Editorial: Expecting my spirits to be lifted daily – Martin Stewart

Martin edits this blog but his day job is as one of the ministers in The Village Church in Christchurch.  He also writes a regular column called Wide Awake (after a U2 song) in Essence, a free monthly community magazine that circulates in South Canterbury.  He finds it an interesting challenge writing in a general way for an unknown but very wide community.  The following article is also published in Essence.

20171013_122721What lifts your spirits?

Is it an accidental thing that comes at you from time to time?
Or is it something you have looked for and grown to expect? 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]

The Port Hills Fires by Silvia Purdie

port-hills-fireWednesday 15 February 2017 won’t be easily forgotten by the people of Cashmere. The fires had started on the summit of the Port Hills on Monday afternoon. By Wednesday morning the focus of fire-fighting was over the hill as the fires pushed down towards Governors Bay. Smoke billowed up and over the top, down over Cashmere. Our home is at the head of Bowenvale Avenue, and by lunchtime the valley was filled with smoke, and ash was drifting. You could hardly see the top of Sugarloaf. Continue reading

Calling for Spring Prayers/Poems/Blessings

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Here is a spring image I photographed today – kowhai – springtime in Aotearoa!

Sure, we love daffodils, but in our midst, from this land, are our own gorgeous golden spring flowers that the birds come and delight in!

So… have you some words to go with the image?
Prayers, poems and blessings for the Aotearoa Spring – send them in, let’s share!

Send them in martin@villagechurch.nz
or hit the comment button

Imagination – First Breath

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mist at kyeburn

the air in our first breath isn’t simply air
as if the air is a neutral disconnected thing
the air is an accumulation

an ancient system of to-ing and fro-ing
this molecule to that
this particle to that
from here to there
from seabed to shell
from wave to shore
from ground to plant

borne
blown
to where we find ourselves
with our first intake of breath
and every breath thereafter

connected with
all that is living
and all that has lived

all one
all now
all gift

martin stewart

Imagination Series – Andrew Norton

Arriving

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At the end of the road 
a dirt track zig zags up the mountain 
into the clouds of unknowing. 
To be here you must leave there 
(wherever “there” is), 
defying the gravity of your own importance, 
the unfaithful way this busy world offers itself to you 
and the blindness of a life without a horizon.

As reception fades to one intermittent bar, 
contact with the outside world is all but 
lost 
leaving you 
alone 
under this wide sky 
to a wider conversation 
worthy of the landscape of your soul.

Shy shadows come out from their corners, 
ears hear a silence splinter granite rocks; 
the lies and excuses you’ve told yourself, 
and eyes are renewed by a soft gaze 
as outlines become clear. 
In this place, 
words are surrendered to the wind, 
redundant 
to the arriving of your breath.

Andrew Norton 2016

Imag-ination

The Amuri Hills at Hanmer Springs provided some beautiful space for reflection this week where Andrew Norton was leading a collection of people from Alpine Presbytery to the land of ‘Awake!’
Hanmer 1

“…everything that becomes visible is light.
Therefore it says,
‘Sleeper, awake!
    Rise from the dead,
    and Christ will shine on you.’”

you would want
to be awake
early these days

when autumnal skies
pick up summer’s dust
refracting the light of dawn

you would want to find
a high place where you could
take off your shoes

in the clean air
before winter’s banked fires
smoke the atmosphere

you would want
to keep silence
here

negotiate
the sacred space
between dreaming and working

you would want to be
washed by the emerging colour
as the things of the day come into focus

you are ready then
to attend to
the food
the paper
the conversation
and the beckoning tasks

martin stewart 2016

Along the Routeburn Track

Along the Routeburn TrackI climbed the Routeburn track with two colleagues from school, early in December 2013, hoping the exertion and the open spaces would be an antidote for the stresses of the classroom.  We were 30 minutes into the climb from the Routeburn Shelter to the Routeburn Falls Hut when the freshness and the endless energy of this mountain stream and the gurgle of the water cascading over the rocks caught my imagination.  Why is it that the sight and sound of rushing water quiets the mind?  Bruce Dixon

Imag-ination

We Presbyterians are somewhat cerebral in inclination – we like a thoughtful sermon and a blog should be an article written in words eh!  However we are not as one-dimensional as that…our senses offer us wonderful insights into the majesty of God’s presence – taste and see what the Lord has done, listen if you have ears, ‘For we are the aroma of Christ to God among those who are being saved and among those who are perishing.’

I have an interest in photography and find the landscapes of Aotearoa to be wonderful spaces where God ‘speaks’ into my life.  I wonder if any of you would consider submitting beautiful images to enhance and maybe balance the Candour blog?  I will exercise my rights as editor to maintain a certain standard, but I encourage you to email me images that in some small part capture an element of the wonder of God’s presence.

Attached is a starterLake Hayes at Dawn – last week at Lake Hayes in the Wakatipu Basin

Martin Stewart

martin@villagechurch.nz