When I was ordained priest, the good people of St Peter’s Upper Riccarton-Yaldhurst gifted me a beautiful white chasuble and stole. It was ready for my first Christmas with them, and I remember John Sheaf, my training vicar, saying that he felt it added a loveliness to the whole Christmas display that year. I thought so too. It remains one of my most treasured possessions. Of course, it wasn’t just about the physical garment. It was the generosity of the gift to me, a relative newcomer, still not sure she was priest material, still healing from dents and bruises gained in other places and living with great uncertainly about a future beyond curacy. I received it as an expression of loving kindness, making it what Rev’d Dr. Patricia Allen intriguingly describes as an enchanted object, something that has been lifted beyond its function through human attachment, and so becomes a symbol of something more. (Although she was talking about some of the treasured objects in the cathedral…)
The text for this coming Sunday (Luke 12:13-21) gets us thinking about the things we treasure and nudges us to reflect on what is truly worthy of our time, energy, commitment, and love. I think we can be pretty sure it will not be in the accumulation of wealth and possessions, as the forlorn dragon in the cartoon below finally recognised, perhaps too late… Given the way the Lambeth gathering of bishops seems to be going, there is a lot of energy going into disagreements and voting practices. Closer to home I can see from my office window the rising water levels as a result of this intense rain, and ambulances, fire service crew, and city workers clearing drains, all out in force, helping strangers in need in their different ways. I know which of these gives me more hope.
On that note, we can hold in our prayers all the bishops of Aotearoa New Zealand who are at Lambeth, including +Peter. We look forward to hearing about their experiences when they return.
It would be good if these storms let up for the installation of Rev’d Dr. Meg Harvey on Tuesday August 2 at Holy Innocents in Amberley. All are welcome. The dress code for clergy (who intend to wear robes) is alb and red stole. Meg will be the vicar in Amberley and will also be continuing as school chaplain at St Michael and All Angels until the end of the year as previously announced.
Wherever you are, may love and grace abound.
Diocesan Ministry Educator