Friday 28th July 2023

Tēnā koutou katoa

Ko Ingarangi, Ko Tonga, Ko Kōtirana

te whakapaparanga mai


Ko Tāmaki Makaurau te whenua tupu

Ko Ōtepoti te kāinga

Ko Mike Brown au

Tēnā tātou katoa

Hello and welcome again, I hope you had a life giving break and managed to enjoy Matariki with friends and family. To be on this side of chapel today is both an enormous surprise and privilege for me. I would like to take the chance shortly to introduce myself a bit further but first want to take us back to Matariki that many of us celebrated last Friday.

Matariki is a time of reflection, celebration and new beginnings. A time to remember the past, celebrate the present and plan for the future. I couldn’t imagine a more fitting time to be stepping into this role as these three ideas have filled my thoughts recently.

First, as part of looking back, I would like to share a story from my past when my planning and preparation paid off in a surprising way. It involves an incredibly precious memory to me - three weeks spent climbing and camping at Mt Arapiles in Australia. Climbing where I was privileged enough to be able to use as part of my rack some of my Grandfather's climbing gear. Family and adventure - two things that are very precious to me (along with coffee - as some of you good baristas have probably figured by now). It seems as if he was both a mountain climber and teacher I must indeed have inherited much from him. Hopefully, I will avoid his unenviable achievement of being on the wrong side of the first thankfully successful Helicopter Rescue in Mount Cook National Park.

So after much training and practice here I was living the dream in Arapiles when after several weeks another friend arrived. A friend who was a significantly better climber than I, whose advice I would take very seriously. He sent me first up the climb started on a ledge way above the ground → bottomless overhanging chimney. So if you fall, fall down past the gear you have placed, hope it holds, then will be hanging in space. With this encouraging consideration, I set off…… and had a blast. Got to the top built an anchor and belayed my friend up - typically the relaxing part. However, I soon felt a sharp tug on the rope and a yell from below. My friend, the much better climber, had fallen - and as the muffled shouts from below soon told, was dangling in space unable to reach the rock.

It took me a moment to compose myself. To shift from being the mentored and dependent to being the rescuer. Thankfully at this stage though, I had done the practice, put in the hard yards so I was able to set up a haul and pull him up to a point he could regain the rock. It was this shock that makes this story stick in my head in particular. Moving from a place of what felt like real safety - climbing with a great climber much more skilled than me, to having him entirely dependent on me within seconds.

Matariki is the time when we look back and celebrate. It is also the time when we begin to plan and prepare for the year ahead - put in the hard yards now so that we are not caught unprepared.

Jesus also tells a story about preparation in Luke 6 (46-47)

The Two Foundations

46 ‘Why do you call me “Lord, Lord”, and do not do what I tell you? 47 I will show you what someone is like who comes to me, hears my words and acts on them. 48 That one is like a man building a house, who dug deeply and laid the foundation on rock; when a flood arose, the river burst against that house but could not shake it, because it had been well built.[a] 49 But the one who hears and does not act is like a man who built a house on the ground without a foundation. When the river burst against it, immediately it fell, and great was the ruin of that house.’

A sobering end that brings back all too many memories of times in my life I failed to prepare. Another reminder that looking back and celebrating now is also the time to be preparing.

What work do you need to do now to ensure you’re not caught unprepared in the coming months.

What can you do to make sure you can be the hero if you find unexpected dramas in the coming months?

Jesus promises much in the bible for those who obey his words, which brings me to the greatest and last of the four things that are important to me. Family, adventure, coffee and my faith. I love God deeply and my relationship has a long history now where I have seen him working in my life.

As interim Chaplain over these coming months I see a big privilege and part of my role is to be a support, to be able to journey alongside you when needed. As part of that I have been attempting to restore the Registry into a comfortable place to chat - disposing of such classics such as “Assemblies for the 1990’s”. Please do feel free anytime to drop by if the door is open and I am there, or flick me an email to sort a time - I love to just chat at any time - my wife says too much! Also as part of this - I would like to shamelessly steal Rev Kelk’s idea. If you want to talk about spiritual or faith matters - please ask. I want you to be free to come and chat about anything without fear that I will jump straight to “are you right with Jesus” so I will always be very slow to introduce such things - not because I don’t want to discuss them but to give you the control.

With that I would like to bring this Chapel to a close with a blessing followed by a prayer from Rylan. But not before asking you again, what hard yards do you need to start on today?

May the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, and the love of God, and the fellowship of the Holy Spirit be with us all, now and evermore. Amen