Weekly Devotions


Tuesday 18 June

Open our lips O Lord, that our mouths may proclaim your praise

Matthew 5:43-47

Jesus addresses the common understanding of love limited to one's neighbor and animosity toward enemies. By instructing his followers to love their enemies and pray for those who persecute them, Jesus introduces a revolutionary concept that extends love beyond natural affinities and societal expectations.

Jesus emphasizes that loving enemies reflects the character of God, who shows grace and kindness to all people, regardless of their moral standing. By highlighting that God causes the sun to rise and rain to fall on both the righteous and the unrighteous, Jesus underscores the impartial and generous nature of divine love. This call to imitate God’s indiscriminate benevolence challenges believers to transcend ordinary human inclinations and embody a higher standard of love.

Furthermore, Jesus critiques the limited scope of conventional love, noting that even tax collectors and pagans love those who love them. By pointing this out, he encourages his followers to surpass the common practices of their time and culture. The true test of discipleship, according to Jesus, lies in the ability to love those who are difficult to love—enemies, persecutors, and outsiders.

This teaching on enemy love is a call to radical discipleship. It demands a transformation of the heart and mind, leading to actions that mirror God’s unconditional love. Praying for persecutors not only aligns us with God’s redemptive purposes but also transforms our own attitudes, fostering compassion and forgiveness.

Jesus challenges believers to practice an extraordinary love that mirrors God’s own. This love is proactive, inclusive, and redemptive, seeking the welfare of all people, even those who oppose us. Jesus’ teaching calls for a profound shift from natural inclinations to divine imitation, inviting believers to participate in the expansive and transformative love of God.

Prayers

• Family and friends,

• Those in need

• Those robbed from the fullness of life

• The Church

• Those who mourn

• Personal needs

Lord’s Prayer

Our Father in heaven, hallowed be your name, your kingdom come, your will be done, on earth as in heaven. Give us today our daily bread. Forgive us our sins as we forgive those who sin against us. Save us from the time of trial and deliver us from evil. For the kingdom, the power, and the glory are yours, now and forever. Amen.

Diocesan prayer for regeneration

As the kotuki gently rests upon the tree, come Holy Spirit and rest upon us as we pray for the regeneration of our Diocese. Ever-living God, through your Spirit you constantly renew the whole creation; bring regeneration to your Diocese of Christchurch, grant us courage to grow disciples of Jesus, give us vision to reach young people and their families, and strengthen us to create vibrant communities of faith. All this we ask this in Jesus’ name. Amen

Monday 17 June

Matthew 5:38-42

Jesus challenges the traditional understanding of justice encapsulated in the lex talionis; “an eye for an eye, and a tooth for a tooth.” This principle, found in the Mosaic Law, was meant to limit retaliation and ensure that punishment was proportional to the offense. However, Jesus introduces a revolutionary ethic of non-retaliation and proactive love.

Jesus’ instructions to turn the other cheek, give more than what is demanded, and go the extra mile, are counter-cultural and counter-intuitive. These actions represent a deliberate choice to transcend natural inclinations toward revenge and self-preservation. By suggesting such responses, Jesus is teaching his followers to break the cycle of violence and hostility.

Turning the other cheek is a powerful metaphor for non-violent resistance and the refusal to perpetuate conflict. It implies a strength that comes from a profound inner peace and trust in God’s justice. Similarly, giving more than what is demanded and going the extra mile reflect a generosity that is not bound by societal norms or personal grievances. These actions exemplify a grace that mirrors God’s unconditional love.

Jesus’ teaching on giving to those who ask and lending without turning away further emphasizes an open-heartedness that prioritizes the needs of others. This radical generosity challenges us to let go of possessiveness and fear of scarcity, trusting in God’s provision.

Jesus calls us to consider a revolutionary way of living that defies conventional notions of justice and retaliation. It advocates for a profound transformation of the heart, leading to actions that reflect God’s love, mercy, and generosity. We are encourages to embody a higher righteousness that seeks peace and reconciliation, even in the face of injustice and opposition.

Prayers

• Family and friends,

• Those in need

• Those robbed from the fullness of life

• The Church

• Those who mourn

• Personal needs

Lord’s Prayer

Our Father in heaven, hallowed be your name, your kingdom come, your will be done, on earth as in heaven. Give us today our daily bread. Forgive us our sins as we forgive those who sin against us. Save us from the time of trial and deliver us from evil. For the kingdom, the power, and the glory are yours, now and forever. Amen.

Diocesan prayer for regeneration

As the kotuki gently rests upon the tree, come Holy Spirit and rest upon us as we pray for the regeneration of our Diocese. Ever-living God, through your Spirit you constantly renew the whole creation; bring regeneration to your Diocese of Christchurch, grant us courage to grow disciples of Jesus, give us vision to reach young people and their families, and strengthen us to create vibrant communities of faith. All this we ask this in Jesus’ name. Amen

Sat 15 June

Open our lips O Lord, that our mouths may proclaim your praise

Matthew 5:33-37

Jesus addresses the common practice of making oaths to affirm the truth of one's statements. The Law commanded the fulfillment of oaths made to the Lord, emphasising honesty and integrity. However, Jesus goes further by challenging the necessity of oaths altogether. He suggests that one’s word should be inherently trustworthy, eliminating the need for additional affirmations.

Jesus’ instruction to refrain from swearing by anything—heaven, earth, Jerusalem, or one’s own head—highlights the futility and impropriety of invoking created things to guarantee one's word. He underscores that these entities belong to God, emphasizing human inability to control or manipulate them. By extension, the practice of swearing oaths is seen as presumptuous and unnecessary.

The call to simply say ‘Yes’ or ‘No’ advocates for straightforward, unembellished communication. This teaching promotes a culture of honesty where one’s words are reliable without needing external validation. It reflects a deeper ethical principle: integrity should be inherent in every aspect of life, not just in formal declarations.

By urging us to embody truthfulness in all their interactions, Jesus is advocating for a transformation of character. This transformation aligns with the overall message of the Sermon on the Mount, which calls for a righteousness that surpasses external compliance and originates from a heart attuned to God’s will.

Jesus challenges believers to embrace radical honesty and integrity. By fostering a community where words are consistently trustworthy, Jesus envisions a reflection of God’s truthfulness and faithfulness in human relationships. This passage calls for a simplicity and sincerity in speech that mirrors God’s nature, underscoring the importance of truth in the life of faith.

Prayers

• Family and friends,

• Those in need

• Those robbed from the fullness of life

• The Church

• Those who mourn

• Personal needs

Lord’s Prayer

Our Father in heaven, hallowed be your name, your kingdom come, your will be done, on earth as in heaven. Give us today our daily bread. Forgive us our sins as we forgive those who sin against us. Save us from the time of trial and deliver us from evil. For the kingdom, the power, and the glory are yours, now and forever. Amen.

Diocesan prayer for regeneration

As the kotuki gently rests upon the tree, come Holy Spirit and rest upon us as we pray for the regeneration of our Diocese. Ever-living God, through your Spirit you constantly renew the whole creation; bring regeneration to your Diocese of Christchurch, grant us courage to grow disciples of Jesus, give us vision to reach young people and their families, and strengthen us to create vibrant communities of faith. All this we ask this in Jesus’ name. Amen

Friday 14 June

Open our lips O Lord, that our mouths may proclaim your praise

Matthew 5:27-32

Jesus intensifies the commandment against adultery by addressing the root issue of lust. By asserting that looking at someone lustfully is equivalent to committing adultery in the heart, Jesus emphasizes the importance of inner purity and the need to control one's thoughts and desires. This perspective underscores that sin is not only about external actions but also about the internal intentions that lead to those actions.

Gouging out an eye or cutting off a hand serves to highlight the seriousness with which one should approach sin. Jesus uses this extreme imagery to stress the importance of removing anything that leads us into sin, regardless of the cost. This teaching calls for radical self-discipline and the willingness to make significant sacrifices to maintain spiritual integrity.

Regarding divorce, Jesus challenges the relatively lax attitudes of his time. By limiting divorce to cases of sexual immorality, he upholds the sanctity and permanence of marriage. This teaching emphasizes the seriousness of the marital commitment and the ethical implications of dissolving it. Jesus' stance protects the dignity and rights of individuals, particularly women, who were often disadvantaged by the divorce practices of the time.

Jesus calls for a deep, internalised righteousness that governs thoughts and actions, promotes purity and fidelity, and respects the sacredness of marriage. Jesus' teachings encourage us to pursue a higher standard of moral integrity and relational commitment.

Prayers

• Family and friends,

• Those in need

• Those robbed from the fullness of life

• The Church

• Those who mourn

• Personal needs

Lord’s Prayer

Our Father in heaven, hallowed be your name, your kingdom come, your will be done, on earth as in heaven. Give us today our daily bread. Forgive us our sins as we forgive those who sin against us. Save us from the time of trial and deliver us from evil. For the kingdom, the power, and the glory are yours, now and forever. Amen.

Diocesan prayer for regeneration

As the kotuki gently rests upon the tree, come Holy Spirit and rest upon us as we pray for the regeneration of our Diocese. Ever-living God, through your Spirit you constantly renew the whole creation; bring regeneration to your Diocese of Christchurch, grant us courage to grow disciples of Jesus, give us vision to reach young people and their families, and strengthen us to create vibrant communities of faith. All this we ask this in Jesus’ name. Amen 

Thursday June 13

Open our lips O Lord, that our mouths may proclaim your praise

Matthew 5:20-26

Jesus sets a high standard for righteousness, one that exceeds the external compliance of the Pharisees and the Teachers of the Law. He emphasizes that true righteousness involves the condition of the heart and mind, not just outward actions.

Jesus reinterprets the commandment against murder to include anger and contempt, highlighting the destructive power of these emotions. By equating anger with murder, Jesus teaches that harboring resentment and speaking maliciously towards others are serious offenses that disrupt communal harmony and spiritual integrity. This internal focus represents a shift from mere legal adherence to a deeper, more transformative ethic.

Furthermore, Jesus stresses the importance of reconciliation. He places reconciliation above ritual sacrifice, indicating that right relationships with others are integral to a right relationship with God. The urgency with which Jesus advocates settling disputes reflects the immediate need to address and resolve conflicts, underscoring the value of peace and unity within the community.

Jesus challenges us to embody a righteousness that transforms both inner attitudes and external behaviors, promoting reconciliation and peace as central to the life of faith.

Prayers

• Family and friends,

• Those in need

• Those robbed from the fullness of life

• The Church

• Those who mourn

• Personal needs

Lord’s Prayer

Our Father in heaven, hallowed be your name, your kingdom come, your will be done, on earth as in heaven. Give us today our daily bread. Forgive us our sins as we forgive those who sin against us. Save us from the time of trial and deliver us from evil. For the kingdom, the power, and the glory are yours, now and forever. Amen.

Diocesan prayer for regeneration

As the kotuki gently rests upon the tree, come Holy Spirit and rest upon us as we pray for the regeneration of our Diocese. Ever-living God, through your Spirit you constantly renew the whole creation; bring regeneration to your Diocese of Christchurch, grant us courage to grow disciples of Jesus, give us vision to reach young people and their families, and strengthen us to create vibrant communities of faith. All this we ask this in Jesus’ name. Amen

Wednesday 12 June

Open our lips O Lord, that our mouths may proclaim your praise

Matthew 5:17-19

This passage is profound in its assertion of continuity and transformation. Jesus emphasises that his mission is not to discard the Jewish Law but to fulfill it. The term "fulfill" can be understood as bringing to completion or perfection. Jesus suggests that the Law is not merely a set of rules but a divine covenant that finds its ultimate meaning and purpose in him.

The Jewish Law refers to the first 5 books of the Bible: Genesis, Exodus, Leviticus, Numbers and Deuteronomy,

Jesus' declaration that not "the smallest letter, not the least stroke of a pen" will disappear from the Law, underscores the enduring nature of God's commands. The Law is for Israel, a moral and spiritual guide. However, fulfillment in Jesus also implies a deepening and expansion of the Law's application.

For us, this fulfillment is seen in the teachings and life of Jesus, who exemplifies the Law's intent through love, mercy, and justice. His interpretation often goes beyond literal adherence, aiming at the spirit behind the laws, focusing on internal transformation and the broader principles of God's kingdom.

The warning and promise about how one treats the commandments underscore the seriousness with which Jesus views the Law. It suggests that a true understanding and teaching of the Law align with Jesus’ life and message. Jesus challenged Israel to investigate the impact of the Law upon their lives and to re-evaluate the Law in line with the interpretation being given by Temple leaders and authorities.

We recognise Jesus as the ultimate interpreter and embodiment of the Law, urging us to live in a way that reflects his teachings, thus achieving a deeper righteousness that surpasses mere legalistic observance.

Prayers

• Family and friends,

• Those in need

• Those robbed from the fullness of life

• The Church

• Those who mourn

• Personal needs

Lord’s Prayer

Our Father in heaven, hallowed be your name, your kingdom come, your will be done, on earth as in heaven. Give us today our daily bread. Forgive us our sins as we forgive those who sin against us. Save us from the time of trial and deliver us from evil. For the kingdom, the power, and the glory are yours, now and forever. Amen.

Diocesan prayer for regeneration

As the kotuki gently rests upon the tree, come Holy Spirit and rest upon us as we pray for the regeneration of our Diocese. Ever-living God, through your Spirit you constantly renew the whole creation; bring regeneration to your Diocese of Christchurch, grant us courage to grow disciples of Jesus, give us vision to reach young people and their families, and strengthen us to create vibrant communities of faith. All this we ask this in Jesus’ name. Amen

Tues 11 June

Open our lips O Lord, that our mouths may proclaim your praise

John 15:12-17 (The Feast of St Barnabus)

Jesus emphasizes the importance of love and the nature of true friendship. Jesus commands his disciples to love one another as he has loved them. This commandment encapsulates the essence of Christian discipleship—selfless, sacrificial love. Jesus’ model of love, culminating in his willingness to lay down his life for his friends, sets the highest standard for us. This love is not based on emotions or convenience but on a conscious decision to prioritize the well-being of others, even at great personal cost.

Reflecting on the life of St. Barnabas, often celebrated as a model of discipleship, we see this commandment vividly illustrated. Barnabas, whose name means “son of encouragement,” exemplified this love through his actions. He sold his property to support the early Christian community, advocated for Saul (Paul) when others were wary of him, and tirelessly worked alongside Paul in spreading the Gospel. Barnabas' life was marked by a commitment to fostering unity, encouraging others, and bearing lasting spiritual fruit.

Jesus’ words in this passage also redefine the relationship between him and his followers. By calling them friends rather than servants, Jesus elevates their status and invites them into a deeper, more intimate relationship with him. This friendship is characterized by mutual knowledge, shared mission, and a profound trust in Jesus' teachings and example.

Jesus emphasises that he chose and appointed his disciples to bear fruit that will last, highlighting the purpose and responsibility of their calling. This enduring fruit results from living out Jesus’ commandment to love and reflecting that love in our actions, relationships, and ministry.

Barnabus reminds us of the importance of encouragement, generosity, and dedication to the Gospel mission. Barnabas' life serves as an inspiring example of how to live out Jesus’ command to love one another, bearing fruit that impacts the world and glorifies God. As we strive to follow this command, we too can be instruments of God's love and grace, fostering communities of faith and supporting one another as our spiritual journey continues.

Prayers

• Family and friends,

• Those in need

• Those robbed from the fullness of life

• The Church

• Those who mourn

• Personal needs

Lord’s Prayer

Our Father in heaven, hallowed be your name, your kingdom come, your will be done, on earth as in heaven. Give us today our daily bread. Forgive us our sins as we forgive those who sin against us. Save us from the time of trial and deliver us from evil. For the kingdom, the power, and the glory are yours, now and forever. Amen.

Diocesan prayer for regeneration

As the kotuki gently rests upon the tree, come Holy Spirit and rest upon us as we pray for the regeneration of our Diocese. Ever-living God, through your Spirit you constantly renew the whole creation; bring regeneration to your Diocese of Christchurch, grant us courage to grow disciples of Jesus, give us vision to reach young people and their families, and strengthen us to create vibrant communities of faith. All this we ask this in Jesus name. Amen

Monday 10 June

Open our lips O Lord, that our mouths may proclaim your praise

Matthew 5:11-12

In the Beatitudes, specifically called Sermon on the Mount, Jesus provides profound teachings on the nature of true blessedness.

Matthew emphasizes something of a counterintuitive aspect of Christian discipleship: the blessedness found in persecution for the sake of righteousness. Jesus reassures his followers that enduring insults, persecution, and false accusations because of their faith is a source of blessing, not misfortune. This teaching challenges conventional ideas about happiness and success, which typically involve comfort, acceptance, and ease.

Jesus’ words call us to a higher perspective. The promise of a "great reward in heaven" shifts the focus from earthly suffering to eternal significance. This heavenly reward is not merely compensation but a profound affirmation of one’s alignment with God’s will. The call to "rejoice and be glad" amidst persecution underscores the transformative power of faith, enabling believers to find joy and purpose even in the face of adversity.

Furthermore, Jesus connects the experiences of his followers with those of the prophets who preceded them. This association provides a sense of continuity and support with the great figures of faith who endured similar trials. It reassures us that they are part of the larger part of God’s plan where suffering for righteousness has always been integral to the journey of faith.

This reading encourages us to view our personal trials through the lens of faith. Persecution for the sake of righteousness is not a sign of God’s abandonment but of fidelity to Christ’s mission. It invites us to reevaluate what it means to be blessed, encouraging us to focus upon spiritual integrity and eternal values over the pressures of secular life to attain the approval of others.

This teaching calls us to be steadfast and courageous. It challenges us to maintain our commitment to Jesus Christ even when facing opposition. This passage is a powerful reminder that true discipleship often involves sacrifice, but it is accompanied by the promise of profound and everlasting joy in the Kingdom of God..

Prayers

• Family and friends,

• Those in need

• Those robbed from the fullness of life

• The Church

• Those who mourn

• Personal needs

Lord’s Prayer

Our Father in heaven, hallowed be your name, your kingdom come, your will be done, on earth as in heaven. Give us today our daily bread. Forgive us our sins as we forgive those who sin against us. Save us from the time of trial and deliver us from evil. For the kingdom, the power, and the glory are yours, now and forever. Amen.

Diocesan prayer for regeneration

As the kotuki gently rests upon the tree, come Holy Spirit and rest upon us as we pray for the regeneration of our Diocese. Ever-living God, through your Spirit you constantly renew the whole creation; bring regeneration to your Diocese of Christchurch, grant us courage to grow disciples of Jesus, give us vision to reach young people and their families, and strengthen us to create vibrant communities of faith. All this we ask this in Jesus name. Amen

Saturday 8 June

Open our lips O Lord, that our mouths may proclaim your praise

Mark 12: 38 - 40

Jesus warns against the hypocrisy of the religious leaders, the teachers of the law. He criticizes their desire for public recognition and their exploitation of vulnerable individuals, like widows. Their outward displays of piety mask their inward corruption and self-serving actions. This serves as a stark reminder that religious leadership should be characterized by humility, service, and genuine care for others, rather than a pursuit of status and wealth.

Mark 12: 41- 44

Mark contrasts the behavior of the rich and the poor widow in their offerings to the temple coffers. The wealthy give large sums, but from their surplus, while the poor widow contributes two small coins, all she had to live on. Jesus commends the widow’s offering as greater because it was given out of her poverty and with complete trust in God’s provision. Her act of self-sacrifice and total dependence on God stands in sharp contrast to the self-serving actions of the religious leaders.

I once visited a very devout parishioner. She was to become a source of my greatest admiration, she simply was the most faithful person I have ever encountered. She had nothing, yet when I called she told me that following our stewardship campaign, she had reviewed her widows pension and discovered she could give $2 more each week. And so began a great relationship between us, one that lasted until her death and endures in my prayers. Her name was Val Abrahams, and the Kingdom of God was truly fit for her. Thinking about her faith commitment and her unswerving love for Jesus was the most wondrous thing,

Together, these passages underscore the themes of true piety and integrity. They challenge us to reflect on our own motivations and actions. Are we like the teachers of the law, seeking recognition and status, or are we like the widow, giving selflessly and trusting in God? Jesus calls us to genuine faith and humility, encouraging us to live out our beliefs through sincere actions and a heart aligned with God’s will.

These passages invite us to evaluate our priorities and generosity, reminding us that God values the heart behind our actions more than the actions themselves. True devotion is not measured by the amount we give, but by the spirit in which we give it and our reliance on ability to trust in God love to provide and provisions us.

Prayers

• Family and friends,

• Those in need

• Those robbed from the fullness of life

• The Church

• Those who mourn

• Personal needs

Lord’s Prayer

Our Father in heaven, hallowed be your name, your kingdom come, your will be done, on earth as in heaven. Give us today our daily bread. Forgive us our sins as we forgive those who sin against us. Save us from the time of trial and deliver us from evil. For the kingdom, the power, and the glory are yours, now and forever. Amen.

