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What lies beneath - Pastor's pen for 24th September 2023

Sulphur Flats Lake Rotorua - Sept 2023

Rotorua is very beautiful in places, with idyllic lake settings and forest trails. Yet so often one is reminded of what lies beneath. The relatively young geology of Aotearoa reveals itself with smells and steaming pools all around the lake and city. Rotorua's geological environment has been likened "to that of a stovetop: the hot rock above the magma acting like an element, and the geothermal system closer to the surface being a pot of water boiling upon it." (NZ Herald 29 Nov, 2016) The postcard scenery above is a relatively thin veneer on the super-heated volcanic reality several kilometres below.

Institutions prefer to present a pleasant and professional exterior to the world, finding ways to bury shameful things deep. Driving back from PaknSave today, the Cartwright and Joychild report into historical physical and sexual abuses at Dilworth School was being discussed, affecting over two hundred former students. A shocking history of coverups by an 'old boys' network has been documented by these respected legal minds in a definitive way.

Humans (well most humans) are very good at keeping a lid on what is inside them. A smiling face can hide a world of hurt beneath. We are probably better at reading the signals within our own families. We hear the words "I'm fine" but we suspect something is about to blow in the depths.

In 1 Samuel 16:7 we can read; "God judges persons differently than humans do. Men and women look at the face; God looks into the heart.” (The Message) I'm comforted by this verse, and my mind is made restful knowing that no matter how I strive to present myself before others, God sees me how I really am. God sees what lies beneath the surface of you and me, then loves us anyway. In Jesus Christ we can go deeper than how things appear, putting our lives right and knowing true peace in Him and with one another.

Thanks be to God.

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