I have spent the morning meeting with a group of Baptist type people who are part of a Pre baptist assembly group called the curtain raiser. This groups is not made up of your Hillsong, or Willow Creek type Baptist, but wayfarers on the journey many of whom i feel a sense of kinship too. Last night I had the pleasure of preaching at their 'opening' service - that was fun, and deffinatly one of my shorter sermons - 5 minutes. Today i sat listening to and dialoguing with a Catholic priest from Golden Bay on the Lord of The Rings and Christian Faith and Biblical Scholarship and Parish Ministry, It was great very juicy and gave me a lot to wrestle with...
if anyone is interested in what I said last night the short script is below...
Remember, remember the fifth of November
Gunpowder, treason and plot.
I see no reason why gunpowder, treason
Should ever be forgot...5th November 1605 –Thomas Bates, Robert Wintour, Christopher Wright, John Wright, Thomas Percy, , Robert Catesby, Thomas Wintour, and of course Guy Fawkes - failed in their attempt to blow up the houses of Parliament and to kill James 1st of England.
The Conspirators were English Catholic’s who wanted a Catholic to be King of England and not an Anglican…
While political motivation was part of the story, religious oppression was also a motivating factor.
5th November 1881 – Some what closer to home, 1500 volunteers and members of the Armed Constabulary invaded The Village of Parihaka.
Why to cease the lands and break up the movement that was growing.
The soldiers were welcomed by the 2000 people of Parihaka, allowing them selves to be arrested without protest.
Amongst them was the Spiritual Leader Te Whiti – a revolutionary in his own right who introduced a form of peaceful protest over 50 years before Ghandi–
While both revolutions ended apparently with nothing changing,
We remember Te Whiti and Guy Fawkes not for there failure but for there attempts to overcome what they saw as unjust systems.
They are symbols to us of the need for change, they remind us that you cannot stifle people for ever, that when a person is oppressed something rises in them to resist and overcome.
In our first reading we have part of the story of the captivity of Isaiah’s people by the Babylonian army.
There situation is desperate, and all seems hopeless.
And yet God tells them to stand up and be strong – to free them selves from the rope.
As the Church not only are we called to stand by the oppressed who ever or wherever they may be, but we are also called to help them overcome in Jesus’ Name. To help people remove the rope that is around their necks…..
The 5th of November is a day for revolutions…
Now if the 5th of November is a day for revolution then the 6th must be a day for new beginnings, to recreate, to bring order to chaos,
The 6th November is a day for New Beginnings.
It’s kind of Ironic then that some of you should meet on a day of new beginnings,
As pre event to the Gathering that is themed I believe on New Beginnings,
In the place of the First Baptist Church in this land...
I am not sure whether it is good planning, the alignments of the Stars, or dare I say the Spirit of God, but I believe that after the chaos of the last 30 year in the life of the Church – with the arguments that surround, sexuality, post modernism, open theism, creationism, Zionism, and a 1000 other isms, now is probably a time for a new beginning.
That as the smoke of the funeral pyres of the old world lifts, that we will once again be drawn back to the words of Jesus
To listen again to what the Spirit is saying to the Church…
So my prayer for you is that as you meet that God will do a new thing in you, that on this day of new beginning that he will begin something new in you…
That in the words of Jesus that:
“That God’s love and kindness will shine upon us
Like the sun that rises in the sky
And to us who live in the dark shadow of death
This light will shine
To guide us into a life of peace.”