Diocesan prayer for regeneration

As the kotuki gently rests upon the tree, come Holy Spirit and rest upon us as we pray for the regeneration of our Diocese. Ever-living God, through your Spirit you constantly renew the whole creation; bring regeneration to your Diocese of Christchurch, grant us courage to grow disciples of Jesus, give us vision to reach young people and their families, and strengthen us to create vibrant communities of faith. All this we ask this in Jesus name. Amen

Friday 7 June

Open our lips O Lord, that our mouths may proclaim your praise

Mark 12: 35-37

Jesus addresses a theological question regarding the identity of the Messiah.

This passage is significant for several reasons. Firstly, it illustrates Jesus' deep understanding of the Scriptures and his ability to engage with the prevailing theological perspectives of his time. The teachers of the law believed that the Messiah would be a descendant of David, a view grounded in numerous Old Testament prophecies. Jesus challenges this belief by pointing out a seeming contradiction in Psalm 110:1, where David refers to the Messiah as "Lord," implying a status higher than his own.

By questioning how the Messiah can be both David's son and his Lord, Jesus is highlighting the complex and divine nature of the Messiah. This passage subtly points to the doctrine of the Incarnation, where Jesus, although a descendant of David in his humanity, is also the divine Son of God. This dual identity is a cornerstone of Christian theology, emphasizing that the Messiah is not merely a political or military leader but a divine Saviour with authority over all.

Furthermore, the crowd's reaction is telling. They listened with delight, indicating that Jesus' teaching resonated deeply with them, challenging their existing beliefs and inviting them into a deeper understanding of the true nature of Jesus. This passage encourages us to look beyond conventional interpretations that we comprehend Jesus' identity and mission more fully

This reading causes us to ponder upon the mystery of Christ's identity. It challenges us to recognize Jesus as both fully human and fully divine, calling us to deepen our faith and understanding. This passage reminds us of the importance of theological inquiry and the joy that comes from discovering deeper truths about our faith.

Prayers

• Family and friends,

• Those in need

• Those robbed from the fullness of life

• The Church

• Those who mourn

• Personal needs

Lord’s Prayer

Our Father in heaven, hallowed be your name, your kingdom come, your will be done, on earth as in heaven. Give us today our daily bread. Forgive us our sins as we forgive those who sin against us. Save us from the time of trial and deliver us from evil. For the kingdom, the power, and the glory are yours, now and forever. Amen.

Diocesan prayer for regeneration

As the kotuki gently rests upon the tree, come Holy Spirit and rest upon us as we pray for the regeneration of our Diocese. Ever-living God, through your Spirit you constantly renew the whole creation; bring regeneration to your Diocese of Christchurch, grant us courage to grow disciples of Jesus, give us vision to reach young people and their families, and strengthen us to create vibrant communities of faith. All this we ask this in Jesus’ name. Amen

Thursday 6 June

Open our lips O Lord, that our mouths may proclaim your praise

Mark 12: 29-34

A scribe asks Jesus which commandment is the most important. Jesus responds by quoting Deuteronomy 6:4-5, affirming the importance of loving God with all one's heart, soul, mind, and strength. He adds that loving one's neighbour as oneself is equally crucial.

One of my favourite songs takes a satirical look at the Anglican Church through the eyes of a Mrs Beamish. She is a dedicated and long-term parishioner of a parish called St Bottolphs. Unfortunately for Mrs Beamish, a new Vicar has arrived and has introduced some contemporary songs into the liturgy. But shock, horror! he is also inviting everyone to shake hands during "the peace" in the service.

I can remember as a small child this custom being introduced at our parish. Sadly, for some, the practice was as uncomfortable for some people as it was for Mrs Beamish.

Today’s passage emphasizes the centrality of love in the Christian faith. Love for God and love for others are inseparable. True love for God manifests in our actions toward others, and genuine love for others flows from our love for God. This interconnectedness underscores the essence of Christian living.

Latest international statistics show an increase in cathedral worship attendance and the opposite at local parishes. One Cathedral decided to survey worship attendees. The response was that people are happy to attend Cathedral worship because there is a greater chance of anonymity. In other words, people are happy to worship God provided it doesn’t mean they have to interact with others around them.

This interaction between Jesus and the Scribe highlights the importance of understanding and living out the core principles of the faith. For Mrs Beamish, having a deep-seated faith in God whilst ignoring those around you challenges everything that Christ represents

Mark challenges us to examine the sincerity of our love for God and others. Are our actions driven by genuine love, or are they merely rituals devoid of heartfelt devotion? Jesus calls us to a radical form of love that transcends mere words or religious practices.

Additionally, the inclusivity of Jesus' teaching is noteworthy. He extends the definition of "neighbour" beyond ethnic, cultural, and religious boundaries, embracing all humanity. This broadens our responsibility to love and care for everyone, regardless of differences.

Jesus challenges us to prioritize love in our lives. Love is not merely a sentiment but a commandment central to our faith. As we strive to love God with our entire being and love our neighbours as ourselves, we draw closer to the heart of God and embody the values of His kingdom.

Prayers

• Family and friends,

• Those in need

• Those robbed from the fullness of life

• The Church

• Those who mourn

• Personal needs

Lord’s Prayer

Our Father in heaven, hallowed be your name, your kingdom come, your will be done, on earth as in heaven. Give us today our daily bread. Forgive us our sins as we forgive those who sin against us. Save us from the time of trial and deliver us from evil. For the kingdom, the power, and the glory are yours, now and forever. Amen.

Diocesan prayer for regeneration

As the kotuki gently rests upon the tree, come Holy Spirit and rest upon us as we pray for the regeneration of our Diocese. Ever-living God, through your Spirit you constantly renew the whole creation; bring regeneration to your Diocese of Christchurch, grant us courage to grow disciples of Jesus, give us vision to reach young people and their families, and strengthen us to create vibrant communities of faith. All this we ask this in Jesus name. Amen

Wednesday 5 June

Open our lips O Lord, that our mouths may proclaim your praise

In Mark 12:18-27

Jesus encounters a group of Sadducees who question him about marriage and the resurrection. The Sadducees, known for their disbelief in the resurrection, present a hypothetical scenario involving a woman who marries seven brothers successively due to the Levirate law, which required a brother to marry his deceased brother's widow if he died childless. They ask Jesus whose wife she will be in the resurrection.

Jesus responds by highlighting (once again) their misunderstanding of both Scripture and the power of God. He explains that in the resurrection, people will neither marry nor be given in marriage but will be like angels in heaven. He emphasizes that God is the God of the living, not the dead, implying that those who are in relationship with God are truly alive, even after physical death.

Trying to understand Heaven is difficult for everyone. Recently I had most of my bottom teeth knocked out in an accident. After several months, a Specialist screwed some metal posts into my jaw and my dentist attached some artificial teeth to them. Today I look almost normal. One small girl attending our Children’s Liturgy asked me what kind of teeth I would have in heaven, my old ones or my new ones. My response to her was that in heaven we are all perfect. But it does beg the question as to what we might find heaven to be. And the answer is a big ??

St Paul’s letter to the Thessalonians clearly states that in the Kingdom of God, we can expect to reacquaint ourselves with those relationships we shared on earth. In my mind though two things are clear. Firstly, the light of Christ’s love will shine brightly and in this love we will all find perfection. Secondly, there will be no time because life is eternal. For our limited minds, trying to grasp the reality of these concepts is virtually impossible.

Lets not get too hung up on this, because Mark offers us some insight.

Jesus' authority and wisdom in handling complex theological questions is impeccable. (And I wonder what he might have said to my young friend had she questioned him.) Despite the Sadducees' attempt to trap him, Jesus responds with clarity and insight, revealing a deeper understanding of Scripture and God's intentions.

Jesus challenges traditional interpretations of Scripture, especially regarding the afterlife. By asserting that marriage won't exist in the resurrection, he challenges conventional beliefs about the nature of eternal life. Instead, he emphasizes the primacy of our relationship with God and the transformation that occurs beyond the grave.

Jesus' response invites believers to reflect on the nature of eternity and the significance of relationships. While earthly relationships like marriage are important, they are temporal and ultimately superseded by our relationship with God. The passage encourages believers to prioritize their spiritual connection with God above all else, recognizing that it is eternal and transformative.

Jesus' authority, challenges our traditional beliefs, and he invites us to prioritize our relationship with God above all else, especially in contemplating to eternity.

Jesus challenges us to prioritize love in our lives. Love is not merely a sentiment but a commandment central to our faith. As we strive to love God with our entire being and love our neighbours as ourselves, we draw closer to the heart of God and embody the values of His kingdom.

Prayers

• Family and friends,

• Those in need

• Those robbed from the fullness of life

• The Church

• Those who mourn

• Personal needs

Lord’s Prayer

Our Father in heaven, hallowed be your name, your kingdom come, your will be done, on earth as in heaven. Give us today our daily bread. Forgive us our sins as we forgive those who sin against us. Save us from the time of trial and deliver us from evil. For the kingdom, the power, and the glory are yours, now and forever. Amen.

Diocesan prayer for regeneration

As the kotuki gently rests upon the tree, come Holy Spirit and rest upon us as we pray for the regeneration of our Diocese. Ever-living God, through your Spirit you constantly renew the whole creation; bring regeneration to your Diocese of Christchurch, grant us courage to grow disciples of Jesus, give us vision to reach young people and their families, and strengthen us to create vibrant communities of faith. All this we ask this in Jesus name. Amen

Tuesday 4 June

Open our lips O Lord, that our mouths may proclaim your praise

Read Mark 12: 13-17

Mark writes of an encounter between Jesus and some Pharisees and Herodians who sought to trap Him with a question about paying taxes to Caesar. They asked, "Is it lawful to pay taxes to Caesar, or not?" Aware of their hypocrisy, Jesus asked them to bring a denarius (a coin) and inquired about whose image and inscription were on it. When they answered "Caesar's," Jesus replied, "Render to Caesar the things that are Caesar's, and to God the things that are God's."

This passage offers profound insights into the relationship between earthly authorities and divine sovereignty. Firstly, Jesus' response demonstrates His wisdom in navigating politically charged questions. By asking for a coin and highlighting Caesar's image, He exposes the questioners' attempt to entangle Him. Jesus defuses the situation without directly opposing Roman authority or alienating His followers.

The instruction to "render to Caesar the things that are Caesar's" acknowledges the legitimacy of secular governance and the civic duties of individuals. It implies a recognition of the necessity to fulfill obligations such as paying taxes, as a part of living in a structured society. This pragmatic approach indicates that Jesus does not advocate for rebellion against political authorities but rather for a responsible engagement with them.

Simultaneously, the directive to "render to God the things that are God's" emphasizes the ultimate authority of God over all aspects of life. This distinction calls believers to prioritize their spiritual commitments and recognize that our primary allegiance is to God. Everything that bears God's image—human beings created in His likeness—belongs to Him entirely. In reality, while Christians live in the world and engage with its systems, their identity and ultimate loyalty are based in God's kingdom.

We are called to discern our responsibilities to earthly authorities while maintaining a steadfast commitment to God's commands. Jesus invites us to balance civic duties with spiritual devotion, ensuring that neither is neglected but both are approached with integrity and faithfulness.

Prayers

• Family and friends,

• Those in need

• Those robbed from the fullness of life

• The Church

• Those who mourn

• Personal needs

Lord’s Prayer

Our Father in heaven, hallowed be your name, your kingdom come, your will be done, on earth as in heaven. Give us today our daily bread. Forgive us our sins as we forgive those who sin against us. Save us from the time of trial and deliver us from evil. For the kingdom, the power, and the glory are yours, now and forever. Amen.

Diocesan prayer for regeneration

As the kotuki gently rests upon the tree, come Holy Spirit and rest upon us as we pray for the regeneration of our Diocese. Ever-living God, through your Spirit you constantly renew the whole creation; bring regeneration to your Diocese of Christchurch, grant us courage to grow disciples of Jesus, give us vision to reach young people and their families, and strengthen us to create vibrant communities of faith. All this we ask this in Jesus name. Amen

Monday 3 June

Open our lips O Lord, that our mouths may proclaim your praise

Read Mark 12: 1-12

The “Parable of the Tenants”, is a story Jesus tells to the religious leaders. In this parable, a man plants a vineyard, leases it to tenants, and goes away. When he sends servants to collect some of the fruit, the tenants beat or kill each one. Finally, he sends his beloved son, thinking they will respect him. Instead, the tenants kill the son, hoping to seize his inheritance. Jesus concludes by saying the owner will destroy the tenants and give the vineyard to others. The religious leaders realize the parable is directed at them and seek to arrest Jesus, but they fear the crowd.

In this parable, the vineyard represents Israel, and the tenants symbolize its leaders. The owner is God, the servants are the prophets sent by God, and the beloved son is Jesus. This parable represents the persistent rejection and mistreatment of God's messengers throughout Israel's history. The escalation of violence against the servants illustrates the increasing resistance and hard-heartedness of the leaders toward God's calls for justice and repentance.

The sending of the owners beloved son marks the climax of God's attempts to reach His people. The tenants' decision to kill the son signifies the ultimate rejection and foreshadows Jesus' impending crucifixion. This act of defiance against God is met with a severe warning: the tenants will be destroyed, and the vineyard will be entrusted to others. This implies a shift where the privileges and responsibilities of God's kingdom will be extended beyond the current leaders to others, including Gentiles.

The parable challenges us to reflect on our response to God's messages and messengers. It warns against the dangers of pride, entitlement, and rejection of divine authority. Moreover, it calls for a humble acknowledgment of God's sovereignty and a readiness to produce the fruits of righteousness in our lives. By recognizing Jesus as the beloved Son sent by God, we are invited to embrace Him and His message, leading to a fruitful and faithful relationship with God. It is our responsibility as a People of the Gospel to respond to God's initiatives with openness, respect, and obedience.

Prayers

• Family and friends,

• Those in need

• Those robbed from the fullness of life

• The Church

• Those who mourn

• Personal needs

Lord’s Prayer

Our Father in heaven, hallowed be your name, your kingdom come, your will be done, on earth as in heaven. Give us today our daily bread. Forgive us our sins as we forgive those who sin against us. Save us from the time of trial and deliver us from evil. For the kingdom, the power, and the glory are yours, now and forever. Amen.

Diocesan prayer for regeneration

As the kotuki gently rests upon the tree, come Holy Spirit and rest upon us as we pray for the regeneration of our Diocese. Ever-living God, through your Spirit you constantly renew the whole creation; bring regeneration to your Diocese of Christchurch, grant us courage to grow disciples of Jesus, give us vision to reach young people and their families, and strengthen us to create vibrant communities of faith. All this we ask this in Jesus name. Amen

Friday 31 May

Open our lips O Lord, that our mouths may proclaim your praise

Read Mark Luke 1: 39-57

Luke recounts the visit of Mary to Elizabeth. This passage is often called the “Visitation.” It includes the Magnificat, Mary's hymn of praise.

After the angel Gabriel's announcement, Mary hastily travels to the hill country of Judah to visit her cousin Elizabeth, who is also miraculously pregnant with (he who was to become) John the Baptist. Upon Mary's greeting, Elizabeth's baby leaps in her womb, and Elizabeth, filled with the Holy Spirit, exclaims that Mary is blessed among women and that the child she carries is blessed. In response, Mary sings the Magnificat, praising God's greatness and faithfulness.

This passage is rich with themes of joy, humility, and God's faithfulness. Elizabeth's joyful recognition of Mary's blessedness underscores the theme of divine revelation and recognition. Elizabeth, filled with the Holy Spirit, perceives Mary's unique role in God's plan, celebrating the fulfillment of God's promises.

Mary's is described as a devout woman. Her song of praise is a profound hymn of acknowledgement of Gods power and grace. It reveals her deep faith and understanding of God's work in her life and the world. She acknowledges God's greatness ("My soul magnifies the Lord"), His mindful love ("for he has looked on the humble estate of his servant"), and His mighty deeds. Mary celebrates God's intervention in human history, His mercy, and His justice. She proclaims how God exalts the humble and fills the hungry with good things while bringing down the powerful and sending the rich away empty. This reflects the revolutionary nature of God's kingdom, which upends worldly values and structures.

The Visitation emphasizes the importance of community and mutual support in the journey of faith. Mary and Elizabeth, both experiencing miraculous pregnancies, find strength and affirmation in each other's presence. This encounter highlights the joy and blessing of sharing faith experiences and recognizing God's work in each other's lives.

This passage represents Mary's humility, faith, and willingness to participate in God's plan. Furthermore, Mary’s example calls us to recognize and celebrate God's work in our lives and the lives of others, fostering a spirit of gratitude and praise. The Magnificat, in particular, challenges us to reflect on God's justice and mercy, encouraging us to trust in His promises and actively participate in the transformative work of God’s kingdom.

Prayers

• Family and friends,

• Those in need

• Those robbed from the fullness of life

• The Church

• Those who mourn

• Personal needs

Lord’s Prayer

Our Father in heaven, hallowed be your name, your kingdom come, your will be done, on earth as in heaven. Give us today our daily bread. Forgive us our sins as we forgive those who sin against us. Save us from the time of trial and deliver us from evil. For the kingdom, the power, and the glory are yours, now and forever. Amen.

Diocesan prayer for regeneration

As the kotuki gently rests upon the tree, come Holy Spirit and rest upon us as we pray for the regeneration of our Diocese. Ever-living God, through your Spirit you constantly renew the whole creation; bring regeneration to your Diocese of Christchurch, grant us courage to grow disciples of Jesus, give us vision to reach young people and their families, and strengthen us to create vibrant communities of faith. All this we ask this in Jesus name. Amen

Thursday 30 May,

Open our lips O Lord, that our mouths may proclaim your praise

Read John 6: 51- 58

This reading is one of the great “I am” statements of John’’s Gospel. Jesus declares, "I am the living bread that came down from heaven. Whoever eats this bread will live forever. This bread is my flesh, which I will give for the life of the world." Jesus highlights the intimate and transformative relationship between Jesus and His followers through the imagery of bread and flesh, emphasizing the importance of faith and the Eucharist.

Jesus' use of "bread" resonates deeply with His audience, familiar with the significance of bread in sustaining life. By identifying Himself as the living bread, Jesus presents Himself as essential for spiritual nourishment and eternal life. The reference to His flesh indicates the sacrificial nature of His mission, foreshadowing His crucifixion. His flesh given "for the life of the world" points to the transformative power of His sacrifice, which offers eternal life to all who believe.

This teaching also introduces the concept of the Eucharist, a central sacrament in Christian practice. Jesus' insistence on eating His flesh and drinking His blood was shocking to His listeners, yet it underscores the depth of union He desires with His followers. The Eucharist symbolizes this profound communion, where believers partake in the body and blood of Christ, affirming their faith and participating in His life, death, and resurrection. In the Eucharist, we renew our covenant relationship with Jesus, as proclaimed in and through Baptism.

The promise of eternal life to those who partake in this spiritual nourishment reflects the holistic power of a relationship with Jesus. It is not merely a ritualistic act but an invitation to internalize His teachings, embody His love, and live in a way that reflects His presence within us. The Eucharist becomes a tangible expression of God's grace, sustaining and empowering believers in their spiritual journey.

We are called to deepen our understanding of and participation in the Eucharist. It challenges us to recognize the sacrificial love of Jesus and the life-giving power of His presence. This passage invites us to embrace the intimate relationship Jesus offers, allowing His life to transform and sustain us as we journey toward eternal life. It also encourages us to live out our faith in tangible ways, embodying the love and grace we receive from Jesus.

Prayers

• Family and friends,

• Those in need

• Those robbed from the fullness of life

• The Church

• Those who mourn

• Personal needs

Lord’s Prayer

Our Father in heaven, hallowed be your name, your kingdom come, your will be done, on earth as in heaven. Give us today our daily bread. Forgive us our sins as we forgive those who sin against us. Save us from the time of trial and deliver us from evil. For the kingdom, the power, and the glory are yours, now and forever. Amen.

Diocesan prayer for regeneration

As the kotuki gently rests upon the tree, come Holy Spirit and rest upon us as we pray for the regeneration of our Diocese. Ever-living God, through your Spirit you constantly renew the whole creation; bring regeneration to your Diocese of Christchurch, grant us courage to grow disciples of Jesus, give us vision to reach young people and their families, and strengthen us to create vibrant communities of faith. All this we ask this in Jesus name. Amen

Wednesday 29 May

Open our lips O Lord, that our mouths may proclaim your praise

Read Mark 10: 32-45

Mark records a pivotal moment in Jesus' journey to Jerusalem. This includes Jesus teaching on discipleship and leadership. As Jesus and His disciples head toward Jerusalem, He predicts His suffering, death, and resurrection for the third time. Despite this solemn prediction, James and John approach Him with a request for positions of glory in His kingdom. Jesus responds by questioning their understanding and preparedness to endure the suffering He will face. He then gathers all His disciples to teach them about true greatness and servanthood.

