Bishop's Page

Holy Week - Easter 2015

Kia tau ki a koutou te atawhai me te rangimarie o te Atua
願 父 神 所 賜 的 恩 惠 和 平 安 與 你 們 同 在
Grace and peace to you from God

THE REVERSAL OF THE TREE

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I had the joy of leading worship and preaching at Botany Lutheran Church on Sunday, and as part of that servant-leadership of praying these words as we prepared to receive the supreme gift of love, Christ’s body and blood in the sacrament –

It is indeed right and good, Lord God, holy Father, that we should at all times and in all places give thanks to you, through Jesus Christ our Lord. On the tree of the cross he gave salvation to all, so that, where death began, there life might be restored, and that the enemy, who by a tree once overcame, might by a tree be overcome. And so, with angels and archangels, and with all the company of heaven, we adore and praise your glorious name: Holy, holy, holy …

I love the, almost rhythmic and play-on-words structure of the highlighted sentence about the tree … who by a tree once overcame might by a tree be overcome.

Here, my dear fellow descendants of fruit-eating Adam and Eve, is the great reversal. Sucked-in, bitten into the fruit of the tree you shall not eat of, we have been overcome by the evil one; drawn into his death and dying.

But for the One on the new tree … that foolish looking tree I spoke of last update … a cross which you will adore tomorrow as you gather for Good Friday worship. Here is the great reversal. A tree now saves us from the tree that killed us. This tree and the One hanging on it now gives life. As for death and dying? IT IS FINISHED! Death has been reversed (changed) into life.

And so this weekend IT IS FINISHED and CHRIST IS RISEN can again be your confident confession of faith. God bless you with joy as you celebrate Easter this weekend.

O tree of glory, tree most fair, Ordained those Holy Limbs to bear, How bright in purple robe it stood, The purple of a Saviour's Blood!

Upon its arms, like balance true, He weighed the price for sinners due, The price which none but He could pay, And spoiled the spoiler of his prey.

To You, Eternal Three in One, Let homage meet by all be done: And as you by the cross restore, So rule and guide us evermore.

Vexilla regis prodeunt Vernantius Fortunatus 530-609 (LHS-758)

Ngā mihi o te Aranga; happy Easter.

DISTRICT CONVENTION - 23rd & 24th May - Whanganui

This year our Church will meet under the theme of Wairua Tapu Kuhu Mai – Holy Spirit, you are welcome here; fill us with God’s love. Representatives from all LCNZ congregations will gather at Harrison Street Community Church (formerly St Johns Lutheran Church) Whanganui on the weekend of 23rd and 24th May, to worship together, to fellowship together, to hear reports and stories of how the Spirit has been welcomed and is working in the lives of God’s people (His Church), to plan for the future, to elect servant leaders, to hear our Bishop, John Henderson preach at the Sunday service, and to support by our presence the exciting ministry happening at HSCC.

Please ensure that you have chosen your delegates and registered them for Convention.

IS GOD CALLING YOU TO SERVE?

Do you know someone in your congregation who might be nominated for servant-leadership roles on Council of Synod, Lutheran Support Ministries (LSM), Finance Advisory Committee (FAC) and Lutheran Laypeoples’ League (LLL)? If so, please talk about it with your pastor, your congregational leadership … and most importantly, with the person that you believe could be a blessing to the Lord’s Church … and then let the LCNZ office know.

REFRESH

Last Saturday about 40 people gathered at St Matthew in Hamilton for REFRESH I. It was incredibly encouraging to see people from Whakatane (almost their entire congregation; well done!), Hamilton, Botany and Mountainside receiving refreshment from the Lord through his servant, Dean Eaton.

REFRESH II takes place at St Lukes Palmerston North on Saturday 11th April from 9.30am to 3.30pm. I’m also really encouraged by one parish writing personally to all members inviting them to participate. Here’s something from that letter of invitation –

What are your hopes and ideas for the future of our church?

[Dean Eaton, a mission specialist from the Lutheran Church of Australia will facilitate] a special seminar looking at refreshing our vision for local mission, growing our own and our churches faith journey.

Where and how might our parish grow?

It’s not too late to pick up a registration and information flyer, fill it in and post to the LCNZ Office, or to register on-line at http://www.lutheran.org.nz/refresh.

(Photo of Dean leading at St Matthew Hamilton)

EASTER WORSHIP IN THE LCNZ

If you’re travelling throughout Aotearoa this weekend and want to find a Lutheran worship service, here are details of worship in each of our congregations –

BOTANY

  • Good Friday 10.00am Meditations on the Cross
  • Easter Sunday 10.00am

MOUNTAINSIDE

  • Maundy Thursday 7.00pm
  • Good Friday 10.30am
  • Easter Sunday 10.30am

HAMILTON

  • Maundy Thursday 7:30pm
  • Good Friday 10:30am
  • Easter Sunday 7:30am and 10:00am

TAURANGA

  • Easter Sunday 10.00am at Joan Tessendorf's home, 53 Pelorus Street, Welcome Bay

WHAKATANE

  • Good Friday 10.00am
  • Easter Sunday 10.00am

KAWERAU

  • Easter Sunday 10.30am

HAWKES BAY

  • Maundy Thursday 7:00pm at Clive
  • Good Friday 9.30am at Clive
  • Easter Sunday 9.30am at Haumoana

WHANGANUI

  • Easter Sunday 9.00am

MARTON

  • Good Friday Walk 9.00am (begins at St Martin)
  • Easter Sunday 9.30am

MANAWATU

  • Maundy Thursday 7.00pm at St. Luke’s
  • Good Friday 9.00am at Trinity Feilding 10.30am at St Luke’s
  • Easter Sunday 9.00 am at Trinity Feilding 10.30am at St Luke’s

WELLINGTON – WAIRARAPA

  • Maundy Thursday 7.30pm
  • Good Friday 10.00am
  • Easter Sunday 10.00am

UPPER MOUTERE / HOPE

  • Maundy Thursday 7:30pm
  • Good Friday 9:30am
  • Easter Sunday 9:30am at Upper Moutere 11:15am at Hope

CHRISTCHURCH

  • Maundy Thursday 7.00pm
  • Good Friday 9.00am
  • Easter 9.00am (followed by morning tea)

LEAVE

I will be taking some leave over the next few days and returning to work on Thursday 16th April. If you have an urgent pastoral need during this time, please contact Robert at the National Office on 04 3852540 or Assistant Bishop John Davison on 07 8395768.

MĀNAWATANGA / BLESSING

Kia tau ki a tātou katoa Te atawhai o tō tātou Ariki, a Ihu Karaiti Me te aroha o te Atua Me te whiwhingatahitanga Ki te wairua tapu Ake, ake, ake Amine.

The grace of the Lord Jesus Christ, and the love of God, and the fellowship of the Holy Spirit be with you all Forever and ever. Amen.

+ MARK

Pastor Mark Whitfield BTh MSM
Bishop of the Lutheran Church of New Zealand / Pīhopa o te Hāhi Rūtana o Aotearoa

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