in the sky, people wept as the names of those deceased since the previous Matariki, were recited. Similarly, at Yule, the Yule log charcoal from the previous winter solstice is thrown on the fire and burned. Stories are told around the fire of deceased family members to welcome them in and join the living. Family stories often involve their Mauri and the impact it had on people’s lives.

We can begin to see the symbol of the flame of a lighted candle as the Christ-light within each one of us. It shines bright to positively contribute to the world in very small and significant ways, just as the stars and talents of the six sisters and their mother burn bright at Matariki.

Around the room there are seven tables filled with candles. The tables represent the seven stars of Matariki. The candles represent your light or Mauri that shines bright at the winter New Year. We invite you to come and light a candle to celebrate your Mauri and that of your ancestors. You may also wish to light a candle for someone in the congregation who has died since the last Matariki.

A key aspect of the candle lighting ritual at the winter solstice is that each person lights their candle from the candle of the person sitting next to them. So, when the person next to you has lit their candle, before they place it on the table, light your candle from theirs. As you light your candle, say the words: “As the light returns, so my Mauri burns bright.”
For those of you who need to remain seated, people will bring a candle to you, for you to light.

HYMN ‘He Waiata mō Aotearoa (Song for Aotearoa)’
Words: © Bronwyn Angela White - Tune: Hanover WOV 67
Give thanks for Creation: orokohanga
that cosmic explosion—our whakapapa;
for logos and mythos, for spirit and word
give thanks for the ethos through which they are heard.

Remember ngā tūpuna—those gone before
their stars shining on us in Aotearoa
for we are the ashes of stars as they die
niho taniwha on the cloak of the sky.

Give thanks for the speakers: ngā kaikōrero
we hear and we listen—aroā whakarongo
With courage, with passion we greet the new day
ngā pā harakeke of cosmos and clay.

OFFERING PRAYER (said together) words by Bronwyn White
Wairua Tapu, Creative Spirit,
as we bring our gifts, koha of hand and heart, inspire us to bring to life
our vision of mana whenua where everyone is valued and understood. May the gifts of the spirit bud and flower and bear the spirit’s fruit.
We recognise and bless the gifts brought to the table, and those which wing
their way electronically from our banks to the church’s account.

People share notices and visitors are welcomed. If you have a notice, please move to the front row, ready to speak briefly from the lectern. For the benefit of newcomers, introduce yourself before you begin.


We think today of the people of Philippines and the Christian World Service Partners in the Philippines working to improve family health and nutrition, income generation and community participation in vulnerable rural areas. In New Zealand, we remember those in Parliament, and today we name Adrian Rurawhe (Te Tai Hauāuru electorate) and Deborah Russell (New Lynn electorate). Here in the Central Presbytery, we pray for the leaders and people of St Columba's Presbyterian Church, Taradale.


HYMN AA 155 ‘Where mountains rise to open skies’
Words: © 1971 Shirley Erena Murray. Music by Vernon Griffiths
Music: © 1971 Faber Music Ltd.
Where mountains rise to open skies
Your name, O God, is echoed far,
From island beach to kauri’s reach
In water’s light, in lake and star.

Your people’s heart, your people’s part
Be in our caring for this land,
For faith to flower, for aroha
To let each other’s mana stand.

From broken word, from conflict stirred
From lack of vision, set us free
To see the line of your design,
To feel creation’s energy.

Your love be known, compassion shown
That every child have equal scope:
In justice done, in trust begun
Shall be our heritage and hope.

Where mountains rise to open skies
Your way of peace distil the air,
Your spirit bind all humankind
One covenant of life to share!

BLESSING words Bronwyn White & Susan Jones
May the blessings of our ancestors be upon us all.
They set the pathway for us all to follow.
They gave us our heritage, and instilled in our hearts our culture
and righteousness to assist us in whatever we do;
with honour and a clear mind, and with love for each other.
Let us hold fast to this belief, go into the world determined to be
ancestors whom others are proud to follow.

Green of fern refresh us
Feathers of keruru warm us
Rocks of Moeraki encircle us
Waters of Taupo bathe us
Dive of gannet focus us
Arc of rainbow protect us
Stars of the Southern Cross guide us
Now and always…


THANK YOU Vivien Chiu
Our Musician today
Unless otherwise stated all hymns are used by permission CCLI Licence 341550
Words/music to new hymns and gathering statement, prayers and affirmation are original unless acknowledged. These words can be used in other worship and small group situations without seeking permission. Please acknowledge the source.

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