This third prediction of Jesus’ passion highlights His foreknowledge and acceptance of His impending suffering. It underscores the sacrificial nature of His mission and the path He must walk to fulfill God's plan for salvation. This solemn moment contrasts sharply with the disciples' lack of understanding, as evidenced by James and John's request for prestige. Their desire for glory reveals a fundamental misunderstanding of Jesus' mission and the nature of His kingdom.

In responding to James and John, Jesus speaks of "the cup" He must drink and the "baptism" He must undergo, referring to His suffering and death. His assertion that these honours are not His to grant, but are prepared by God the Father, shifts the focus from human ambition to divine purpose and sovereignty.

Jesus' teaching to all the disciples contrasts worldly notions of greatness with the values of God's kingdom. In the world, some of the more irresponsible leaders often wield power and authority for self-serving purposes. However, Jesus redefines greatness as servanthood, teaching that the greatest in His kingdom must be the servant of all. He exemplifies this by stating that the Son of Man came "not to be served but to serve, and to give His life as a ransom for many"

Jesus challenges us to reevaluate our understanding of leadership and greatness. It calls us to emulate Jesus' example of humility, selflessness, and sacrificial love. True discipleship involves a willingness to serve others and to embrace the path of humility and sacrifice, even at great personal cost. Reflecting on this teaching, we are encouraged to seek ways to serve others in our daily lives, embodying the values of God's kingdom and following the example of Jesus, the ultimate servant-leader.

Prayers

Family and friends,

Those in need

Those robbed from the fullness of life

The Church

Those who mourn

Personal needs

Lord’s Prayer

Our Father in heaven, hallowed be your name, your kingdom come, your will be done, on earth as in heaven. Give us today our daily bread. Forgive us our sins as we forgive those who sin against us. Save us from the time of trial and deliver us from evil. For the kingdom, the power, and the glory are yours, now and forever. Amen.

Diocesan prayer for regeneration

As the kotuki gently rests upon the tree, come Holy Spirit and rest upon us as we pray for the regeneration of our Diocese. Ever-living God, through your Spirit you constantly renew the whole creation; bring regeneration to your Diocese of Christchurch, grant us courage to grow disciples of Jesus, give us vision to reach young people and their families, and strengthen us to create vibrant communities of faith. All this we ask this in Jesus name. Amen

Tuesday 28 May

Open our lips O Lord, that our mouths may proclaim your praise

Read Mark 10: 28-31

Mark addresses the rewards of discipleship and the inversion of worldly expectations in the Kingdom of God. Sacrifice and Reward: Peter’s statement reflects the significant sacrifices made by the disciples in following Jesus. Jesus acknowledges these sacrifices and assures that they will be richly rewarded. The promise of receiving "a hundred times as much" emphasizes the abundant blessings that come with discipleship, both in this life and in the life to come. This assurance is meant to encourage and comfort those who have given up much for the sake of Christ and the gospel.

Jesus’ promise includes blessings "in this present age" and "in the age to come." This dual aspect of reward highlights the comprehensive nature of God’s provision. However, these blessings are not without challenges, as Jesus explicitly mentions persecutions. This underscores the reality that following Jesus involves both incredible blessings and inevitable trials.

The statement "many who are first will be last, and the last first" encapsulates the radical inversion of values in the Kingdom of God. Worldly status, power, and wealth are not indicators of one's standing in God's Kingdom. Instead, humility, sacrifice, and faithful service are exalted. This teaching challenges believers to reassess their values and priorities, aligning them with the principles of the Kingdom rather than the standards of the world.

The mention of gaining "homes, brothers, sisters, mothers, children and fields" points to the new, expansive community of believers. Discipleship brings us into a larger family of faith, where relationships and resources are shared. This new community offers support and belonging that transcend biological ties, illustrating the inclusive and supportive nature of the Christian community.

Mark reassures believers of the immense rewards for those who sacrifice themselves for Jesus, both in this life and the next. It highlights the inclusive and supportive nature of the Christian community and challenges the prevailing social values by teaching that true greatness in the Kingdom of God comes through humility and faithful service. Mark invites believers to find hope and encouragement in the promises of Jesus, despite the sacrifices and persecutions that may come.

Prayers

Family and friends,

Those in need

Those robbed from the fullness of life

The Church

Those who mourn

Personal needs

Lord’s Prayer

Our Father in heaven, hallowed be your name, your kingdom come, your will be done, on earth as in heaven. Give us today our daily bread. Forgive us our sins as we forgive those who sin against us. Save us from the time of trial and deliver us from evil. For the kingdom, the power, and the glory are yours, now and forever. Amen.

Diocesan prayer for regeneration

As the kotuki gently rests upon the tree, come Holy Spirit and rest upon us as we pray for the regeneration of our Diocese. Ever-living God, through your Spirit you constantly renew the whole creation; bring regeneration to your Diocese of Christchurch, grant us courage to grow disciples of Jesus, give us vision to reach young people and their families, and strengthen us to create vibrant communities of faith. All this we ask this in Jesus name. Amen

Monday 27 May

Open our lips O Lord, that our mouths may proclaim your praise

Read Mark 10: 13-16

Mark presents a poignant moment in Jesus' ministry, emphasizing the value of children and the qualities necessary for entering the Kingdom of God. Jesus' Compassion and Inclusivity: Jesus' reaction to the disciples' rebuke of the children highlights his deep compassion and inclusive nature. By welcoming the children, he demonstrates that the Kingdom of God is open to all, regardless of age or social status. His indignation at the disciples' behavior underscores the importance he places on valuing and respecting every individual.

Jesus teaches that the Kingdom of God belongs to those who approach it with childlike qualities. Children are often characterized by their innocence, trust, humility, and openness. These qualities are essential for discipleship and spiritual receptivity. Jesus' statement challenges adults to live by these attributes, emphasizing a posture of dependence and trust in God.

In the cultural context of Jesus' time, children were often seen as insignificant and lacking in status. By elevating children and blessing them, Jesus reverses societal norms and affirms their worth and dignity. This action is a powerful reminder of the radical inclusivity of Jesus' message and the inherent value of every person.

Jesus calls believers to receive the Kingdom of God with the same openness and receptivity that children exhibit. It is a call to embrace faith with simplicity and wholeheartedness, free from cynicism and pride. This teaches that entering the Kingdom is not about status, knowledge, or achievement, but about a genuine, humble relationship with God.

The childlike qualities in receiving the Kingdom of God underscores Jesus' inclusive and compassionate nature. It challenges believers to value every individual, embrace humility, and approach their faith with the openness and trust of a child. This passage serves as a powerful reminder of the radical, inclusive love of Jesus and the transformative power of embracing a childlike faith.

Prayers

Family and friends,

Those in need

Those robbed from the fullness of life

The Church

Those who mourn

Personal needs

Lord’s Prayer

Our Father in heaven, hallowed be your name, your kingdom come, your will be done, on earth as in heaven. Give us today our daily bread. Forgive us our sins as we forgive those who sin against us. Save us from the time of trial and deliver us from evil. For the kingdom, the power, and the glory are yours, now and forever. Amen.

Diocesan prayer for regeneration

As the kotuki gently rests upon the tree, come Holy Spirit and rest upon us as we pray for the regeneration of our Diocese. Ever-living God, through your Spirit you constantly renew the whole creation; bring regeneration to your Diocese of Christchurch, grant us courage to grow disciples of Jesus, give us vision to reach young people and their families, and strengthen us to create vibrant communities of faith. All this we ask this in Jesus name. Amen

Friday 24 May

Open our lips O Lord, that our mouths may proclaim your praise

Read Mark 10: 1-12

Mark addresses the topic of divorce, presenting Jesus' teaching on the sanctity and permanence of marriage.

Jesus emphasizes the original intention of marriage as a lifelong, unbreakable union. By quoting Genesis, he underscores that marriage is part of God's creation plan, intended to be a profound and permanent bond between two people. Jesus attributes the Mosaic concession of divorce to the hardness of human hearts. This suggests that divorce was allowed due to human weakness and sinfulness, rather than being part of God's ideal plan for marriage.

Marriage isn’t a mere contractual agreement to a sacred covenant. Jesus highlights that marriage is a divine institution, and its sanctity should be respected and preserved. Jesus challenges individuals to strive for fidelity, commitment, and reconciliation, recognizing the profound impact that marriage has on their lives and on society.

Notably, Jesus speaks to both men and women, holding both accountable for the fidelity of the marital bond. This highlights the equal moral responsibility of both spouses in maintaining the integrity of their marriage.

Mark presents a challenging and counter-cultural teaching on the sanctity and permanence of marriage. It calls believers to view marriage as a divine covenant, to strive for lifelong fidelity, and to recognize the serious moral implications of divorce and remarriage. This passage underscores the importance of commitment and the sacred nature of the marital relationship, urging followers to honor and preserve this fundamental institution.

Prayers

Family and friends,

Those in need

Those robbed from the fullness of life

The Church

Those who mourn

Personal needs

Lord’s Prayer

Our Father in heaven, hallowed be your name, your kingdom come, your will be done, on earth as in heaven. Give us today our daily bread. Forgive us our sins as we forgive those who sin against us. Save us from the time of trial and deliver us from evil. For the kingdom, the power, and the glory are yours, now and forever. Amen.

Diocesan prayer for regeneration

As the kotuki gently rests upon the tree, come Holy Spirit and rest upon us as we pray for the regeneration of our Diocese. Ever-living God, through your Spirit you constantly renew the whole creation; bring regeneration to your Diocese of Christchurch, grant us courage to grow disciples of Jesus, give us vision to reach young people and their families, and strengthen us to create vibrant communities of faith. All this we ask this in Jesus name. Amen

Thursday 23 May,

Open our lips O Lord, that our mouths may proclaim your praise

Read Mark 9: 41-50

This passage is filled with profound teachings on discipleship, responsibility, and the seriousness of sin.

In reflecting on this passage, several key themes emerge:

The passage begins with the reassurance that even the smallest acts of kindness done in Jesus' name are significant and will be rewarded. This underscores the importance of everyday actions and how they may seem un-noticed to us, but in the lives of others, they are often real.

There is great concern when one causes others, especially new believers or "little ones," to stumble in their faith. Christian’s have a very real responsibility to live lives that do not lead others into sin. The idea of cutting off a hand or foot and plucking out an eye is not meant to be taken literally but to underscore the radical measures one should be willing to take to avoid sin. It suggests that entering the Kingdom of God is worth any sacrifice, and nothing should be allowed to hinder one’s spiritual journey.

The phrase "everyone will be salted with fire" alludes to the idea that trials and challenges purify believers, much like fire refines metal. This purification is essential for maintaining the integrity and effectiveness ("saltiness") of their witness and character. To "have salt among yourselves, and be at peace with each other" calls for maintaining both personal integrity and communal harmony. The "salt" represents the preserving and purifying influence believers should have, ensuring that their community is marked by peace and righteousness.

Mark powerfully calls us to recognize the significance of our actions, the responsibility we bear towards other faithful people, and the necessity of personal and communal purity. It challenges believers to live intentionally, to display integrity, and a deep commitment to avoiding sin, while fostering a community characterized by peace and mutual support.

Prayers

Family and friends,

Those in need

Those robbed from the fullness of life

The Church

Those who mourn

Personal needs

Lord’s Prayer

Our Father in heaven, hallowed be your name, your kingdom come, your will be done, on earth as in heaven. Give us today our daily bread. Forgive us our sins as we forgive those who sin against us. Save us from the time of trial and deliver us from evil. For the kingdom, the power, and the glory are yours, now and forever. Amen.

Diocesan prayer for regeneration

As the kotuki gently rests upon the tree, come Holy Spirit and rest upon us as we pray for the regeneration of our Diocese. Ever-living God, through your Spirit you constantly renew the whole creation; bring regeneration to your Diocese of Christchurch, grant us courage to grow disciples of Jesus, give us vision to reach young people and their families, and strengthen us to create vibrant communities of faith. All this we ask this in Jesus name. Amen

Wednesday 23 May

Open our lips O Lord, that our mouths may proclaim your praise

Read Mark 9: 38-40

Mark presents an interesting moment in t Jesus’ ministry. He includes themes of inclusion, humility, and the broadness of God's work.

The disciples' initial reaction reflects a natural human tendency toward exclusion. They wanted to control the boundaries of who could act in Jesus' name, likely believing that only their formal group had the authority to do so. This mirrors a broader human inclination (and that of the leaders of the Jewish leaders) to gatekeep religious or spiritual practices. But, Jesus challenges their understanding. His response is a lesson in inclusivity. He recognizes the good being done and the sincerity of the person’s actions, irrespective of their direct association with the disciples. The spirit of Christ's work transcends human-imposed boundaries and hierarchies.

By stating, "whoever is not against us is for us," Jesus emphasizes unity. This principle encourages an ecumenical spirit, urging believers to recognize and support the good work done by others, even outside their immediate community. It promotes a collaborative rather than competitive approach to faith and good works. we are called to be humble and welcoming. It is a call to acknowledge that God can work through people’s diversity and individual means. This humility involves trusting that God’s purpose can manifest beyond our limited understanding or control.

This reading is a lesson in openness and inclusion. It urges believers to support good deeds done in Jesus' name, regardless of the doer's affiliation. It calls for a broader, more inclusive view of spiritual work, fostering unity and humility amongst Jesus’ followers.

Prayers

Family and friends,

Those in need

Those robbed from the fullness of life

The Church

Those who mourn

Personal needs

Lord’s Prayer

Our Father in heaven, hallowed be your name, your kingdom come, your will be done, on earth as in heaven. Give us today our daily bread. Forgive us our sins as we forgive those who sin against us. Save us from the time of trial and deliver us from evil. For the kingdom, the power, and the glory are yours, now and forever. Amen.

Diocesan prayer for regeneration

As the kotuki gently rests upon the tree, come Holy Spirit and rest upon us as we pray for the regeneration of our Diocese. Ever-living God, through your Spirit you constantly renew the whole creation; bring regeneration to your Diocese of Christchurch, grant us courage to grow disciples of Jesus, give us vision to reach young people and their families, and strengthen us to create vibrant communities of faith. All this we ask this in Jesus name. Amen

Tuesday 21 May

Open our lips O Lord, that our mouths may proclaim your praise

Read Mark 9: 30-37

Jesus predicts his death and resurrection to his disciples, yet they don't understand and are afraid to ask for clarification. Instead, they argue about who among them is the greatest. Jesus, in response, teaches them about true greatness through the example of a child.

This passage encourages to reflect upon a number of themes, notably humility, servant leadership, and the nature of greatness in the kingdom of God. Jesus challenges the disciples' preconceived notions of greatness, which were likely influenced by societal norms of power and status. Instead, he emphasizes the value of humility and service. True greatness, according to Jesus, is found in serving others rather than seeking positions of authority or recognition.

I always think about a moment in that horrific movie, “Shindlers List” when Goeth, the Camp Commander askes Schlindler what true power is. Although Schindler tells a story, the essence of his answer is that power is the ability to show humility for no other reason than having the power so to do.

The disciples' reluctance to engage with Jesus' prediction of his own suffering and death reflects a common human tendency to avoid difficult truths or conversations. It's easier to focus on our own desires and ambitions than to confront the reality of sacrifice and selflessness. Yet, Jesus models a different way—a way of embracing suffering for the sake of others.

Furthermore, Jesus uses the example of a child to illustrate his point about greatness. Children in that society were marginalized and considered insignificant, yet Jesus elevates them as models of humility and trust. In welcoming a child, Jesus highlights the importance of receiving others with openness and love, regardless of their social status or perceived importance.

This passage challenges us to examine our own attitudes towards greatness and leadership. Are we seeking recognition and power, or are we willing to humble ourselves and serve others? Do we prioritize our own ambitions, or are we willing to embrace s

acrifice for the sake of those in need? (As Schindler’s answer begs Goeth to consider)

Mark calls us to reevaluate our understanding of greatness in light of Jesus' teachings. True greatness is found not in worldly success or status, but in humble service and love for others. It's a reminder that the values of God's kingdom often stand in stark contrast to the values of the world.

Prayers

Family and friends,

Those in need

Those robbed from the fullness of life

The Church

Those who mourn

Personal needs

Lord’s Prayer

Our Father in heaven, hallowed be your name, your kingdom come, your will be done, on earth as in heaven. Give us today our daily bread. Forgive us our sins as we forgive those who sin against us. Save us from the time of trial and deliver us from evil. For the kingdom, the power, and the glory are yours, now and forever. Amen.

Diocesan prayer for regeneration

As the kotuki gently rests upon the tree, come Holy Spirit and rest upon us as we pray for the regeneration of our Diocese. Ever-living God, through your Spirit you constantly renew the whole creation; bring regeneration to your Diocese of Christchurch, grant us courage to grow disciples of Jesus, give us vision to reach young people and their families, and strengthen us to create vibrant communities of faith. All this we ask this in Jesus name. Amen

Monday 20 May

Open our lips O Lord, that our mouths may proclaim your praise

Read Mark 9: 14-29

Mark recounts the story of a father who brings his possessed son to Jesus seeking healing. The disciples had tried to cast out the demon but failed. Jesus, upon seeing the commotion and the distress of the father, expresses his disappointment at the lack of faith among his followers. He then proceeds to heal the boy, emphasizing the power of faith.

Faith, doubt, and the power of God to overcome seemingly insurmountable challenges is one of the things I find so engaging about Jesus. The father's desperation and cry for help resonates with anyone who has felt helpless in the face of adversity. His plea, "I do believe; help me overcome my unbelief!" encapsulates the tension between faith and doubt that many of us experience, no matter the depth of ones understanding of God.

Jesus' response highlights the importance of faith in experiencing God's transformative power. He doesn't rebuke the father for his doubt but instead acknowledges it and invites him to trust more fully. This interaction reveals the compassionate nature of Jesus, who meets us in our moments of doubt and strengthens our faith.

Moreover, the disciples' inability to cast out the demon despite their previous successes raises questions about the nature of faith and the need for spiritual maturity. It serves as a reminder that faith is not static but an ongoing journey marked by growth and challenges. Like the disciples, we may encounter situations that test our faith and reveal areas where we need to deepen our trust in God.

How good is your faith in the face of adversity? How do we confront our doubts honestly? Struggles and uncertainties often are brought to peace in the presence of Jesus especially in times of prayer. Knowing that Jesus is always ready to meet us with compassion and to strengthen our faith is a great healer! It reminds us that even when our faith feels weak, God's power is always available to overcome the obstacles we face.

Prayers

Family and friends,

Those in need

Those robbed from the fullness of life

The Church

Those who mourn

Personal needs

Lord’s Prayer

Our Father in heaven, hallowed be your name, your kingdom come, your will be done, on earth as in heaven. Give us today our daily bread. Forgive us our sins as we forgive those who sin against us. Save us from the time of trial and deliver us from evil. For the kingdom, the power, and the glory are yours, now and forever. Amen.

Diocesan prayer for regeneration

As the kotuki gently rests upon the tree, come Holy Spirit and rest upon us as we pray for the regeneration of our Diocese. Ever-living God, through your Spirit you constantly renew the whole creation; bring regeneration to your Diocese of Christchurch, grant us courage to grow disciples of Jesus, give us vision to reach young people and their families, and strengthen us to create vibrant communities of faith. All this we ask this in Jesus name. Amen

Friday 17 May

Open our lips O Lord, that our mouths may proclaim your praise

Read John 21: 15-19

We witness a significant exchange between Jesus and Peter, taking place after Jesus' resurrection. Jesus, in reality is restoring Peter after his denial.

Jesus asks Peter three times, "Do you love me?" This repetition parallels Peter's three denials of Jesus during his trial. Each time Peter responds affirmatively, reaffirming his love for Jesus. Through this dialogue, Jesus not only forgives Peter but also reinstates him into his role as a leader among the disciples.

The depth of Jesus' love and forgiveness is evident in his gentle yet probing questions to Peter. Rather than condemning Peter for his past failures, Jesus offers him the opportunity for redemption and restoration. This interaction demonstrates Jesus' unconditional love and his desire to reconcile with those who have strayed.

Moreover, Jesus' instructions to Peter—"Feed my lambs," "Take care of my sheep," "Feed my sheep"—highlight the importance of service and leadership within the community of believers. By entrusting Peter with the responsibility to shepherd his followers, Jesus affirms Peter's role as a key figure in spreading the Gospel and nurturing the early Christian community.

This passage also foreshadows Peter's future martyrdom, as Jesus predicts that Peter will one day follow him to the point of death. Despite this grim prophecy, Jesus assures Peter of his presence and support, promising that he will not be alone in his journey. (Peter is recorded as being crucified upside down so as not to assume the same state of Jesus in his crucifixion.)

