Posted in ReflectionsDec 22, 2011
If Christ were born today
in a world that’s torn by strife
he wouldn’t come in power
to lead a rich man’s life.
He’d be born in a kraal,
a tent, or a shed,
and his parents would be workers
who struggled for their bread.
He wouldn’t lead an army
where life was hard and bleak,
and he’d give all that he had
to save the poor and weak.
He’d be hated and rejected
by those who longed for power,
and his message would be rubbished
by the ruthless and the sour.
Christ wouldn’t think it wrong
to accept his daily bread
from a hand-out at the mission
where all the poor were fed.
He’d visit those in prison
the lonely and the lost
bringing hope to every family
and never count the cost.
He’d treat us all as equals
from prostitutes to kings
and teach us how to walk in love
instead of loving things.
So this Christmas let’s remember
what Christ came to proclaim
and think about His message
as we Bless His Holy Name.
Posted in ReflectionsDec 22, 2011
“He was the humanitarian equivalent of Sir Edmund Hilary.”
The memorial service for Dr Howard Harper was already rolling out to be unique, and this statement by Lady Clare de Lore McKinnon summarised well the previous heartfelt tributes.
The story of Dr Harper and his wife Monika is inspirational. An Auckland Grammar boy who could hardly scrape through the fourth form (year ten), Howard was some years later commended by his home church, the Wiremu Street Assembly, to serve God in Pakistan, together with his close friend Colin Blair.
Posted in ReflectionsAug 29, 2011
I had a hunk of skin cut out of me —
a cancer — set to do my body harm.
The doctor was decisive as can be
and diagnosed and sliced and stitched my arm.
It made me think of my mortality,
and realise that I’m clinging to this skin.
My emphasis is not eternity,
nor is it nurturing my soul within.
One day I’ll shed all of my skin, I know.
But before then there is much I need to do —
I’ve sons to raise. I’ve places still to go.
And Lord, I’ve got my mission work for you.
How ludicrous to think that it’s too soon
to leave the dark confines of my cocoon.
— Angela Harding
(Sonnet written after the removal of a melanoma from an arm in March 2011)
Posted in ReflectionsApr 2, 2011
In 2005 my family and I arrived in India to spend a month at Rehoboth with our commended missionary workers Phyllis Treasure and Sarah Simpson. My very first assignment was to speak on the Sunday morning at East Fort Assembly. There were about 400 people present, men and women separated, elders sitting at the front facing the congregation. The worship service began and various men stood and participated. However I soon noticed something disturbing to me. During times of prayer one of the elders, my translator sitting next to me, would start saying out loud “Stop him!” He even at times stood up while someone was praying and called out “Stop him!” My mind was racing at 100mph. I was soon to speak. “Lord, help me. Such division in this place! What shall I speak on? Change my message?” Anyway I spoke and afterwards there was a church lunch. It wasn’t until later that I had an opportunity to ask Sarah what was going on when that elder got so excited, calling out “Stop him!” to various ones praying. Sarah laughed! “Stop him” sounded like the Malayalam word for expressing praise and glory to God. I had greatly misunderstood what was going on! Talk about embarrassment, but I was also filled with great relief and joy. Things were not so bad after all.
Posted in ReflectionsMar 14, 2011
Have you ever been caught in a tidal rip in the ocean? We live about five minutes walk from Fitzroy beach, New Plymouth. I have felt its pull on some of the rare occasions I have swum at the beach. The rip tries to drag the swimmer out to sea. The longer the resistance the weaker one gets, and the more likely one is to give up. It must be a horrible and hopeless feeling to be dragged out to sea. You see the incredibly grateful expressions from people rescued on television’s “Piha Rescue” to know that they have come very close to death, but are now so relieved at their rescue.
There is in this life a constant drag on the weary and unsuspecting Christian, specifically designed to pull you under. It is not a random experience but cleverly designed and perpetrated by Satan, God’s enemy. This constant drag comes in the form of opposition to the Christian life; from the world, the sinful nature and Satan himself.
Posted in ReflectionsFeb 24, 2011
What does a real Christian look like? I’m sure every Christian can remember, if not the exact moment then at least the general time when they became a Christian, and they were so excited about their new life in Christ. There was a deep sense of love and gratitude to God, who had so graciously saved them. There was even a lack of desire to sin; perhaps even a feeling of invincibility – nothing is going to stop us following Jesus now! However, in the course of time, the reality of life sets in and to our dismay there is indeed still a desire to sin. In fact, we find ourselves actually sinning! Even worse, we find that this indwelling sin is amazingly powerful. At this point, confusion and doubt sets in, perhaps even to the degree of doubting the conversion experience. People become disturbed, depressed and frustrated as they seek a seemingly elusive answer to their dilemma. Something just is not right…