Here I am , Lord

Sermon January 14 St Ambrose Aranui

Here I am, Lord

Today’s readings are about the theme of being called. Have you ever been in a busy place, and heard someone call your name? We’re hard-wired to recognise our own name, so we stop, and turn around, trying to see who is calling us, and if it is really us they want. It doesn’t often happen to me because my name is not very common. But when I hear a voice of a certain pitch saying, Mum! I react, along with quite a few other mums in the area. Our ears prick up, to see what is needed. Continue reading

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Care for your own garden

This summer I have been caring for my neighbour’s garden. He’s elderly and frail, and can’t manage the garden any more, so when he asked me for help with some shopping, I volunteered myself and the kids to tidy it for him. That was not entirely a selfless act – while we do try and do something community-based as a way of celebrating Christmas, I was also looking forward to getting to know his garden  He had the house built himself, 60 years ago, did all the painting and the wiring, and made the garden. Every tree that was planted, my neighbour put in. He built every pergola, every fence, every gate, every step. He made all the concrete paths, the little walls, and even the bird bath. Now, the garden is mature, and grown up tall. It’s like the Secret Garden – a book I loved as  a child. There are paths under overhanging trees, secret tunnels, hidden areas – it’s delightful!

Well, I’ve enjoyed this garden a lot, but today when I was picking some feed at home for my bunny, I realised that my own vegetable garden was less-than well-cared-for! Where there had been nice healthy broccoli, now there are caterpillar-munched stalks, with convolvulus starting to twine upwards. Dandelions are sprouting among the carrots, and the whole thing looks decidedly unkempt!

I think God had a message for me and for others in this garden -I had been so taken with the pleasant and appreciated work of caring for my neighbour’s garden, that I had neglected my own thankless vegetable plot.

Often in a life of ministry we are called upon to care for others. But if we neglect our own environment, weeds creep in, things fall apart, and all of a sudden it’s a great mess!

We must attend to our own homes and families before taking on all the other pastoral needs of the community. They can be done together, but it’s very easy to take the more interesting tasks. But  remember if we neglect the boring day-to-day weeding of the vegetable garden, before we know it we  are in a huge mess.

May God bless your ministries richly this year, especially those at home.

Photo update on Josiah O’Brien’s miracle healing

Click for gallery view

These photos from the Festival of Joy meeting held 1 November in Tawa, Wellington, have just come to hand. The Evangelist Ram Babu from India, in New Zealand for a few days, is shown praying for Josiah in the altar call lineup. Josiah’s father is alongside the wheelchair and on the platform. I believe the meeting was organised by the Tamil Christian Fellowship, Wellington who meet in the Tawa Salvation Army Hall. Their local contact in Tawa is Moses Rajasingh.

The two pictures of Josiah O’Brien on the footpath were taken this morning, 22 November 2012  at 8:45 am, as he walked to school. Praise God.

Healed!

At the end of July my seven-year-old son Josiah woke up with an uncontrollable movement in his left leg – it moved backwards and forwards and he couldn’t stop it. This meant he couldn’t bear his weight, so walking was not possible. He was diagnosed with a tic disorder, and we organised for him to have crutches so he could get around, and waited for various tests at the hospital. This was one of those ongoing things that we had no idea whether he would improve, or when, so we just had to trust God and be thankful that Jos was otherwise well.

About three weeks ago when he woke the other leg had a problem – it was very sensitive to any touch, and he couldn’t stand on it either. He was reduced to getting around on one knee and two hands.

We organised a wheelchair for him, and had more tests at the doctor.

Last night my husband took Jos to a healing meeting with Indian Evangelist Ram Babu. They were out for a long time – the meeting started at 6, and at 9.45 I was starting to wonder where they were, when I heard the car come in, and then the door opened, and in walked Josiah.

Yes, he walked in, on his own two feet, with this amazing smile on his face, and an aura of peace around him. You can imagine, we broke out the Lemonade and had a little party!

When he was prayed for, the evangelist told him to get up out of the chair, and Jos had the faith to know that he had been healed. He ran around, a little unsteady. This was no hypnotic trick!

When he said goodnight to me, he said, “I love you Mum, but I love God more.”

Amen!

Something beautiful…

The kids were asking for doughnuts for pudding tonight, so I made the bread dough and let it rise. I forgot to put on my apron (as usual) so when I went to cook the doughnuts I went to find my special apron.As I looked at it, I started thinking about an old song – Something beautiful, something Good.

Mum made this apron for me – the central panel is made up of parts of embroidered tray-cloths and doilies, some made by long-gone family members, others collected. What they all have in common is that they were all damaged somehow – a tear,a  burn, a stain that wouldn’t come out. None of them could be used for their original purpose, but it was a shame to throw them away when there was so much work in them. These old cloths represent love, stitch-by-stitch.

I got to thinking that our lives are like that too. There are spoilt bits, damaged bits, parts we don’t want on public show. But God can stitch us all together to make a  beautiful fabric, which is called the Body of Christ!

Something Beautiful, something Good,

All my confusion he understood,

All I had to offer him was brokenness and strife

But He made something beautiful out of my life!

Just when you thought it couldn’t get any worse…

We’ve been reading Job in church recently, and Kevin and I have been making wallpapers with lines from the last part, which speak of the majesty of God.

It’s been good to reflect on Job and his trials, because our little boy has a problem with his legs.It started off a few months ago with a tic in his left leg, so he couldn’t put it down. Tests are ongoing, meanwhile  he was getting along really well on crutches, and I was hoping he wold be able to walk again soon.

Just this week however, something weird has gone wrong with the other leg, and he can’t take his weight on that one either! Crutches are useless now.

I wish we could go back to how it was, but now he has a wheelchair, or he crawls on one knee and two hands.

Thinking about Job helps put my boy’s problems in perspective – “Where were you when I laid the foundation of the earth?” God thunders to Job, from the whirlwind. Maybe God is telling our family that we need to trust more, leave God to be God, and be thankful that our boy is healthy, even if rather unconventional in his locomotion!

-Keep an eye out for the new wallpaper with God speaking to Job – “Where were you… There’s a wonderful picture of lava from a Hawaiian volcano hissing into the sea!

Complicated or complex?

columbine honeywort and daisies

Columbine honeywort and daisies

I picked some flowers from my beautiful spring garden today. There are daisies, honeywort and columbine.I put them in a vase on the table, and sat looking at them really closely with my husband, and marveling at their complexity. A simple daisy flower is really lots of flowers! And the honeywort has leaves that look like petals. Strange. The columbines come in several sorts – the most basic one, that hasn’t been selected by the plant breeders for double petals, is still complicated. There are five petals like tubes, with a green spot on the end, and five others that flex backwards. All with little curvy bits on them. Continue reading