This is a powerful demonstration of the transformative power of God's love and forgiveness. It challenges us to examine our own hearts and relationships with Jesus, prompting us to reflect on our capacity to love and serve others. Like Peter, we may have moments of doubt or failure, but Jesus stands ready to forgive, restore, and commission us for service in his kingdom.

Prayers

Family and friends,

Those in need

Those robbed from the fullness of life

The Church

Those who mourn

Personal needs

Lord’s Prayer

Our Father in heaven, hallowed be your name, your kingdom come, your will be done, on earth as in heaven. Give us today our daily bread. Forgive us our sins as we forgive those who sin against us. Save us from the time of trial and deliver us from evil. For the kingdom, the power, and the glory are yours, now and forever. Amen.

Diocesan prayer for regeneration

As the kotuki gently rests upon the tree, come Holy Spirit and rest upon us as we pray for the regeneration of our Diocese. Ever-living God, through your Spirit you constantly renew the whole creation; bring regeneration to your Diocese of Christchurch, grant us courage to grow disciples of Jesus, give us vision to reach young people and their families, and strengthen us to create vibrant communities of faith. All this we ask this in Jesus name. Amen

Thursday 16 May,

Open our lips O Lord, that our mouths may proclaim your praise

Read John 17: 20-26

Jesus' prays a heartfelt prayer for unity among his followers, expressing his desire that they may be one, just as he and the Father are one. This passage occurs during the Farewell Discourse, as Jesus prepares to depart from his disciples. Jesus offers insight into the nature of Christian unity and its significance for the world.

Jesus' prayer emphasizes the interconnectedness of believers across time and space. He not only prays for the unity of his immediate disciples but also for all who would come to believe in him through their message. This expansive vision of unity underscores the universal scope of the Christian faith, transcending cultural, geographical, and generational boundaries.

Central to Jesus' prayer is the idea that unity among believers is a powerful testimony to the world. Unity, in the world will recognize the reality of the mission of Jesus and the love of the God. This highlights the transformative potential of Christian unity in bearing witness to the reconciling and unifying work of God.

Jesus speaks of the intimate relation between himself and us, expressing his desire that we may experience the fullness of his joy and glory. This union is grounded in love, as Jesus declares that the Father's love for him may be in his followers, and his own love may be in them. Thus, Christian unity is not merely organizational or doctrinal but deeply relational, rooted in the love of God revealed in Jesus Christ.

However, Jesus acknowledges the challenges that believers will face in maintaining this unity amidst a world marked by division and strife. He prays for our protection from evil and for their sanctification in the truth, recognizing the ongoing need for God's grace and guidance in their journey of faith.

Let us them consider the profound significance of Christian unity as a testimony to the world and a reflection of the intimate union between Christ and his followers. It challenges us to pursue unity with fervent love and to embody the reconciling work of God in our relationships and communities.

Prayers

Family and friends,

Those in need

Those robbed from the fullness of life

The Church

Those who mourn

Personal needs

Lord’s Prayer

Our Father in heaven, hallowed be your name, your kingdom come, your will be done, on earth as in heaven. Give us today our daily bread. Forgive us our sins as we forgive those who sin against us. Save us from the time of trial and deliver us from evil. For the kingdom, the power, and the glory are yours, now and forever. Amen.

Diocesan prayer for regeneration

As the kotuki gently rests upon the tree, come Holy Spirit and rest upon us as we pray for the regeneration of our Diocese. Ever-living God, through your Spirit you constantly renew the whole creation; bring regeneration to your Diocese of Christchurch, grant us courage to grow disciples of Jesus, give us vision to reach young people and their families, and strengthen us to create vibrant communities of faith. All this we ask this in Jesus name. Amen

Wednesday 15 May

Open our lips O Lord, that our mouths may proclaim your praise

Read John 17: 11-19

Jesus offers a prayer to the Father on behalf of his disciples, just before his crucifixion. This prayer offers us the ability to reflect upon the relationship between Jesus, his followers (us), and the world.

Jesus begins by praying for the protection of his disciples, recognizing the certain challenges they will face as they continue his mission in the world. He asks the Father to keep them safe from evil and to sanctify them in the truth. Spiritual warfare and the ongoing need for divine protection and guidance for those who follow Jesus is an ever present threat to us.

But Jesus also expresses his desire for unity amongst his disciples, just as he and the Father are one. This unity is not merely organizational or superficial but is found in the deep bond of love and mutual indwelling between Jesus and his us. It reflects the intimate relationship that we are invited to share with one another and with God.

At the same time, Jesus acknowledges the tension between his disciples and the world. He distinguishes them as being "in the world" but not "of the world," indicating their call to live counter-culturally and bear witness to the values of the kingdom of God amidst the values of the world. This tension underscores the radical nature of discipleship and the transformative impact that followers of Jesus are called to have on the world around them. And like the Disciples, we can be challenged in this regard as well.

Furthermore, Jesus commissions his disciples to continue his mission of bearing witness to the truth. He sends them into the world just as the Father sent him, empowering them with the truth of the Gospel to bring about the redemption and transformation of humanity.

This reading causes us to consider the interrelationship between Jesus, us, and the world. It reminds us of the importance of divine protection, unity in love, and faithful witness as we navigate the challenges of living as followers of Jesus in a world that often opposes his message.

Prayers

Family and friends,

Those in need

Those robbed from the fullness of life

The Church

Those who mourn

Personal needs

Lord’s Prayer

Our Father in heaven, hallowed be your name, your kingdom come, your will be done, on earth as in heaven. Give us today our daily bread. Forgive us our sins as we forgive those who sin against us. Save us from the time of trial and deliver us from evil. For the kingdom, the power, and the glory are yours, now and forever. Amen.

Diocesan prayer for regeneration

As the kotuki gently rests upon the tree, come Holy Spirit and rest upon us as we pray for the regeneration of our Diocese. Ever-living God, through your Spirit you constantly renew the whole creation; bring regeneration to your Diocese of Christchurch, grant us courage to grow disciples of Jesus, give us vision to reach young people and their families, and strengthen us to create vibrant communities of faith. All this we ask this in Jesus name. Amen

Tuesday 14 May

Open our lips O Lord, that our mouths may proclaim your praise

Read John 15: 9-17

Jesus addresses the Pharisees and scribes who criticized his disciples for not following certain traditions of the elders. He points out their hypocrisy, quoting Isaiah to illustrate that they honor God with their lips but their hearts are far from Him. Jesus emphasizes that true defilement comes from within, from evil thoughts, words, and actions, rather than from external practices like eating with unwashed hands.

In reality, Jesus is challenging us to examine the sincerity of our faith. It's easy to focus on outward appearances or religious rituals while neglecting the condition of our hearts. Jesus emphasizes the importance of inner purity, highlighting that what truly matters is our relationship with God and the state of our character.

The Pharisees were a pretty legalistic group and their approach to religion often prioritized rules over genuine spiritual transformation and growth. Jesus warns against this mindset, reminding us that true righteousness stems from a heart aligned with God's will. He encourages us to cultivate a genuine love for God and others, which naturally produces righteous actions.

Jesus' teaching underscores the inclusive nature of His message. He rejects the idea that certain external practices determine one's righteousness or worthiness before God. Instead, He welcomes all who earnestly seek Him, regardless of their background or adherence to religious traditions. Ours is a faith of the heart, not the head (as you will have heard me often say).

Christians are called to emulate Jesus’ example by prioritizing inner transformation and genuine love. We should guard against the temptation to become complacent in our faith or to judge others based on superficial criteria. Instead, let us continually examine our hearts, seeking to align our thoughts and actions with God's will. Perhaps we should even question our own qualifications to judge at all.

Religion that is devoid of genuine faith and love is empty and meaningless. True worship is not confined to external rituals but flows from a heart surrendered to God. May we, like Jesus, prioritize inner purity and strive to live out our faith with sincerity and love.

Prayers

Family and friends,

Those in need

Those robbed from the fullness of life

The Church

Those who mourn

Personal needs

Lord’s Prayer

Our Father in heaven, hallowed be your name, your kingdom come, your will be done, on earth as in heaven. Give us today our daily bread. Forgive us our sins as we forgive those who sin against us. Save us from the time of trial and deliver us from evil. For the kingdom, the power, and the glory are yours, now and forever. Amen.

Diocesan prayer for regeneration

As the kotuki gently rests upon the tree, come Holy Spirit and rest upon us as we pray for the regeneration of our Diocese. Ever-living God, through your Spirit you constantly renew the whole creation; bring regeneration to your Diocese of Christchurch, grant us courage to grow disciples of Jesus, give us vision to reach young people and their families, and strengthen us to create vibrant communities of faith. All this we ask this in Jesus name. Amen

Monday 13 May

Open our lips O Lord, that our mouths may proclaim your praise

Read John 16: 29-33

Jesus consoles his disciples, acknowledging their proclamation of belief in Him and reassuring them of His victory over the world. The passage captures a moment of both human doubt and divine assurance, as the disciples grapple with the impending challenges they will face following Jesus' departure.

The disciples' declaration of belief reflects a common theme throughout the Gospels: their fluctuating faith. Despite witnessing Jesus' miracles and teachings, they still wrestle with doubt and uncertainty. Jesus acknowledges their faith but also acknowledges the trials they will encounter. He doesn't promise a life free of trouble, but He assures them of His presence and victory over the world's tribulations. (Isn’t this a common theme of the teaching of the Church?)

This passage resonates deeply with the human experience of navigating faith amidst adversity. Like the disciples, we may find ourselves oscillating between moments of profound belief and moments of doubt, especially in the face of life's trials and uncertainties. Yet, Jesus' words offer comfort and encouragement, reminding us that our faith is not rooted in our circumstances but in His unchanging character and promises. Yet how challenging is this for us to comprehend?

Moreover, Jesus' assurance of victory over the world provides hope and perspective in times of difficulty. He encourages us to take heart, knowing that He has overcome the world and that His presence empowers us to persevere through whatever challenges we may face.

In our world today, people look for instant gratification. Sadly for Jesus, people today don’t want to play the “long game”. If it cant be provided immediatoey, it must be wrong or beyond reproach.

John challenges us to examine the foundation of our faith. Do we place our trust in Jesus, even when circumstances seem bleak? Do we allow His words to shape our perspective and give us hope in the midst of trial? Like the disciples, we are called to cling to Jesus as our source of strength and assurance, knowing that His victory is ultimately ours as well.

We must continually reflect upon the dynamic nature of faith and the reassurance we find in Jesus' promises. May we, like the disciples, anchor our faith in Jesus and take heart, knowing that He has overcome the world.

Prayers

Family and friends,

Those in need

Those robbed from the fullness of life

The Church

Those who mourn

Personal needs

Lord’s Prayer

Our Father in heaven, hallowed be your name, your kingdom come, your will be done, on earth as in heaven. Give us today our daily bread. Forgive us our sins as we forgive those who sin against us. Save us from the time of trial and deliver us from evil. For the kingdom, the power, and the glory are yours, now and forever. Amen.

Diocesan prayer for regeneration

As the kotuki gently rests upon the tree, come Holy Spirit and rest upon us as we pray for the regeneration of our Diocese. Ever-living God, through your Spirit you constantly renew the whole creation; bring regeneration to your Diocese of Christchurch, grant us courage to grow disciples of Jesus, give us vision to reach young people and their families, and strengthen us to create vibrant communities of faith. All this we ask this in Jesus name. Amen

Friday 10 May

Open our lips O Lord, that our mouths may proclaim your praise

Read John 16: 20-23

Jesus speaks to his disciples about the impending sorrow they will experience at His departure but also the joy that will follow. He uses the analogy of a woman in labor, illustrating how the disciples' present pain will ultimately give birth to a deeper and more profound joy when they see Him again. Jesus is encouraging them to “play the long game”, if you will.

This passage encapsulates the paradoxical nature of the Christian journey. It acknowledges the reality of suffering and hardship but also emphasizes the promise of joy that comes through Christ. Like a woman in labor, the disciples will endure pain and anguish, but their sorrow will be transformed into joy upon being reunited with their Lord.

Jesus offers significant insight into the human experience of suffering and redemption. He doesn't dismiss or minimize the disciples' pain but instead assures them that it serves a purpose in the grander narrative of God's plan for salvation. In the same way, our own trials and tribulations are not meaningless but are part of God's redemptive work in our lives. Sometimes, this is hard for even the most ardent follower of Jesus to comprehend.

Furthermore, Jesus introduces the concept of prayer as a means of accessing this joy. He encourages His disciples to ask the Father in His name, promising that their requests will be granted. This highlights the intimate relationship between prayer and experiencing the fullness of joy in Christ. Through prayer, we can express our deepest needs and desires, trusting that God will meet us in our pain and ultimately bring about restoration and joy. But once again, in seeking answers to our prayers, we must caution not to question the mind and the will of God in our lives. God provides what we need, not what we want so often it is hard to determine the actual sense of Gods plan for us and our lives.

John challenges us to embrace the tension between suffering and joy in our lives. It invites us to entrust our sorrows and struggles to God, knowing that He is faithful to bring about beauty from ashes. Moreover, it reminds us of the transformative power of prayer in accessing the joy that comes from abiding in Christ.

Jesus understands the human experience of suffering and joy and underscores the importance of prayer in accessing the fullness of joy found in Christ. May we, like the disciples, find hope and comfort in the promise that our present sufferings will ultimately give way to eternal joy in Him.

Prayers

Family and friends,

Those in need

Those robbed from the fullness of life

The Church

Those who mourn

Personal needs

Lord’s Prayer

Our Father in heaven, hallowed be your name, your kingdom come, your will be done, on earth as in heaven. Give us today our daily bread. Forgive us our sins as we forgive those who sin against us. Save us from the time of trial and deliver us from evil. For the kingdom, the power, and the glory are yours, now and forever. Amen.

Diocesan prayer for regeneration

As the kotuki gently rests upon the tree, come Holy Spirit and rest upon us as we pray for the regeneration of our Diocese. Ever-living God, through your Spirit you constantly renew the whole creation; bring regeneration to your Diocese of Christchurch, grant us courage to grow disciples of Jesus, give us vision to reach young people and their families, and strengthen us to create vibrant communities of faith. All this we ask this in Jesus name. Amen

Thursday 9 May, Ascension Day

Open our lips O Lord, that our mouths may proclaim your praise

Read Luke 24: 44-53

Luke recounts the poignant moment of Jesus' ascension, where He departs from His disciples and returns to God’s side in heaven. In this passage, Jesus reiterates the fulfillment of Old Testament prophecies concerning His suffering, death, and resurrection. He also commissions His disciples to be witnesses of these events and to proclaim repentance and forgiveness of sins to all nations.

The ascension of Jesus marks the culmination of His earthly ministry and the beginning of a new phase in God's redemptive plan. It symbolizes His “coronation” and reign as King of kings and Lord of lords, seated at the right hand of the Father. However, it also represents His continued presence with His followers through the indwelling of the Holy Spirit.

For the disciples, the ascension was undoubtedly a moment of mixed emotions. On one hand, they were filled with awe and wonder at witnessing Jesus' glorification and departure. On the other hand, they probably felt a sense of loss and uncertainty about their future without His physical presence. Yet, Jesus assures them of His ongoing presence and promises to send a helper (the Holy Spirit) to empower them for their mission.

The ascension serves as a reminder for believers today of Jesus' sovereignty and authority over all things. It assures us that He is not confined to a specific time or place but is present with us always, guiding, comforting, and empowering us through the Holy Spirit. It also challenges us to continue the work that Jesus began, proclaiming the gospel message and making disciples of all nations.

Moreover, the ascension instills hope in our heart, reminding us that just as Jesus ascended into heaven, so too will He return one day to establish His kingdom in its fullness. It encourages us to eagerly await His second coming while faithfully serving Him in the present.

Let us take time then to reflect upon the significance of Jesus' ascension and its implications for our lives as His people. May we find assurance in His ongoing presence and empowerment through the Holy Spirit, and may we faithfully proclaim His gospel until the day of His glorious return, whenever that may be. Let us not live our lives waiting for Jesus’ return, but live as an example of the kind of people that Jesus might have us be.

Prayers

Family and friends,

Those in need

Those robbed from the fullness of life

The Church

Those who mourn

Personal needs

Lord’s Prayer

Our Father in heaven, hallowed be your name, your kingdom come, your will be done, on earth as in heaven. Give us today our daily bread. Forgive us our sins as we forgive those who sin against us. Save us from the time of trial and deliver us from evil. For the kingdom, the power, and the glory are yours, now and forever. Amen.

Diocesan prayer for regeneration

As the kotuki gently rests upon the tree, come Holy Spirit and rest upon us as we pray for the regeneration of our Diocese. Ever-living God, through your Spirit you constantly renew the whole creation; bring regeneration to your Diocese of Christchurch, grant us courage to grow disciples of Jesus, give us vision to reach young people and their families, and strengthen us to create vibrant communities of faith. All this we ask this in Jesus name. Amen

Wednesday 8 May

Open our lips O Lord, that our mouths may proclaim your praise

Read John 16: 12-15

John Jesus speaks to His disciples about the role of the Holy Spirit in guiding them into all truth. He tells them that there are many things He still has to say to them, but they cannot bear them now. Instead, He promises that the Holy Spirit will come and lead them into all truth, speaking not on His own authority but revealing what He hears from the Father and the Son.

This passage provides insight and revelation into the ongoing work of the Holy Spirit in the lives of believers. It highlights the progressive nature of God's revelation, emphasizing that there are depths of truth that surpass our current understanding. Jesus acknowledges the limitations of His disciples' comprehension at that moment but assures them that the Holy Spirit will continue to illuminate the truth to them.

Jesus emphasizes the unity within the Godhead—Father, Son, and Holy Spirit—(the Holy Trinity) underscoring that the Holy Spirit's guidance is in perfect alignment with the will of the Father and the teachings of the Son. This assures believers that the truth revealed by the Holy Spirit is trustworthy and reliable, serving as a sure foundation for their faith and understanding.

Furthermore, this passage speaks to the ongoing relevance of the Holy Spirit in the life of the Church. Just as the Holy Spirit guided the early disciples into a deeper understanding of truth, so too does He continue to guide and empower believers today. Through the Holy Spirit, believers have access to God’s wisdom and insight, enabling them to navigate the complexities of life and faith with confidence.

As Christians, we must rely on the guidance of the Holy Spirit in our quest for spiritual truth and understanding. It reminds us that spiritual growth is a lifelong journey marked by ongoing revelation and illumination. May we, like the disciples, be open to the leading of the Holy Spirit, trusting in His guidance as we seek to know and live out the truth revealed in Jesus Christ.

Prayers

Family and friends,

Those in need

Those robbed from the fullness of life

The Church

Those who mourn

Personal needs

Lord’s Prayer

Our Father in heaven, hallowed be your name, your kingdom come, your will be done, on earth as in heaven. Give us today our daily bread. Forgive us our sins as we forgive those who sin against us. Save us from the time of trial and deliver us from evil. For the kingdom, the power, and the glory are yours, now and forever. Amen.

Diocesan prayer for regeneration

As the kotuki gently rests upon the tree, come Holy Spirit and rest upon us as we pray for the regeneration of our Diocese. Ever-living God, through your Spirit you constantly renew the whole creation; bring regeneration to your Diocese of Christchurch, grant us courage to grow disciples of Jesus, give us vision to reach young people and their families, and strengthen us to create vibrant communities of faith. All this we ask this in Jesus name. Amen

Tuesday 7 May

Open our lips O Lord, that our mouths may proclaim your praise

Read John 16: 5-11

Jesus is preparing his disciples for his impending departure and the arrival of the Holy Spirit. He uses metaphors and imagery to explain the transformative role of the Spirit in their lives.

Jesus starts by acknowledging the disciples' sorrow at his leaving but assures them that his departure is necessary for the coming of the Holy Spirit. This Advocate will guide them into all truth and empower them to bear witness to Jesus' teachings.

The passage highlights the Spirit's convicting role in the world. It convicts the world of sin, righteousness, and judgment. Sin is exposed in the rejection of Jesus as the Son of God and the refusal to believe in him. Righteousness is revealed in Jesus' vindication through his resurrection and ascension to the Father. Judgment is pronounced on the ruler of sin in the world (Devil), whose power is ultimately defeated through Christ's victory.

The Spirit's work of conviction serves to bring about repentance and faith in Jesus. It illuminates the truth of God's righteousness and exposes the deception of sin, leading people to recognize their need for salvation.

Furthermore, Jesus emphasizes that the Spirit's presence will be a source of comfort and empowerment for his disciples amidst persecution and opposition. They will be strengthened to endure trials and to boldly proclaim the gospel, knowing that the Spirit is with them.

