Wednesday, December 24, 2008

A Christmas hope that shapes !

Kant, the famous philosopher, described the human situation by posing three questions: What can I know? What ought I to do? For what may I hope?
Speaking of hope Kant said ‘the shape of our hope is determinative of the way we live’.

Christmas and the salvation it brings gives answer to these questions. We know because God first knew us and loved us. In Christ, God comes to seek us out and reconcile us to the divine love and purpose.
What can we do but in glad response follow in the way, the truth and the life. Following in the way of Christ which leads us into the mystery and meaning of God and into serving relationships with our fellow travelers. And we hope for the realization of God’s Kin(g)dom on earth as it is in heaven. The nature of this hope becoming determinative of how we work and serve in the spirit and way of Christ.

‘….and upon us a great light has shone’. We no longer walk in darkness, ‘we have seen a great light’, we know and have One to follow and a hope to shape us. A hope based not on our efforts and understandings but on the substance of God’s action of grace and peace in Jesus Christ whose birth we celebrate with wondering love and thanksgiving.

Monday, December 22, 2008

God On Christmas.. Merry Christmas Everyone!

people who walked in darkness
have seen a great light.
For those who lived in a land of deep shadows—
light! sunbursts of light!
You repopulated the nation,
you expanded its joy.
Oh, they're so glad in your presence!
Festival joy!
The joy of a great celebration,
sharing rich gifts and warm greetings.
The abuse of oppressors and cruelty of tyrants—
all their whips and cudgels and curses—
Is gone, done away with, a deliverance
as surprising and sudden as Gideon's old victory over Midian.
The boots of all those invading troops,
along with their shirts soaked with innocent blood,
Will be piled in a heap and burned,
a fire that will burn for days!
For a child has been born—for us!
the gift of a son—for us!
He'll take over
the running of the world.
His names will be: Amazing Counselor,
Strong God,
Eternal Father,
Prince of Wholeness.
His ruling authority will grow,
and there'll be no limits to the wholeness he brings.
He'll rule from the historic David throne
over that promised kingdom.
He'll put that kingdom on a firm footing
and keep it going
With fair dealing and right living,
beginning now and lasting always.
The zeal of God-of-the-Angel-Armies
will do all this.
Isaiah 9:2-7 MSG

Monday, December 15, 2008

BICULTURALISM & THE SALVATION ARMY

Despite much good work there is a high level of disconnect between what is going on in the community regarding Maori/pakeha relationships, and what many Salvationists perceive.
For a start I would love ALL Salvationists in NZ at ALL LEVELS to do three things:

1. Read Lloyd Martin's little book (10+ years old now), "One Faith Two People" (Lloyd is a man with excellent credentials, trusted by the salvation army in youth work area).

2. Engage with the people in the story and ask - "is what happened fair?"; -"what annoys me about this book?"; -"what would I do differently/the same?" -"how can I learn more?"

3. Talk to somebody who may have a different view to you about these things.

Annette Garrett (Major)

Thursday, December 11, 2008

‘Proximity’ - location, location, location’ is where its at! (2)

”And the angel answered and said unto her, The Holy Spirit shall come upon you, and the power of the Highest shall overshadow you: also that holy thing which shall be born of you shall be called the Son of God".
Like Mary we could be forgiven for feeling overwhelmed with the current world events and the financial and economic uncertainty plaguing our nation.
But the angel’s reassuring message was ‘overshadowed’ not ‘overwhelmed’. Even better. When the Christ was born John says quoting the Message Version:
“The Word became flesh and blood, and moved into the neighborhood." What great news!