E te whānau o Herewini, Tēnā koutou , tēnā koutou , tēnā koutou katoa!
Dear Selwyn family, greetings to each and all of you!
The Easter holiday causes us to recall a much simpler time – in Palestine 2000 years ago – when the region was under Roman occupation. A man in the region of Galilee became known locally for his ability to inspire and encourage, to challenge notions of priority for the educated and wealthy, to create space for women to speak up and participate and for those from other cultures to be welcomed as equals.
Not only did the man known as Jesus create a counter culture around himself, he also caused creative expectation amongst his friends and acquaintances that life and society could be transformed. Jesus didn’t create this transformation himself – he focused on the eternal and cosmic power of God’s love as the change agent. The long term effect of this focus by Jesus is that many others came to see and trust in the power of God’s love too. Those who joined in this way of living with a basis of love, equality and inclusiveness discovered that it did indeed evoke surprising and sustaining change and new life.
Whilst some parts of the story about Jesus’ life are sad, and speak of oppression and violence - actually the part that has carried on across the centuries is that message of hope, love and new life. That is how the symbols of this Easter new life came to include eggs and the festive celebration of consuming chocolate.
As I write this the sun is blazing across Tāmaki Makaurau and the waters of the Waitematā are glistening with little ripples. It is easy today to speak of God who is love, life-giving and reliable. However for many the past few months have seemed treacherous and challenging and some may be wondering whether they have the stamina to face the months ahead.
We human beings can get a bit carried away by consumption, however perhaps the wisest strategy is to enjoy fully whilst we do not over consume. An idea to consider whilst we are laughing with the children, enjoying family time and biting into the sweet stuff is to check out if there are people around us who are left out, are pushed aside or feeling sad. That was the big thing about Jesus – he focused on walking along the margins and welcoming people in. Whatever we think about Jesus, we too can extend a welcome and offer support and love to others. Let’s together help some of those people on the edge to be “with us”.
Each of you are precious and we at Selwyn want you to know that we care about you.
May new life be in you. Happy Easter!
Reverend Caroline Leys
Director of Spirituality