This passage once again reveals the relationship between God, Jesus, and the Holy Spirit in the divine plan of redemption. The Spirit continues the work of Jesus on earth, glorifying him and enabling believers to live out their faith in a hostile world.

We are called to embrace the transformative power of the Holy Spirit in our lives. We are called to recognize and respond to the Spirit's conviction, allowing it to lead us into deeper understanding of God's truth and empowering us to bear witness to Jesus in both word and deed. As we respond to the Spirit's guidance, we experience the joy of participating in God's redemptive work in the world.

Prayers

Family and friends,

Those in need

Those robbed from the fullness of life

The Church

Those who mourn

Personal needs

Lord’s Prayer

Our Father in heaven, hallowed be your name, your kingdom come, your will be done, on earth as in heaven. Give us today our daily bread. Forgive us our sins as we forgive those who sin against us. Save us from the time of trial and deliver us from evil. For the kingdom, the power, and the glory are yours, now and forever. Amen.

Diocesan prayer for regeneration

As the kotuki gently rests upon the tree, come Holy Spirit and rest upon us as we pray for the regeneration of our Diocese. Ever-living God, through your Spirit you constantly renew the whole creation; bring regeneration to your Diocese of Christchurch, grant us courage to grow disciples of Jesus, give us vision to reach young people and their families, and strengthen us to create vibrant communities of faith. All this we ask this in Jesus name. Amen

Monday 6 May, Feast of St John the Evangelist

Open our lips O Lord, that our mouths may proclaim your praise

Read John 21: 20-25

We witness a significant moment between Jesus and Peter following the resurrection. This passage captures the reality of Peter's journey of faith and his role in the early Christian community.

Peter, curious about the fate of another disciple, John, turns to Jesus and asks, "Lord, what about him?" Jesus' response redirects Peter's focus from comparison to commitment. He essentially tells Peter not to worry about what others are called to do but to follow him faithfully.

Why do we compare ourselves to others, especially in matters of faith and service? Jesus' words remind us that our journey with him is deeply personal and that our primary concern should be our own obedience and devotion to him.

The passage also accentuates the unique calling and mission that each believer has in Christ's kingdom. Just as Peter was called to "feed my lambs" and "take care of my sheep," each of us has been entrusted with specific responsibilities and gifts to serve God and others.

Moreover, Jesus' prediction of Peter's future martyrdom highlights the cost of discipleship. Following Jesus often entails sacrifice and suffering, yet it is ultimately a path of profound fulfillment and purpose.

John, the author of the Gospel, concludes by affirming the authenticity of his testimony and the incompleteness of the written record of Jesus' life and teachings. He acknowledges that the world could not contain all the books that could be written about Jesus—a testament to the inexhaustible depth of Christ's significance and impact.

We are continually invited to examine our own hearts and motivations in following Jesus. We are challenged to resist the temptation of comparison and instead focus on wholeheartedly following Christ, embracing our unique calling and trusting in his sovereignty over our lives. As we do so, we participate in the ongoing story of God's redemptive work in the world, bearing witness to the transformative power of his love and grace

Prayers

Family and friends,

Those in need

Those robbed from the fullness of life

The Church

Those who mourn

Personal needs

Lord’s Prayer

Our Father in heaven, hallowed be your name, your kingdom come, your will be done, on earth as in heaven. Give us today our daily bread. Forgive us our sins as we forgive those who sin against us. Save us from the time of trial and deliver us from evil. For the kingdom, the power, and the glory are yours, now and forever. Amen.

Diocesan prayer for regeneration

As the kotuki gently rests upon the tree, come Holy Spirit and rest upon us as we pray for the regeneration of our Diocese. Ever-living God, through your Spirit you constantly renew the whole creation; bring regeneration to your Diocese of Christchurch, grant us courage to grow disciples of Jesus, give us vision to reach young people and their families, and strengthen us to create vibrant communities of faith. All this we ask this in Jesus name. Amen

Friday 3 May

Open our lips O Lord, that our mouths may proclaim your praise

Read John 15: 12-17

In today’s reading we are introduced to Jesus' life-changing teachings on love, relationship, and discipleship. Today, Jesus addresses his disciples, laying out the essence of true love and its implications for their lives and mission.

Jesus starts by issuing a command: "Love each other as I have loved you." This requirement goes beyond mere affection or sentimentality; it's a radical call to selfless, sacrificial love modeled after Jesus' own love for us. It's a love that seeks the well-being and flourishing of others above oneself, even to the point of laying down one's life, as Jesus himself would soon demonstrate on the cross.

The foundation of this love is the relationship between Jesus and his disciples. They are not mere acquaintances but friends—friends who share in Jesus' mission and know the depth of his love for them, even though they often get things wrong (Which for us provides reassurance and hope, that Jesus will never leave or forget us). This intimate bond is the basis for their love for one another and for the world.

Crucially, Jesus frames this command within the context of his larger mission and relationship with God He reminds his disciples that they did not choose him but that he chose them and appointed them to bear fruit that will last. Their love for one another is not just a moral requirement but an outworking of their identity as branches connected to the true vine, Jesus Christ.

Moreover, Jesus promises to empower his disciples for this task through the gift of the Holy Spirit. The Spirit will guide them in truth, reminding them of Jesus' teachings and enabling them to bear witness to him effectively.

Prayers

Family and friends,

Those in need

Those robbed from the fullness of life

The Church

Those who mourn

Personal needs

Lord’s Prayer

Our Father in heaven, hallowed be your name, your kingdom come, your will be done, on earth as in heaven. Give us today our daily bread. Forgive us our sins as we forgive those who sin against us. Save us from the time of trial and deliver us from evil. For the kingdom, the power, and the glory are yours, now and forever. Amen.

Diocesan prayer for regeneration

As the kotuki gently rests upon the tree, come Holy Spirit and rest upon us as we pray for the regeneration of our Diocese. Ever-living God, through your Spirit you constantly renew the whole creation; bring regeneration to your Diocese of Christchurch, grant us courage to grow disciples of Jesus, give us vision to reach young people and their families, and strengthen us to create vibrant communities of faith. All this we ask this in Jesus name. Amen

Thursday 2 May

Open our lips O Lord, that our mouths may proclaim your praise

Read John 15: 9-11

Jesus imparts a profound message of joy and intimacy to his disciples. He begins by emphasizing the depth and quality of love they are to experience: "As the Father has loved me, so have I loved you." This statement highlights the divine origin and nature of the love that Jesus offers—a love that mirrors the boundless and unconditional love between the Father and the Son.

Jesus then sets forth a condition for remaining in this love: obedience. He instructs his disciples to abide in his love by keeping his commandments, echoing the earlier theme of intimate relationship and unity with him. This obedience isn't burdensome but rather a natural outflow of love and devotion to the one who first loved them.

Central to Jesus' message is the promise of joy: "I have told you this so that my joy may be in you and that your joy may be complete." Jesus desires his disciples to experience the fullness of joy that comes from abiding in his love and walking in obedience to his teachings. This joy isn't dependent on external circumstances but is rooted in the unshakeable foundation of God's love and presence.

Furthermore, Jesus contrasts this divine joy with the fleeting happiness that the world offers. While the world's happiness is temporary and often dependent on external factors, the joy that Jesus gives is enduring and deeply satisfying. It transcends earthly circumstances and is sustained by the abiding presence of Christ in the life of the believer.

John encourages us to cultivate a deep and abiding relationship with Jesus, marked by love, obedience, and joy. It reminds us that true joy is found not in the pursuit of worldly pleasures but in the intimate communion with our Savior. As we abide in his love and walk in obedience to his word, we experience the fullness of joy that he promises—a joy that surpasses understanding and sustains us through every season of life.

Prayers

Family and friends,

Those in need

Those robbed from the fullness of life

The Church

Those who mourn

Personal needs

Lord’s Prayer

Our Father in heaven, hallowed be your name, your kingdom come, your will be done, on earth as in heaven. Give us today our daily bread. Forgive us our sins as we forgive those who sin against us. Save us from the time of trial and deliver us from evil. For the kingdom, the power, and the glory are yours, now and forever. Amen.

Diocesan prayer for regeneration

As the kotuki gently rests upon the tree, come Holy Spirit and rest upon us as we pray for the regeneration of our Diocese. Ever-living God, through your Spirit you constantly renew the whole creation; bring regeneration to your Diocese of Christchurch, grant us courage to grow disciples of Jesus, give us vision to reach young people and their families, and strengthen us to create vibrant communities of faith. All this we ask this in Jesus name. Amen

Wednesday 1 May, Feast of St Philip and St James

Open our lips O Lord, that our mouths may proclaim your praise

Read John 14: 6-14

Jesus makes a profound declaration about his identity, his relationship with the Father, and the nature of salvation. He begins by proclaiming, "I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me." This statement encapsulates the exclusivity of Jesus as the sole mediator between humanity and God. He is not merely a guide or a teacher but the very embodiment of truth and the source of eternal life.

Jesus' assertion challenges the relativistic notions of truth prevalent in the world. He presents himself as the ultimate reality, the one who reveals God and leads humanity into communion with him. To know Jesus is to know the truth, and to follow him is to experience abundant and eternal life.

But more than that; Jesus promises his disciples that through him, they can access the Father. He assures them that anyone who has seen him has seen the Father, emphasizing the intimate relationship between himself and God. Jesus is the perfect representation of the Father's character and will, and through faith in him, believers can approach God with confidence and assurance.

The passage also highlights the power of prayer in our lives. Jesus encourages his disciples to ask anything in his name, promising that he will do whatever they ask in accordance with the Father's will. This isn't a blank cheque for selfish desires but an invitation to align their prayers with God's purposes and to participate in his kingdom work. But we must remember in what we ask, Jesus provides what ultimately is best for us, not always what we want. Part of submitting to Jesus is understanding that Jesus will never leave us and although sometimes difficult to appreciate, His plan for us is ultimately more than we can ever understand.

John challenges us to add-up the exclusive claims of Jesus and to respond with faith and obedience. He calls us to embrace Jesus as the way, the truth, and the life—to surrender our lives to him and to find our ultimate fulfillment and purpose in relationship with him. As our faith in Jesus matures and we pray in his name, we participate in the transformative work of God's kingdom, bringing glory to God and experiencing the fullness of life in Christ.

Prayers

Family and friends,

Those in need

Those robbed from the fullness of life

The Church

Those who mourn

Personal needs

Lord’s Prayer

Our Father in heaven, hallowed be your name, your kingdom come, your will be done, on earth as in heaven. Give us today our daily bread. Forgive us our sins as we forgive those who sin against us. Save us from the time of trial and deliver us from evil. For the kingdom, the power, and the glory are yours, now and forever. Amen.

Diocesan prayer for regeneration

As the kotuki gently rests upon the tree, come Holy Spirit and rest upon us as we pray for the regeneration of our Diocese. Ever-living God, through your Spirit you constantly renew the whole creation; bring regeneration to your Diocese of Christchurch, grant us courage to grow disciples of Jesus, give us vision to reach young people and their families, and strengthen us to create vibrant communities of faith. All this we ask this in Jesus name. Amen

Tuesday 30 April

Open our lips O Lord, that our mouths may proclaim your praise

Read John 14: 27-31

Jesus offers his disciples a life affecting message of peace amidst impending turmoil. As he prepares them for his departure, he assures them that despite the challenges they will face, they can experience a peace that transcends understanding.

Jesus begins by offering than is divine his peace—a peace that differs from the peace the world offers. Some translations use the word “Shalom” This word has no real English equivalent because it offers more than peace, rather an all-encompassing serenity that can only be found in the relationship between God and us. While the world's peace is often fleeting and dependent on external circumstances, the peace Jesus gives is deep-rooted and enduring. It flows from the assurance of his presence, his victory over sin and death, and his ultimate sovereignty over all things.

Furthermore, Jesus assures his disciples that they need not be troubled or afraid. Though he is departing from them physically, he will send the Holy Spirit to be their Advocate and Comforter. The Spirit will teach them, remind them of Jesus' teachings, and empower them to carry out his mission in the world.

Jesus' words also contain a message of victory over the forces of darkness and evil. He declares that the ruler of this world (the Deil) is coming, but he has no hold over Jesus. Through his impending death and resurrection, Jesus will decisively defeat the powers of sin and evil, securing freedom and redemption for all who believe in him. This is indeed comforting to us!

In response to Jesus' message, the disciples affirm their belief in him. They acknowledge him as the Son of God and commit themselves to obeying his commandments out of love for him.

John reminds us that true peace (or Shalom) is found in Jesus alone. It is a peace that surpasses understanding and sustains us in the midst of life's trials and uncertainties. As we abide in Jesus and trust in his promises, we can experience the peace that he offers—a peace that calms our fears, strengthens our faith, and enables us to face whatever challenges may come our way.

Prayers

Family and friends,

Those in need

Those robbed from the fullness of life

The Church

Those who mourn

Personal needs

Lord’s Prayer

Our Father in heaven, hallowed be your name, your kingdom come, your will be done, on earth as in heaven. Give us today our daily bread. Forgive us our sins as we forgive those who sin against us. Save us from the time of trial and deliver us from evil. For the kingdom, the power, and the glory are yours, now and forever. Amen.

Diocesan prayer for regeneration

As the kotuki gently rests upon the tree, come Holy Spirit and rest upon us as we pray for the regeneration of our Diocese. Ever-living God, through your Spirit you constantly renew the whole creation; bring regeneration to your Diocese of Christchurch, grant us courage to grow disciples of Jesus, give us vision to reach young people and their families, and strengthen us to create vibrant communities of faith. All this we ask this in Jesus name. Amen

Monday 29 April

Open our lips O Lord, that our mouths may proclaim your praise

Read John 14: 21-26

Jesus provides his disciples with profound insights into the intimate relationship between love, obedience, and the presence of God. He begins by emphasizing the inseparable connection between love for him and obedience to his commandments. Jesus makes it clear that those who truly love him will demonstrate it through their obedience, and in turn, both he and the Father will make their home with them.

This idea challenges a common misconception that obedience to God's commandments is burdensome or legalistic. Instead, Jesus presents obedience as a natural outflow of genuine love for him. It's not about following rules for the sake of it but about aligning one's heart with the heart of God and expressing love through faithful obedience.

Jesus then promises the disciples the gift of the Holy Spirit, whom he refers to as the Advocate or Helper. The Spirit will come to dwell within them, teaching them all things and reminding them of Jesus' teachings. This promise highlights the ongoing presence and guidance of God throughout our lives, through the Holy Spirit.

Jesus assures his disciples of his imminent departure but promises them peace in the midst of it. This peace isn't dependent on external circumstances but is bound both through their relationship with him and the presence of the Holy Spirit. It's a peace that surpasses understanding and guards their hearts and minds.

God love transforms us, and our response is obedience; the indwelling presence of the Holy Spirit is our reward. We must examine the sincerity of our love for Jesus and the extent of our obedience to his teachings. We must rely upon the Holy Spirit for guidance, comfort, and empowerment as we seek to live lives that honor and glorify God.

Prayers

Family and friends,

Those in need

Those robbed from the fullness of life

The Church

Those who mourn

Personal needs

Lord’s Prayer

Our Father in heaven, hallowed be your name, your kingdom come, your will be done, on earth as in heaven. Give us today our daily bread. Forgive us our sins as we forgive those who sin against us. Save us from the time of trial and deliver us from evil. For the kingdom, the power, and the glory are yours, now and forever. Amen.

Diocesan prayer for regeneration

As the kotuki gently rests upon the tree, come Holy Spirit and rest upon us as we pray for the regeneration of our Diocese. Ever-living God, through your Spirit you constantly renew the whole creation; bring regeneration to your Diocese of Christchurch, grant us courage to grow disciples of Jesus, give us vision to reach young people and their families, and strengthen us to create vibrant communities of faith. All this we ask this in Jesus name. Amen

Friday 26 April, the Feast of St Mark

Open our lips O Lord, that our mouths may proclaim your praise

Read Mark 13: 9-13

Mark captures Jesus' teachings on the persecution and suffering that his followers would endure for the sake of the gospel. In this passage, Jesus prepares his disciples for the challenges they will face as they proclaim the message of salvation to the world.

Jesus warns his disciples that they will be handed over to local councils, flogged in synagogues, and brought before governors and kings because of their allegiance to him. This prediction foreshadows the intense opposition and persecution that early Christians would encounter as they spread the gospel throughout the Roman Empire.

However, amidst the hardship and suffering, Jesus offers words of encouragement and reassurance. He assures his disciples that when they are arrested and brought to trial, the Holy Spirit will speak through them, providing them with the wisdom and words to testify boldly for the sake of the gospel. This promise underscores the supernatural empowerment that believers receive through the presence of the Holy Spirit, enabling them to stand firm in the face of persecution and bear witness to Christ's saving grace.

Furthermore, Jesus reminds his disciples that their suffering is not in vain. He assures them that those who endure persecution for his sake will be saved. This promise echoes the Beatitudes, where Jesus declares, "Blessed are those who are persecuted because of righteousness, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven" (Matthew 5:10). It reaffirms the eternal reward and inheritance that await those who remain faithful to Jesus, even in the midst of persecution and suffering.

What is the cost of discipleship and the reality of persecution for those who follow Jesus? Simply Jessu reminds us that as believers, we are called to take up our cross and follow Christ, even if it means facing opposition and suffering for his sake. However, it also offers hope and assurance that God's Spirit will empower us to endure and that our suffering is ultimately temporary, leading to eternal glory in the kingdom of God.

Prayers

Family and friends,

Those in need

Those robbed from the fullness of life

The Church

Those who mourn

Personal needs

Lord’s Prayer

Our Father in heaven, hallowed be your name, your kingdom come, your will be done, on earth as in heaven. Give us today our daily bread. Forgive us our sins as we forgive those who sin against us. Save us from the time of trial and deliver us from evil. For the kingdom, the power, and the glory are yours, now and forever. Amen.

Diocesan prayer for regeneration

As the kotuki gently rests upon the tree, come Holy Spirit and rest upon us as we pray for the regeneration of our Diocese. Ever-living God, through your Spirit you constantly renew the whole creation; bring regeneration to your Diocese of Christchurch, grant us courage to grow disciples of Jesus, give us vision to reach young people and their families, and strengthen us to create vibrant communities of faith. All this we ask this in Jesus name. Amen

Thursday 25 April ANZAC Day

Open our lips O Lord, that our mouths may proclaim your praise

On ANZAC Day, we gather as a community, not only to honor the brave souls who sacrificed their lives for our freedom but also to reflect on the profound legacy they have left behind. As we commemorate the ANZAC spirit, we are reminded of the enduring values of courage, mateship, and sacrifice that define our nations.

In the quiet sanctity of this Church of St Mary, we pause to pay homage to those who answered the call of duty, standing shoulder to shoulder with their brothers and sisters in arms. Their selflessness and unwavering resolve continue to inspire us, reminding us of the depth of devotion and the true meaning of service.

In the midst of conflict and hardship, the ANZACs exemplified resilience and unity, demonstrating that even in the darkest of times, the human spirit can prevail. Their legacy serves as a beacon of hope, guiding us through the challenges of our own time and inspiring us to uphold the principles of peace and justice for which they fought so valiantly.

As we honour the ANZAC heroes, let us not forget the families and loved ones left behind, whose sacrifice and steadfast support sustained our soldiers on the battlefield. Theirs is a silent courage, often overlooked but no less profound in its impact on the course of history.

In the echo of bugle calls and the haunting strains of "The Last Post," let us pledge to honor the memory of the fallen by living lives worthy of their sacrifice. Let us strive for a world where conflict is resolved through dialogue and understanding, where the lessons of the past serve as a guide for a brighter future.

May we never forget the ANZAC spirit that resides within each of us, and may it continue to inspire acts of bravery, compassion, and service for generations to come. Lest we forget.

Prayers

Family and friends,

Those in need

Those robbed from the fullness of life

The Church

Those who mourn

Personal needs

Lord’s Prayer

Our Father in heaven, hallowed be your name, your kingdom come, your will be done, on earth as in heaven. Give us today our daily bread. Forgive us our sins as we forgive those who sin against us. Save us from the time of trial and deliver us from evil. For the kingdom, the power, and the glory are yours, now and forever. Amen.

Diocesan prayer for regeneration

As the kotuki gently rests upon the tree, come Holy Spirit and rest upon us as we pray for the regeneration of our Diocese. Ever-living God, through your Spirit you constantly renew the whole creation; bring regeneration to your Diocese of Christchurch, grant us courage to grow disciples of Jesus, give us vision to reach young people and their families, and strengthen us to create vibrant communities of faith. All this we ask this in Jesus name. Amen

Wednesday 24 April

Open our lips O Lord, that our mouths may proclaim your praise

Read John 12: 44-50

Jesus delivers a profound message about his identity, mission, and the nature of his teachings. He begins by declaring his authority, stating that whoever believes in him is not only believing in him but also in the one who sent him. This statement highlights the inseparable connection between Jesus and God the Father, emphasizing Jesus' divine mission and the unity of purpose between them.

