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After the flood - Pastor's Pen for 12th Feb 2023

Evening clear skies from Forrest Hill towards the city

I write this after the massive earthquake affecting Turkey and Syria which has killed thousands and devastated communities and infrastructure. It gives us a little perspective on our plight after the recent unprecedented flood event in Auckland. Human communities reel from unexpected natural events, and then begin to respond.

On the day I took the picture above, I sat on the deck in the sun for a while just absorbing some warmth. My body seemed to need it after days of rain and gloomy skies. It was instinctive. Another human instinct is to help others who may be in greater need than ourselves. We see evidence of this in the outpouring of donated goods in our hall, which we are valiantly trying to find a home for.

The chaos of natural disasters, extreme weather, earthquakes and so on, causes anxiety and uncertainty. The human response is also chaotic at times. Yet we are thankful that the goodwill and love of those wanting to serve and help others. They appear to vastly outnumber those wanting to profit from the misery of others with looting, scamming and so on.

In one of the lectionary readings for this week, Apostle Paul reminds the church at Corinth that mature Christians put aside quarrels and ego, recognizing that differently gifted individuals bring a contribution to the mission of God. The context is preaching the gospel and shepherding the church, but perhaps it has a wider application;

So neither the one who plants nor the one who waters is anything, but only God who gives the growth. The one who plants and the one who waters have a common purpose, and each will receive wages according to the labour of each. For we are God’s servants, working together; you are God’s field, God’s building. (1 Cor 3: 7-9)

In the disruption of post-Covid, post-flood church we have an opportunity to bring our gifts and talents into play, recognizing that it's not about us, but about what God is growing. Even as we allow for a little chaos, each one has something to offer as we build with God in a spirit of unity and love.

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