Poet and Preacher: by Maurice Andrew

Maurice Andrew seems to be enjoying a long retirement in Dunedin.  He completed his outstanding academic career as Principal at Knox College a wee while ago now

The German poet Rainer Maria Rilke (1875-1926) held a high view of the poet’s calling. It is probably expressed most directly in his poem “O tell us, poet, what you do. – I praise.” (“O sage Dichter, was du tust. Ich rühme.” ‘Rühmen’ is not the only word for ‘praise’ in German, and there is a touch of the exultant about it.)

My translation of Rilke’s poem is below, and then my interpretation of it (“Homiletics”). My interpretation makes an application to the preacher rather than to the poet. In other words, Rilke’s poem set me thinking and writing about “what the preacher does”. Continue reading

Election Series: some musings – Martin Stewart

Martin is the editor of this blog

When you cannot be sure that you can observe the world in neutral enough ways, should you not say anything?

That’s the dilemma I face every election cycle when it comes to my pulpit ministry, and I tend to play it safe and avoid saying anything that can be interpreted as partisan politics. The pulpit, I figure, has to be shaped by greater things that the ideologies that I might find attractive and the whims of whatever mood I’m in.  I say that, and believe that, but suspect I am a spectacular failure! Continue reading

Sara Miles visit

Along with Theology House, The Village Presbyterian Church in Christchurch is hosting Sara Miles for a day seminar.

Sara Miles

A Day with Sara Miles Bread of Heaven/ Daily Bread

WHEN: Wed 20th September 2017 10:00a.m.- 3.15p.m.

Cost: $60 (morning tea and lunch provided)

WHERE: The Village Church, Cnr Ilam / Aorangi Roads,
Register with Claire Bonner at admin@theologyhouse.ac.nz

am: Take this bread: worship & service

Midday Table Eucharist

Lunch Provided

pm: Jesus Freaks: outreach & service grounded in eucharist

Sara Miles is the author of : ‘Take This Bread: A Radical Conversion’ ‘Jesus Freak: Feeding, Healing, Raising the Dead.’ & ‘City of God: Faith in the Streets’

She is the founder and director of The Food Pantry and served as Director of Ministry at St. Gregory of Nyssa Episcopal Church in San Francisco for ten years.

Editorial: It’s Election Time!

The 2017 election season is upon us – the time when our society splinters into partisan fortresses, or shakes its head apathetically.

This year is already interesting in that there seems to be a free roller-coast ride on offer each day, and parliament hasn’t yet adjourned for the campaign.

In Candour we are encouraging a conversation about what people think is important in the 2017 election season.  While we are wanting to encourage good discussion rather than partisan rants, we do welcome your submissions. Continue reading

Church & Change (with help from some visitors) – by Martin Stewart

Here’s an adapted reflection from a sermon I preached at The Village Church, Christchurch on 25 June.  The text was Matthew 10: 24–39.  The context was new buildings coming ready, and some voices wanting to go back to what we once had

As I have thought my way into this week’s reflection I have had a few visitors.

The first was Kobi Yamada and his book What Do You Do With An Idea?  I love the way the book evolves from black and white to full colour as the idea takes hold.  Isn’t that how ideas work out?  They turn up and try to speak into your already fixed view of things.  They are looked at, prodded and poked, often ridiculed, slept on, and either forgotten or picked up. Continue reading

Imagination

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Every time you leave home,
Another road takes you
Into a world you were never in.
New strangers on other paths await.
New places that have never seen you
Will startle a little at your entry.
Old places that know you well
Will pretend nothing
Changed since your last visit.

~ John O’Donohue ~
[Excerpt from ‘For The Traveller’ in Benedictus 2007]

Prayers On The Way – Martin Stewart

I have been experimenting this year on how I frame the prayers for congregational worship.  I’ve been calling the early prayers in the service of worship ‘Prayers on the way’ as a way of finding a language for what is going on for those who are strangers to some of the old language, and those of us who are bored by some of that stuff!  And I’ve been calling the prayers in the later parts of the service ‘Prayers for the road’.  The feedback from people has been positive, though quite a few others seem not to have noticed!

I wonder sometimes about what we lose when we step back from preparing prayers by either making them up in the moment, or borrowing  prayers from other sources.  Both practices, of course, have their place.  The prayers that rise up in the moment can be profound, but they risk carelessness in language and theology, and sameness in content. The prayers others have crafted can draw on a wonderful collection of prayers from those who have prayed before us and those who pray around us, but if not carefully curated and adapted, they risk being in a language and style that is far from the world of the people before us.  Both styles can also encourage a kind of laziness, where those who prepare worship simply bounce off for whatever is in their head or reach uncritically for whatever resource they can find to rescue them. Continue reading

Anzac Day Reflections

Editorial Introduction by Martin Stewart

Recently I purchased a collection of poems and photographs from World War One A Corner of a Foreign Field.  The Daily Mail collection of photographs are haunting, and the poems are from the frontline and the backline, including the perspective of the women in the munitions factories and the women barely married receiving the dreaded visit and letter.

I remember studying poems by Wilfred Owen, Rupert Brook, and Siegfried Sassoon at high school.  Continue reading

Easter Seeing

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[Clouds over Mt Hay Station, Lake Tekapo – Martin Stewart]

I’m thinking about the John 20:1-18 text and the references to seeing and believing, along with the John 20:29 beatitude “Blessed are those who have not seen and yet have come to believe.”

We fall into the category of the beatitude.  We have not laid our eyes on him.  Yet…

There seems to be a lot of pressure on us these days to have to prove things. Continue reading

The Rhythm of Light’s Disappearance – Martin Stewart

The Rhythm of Light’s Disappearance

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Realise:
each month for three nights the moon disappears
a darkness comes over to envelope us

Trust:
this interval of no light has a rhythm
this time is not one to fear

Venture:
touch what comes to greet you
grasp what has dared to appear
embrace what has once been avoided

For a faith that endures is a faith that engages

Observe:
even on those nights of no moon
the moon is still there
it is only we who behave
as if the lack of reflection means an absence