Jesus then asserts that he has come as a light into the world so that whoever believes in him may not remain in darkness. This imagery of light and darkness symbolizes the contrast between spiritual enlightenment and ignorance, salvation and condemnation. Jesus presents himself as the source of illumination and salvation, offering hope and redemption to all who place their trust in him.

Moreover, Jesus underscores the significance of his words, stating that he does not speak on his own authority but speaks exactly what the Father has commanded him to say. His teachings are not merely human wisdom but divine revelation, based entirely in the authority and wisdom of God himself. Those who reject his words ultimately reject God's word and face judgment accordingly.

Jesus concludes by affirming that his words are eternal life. They offer the pathway to abundance and everlasting life for all who receive them with faith and obedience. Jesus asserts that those who reject his words will face judgment on the last day, as they have chosen to disregard the light and embrace darkness.

John challenges us to recognize the authority and divinity of Jesus Christ. He calls us to heed his teachings, which lead to eternal life, and to embrace him as the light of the world. As we believe in him and follow his words, we experience the transformational power of his grace and the assurance of salvation. May we continually abide in his word, walking in the light of his truth, and sharing the message of hope and redemption with others.

Prayers

Family and friends,

Those in need

Those robbed from the fullness of life

The Church

Those who mourn

Personal needs

Lord’s Prayer

Our Father in heaven, hallowed be your name, your kingdom come, your will be done, on earth as in heaven. Give us today our daily bread. Forgive us our sins as we forgive those who sin against us. Save us from the time of trial and deliver us from evil. For the kingdom, the power, and the glory are yours, now and forever. Amen.

Diocesan prayer for regeneration

As the kotuki gently rests upon the tree, come Holy Spirit and rest upon us as we pray for the regeneration of our Diocese. Ever-living God, through your Spirit you constantly renew the whole creation; bring regeneration to your Diocese of Christchurch, grant us courage to grow disciples of Jesus, give us vision to reach young people and their families, and strengthen us to create vibrant communities of faith. All this we ask this in Jesus name. Amen

Tuesday 23 April

Open our lips O Lord, that our mouths may proclaim your praise

Read John 10: 1-10

Jesus uses the metaphor of a shepherd and his sheep to convey truths about His relationship with His followers and the nature of salvation. This passage illuminates Jesus as the Good Shepherd who leads, protects, and provides for His flock, contrasting His care with the deceitful and destructive nature of false shepherds.

Jesus begins by describing Himself as the gate for the sheep, emphasizing His role as the exclusive means of access to God and salvation. He declares that anyone who enters through Him will be saved and will find pasture, highlighting the security and abundance that come from being under His care.

Moreover, Jesus distinguishes Himself from the thieves and robbers who seek to exploit and harm the sheep. He warns that these false shepherds come only to steal, kill, and destroy, contrasting their motives with His own selfless devotion to the well-being of His flock.

As the Good Shepherd, Jesus promises abundant life to His followers. He offers not just physical sustenance but also spiritual fulfillment and wholeness. Those who follow Him will experience the richness of life in its fullest measure, marked by intimacy with God, purpose, and eternal significance.

This passage challenges us to examine our allegiances and discern the voices we follow. Are we attentive to the voice of the Good Shepherd, who calls us by name and leads us to safety and abundance? Or do we heed the voices of false shepherds, who offer empty promises and lead us astray?

John invites us to entrust ourselves fully to the care of Jesus, the Good Shepherd. He alone offers true security, provision, and abundant life. May we listen attentively to His voice, follow Him faithfully, and experience the fullness of life that He promises to those who are His own.

Prayers

Family and friends,

Those in need

Those robbed from the fullness of life

The Church

Those who mourn

Personal needs

Lord’s Prayer

Our Father in heaven, hallowed be your name, your kingdom come, your will be done, on earth as in heaven. Give us today our daily bread. Forgive us our sins as we forgive those who sin against us. Save us from the time of trial and deliver us from evil. For the kingdom, the power, and the glory are yours, now and forever. Amen.

Diocesan prayer for regeneration

As the kotuki gently rests upon the tree, come Holy Spirit and rest upon us as we pray for the regeneration of our Diocese. Ever-living God, through your Spirit you constantly renew the whole creation; bring regeneration to your Diocese of Christchurch, grant us courage to grow disciples of Jesus, give us vision to reach young people and their families, and strengthen us to create vibrant communities of faith. All this we ask this in Jesus name. Amen

Monday 22 April

Open our lips O Lord, that our mouths may proclaim your praise

Read John 20: 1-10

John reflects upon the resurrection of Jesus Christ, one of the most pivotal events in Christian theology. This passage invites us to consider the themes of faith, hope, and the transformative power of encountering the risen Christ.

The scene opens with Mary Magdalene visiting Jesus' tomb early in the morning, only to find the stone rolled away from the entrance. Distressed, she runs to inform Peter and another disciple, traditionally identified as John, of the empty tomb. This initial discovery sets the stage for a series of events that will profoundly impact the disciples' understanding of Jesus' resurrection.

Upon hearing Mary's report, Peter and the other disciple rush to the tomb. They find the burial cloths lying there but no sign of Jesus. The disciple who arrived first hesitates at the entrance, but Peter boldly enters the tomb, observing the linen cloths lying there, as well as the cloth that had been wrapped around Jesus' head, neatly folded in a separate place. This detail is significant, suggesting that Jesus' resurrection was not a hurried or chaotic event but rather a deliberate and orderly manifestation of divine power.

The disciples' reactions to the empty tomb vary—ranging from confusion to a burgeoning sense of belief. The text notes that they did not yet understand the scripture that Jesus must rise from the dead, indicating that their comprehension of the resurrection was still in its infancy.

This passage prompts contemplation of the nature of faith and the significance of encountering the risen Christ. Mary Magdalene's initial reaction, characterised by grief and bewilderment, gives way to astonishment and joy when she encounters Jesus outside the tomb. Her transformation from despair to exultation underscores the profound hope that the resurrection brings to believers.

Similarly, the disciples' gradual realisation of Jesus' resurrection challenges us to examine our own response to the resurrected Christ. Do we approach the empty tomb with skepticism or with faith? Are we open to encountering the risen Christ in our lives, allowing his transformative power to shape our understanding of the world?

John calls us to embrace the hope and joy of Easter—the assurance that Christ has conquered death and offers new life to all who believe in him. It challenges us to live in the light of the resurrection, allowing its transformative power to permeate every aspect of our lives.

Prayers

Family and friends,

Those in need

Those robbed from the fullness of life

The Church

Those who mourn

Personal needs

Lord’s Prayer

Our Father in heaven, hallowed be your name, your kingdom come, your will be done, on earth as in heaven. Give us today our daily bread. Forgive us our sins as we forgive those who sin against us. Save us from the time of trial and deliver us from evil. For the kingdom, the power, and the glory are yours, now and forever. Amen.

Diocesan prayer for regeneration

As the kotuki gently rests upon the tree, come Holy Spirit and rest upon us as we pray for the regeneration of our Diocese. Ever-living God, through your Spirit you constantly renew the whole creation; bring regeneration to your Diocese of Christchurch, grant us courage to grow disciples of Jesus, give us vision to reach young people and their families, and strengthen us to create vibrant communities of faith. All this we ask this in Jesus name. Amen

Friday 19 April

Open our lips O Lord, that our mouths may proclaim your praise

Read John 6: 52-59

Jesus engages in a discourse with a crowd of people who are struggling to understand His teaching about the bread of life. This passage delves into the profound mystery of Jesus as the living bread that provides eternal life and the necessity of faith in Him for salvation.

The crowd grumbles among themselves, questioning how Jesus can give them His flesh to eat. They struggle to comprehend the spiritual significance of Jesus's words, focusing instead on the literal interpretation. Their response reflects the limitations of human understanding when confronted with divine truths.

Jesus responds by reiterating and clarifying His message, emphasizing the necessity of eating His flesh and drinking His blood to have eternal life. He speaks in metaphorical language, pointing to the deeper spiritual reality behind the physical act of eating and drinking. Jesus invites His listeners to partake of Him spiritually, to believe in Him as the source of true nourishment for the soul.

This passage foreshadows the institution of the Eucharist, where Jesus offers His disciples His body and blood as spiritual sustenance. It anticipates the sacramental reality of communion, where believers partake of the bread and wine, symbolizing their participation in the life of Christ and His sacrifice on the cross.

Jesus emphasizes the vital connection between Himself and the Father, highlighting His divine origin and authority. He declares that His flesh is true food and His blood is true drink, signifying the profound intimacy and union between the believer and Christ.

John challenges us to deepen our understanding of Jesus as the bread of life and the significance of communion with Him. It calls us to move beyond surface-level interpretations and embrace the spiritual reality of union with Christ through faith. May we partake of Him with hearts open in faith, receiving the nourishment that leads to eternal life.

Prayers

Family and friends,

Those in need

Those robbed from the fullness of life

The Church

Those who mourn

Personal needs

Lord’s Prayer

Our Father in heaven, hallowed be your name, your kingdom come, your will be done, on earth as in heaven. Give us today our daily bread. Forgive us our sins as we forgive those who sin against us. Save us from the time of trial and deliver us from evil. For the kingdom, the power, and the glory are yours, now and forever. Amen.

Diocesan prayer for regeneration

As the kotuki gently rests upon the tree, come Holy Spirit and rest upon us as we pray for the regeneration of our Diocese. Ever-living God, through your Spirit you constantly renew the whole creation; bring regeneration to your Diocese of Christchurch, grant us courage to grow disciples of Jesus, give us vision to reach young people and their families, and strengthen us to create vibrant communities of faith. All this we ask this in Jesus name. Amen

Thursday 18 April

Open our lips O Lord, that our mouths may proclaim your praise

Read John 6: 44-51

Jesus delivers a profound discourse on the theme of divine calling and the nourishment of the soul. This passage delves into the fundamental aspects of faith, emphasizing the intimate connection between belief in Jesus and the eternal life he offers.

Jesus begins by asserting that no one can come to him unless the Father draws them. This statement underscores the divine initiative in the process of salvation—a reminder that faith is ultimately a gift from God. It challenges us to recognize and respond to the prompting of the Holy Spirit, who draws us into relationship with Jesus.

Moreover, Jesus declares himself as the bread of life, emphasizing the necessity of partaking of him in order to receive eternal sustenance. He contrasts the perishable nature of earthly bread with the enduring nourishment that he offers, which leads to eternal life. This metaphorical language invites reflection on the deeper spiritual hunger that exists within every human soul—a hunger that can only be satisfied by communion with Christ.

Jesus further elaborates on this theme by asserting that those who partake of him will live forever. He speaks of the living bread that he gives, which is his flesh, offered for the life of the world. This prefigures the sacrificial nature of Jesus' death on the cross, through which he offers himself as the ultimate atonement for humanity's sins.

This passage encourages us to contemplate upon the profound mystery of the Eucharist, in which believers partake of the body and blood of Christ in remembrance of his sacrifice. It challenges us to deepen our understanding of the sacramental nature of communion and to approach the table with reverence and gratitude.

Furthermore, Jesus' assertion that those who eat his flesh and drink his blood abide in him and he in them highlights the intimate union between Christ and his followers. It calls us to cultivate a living, dynamic relationship with Jesus—one that sustains and nourishes us spiritually, even as we navigate the challenges and uncertainties of life.

We must embrace the transformative power of faith in Jesus Christ, the bread of life. It challenges us to respond to the Father's call, partake of the spiritual nourishment that Jesus offers, and abide in him, knowing that in him alone we find eternal life.

Prayers

Family and friends,

Those in need

Those robbed from the fullness of life

The Church

Those who mourn

Personal needs

Lord’s Prayer

Our Father in heaven, hallowed be your name, your kingdom come, your will be done, on earth as in heaven. Give us today our daily bread. Forgive us our sins as we forgive those who sin against us. Save us from the time of trial and deliver us from evil. For the kingdom, the power, and the glory are yours, now and forever. Amen.

Diocesan prayer for regeneration

As the kotuki gently rests upon the tree, come Holy Spirit and rest upon us as we pray for the regeneration of our Diocese. Ever-living God, through your Spirit you constantly renew the whole creation; bring regeneration to your Diocese of Christchurch, grant us courage to grow disciples of Jesus, give us vision to reach young people and their families, and strengthen us to create vibrant communities of faith. All this we ask this in Jesus name. Amen

Wednesday 17 April

Open our lips O Lord, that our mouths may proclaim your praise

Read John 6: 35-40

Jesus declares himself as the bread of life, inviting profound reflection on the nature of faith, sustenance, and eternal salvation. This passage encapsulates some of the core teachings of Jesus, emphasizing the centrality of belief in him for receiving the gift of eternal life.

Jesus begins by proclaiming, "I am the bread of life; whoever comes to me shall not hunger, and whoever believes in me shall never thirst." This metaphorical language speaks to the deep spiritual hunger and thirst that exist within every human soul—a hunger and thirst that can only be satisfied by communion with Christ. Jesus presents himself as the source of true nourishment, offering fulfillment and satisfaction that transcends earthly desires.

Furthermore, Jesus asserts that those who come to him in faith will never hunger or thirst again. This promise of everlasting satisfaction points to the transformative power of belief in Jesus—a belief that not only satisfies our deepest longings but also sustains us for eternity. It speaks to the profound spiritual fulfillment that comes from dwelling in relationship with Christ, experiencing his grace, and receiving the gift of salvation.

Jesus goes on to affirm the will of the Father, who sent him to fulfill his divine purpose—to save those who believe in him and to raise them up on the last day. This reaffirms the sovereignty of God in the process of salvation, underscoring the divine initiative in drawing humanity into relationship with himself.

The transformative power of encountering Jesus Christ, the bread of life is profound. It challenges us to examine the depth of our belief and the extent to which we allow Jesus to satisfy our spiritual hunger and thirst. It calls us to trust in the promise of eternal life that comes from abiding in Christ and to live each day in the assurance of his unfailing love and grace. John invites believers to partake of the bread of life, to nourish our souls with the sustenance that only Christ can provide, and to find our ultimate satisfaction and fulfillment in him.

Prayers

Family and friends,

Those in need

Those robbed from the fullness of life

The Church

Those who mourn

Personal needs

Lord’s Prayer

Our Father in heaven, hallowed be your name, your kingdom come, your will be done, on earth as in heaven. Give us today our daily bread. Forgive us our sins as we forgive those who sin against us. Save us from the time of trial and deliver us from evil. For the kingdom, the power, and the glory are yours, now and forever. Amen.

Diocesan prayer for regeneration

As the kotuki gently rests upon the tree, come Holy Spirit and rest upon us as we pray for the regeneration of our Diocese. Ever-living God, through your Spirit you constantly renew the whole creation; bring regeneration to your Diocese of Christchurch, grant us courage to grow disciples of Jesus, give us vision to reach young people and their families, and strengthen us to create vibrant communities of faith. All this we ask this in Jesus name. Amen

Tuesday 16 April

Open our lips O Lord, that our mouths may proclaim your praise

Read John 6: 30-35

Jesus engages in a dialogue with a crowd who seeks signs and miracles, reminiscent of their ancestors who were sustained by manna in the wilderness. Jesus responds by pointing beyond the physical sustenance provided by manna to the true bread from heaven, which gives life to the world.

The people ask for a sign, a tangible proof of Jesus' authority comparable to the manna. Jesus redirects their focus from seeking temporary signs to perceiving the eternal truth standing before them. He identifies Himself as the bread of life, a profound metaphor conveying sustenance, satisfaction, and spiritual nourishment.

This passage illustrates Jesus' invitation to move beyond material concerns and embrace a deeper spiritual reality. He challenges them, and us, to recognize that true fulfillment comes not from earthly desires but from a relationship with Him. By declaring Himself as the bread of life, Jesus asserts His centrality in meeting humanity's deepest needs.

Moreover, Jesus emphasizes the universality of His offer of salvation by stating that whoever comes to Him will never hunger or thirst. This inclusive invitation transcends social, cultural, and religious boundaries, extending to all who seek spiritual fulfillment. It emphasizes that Jesus is the ultimate source of satisfaction for the human soul, surpassing any earthly provision.

Additionally, Jesus' assertion that He is the bread of life echoes throughout John's Gospel, reinforcing its significance. It foreshadows His sacrificial death and resurrection, through which He offers eternal life to those who believe in Him.

John challenges us to examine our priorities and desires. Are we seeking temporary satisfaction in worldly pursuits, or are we hungering and thirsting for the everlasting sustenance found in Jesus? This passage calls us to shift our focus from the material to the spiritual, recognizing Jesus as the true source of life and fulfillment. John urges us to respond to His invitation with faith, trusting in Him alone for our deepest needs.

Prayers

Family and friends,

Those in need

Those robbed from the fullness of life

The Church

Those who mourn

Personal needs

Lord’s Prayer

Our Father in heaven, hallowed be your name, your kingdom come, your will be done, on earth as in heaven. Give us today our daily bread. Forgive us our sins as we forgive those who sin against us. Save us from the time of trial and deliver us from evil. For the kingdom, the power, and the glory are yours, now and forever. Amen.

Diocesan prayer for regeneration

As the kotuki gently rests upon the tree, come Holy Spirit and rest upon us as we pray for the regeneration of our Diocese.

Ever-living God, through your Spirit you constantly renew the whole creation; bring regeneration to your Diocese of Christchurch, grant us courage to grow disciples of Jesus, give us vision to reach young people and their families, and strengthen us to create vibrant communities of faith. All this we ask this in Jesus name. Amen

Monday 15 April

Open our lips O Lord, that our mouths may proclaim your praise

Read John 6: 22-29

Jesus engages in a dialogue with the crowd that had followed him after witnessing the miraculous feeding of the five thousand. What is the nature of faith and the significance of seeking spiritual sustenance from Christ rather than merely pursuing temporal desires?

The crowd, intrigued by Jesus' miraculous signs, seeks him out on the other side of the sea of Galilee. They question him about when he had arrived there, indicating their curiosity but also their focus on the physical realm. In response, Jesus challenges their motives, urging them to not just seek him for the miraculous signs but to seek the eternal sustenance that he offers.

Jesus directs the crowd's attention away from earthly desires and toward the deeper significance of his teachings. He exhorts them to work not for perishable food but for the food that endures to eternal life, which the Son of Man will give them. Here, Jesus invites the crowd—and by extension, all believers—to prioritize spiritual nourishment over material concerns.

Moreover, Jesus clarifies that the work of God is to believe in him whom God has sent. This statement underscores the foundational importance of faith in Jesus Christ for experiencing true fulfillment and eternal life. It emphasizes that salvation is not achieved through human effort or works but through faith in the one whom God has sent for the redemption of humanity.

What are our own motivations and priorities? Do we seek Jesus primarily for what he can provide in terms of earthly blessings, or do we recognize the deeper spiritual nourishment that he offers? Are we willing to prioritize our relationship with Christ above the fleeting pleasures and pursuits of this world?

Ultimately, we are called to examine the orientation of our hearts and to prioritize faith in Jesus Christ as the source of true fulfillment and eternal life. We are called us to align our desires with God's purposes and to seek the sustenance that comes from abiding in relationship with Christ, the bread of life.

Prayers

Family and friends,

Those in need

Those robbed from the fullness of life

The Church

Those who mourn

Personal needs

Lord’s Prayer

Our Father in heaven, hallowed be your name, your kingdom come, your will be done, on earth as in heaven. Give us today our daily bread. Forgive us our sins as we forgive those who sin against us. Save us from the time of trial and deliver us from evil. For the kingdom, the power, and the glory are yours, now and forever. Amen.

Diocesan prayer for regeneration

As the kotuki gently rests upon the tree, come Holy Spirit and rest upon us as we pray for the regeneration of our Diocese. Ever-living God, through your Spirit you constantly renew the whole creation; bring regeneration to your Diocese of Christchurch, grant us courage to grow disciples of Jesus, give us vision to reach young people and their families, and strengthen us to create vibrant communities of faith. All this we ask this in Jesus name. Amen

12 April

Open our lips O Lord, that our mouths may proclaim your praise

Read John 6: 1-15

We encounter the familiar story of Jesus miraculously feeding the multitude with just five loaves of bread and two fish. This narrative is rich with profound lessons that continue to resonate through the ages.

At the outset of this passage, we see Jesus displaying compassion towards the crowd that had been following Him. Despite seeking solace, Jesus's heart is moved with pity for the hungry multitude. This serves as a poignant reminder of His deep empathy and concern for humanity's physical needs.

As the Disciple’s express doubt and uncertainty about how to feed such a large crowd, Jesus demonstrates His divine power and authority. He takes the meager offering of five loaves and two fish, blesses them, and multiplies them to provide an abundance that not only satisfies the hunger of the multitude but leaves leftover fragments.

This miracle serves as a powerful metaphor for the abundance that flows from faith in Jesus. It highlights His ability to transform scarcity into plenty, reminding us that with Him, there are no limitations. It underscores the importance of trusting in His provision, even when faced with seemingly insurmountable challenges.

Moreover, this miracle points to Jesus as the true bread of life. Just as He physically nourished the multitude, He offers spiritual nourishment to all who believe in Him. He satisfies the deepest longings of the human soul, offering sustenance that endures beyond the temporal.

The response of the crowd to this miracle varies. Some recognize Jesus's divine identity and seek to make Him king by force, while others remain skeptical or indifferent. This reflects the diverse responses to Jesus throughout His ministry and serves as a reminder of the freedom each individual has to accept or reject Him.

What is our response to Jesus's miraculous provision? Do we approach Him with faith and trust, believing in His power to provide abundantly in our lives? Are we willing to surrender our doubts and limitations, allowing Him to work miracles in and through us? May we, like the multitude, be transformed by encountering the living bread that satisfies our deepest hunger and leads us into abundant life.

Prayers

Family and friends,

Those in need

Those robbed from the fullness of life

The Church

Those who mourn

Personal needs

Lord’s Prayer

Our Father in heaven, hallowed be your name, your kingdom come, your will be done, on earth as in heaven. Give us today our daily bread. Forgive us our sins as we forgive those who sin against us. Save us from the time of trial and deliver us from evil. For the kingdom, the power, and the glory are yours, now and forever. Amen.

Diocesan prayer for regeneration

As the kotuki gently rests upon the tree, come Holy Spirit and rest upon us as we pray for the regeneration of our Diocese. Ever-living God, through your Spirit you constantly renew the whole creation; bring regeneration to your Diocese of Christchurch, grant us courage to grow disciples of Jesus, give us vision to reach young people and their families, and strengthen us to create vibrant communities of faith. All this we ask this in Jesus name. Amen

Thursday 11 April

Open our lips O Lord, that our mouths may proclaim your praise

Read John 3: 31-36

We encounter discussion between John the Baptist and his disciples regarding the identity and authority of Jesus Christ. This passage offers deep insights into the nature of Jesus's mission and the response it demands from humanity.

John the Baptist begins by affirming the supremacy of Jesus Christ, stating, "He must increase, but I must decrease." This declaration encapsulates the essence of John's ministry – to prepare the way for the coming of the Messiah. It emphasizes the humility and selflessness required of all who serve God's kingdom, recognizing that Jesus's authority eclipses all others.

John proceeds to articulate the unique relationship between Jesus and God the Father. He testifies that Jesus comes from above and is above all, indicating His divine origin and preeminence. This assertion highlights Jesus's divine nature and underscores His intimate relationship with the Father, emphasizing their unity of purpose and mission.

Moreover, John emphasizes the authority of Jesus's words, declaring that "the one whom God has sent speaks the words of God." This statement affirms the authenticity and power of Jesus's teachings, positioning Him as the ultimate revealer of God's truth to humanity. It challenges us to heed His words with attentiveness and obedience, recognizing them as the pathway to life and salvation.

John concludes by contrasting the fate of those who believe in Jesus with those who reject Him. He affirms that whoever believes in the Son has eternal life, while those who disobey the Son will not see life but will instead remain under God's wrath. This solemn warning underscores the gravity of our response to Jesus's message, emphasizing the eternal consequences of our choices.

Are we willing to humble ourselves before Jesus, acknowledging His supremacy in our lives? Do we heed His words with faith and obedience, recognizing them as the source of eternal life? May we, like John the Baptist, exalt Jesus Christ above all else and surrender to His divine authority, finding true life and fulfillment in Him.

Prayers

Family and friends,

Those in need

Those robbed from the fullness of life

The Church

Those who mourn

Personal needs

Lord’s Prayer

Our Father in heaven, hallowed be your name, your kingdom come, your will be done, on earth as in heaven. Give us today our daily bread. Forgive us our sins as we forgive those who sin against us. Save us from the time of trial and deliver us from evil. For the kingdom, the power, and the glory are yours, now and forever. Amen.

Diocesan prayer for regeneration

As the kotuki gently rests upon the tree, come Holy Spirit and rest upon us as we pray for the regeneration of our Diocese. Ever-living God, through your Spirit you constantly renew the whole creation; bring regeneration to your Diocese of Christchurch, grant us courage to grow disciples of Jesus, give us vision to reach young people and their families, and strengthen us to create vibrant communities of faith. All this we ask this in Jesus name. Amen

Wednesday 10 April

Open our lips O Lord, that our mouths may proclaim your praise

Read John 3: 16-21

John encapsulates the heart of the Christian message, presenting a profound reflection on God's love, humanity's response, and the implications for salvation.

The passage begins with the iconic declaration: "For God so loved the world that he gave his only Son, so that everyone who believes in him may not perish but may have eternal life." (This passage is often termed “The Good News”. This verse stands as a cornerstone of Christian theology, revealing the depth of God's love and His sacrificial gift in Jesus Christ. It underscores the universality of God's love, extending to all people regardless of background or status.

The subsequent verses delve into the contrasting responses to this love. While God's desire is for all to experience salvation, humanity's reaction varies. Some embrace the light brought by Christ, choosing to believe and walk in the truth. Others, however, reject this light, preferring darkness to conceal their deeds.

The passage highlights the pivotal role of belief in Jesus Christ. Belief is not merely intellectual assent but a transformative commitment that shapes one's life. It involves trusting in Jesus as the source of salvation and aligning one's actions with His teachings. Through belief, individuals experience a shift from condemnation to salvation, from darkness to light.

Moreover, the passage exposes the nature of judgment. Jesus declares that He did not come to condemn the world but to save it. However, judgment occurs as a natural consequence of humanity's response to Him. Those who reject the light condemn themselves, while those who embrace it find eternal life.

John invites us to consider the radical nature of God's love and the profound implications for our lives. He challenges us to respond to His love with faith and obedience, embracing the light of Christ and allowing it to illuminate our paths. May we live as children of light, walking in the truth and experiencing the abundant life that comes through belief in Jesus Christ.

Prayers

Family and friends,

Those in need

Those robbed from the fullness of life

The Church

Those who mourn

Personal needs

Lord’s Prayer

Our Father in heaven, hallowed be your name, your kingdom come, your will be done, on earth as in heaven. Give us today our daily bread. Forgive us our sins as we forgive those who sin against us. Save us from the time of trial and deliver us from evil. For the kingdom, the power, and the glory are yours, now and forever. Amen.

Diocesan prayer for regeneration

As the kotuki gently rests upon the tree, come Holy Spirit and rest upon us as we pray for the regeneration of our Diocese. Ever-living God, through your Spirit you constantly renew the whole creation; bring regeneration to your Diocese of Christchurch, grant us courage to grow disciples of Jesus, give us vision to reach young people and their families, and strengthen us to create vibrant communities of faith. All this we ask this in Jesus name. Amen

Tuesday 9 April

Open our lips O Lord, that our mouths may proclaim your praise

Read John 3: 7-15

We find Jesus engaging in a conversation with Nicodemus, a Pharisee who approaches Him seeking spiritual understanding. This passage delves into the concept of spiritual rebirth and the significance of belief in Jesus Christ for salvation.

Jesus begins by emphasizing the necessity of being "born again" or "born from above" to enter the kingdom of God. This spiritual rebirth entails a profound transformation, initiated by the Holy Spirit, that enables individuals to perceive and participate in God's kingdom. It is not a physical rebirth but a spiritual awakening, a new beginning infused with divine life and purpose.

Central to this rebirth is belief in Jesus Christ as the Son of Man who descended from heaven. Jesus draws parallels to the bronze serpent lifted up by Moses in the wilderness, which provided healing and salvation to those who looked upon it in faith. Similarly, Jesus, lifted up on the cross, becomes the ultimate symbol of salvation for humanity. Belief in Him is the catalyst for spiritual renewal and eternal life.

This passage underscores the universality of God's offer of salvation. Jesus declares that whoever believes in Him shall not perish but have eternal life. Salvation is not restricted by ethnicity, social status, or religious affiliation but is available to all who embrace Jesus in faith.

Moreover, Jesus contrasts the fate of those who believe in Him with those who reject Him. While believers receive eternal life, those who refuse to believe stand condemned, not by God's desire but by their own rejection of the light. This highlights the responsibility each individual bears in responding to the message of salvation.

John invites us to consider the transformative power of spiritual rebirth through belief in Jesus Christ. It challenges us to examine our own hearts and respond to Jesus's invitation with faith and humility. May we embrace the truth of His words and experience the fullness of life found in Him.

Prayers

Family and friends,

Those in need

Those robbed from the fullness of life

The Church

Those who mourn

Personal needs

Lord’s Prayer

Our Father in heaven, hallowed be your name, your kingdom come, your will be done, on earth as in heaven. Give us today our daily bread. Forgive us our sins as we forgive those who sin against us. Save us from the time of trial and deliver us from evil. For the kingdom, the power, and the glory are yours, now and forever. Amen.

Diocesan prayer for regeneration

As the kotuki gently rests upon the tree, come Holy Spirit and rest upon us as we pray for the regeneration of our Diocese. Ever-living God, through your Spirit you constantly renew the whole creation; bring regeneration to your Diocese of Christchurch, grant us courage to grow disciples of Jesus, give us vision to reach young people and their families, and strengthen us to create vibrant communities of faith. All this we ask this in Jesus name. Amen

Monday 8 April

Open our lips O Lord, that our mouths may proclaim your praise

Read Like 1: 26-38

Luke presents the beautiful and pivotal moment when the angel Gabriel appears to Mary, announcing the miraculous conception of Jesus. This passage is rich with themes of faith, obedience, and divine intervention, inviting us to ponder the profound implications of God's plan for salvation.

Mary, a young, humble woman from Nazareth, receives the astonishing news that she will conceive and bear the Son of God. Despite her initial confusion and trepidation, Mary's response is marked by faith and submission to God's will. She humbly accepts the angel's message, declaring, "Behold, I am the handmaid of the Lord; let it be done to me according to your word."

Mary's response exemplifies profound trust and surrender to God's plan, even in the face of uncertainty and societal expectations. Her willingness to embrace her role in God's redemptive plan demonstrates a profound understanding of the sovereignty and goodness of God.

Furthermore, this passage highlights the divine initiative in salvation history. God chooses Mary as the vessel through whom His Son will enter the world, underscoring His sovereign power and authority. The angel Gabriel's announcement heralds the fulfillment of God's promise to send a Messiah, initiating a new era of hope and redemption for humanity.

The encounter between Mary and the angel Gabriel also emphasises the importance of divine revelation and obedience in the life of faith. Mary's openness to God's word and her willingness to cooperate with His plan serve as a model for all believers. Her fiat, or "let it be done," exemplifies the attitude of surrender and obedience that characterizes authentic discipleship.

We are challenged to emulate Mary's faith and obedience in our own lives. Like her, may we trust in God's providence, even when His plans seem beyond our understanding. May we cultivate a spirit of receptivity to God's word and a willingness to surrender our lives to His divine purposes, knowing that His plans are always for our ultimate good and the salvation of the world.

Prayers

Family and friends,

Those in need

Those robbed from the fullness of life

The Church

Those who mourn

Personal needs

Lord’s Prayer

Our Father in heaven, hallowed be your name, your kingdom come, your will be done, on earth as in heaven. Give us today our daily bread. Forgive us our sins as we forgive those who sin against us. Save us from the time of trial and deliver us from evil. For the kingdom, the power, and the glory are yours, now and forever. Amen.

Diocesan prayer for regeneration

As the kotuki gently rests upon the tree, come Holy Spirit and rest upon us as we pray for the regeneration of our Diocese. Ever-living God, through your Spirit you constantly renew the whole creation; bring regeneration to your Diocese of Christchurch, grant us courage to grow disciples of Jesus, give us vision to reach young people and their families, and strengthen us to create vibrant communities of faith. All this we ask this in Jesus name. Amen

Friday 5 April

Open our lips O Lord, that our mouths may proclaim your praise

Read John 21: 1-14

This is a poignant encounter between Jesus and His disciples following His resurrection. This passage not only serves as a narrative of a miraculous catch of fish but also holds profound symbolic and theological significance, illustrating themes of restoration, provision, and the calling of discipleship.

After His resurrection, Jesus appears to His disciples by the Sea of Tiberias. The disciples, still grappling with the reality of Jesus's resurrection and uncertain about their future, return to their former occupation of fishing. However, despite their efforts throughout the night, they catch nothing. This scene reflects the disciples' sense of aimlessness and their need for guidance and direction.

In the morning, Jesus appears on the shore, though the disciples do not immediately recognize Him. He instructs them to cast their net on the right side of the boat, leading to an abundant catch of fish. This miraculous catch mirrors a similar event at the beginning of Jesus's ministry, underscoring His authority over creation and His ability to provide for His followers' needs.

The disciples' recognition of Jesus occurs when the miraculous catch triggers the memory of a similar event in the past. John, the beloved disciple, is the first to perceive Jesus's presence, exclaiming, "It is the Lord!" This moment of recognition signifies a deeper understanding of Jesus's identity and reaffirms His authority over their lives.

The passage concludes with Jesus inviting His disciples to share in a meal with Him. He provides bread and fish, symbolizing His role as the sustainer of life and the provider of spiritual nourishment. This fellowship meal serves as a reminder of the intimate relationship Jesus desires to have with His disciples and the importance of communion with Him.

This passage reminds us of Jesus's ongoing presence and provision in our lives, especially during times of uncertainty and doubt. Like the disciples, we are called to trust in His guidance, recognize His presence in our midst, and respond to His invitation to fellowship and discipleship. May we, like the disciples, experience the joy and abundance that come from encountering the risen Lord and following Him wholeheartedly.

Prayers

Family and friends,

Those in need

Those robbed from the fullness of life

The Church

Those who mourn

Personal needs

Lord’s Prayer

Our Father in heaven, hallowed be your name, your kingdom come, your will be done, on earth as in heaven. Give us today our daily bread. Forgive us our sins as we forgive those who sin against us. Save us from the time of trial and deliver us from evil. For the kingdom, the power, and the glory are yours, now and forever. Amen.

Diocesan prayer for regeneration

As the kotuki gently rests upon the tree, come Holy Spirit and rest upon us as we pray for the regeneration of our Diocese. Ever-living God, through your Spirit you constantly renew the whole creation; bring regeneration to your Diocese of Christchurch, grant us courage to grow disciples of Jesus, give us vision to reach young people and their families, and strengthen us to create vibrant communities of faith. All this we ask this in Jesus name. Amen

Thursday 4 April

Open our lips O Lord, that our mouths may proclaim your praise

Read Luke 24: 35-48

Luke captures the transformative moment when Jesus appears to His disciples after His resurrection. This passage is a culmination of the Easter narrative, revealing profound truths about Jesus's identity, mission, and the commissioning of His followers.

The scene unfolds with two disciples recounting their encounter with the risen Jesus on the road to Emmaus. As they share their testimony, Jesus suddenly appears in their midst, offering them peace and reassurance. His sudden appearance underscores His divine authority and presence, bringing comfort and joy to His disciples in their time of confusion and doubt.

Jesus then provides further evidence of His resurrection by showing His disciples His hands and feet, bearing the scars of the crucifixion. This physical manifestation of His wounds serves as a tangible reminder of His sacrificial love and victory over sin and death. It reaffirms the continuity between His pre-resurrection and post-resurrection existence, emphasizing the reality of His bodily resurrection.

Moreover, Jesus opens the minds of His disciples to understand the Scriptures, illuminating the prophecies that foretold His suffering, death, and resurrection. He reveals how His life, death, and resurrection fulfill God's redemptive plan, bringing salvation to humanity. This revelation deepens the disciples' faith and empowers them to bear witness to the truth of the gospel.

Jesus concludes by commissioning His disciples to be His witnesses, proclaiming repentance and forgiveness of sins to all nations. This Great Commission highlights the universal scope of Jesus's mission and the responsibility of His followers to continue His work in the world. It challenges us to boldly proclaim the message of salvation and to make disciples of all nations, empowered by the Holy Spirit.

Encountering Jesus in our lives is transformative.. Like the disciples, we are called to embrace the reality of Jesus's resurrection, allow His presence to bring peace and understanding, and to fulfill our mission as His witnesses in the world. May we, too, experience the joy of encountering the risen Lord and faithfully proclaim His gospel to all nations.

Prayers

Family and friends,

Those in need

Those robbed from the fullness of life

The Church

Those who mourn

Personal needs

Lord’s Prayer

Our Father in heaven, hallowed be your name, your kingdom come, your will be done, on earth as in heaven. Give us today our daily bread. Forgive us our sins as we forgive those who sin against us. Save us from the time of trial and deliver us from evil. For the kingdom, the power, and the glory are yours, now and forever. Amen.

Diocesan prayer for regeneration

As the kotuki gently rests upon the tree, come Holy Spirit and rest upon us as we pray for the regeneration of our Diocese. Ever-living God, through your Spirit you constantly renew the whole creation; bring regeneration to your Diocese of Christchurch, grant us courage to grow disciples of Jesus, give us vision to reach young people and their families, and strengthen us to create vibrant communities of faith. All this we ask this in Jesus name. Amen

Wednesday 3 April

Open our lips O Lord, that our mouths may proclaim your praise

Read Luke 24: 13-25

This is a captivating story of two disciples journeying from Jerusalem to Emmaus on the day of Jesus's resurrection. This passage is replete with profound themes of doubt, revelation, and the transformative power of encountering the risen Christ.

As the disciples walk along the road, they are consumed by grief and confusion over the events surrounding Jesus's crucifixion. Their hopes dashed, they struggle to make sense of the conflicting reports of His resurrection. In their despondency, they fail to recognize Jesus, who joins them on their journey.

Jesus, sensing their distress, engages them in conversation, gently probing their hearts and challenging their doubts. He begins to interpret the Scriptures, revealing how the Old Testament prophecies point to His suffering, death, and resurrection. Through His patient exposition, Jesus provides them with a fresh perspective, opening their minds to the truth of God's redemptive plan.

The disciples' hearts burn within them as Jesus speaks, yet they remain unaware of His true identity until they reach Emmaus. It is in the breaking of bread that their eyes are finally opened, and they recognize Jesus in their midst. This moment of revelation is transformative, dispelling their doubts and igniting a newfound faith and hope within them.

This passage underscores the importance of faith in recognizing Jesus's presence in our lives. Despite walking alongside Him, the disciples fail to recognize Him until their hearts are opened through the revelation of Scripture and the breaking of bread. It reminds us that Jesus often reveals Himself to us in unexpected ways, and our ability to perceive His presence is contingent upon our openness and receptivity to His word.

What are our attitudes towards Jesus? Are we like the disciples, consumed by doubt and despair, or are we open to encountering Jesus in the midst of our journey? May we, too, experience the transformative power of encountering the risen Christ and allow His presence to reignite our faith and hope.

Prayers

Family and friends,

Those in need

Those robbed from the fullness of life

The Church

Those who mourn

Personal needs

Lord’s Prayer

Our Father in heaven, hallowed be your name, your kingdom come, your will be done, on earth as in heaven. Give us today our daily bread. Forgive us our sins as we forgive those who sin against us. Save us from the time of trial and deliver us from evil. For the kingdom, the power, and the glory are yours, now and forever. Amen.

Diocesan prayer for regeneration

As the kotuki gently rests upon the tree, come Holy Spirit and rest upon us as we pray for the regeneration of our Diocese. Ever-living God, through your Spirit you constantly renew the whole creation; bring regeneration to your Diocese of Christchurch, grant us courage to grow disciples of Jesus, give us vision to reach young people and their families, and strengthen us to create vibrant communities of faith. All this we ask this in Jesus name. Amen

Tuesday 2 April

Open our lips O Lord, that our mouths may proclaim your praise

Read John 20: 11-18

Mary Magdalene's profound encounter with the risen Jesus outside the empty tomb must have been mind-blowing! This passage is a poignant portrayal of grief, confusion, and the transformative power of encountering the living Christ.

Mary Magdalene, overcome with sorrow at the apparent loss of her Lord, lingers near the tomb, weeping. In her anguish, she fails to recognize Jesus, mistaking Him for the gardener. Her grief blinds her to the reality of Jesus's resurrection, and she is consumed by despair.

However, Jesus, in His tender compassion, calls Mary by name, breaking through her despair and revealing His presence to her. In that moment, Mary's sorrow turns to joy as she recognizes her beloved Teacher and Lord. This encounter with the risen Jesus transforms Mary's grief into exultant proclamation as she joyfully declares, "I have seen the Lord!"

This passage underscores the intimate and personal nature of Jesus's resurrection appearances. Jesus meets Mary in her moment of deepest need, calling her by name and restoring her hope and faith. It illustrates His unwavering commitment to His followers and His desire to bring comfort and healing to the brokenhearted.

Moreover, Mary Magdalene's encounter with the risen Jesus serves as a powerful testimony to the reality of His resurrection. She becomes the first witness to the empty tomb and the risen Christ, entrusted with the momentous task of proclaiming the good news to the disciples.

Like Mary Magdalene, we may find ourselves overwhelmed by grief, doubt, or despair. Yet, Jesus meets us in our brokenness, calling us by name, and inviting us into a deeper relationship with Him. May we, like Mary, open our hearts to the reality of Jesus's resurrection and

Prayers

Family and friends,

Those in need

Those robbed from the fullness of life

The Church

Those who mourn

Personal needs

Lord’s Prayer

Our Father in heaven, hallowed be your name, your kingdom come, your will be done, on earth as in heaven. Give us today our daily bread. Forgive us our sins as we forgive those who sin against us. Save us from the time of trial and deliver us from evil. For the kingdom, the power, and the glory are yours, now and forever. Amen.

Diocesan prayer for regeneration

As the kotuki gently rests upon the tree, come Holy Spirit and rest upon us as we pray for the regeneration of our Diocese. Ever-living God, through your Spirit you constantly renew the whole creation; bring regeneration to your Diocese of Christchurch, grant us courage to grow disciples of Jesus, give us vision to reach young people and their families, and strengthen us to create vibrant communities of faith. All this we ask this in Jesus name. Amen

Monday 1 April

Open our lips O Lord, that our mouths may proclaim your praise

Read Matthew 28: 8-15

Matthew recounts the awe-inspiring aftermath of the resurrection of Jesus Christ. It captures the emotions of the women who had visited the tomb, encountered the angel, and received the news that Jesus had risen. This passage not only reveals the response of these women to the resurrection but also highlights the disbelief and deception of the religious leaders.

The women, filled with fear and great joy, run to share the incredible news with the disciples. Their response is a blend of astonishment, reverence, and excitement, reflecting the profound impact of encountering the risen Christ. Their journey from the tomb symbolizes the transformation from despair to hope, from doubt to faith, as they embrace the reality of Jesus's victory over death.

However, amidst the joyous proclamation of the resurrection, Matthew also exposes the lengths to which the religious leaders go to suppress the truth. They conspire to spread a false narrative, bribing the guards to claim that Jesus's disciples stole His body while they slept. This deceitful attempt to discredit the resurrection reveals the hardness of their hearts and their unwillingness to accept the truth.

In many ways, we are confronted with the stark contrast between belief and disbelief, faith and deception. The women's response to the resurrection serves as a model of faithful witness and joyful proclamation. Their courage and conviction inspire us to boldly declare the reality of Jesus's resurrection and its transformative power in our lives.

Conversely, the actions of the religious leaders remind us of the dangers of unbelief and the lengths to which some will go to suppress the truth. Their deceitful tactics serve as a sobering reminder of the spiritual warfare surrounding the proclamation of the gospel.

We are a “resurrection faith” challenged to embrace the truth of Jesus's resurrection with unwavering faith and to courageously proclaim it to the world. May we, like the faithful women at the tomb, be bearers of the good news, shining the light of Christ's resurrection in a world shrouded in darkness and disbelief.

Prayers

Family and friends,

Those in need

Those robbed from the fullness of life

The Church

Those who mourn

Personal needs

Lord’s Prayer

Our Father in heaven, hallowed be your name, your kingdom come, your will be done, on earth as in heaven. Give us today our daily bread. Forgive us our sins as we forgive those who sin against us. Save us from the time of trial and deliver us from evil. For the kingdom, the power, and the glory are yours, now and forever. Amen.

Diocesan prayer for regeneration

As the kotuki gently rests upon the tree, come Holy Spirit and rest upon us as we pray for the regeneration of our Diocese. Ever-living God, through your Spirit you constantly renew the whole creation; bring regeneration to your Diocese of Christchurch, grant us courage to grow disciples of Jesus, give us vision to reach young people and their families, and strengthen us to create vibrant communities of faith. All this we ask this in Jesus name. Amen

Friday 29 March

Open our lips O Lord, that our mouths may proclaim your praise

John 18

John recounts the events leading up to and including the crucifixion of Jesus. It is a passage that encapsulates the depth of human betrayal, suffering, and ultimately, redemption.

We are confronted with the agony of Jesus in the garden of Gethsemane, where He passionately prays to God, wrestling with the weight of the impending sacrifice. Judas Iscariot, one of Jesus' own disciples, betrays him and hands Him over to the authorities for thirty pieces of silver. In the subsequent trials, we observe the injustice and mockery inflicted upon Jesus, yet He remains steadfast in His mission, bearing the burden of humanity's sin with unwavering resolve.

The journey to Calvary is marked by excruciating physical and emotional pain as Jesus is beaten, scourged, and crowned with thorns. Despite the cruelty He endures, Jesus exhibits boundless compassion, forgiving those who persecute Him and extending grace even in His darkest hour. As He hangs on the cross, His words "It is finished" resonate with profound significance, signifying the completion of God's plan for salvation.

In the midst of Jesus' suffering, we are confronted with our own frailty and sinfulness. We are reminded of the profound sacrifice He made out of love for humanity, willingly laying down His life to reconcile us with God. His death on the cross serves as the ultimate demonstration of God's mercy and grace, offering redemption to all who believe in Him.

Yet, amidst the despair of Jesus' crucifixion, there is hope. The resurrection that follows fulfills the promise of new life and eternal salvation for all who place their faith in Him. In reality this is not merely a narrative of suffering and death but a testament to the triumph of love over sin, light over darkness, and life over death.

So,may we be reminded of the immeasurable depth of God's love for us and the transformative power of Christ's sacrifice. Let us embrace the gift of salvation with gratitude and live our lives in service to Him who gave everything for our sake.

Prayers

Family and friends,

Those in need

Those robbed from the fullness of life

The Church

Those who mourn

Personal needs

Lord’s Prayer

Our Father in heaven, hallowed be your name, your kingdom come, your will be done, on earth as in heaven. Give us today our daily bread. Forgive us our sins as we forgive those who sin against us. Save us from the time of trial and deliver us from evil. For the kingdom, the power, and the glory are yours, now and forever. Amen.

Diocesan prayer for regeneration

As the kotuki gently rests upon the tree, come Holy Spirit and rest upon us as we pray for the regeneration of our Diocese.

Ever-living God, through your Spirit you constantly renew the whole creation; bring regeneration to your Diocese of Christchurch, grant us courage to grow disciples of Jesus, give us vision to reach young people and their families, and strengthen us to create vibrant communities of faith. All this we ask this in Jesus name. Amen

Thursday 28 March

Open our lips O Lord, that our mouths may proclaim your praise

John 13: 1-17

Reflection

John portrays a significant scene from the Last Supper, where Jesus demonstrates the essence of servant leadership through the act of washing his disciples' feet. This passage serves as a profound reflection on humility, love, and the transformative power of service.

John sets the stage by emphasizing Jesus's profound love for his disciples. Despite knowing the impending betrayal and denial he would face, Jesus's love remains steadfast. This love motivates his actions and serves as the driving force behind his ministry.

The act of foot washing, typically reserved for servants, carries significant symbolism. In Jesus's time, it was considered a menial task, yet Jesus, the Son of God, willingly assumes the role of a servant. His humility challenges societal norms and underscores the radical nature of his message. By washing his disciples' feet, Jesus not only models humility but also demonstrates the importance of serving others with love and compassion.

Peter's initial resistance highlights the disciples' misunderstanding of Jesus's actions. However, Jesus's response underscores the deeper spiritual significance of the foot washing. He explains that unless they allow him to wash their feet, they cannot share in his ministry or experience the cleansing that he offers. This symbolic cleansing represents spiritual purification and the forgiveness of sins, emphasizing the transformative power of Jesus's love and grace.

Jesus's response to his disciples follows his example of humble service which extends beyond the physical act of foot washing. He calls them to embody a spirit of servanthood in their relationships with one another and with the world. This servant leadership model challenges hierarchical structures and emphasizes the importance of selfless love and compassion in Christian disciples.

John offers us a reflection on the essence of servant leadership and the transformative power of humble service. Through Jesus's example, we are called to emulate his love and humility, serving others with compassion and grace. This passage challenges us to reconsider our attitudes towards power and status, inviting them to embrace a life marked by a selfless devotion to others.

Prayers

Family and friends,

Those in need

Those robbed from the fullness of life

The Church

Those who mourn

Personal needs

Lord’s Prayer

Our Father in heaven, hallowed be your name, your kingdom come, your will be done, on earth as in heaven. Give us today our daily bread. Forgive us our sins as we forgive those who sin against us. Save us from the time of trial and deliver us from evil. For the kingdom, the power, and the glory are yours, now and forever. Amen.

Diocesan prayer for regeneration

As the kotuki gently rests upon the tree, come Holy Spirit and rest upon us as we pray for the regeneration of our Diocese.

Ever-living God, through your Spirit you constantly renew the whole creation; bring regeneration to your Diocese of Christchurch, grant us courage to grow disciples of Jesus, give us vision to reach young people and their families, and strengthen us to create vibrant communities of faith. All this we ask this in Jesus name. Amen

Wednesday 27 March

Open our lips O Lord, that our mouths may proclaim your praise

John 13: 21-32

Reflection

John captures a pivotal moment in Jesus's ministry, occurring just after the Last Supper and Judas's departure to betray him. Jesus foretells his impending crucifixion and glorification, encapsulating the profound paradox of his mission – that through his death, he would be glorified, and through his suffering, redemption would be brought to humanity.

The passage begins with Jesus acknowledging that his glorification and the glorification of God the Father are intertwined. He speaks of God being glorified in himself and of God glorifying him in return. This reciprocal glorification highlights the unity between Jesus and the Father, emphasizing their divine relationship and the divine purpose underlying Jesus's impending sacrifice.

Jesus then declares, "Now is the Son of Man glorified, and God is glorified in him." This statement is deeply paradoxical, as it suggests that Jesus's glory is intimately connected to his imminent suffering and death. Instead of seeking earthly acclaim or power, Jesus's glory resides in his obedience to the Father's will, even unto death. His crucifixion would serve as the ultimate manifestation of God's love and redemption for humanity, revealing the depth of God's character and the extent of his sacrifice.

Furthermore, Jesus's glorification through his death would serve as a catalyst for the redemption of humanity. By willingly laying down his life, Jesus would atone for the sins of the world and reconcile humanity to God. His death would become the means through which God's grace and salvation are made available to all who believe in him.

In just a few short verses, John encapsulates the central message of the Christian faith – that through Jesus's sacrificial death, God's glory is revealed, and humanity finds redemption. It challenges readers to contemplate the profound mystery of God's plan for salvation and to respond with faith and gratitude to the selfless love demonstrated by Jesus on the cross.

Prayers

Family and friends,

Those in need

Those robbed from the fullness of life

The Church

Those who mourn

Personal needs

Lord’s Prayer

Our Father in heaven, hallowed be your name, your kingdom come, your will be done, on earth as in heaven. Give us today our daily bread. Forgive us our sins as we forgive those who sin against us. Save us from the time of trial and deliver us from evil. For the kingdom, the power, and the glory are yours, now and forever. Amen.

Diocesan prayer for regeneration

As the kotuki gently rests upon the tree, come Holy Spirit and rest upon us as we pray for the regeneration of our Diocese.

Ever-living God, through your Spirit you constantly renew the whole creation; bring regeneration to your Diocese of Christchurch, grant us courage to grow disciples of Jesus, give us vision to reach young people and their families, and strengthen us to create vibrant communities of faith. All this we ask this in Jesus name. Amen

Tuesday 26 March

Open our lips O Lord, that our mouths may proclaim your praise

John 12: 20-36

Reflection

John  presents a profound reflection on the themes of life, death, belief, and purpose. At its core, this passage encapsulates the teachings of Jesus, revealing deeper spiritual truths about his mission and the significance of faith.

The passage begins with Greeks seeking Jesus, symbolizing the universal appeal of his message beyond cultural and religious boundaries. Their desire to see Jesus reflects humanity's innate yearning for spiritual fulfillment and truth. Jesus responds cryptically, foreshadowing his impending death and resurrection. His metaphor of the grain of wheat falling to the ground and dying to bear much fruit encapsulates the paradoxical nature of his mission – through death comes life, through sacrifice comes salvation.

Jesus acknowledges the inner turmoil he faces, knowing the hour of his crucifixion is near. Yet, he willingly submits to God's will, demonstrating unwavering obedience and trust. His obedience contrasts sharply with the world's values, which prioritize self-preservation and worldly gain. In surrendering to death, Jesus embodies the ultimate act of love and selflessness, paving the way for eternal life for all who believe in him.

The passage emphasizes the importance of faith and belief in Jesus as the Son of God. Jesus declares himself as the light of the world, offering salvation to those who follow him. However, he warns that those who reject him remain in darkness, separated from God's grace. Belief in Jesus is not merely an intellectual assent but a transformative experience that illuminates the path to God's kingdom.

Jesus's message challenges Christians to reconsider their priorities and values. He calls us to live sacrificially, denying themselves for the sake of God's kingdom. This message remains relevant today, urging believers to embrace a radical commitment to God's will, even in the face of opposition or suffering.

John offers a significant reflection on the themes of life, death, belief, and purpose. Through Jesus's teachings and actions, we glimpse the profound mystery of God's  plan for salvation and the transformative power of faith. This passage invites readers us to consider our own responses to Jesus's call and to embrace a life grounded in unwavering devotion to God

Prayers

Family and friends,

Those in need

Those robbed from the fullness of life

The Church

Those who mourn

Personal needs

Lord’s Prayer

Our Father in heaven, hallowed be your name, your kingdom come, your will be done, on earth as in heaven. Give us today our daily bread. Forgive us our sins as we forgive those who sin against us. Save us from the time of trial and deliver us from evil. For the kingdom, the power, and the glory are yours, now and forever. Amen.

Diocesan prayer for regeneration

As the kotuki gently rests upon the tree, come Holy Spirit and rest upon us as we pray for the regeneration of our Diocese.

Ever-living God, through your Spirit you constantly renew the whole creation; bring regeneration to your Diocese of Christchurch, grant us courage to grow disciples of Jesus, give us vision to reach young people and their families, and strengthen us to create vibrant communities of faith. All this we ask this in Jesus name. Amen

Friday 22 March

Open our lips O Lord, that our mouths may proclaim your praise

Reading

John 7: 1-2, 10, 25-30

Reflection

Jesus faces opposition from the Jews who challenge his claims to divinity. This passage reflects upon Jesus' identity, the nature of belief, and the evidence of his divine authority through his works.

The confrontation begins when the Jews pick up stones to stone Jesus, accusing him of blasphemy for claiming to be God. Jesus responds by appealing to the works he has performed in his Father's name as evidence of his divine authority. He challenges the Jews to consider the miraculous deeds he has done, which bear witness to his identity as the Son of God.

Despite this, the Jews refuse to believe, blinded by their own preconceived notions and hardened hearts. They persist in their disbelief, unable to recognize the truth of Jesus' words and the evidence of his works.

Jesus then engages in a discourse, urging the Jews to consider the Scriptures and the testimony they bear concerning him. He emphasizes the consistency between his words and his actions, inviting the Jews to align their beliefs with the evidence presented before them.

The passage concludes with Jesus withdrawing from the Jews and escaping their grasp, highlighting his sovereignty and control over the situation. Despite their attempts to stone him, Jesus remains unharmed, underscoring his divine authority and the protection afforded to him by the Father.

This passage prompts reflection on the nature of belief and the evidence of Jesus' divinity. It challenges readers to consider the significance of Jesus' works as a testimony to his identity and to respond with faith and obedience. Moreover, it highlights the importance of aligning one's beliefs with the truth revealed in Scripture and the evidence of Jesus' life and ministry.

In conclusion, John 10:31-42 reveals Jesus as the Son of God, whose divine authority is evidenced by his miraculous works and consistent testimony. It calls for a response of faith and obedience, urging readers to recognize Jesus' identity and to align their beliefs with the truth revealed in him.

Prayers

Family and friends,

Those in need

Those robbed from the fullness of life

The Church

Those who mourn

Personal needs

Lord’s Prayer

Our Father in heaven, hallowed be your name, your kingdom come, your will be done, on earth as in heaven. Give us today our daily bread. Forgive us our sins as we forgive those who sin against us. Save us from the time of trial and deliver us from evil. For the kingdom, the power, and the glory are yours, now and forever. Amen.

Diocesan prayer for regeneration

As the kotuki gently rests upon the tree, come Holy Spirit and rest upon us as we pray for the regeneration of our Diocese.

Ever-living God, through your Spirit you constantly renew the whole creation; bring regeneration to your Diocese of Christchurch, grant us courage to grow disciples of Jesus, give us vision to reach young people and their families, and strengthen us to create vibrant communities of faith. All this we ask this in Jesus name. Amen

Thursday 21 March

Open our lips O Lord, that our mouths may proclaim your praise

Reading: John 8: 51-59

Reflection

Jesus engagement with the Jews, raises the importance of faith in him for eternal life and unveiling his divine identity. This reading emphasises profound truths about belief, mortality, and the nature of Jesus' relationship with God.

Jesus begins by proclaiming that whoever keeps his word will never taste death but will instead experience eternal life. He shifts the focus from physical mortality to the spiritual reality of life beyond the confines of this world. This statement challenges the Jews' understanding of life and death, inviting them to consider the transformative power of faith in Jesus.

However, the Jews respond with skepticism, questioning how Jesus could offer such a lofty promise. They fail to grasp the spiritual dimension of Jesus' message, remaining fixated on earthly matters.

In response, Jesus makes a bold assertion of his divine identity, declaring, "Before Abraham was born, I am." By using the phrase "I am," Jesus aligns himself with the divine name revealed to Moses in Exodus 3:14, signifying his eternal existence and his unity with God the Father. This declaration serves as a pivotal moment, revealing Jesus' divine nature and challenging the Jews to acknowledge his authority.

The Jews' reaction is one of disbelief and hostility, as they attempt to stone Jesus for what they perceive as blasphemy. Yet, Jesus calmly affirms the truth of his identity and the validity of his message, evading their grasp and continuing to teach.

This passage prompts reflection on the nature of belief and the significance of Jesus' divine identity. It challenges readers to consider the profound implications of placing their faith in Jesus for eternal life. Moreover, it underscores the importance of recognizing Jesus' authority and embracing the truth of his teachings.

Jesus is the source of eternal life and unveils his divine identity as the "I am." It calls for a response of faith and obedience, urging readers to embrace the truth of Jesus' identity and the promise of eternal life found in him.

Prayers

Family and friends,

Those in need

Those robbed from the fullness of life

The Church

Those who mourn

Personal needs

Lord’s Prayer

Our Father in heaven, hallowed be your name, your kingdom come, your will be done, on earth as in heaven. Give us today our daily bread. Forgive us our sins as we forgive those who sin against us. Save us from the time of trial and deliver us from evil. For the kingdom, the power, and the glory are yours, now and forever. Amen.

Diocesan prayer for regeneration

As the kotuki gently rests upon the tree, come Holy Spirit and rest upon us as we pray for the regeneration of our Diocese.

Ever-living God, through your Spirit you constantly renew the whole creation; bring regeneration to your Diocese of Christchurch, grant us courage to grow disciples of Jesus, give us vision to reach young people and their families, and strengthen us to create vibrant communities of faith. All this we ask this in Jesus name. Amen

Wednesday 20 March

Open our lips O Lord, that our mouths may proclaim your praise

Reading: John 8: 31-42

Reflection

Jesus engages in a dialogue with Jews who had believed in him, urging them to continue in his word to experience true freedom. This passage offers profound insights into the nature of belief, freedom, and the identity of Jesus.

Jesus begins by addressing those who believed in him, challenging them to remain faithful to his teachings. He emphasizes the transformative power of truth, declaring that only by abiding in his word can one be truly his disciple and experience the freedom it brings. This freedom transcends mere physical liberation; it is a liberation from the bondage of sin and the falsehoods that enslave humanity.

However, the Jews misunderstand Jesus' message, asserting their lineage as children of Abraham and claiming they have never been slaves. Jesus counters this by exposing the spiritual slavery they are in, enslaved to sin and unable to recognize the truth. He contrasts their actions with those of Abraham, pointing out that true children of Abraham would act in accordance with his example of faith.

Moreover, Jesus reveals his divine identity, proclaiming, "Before Abraham was born, I am," a statement laden with significance. By using the divine name "I am," Jesus asserts his eternal existence and unity with God, affirming his divine nature.

This declaration incites outrage among the Jews, who seek to stone him for what they perceive as blasphemy. Jesus challenges their understanding, inviting them to recognize the truth of his words and the authority bestowed upon him by the Father.

At its core, this passage prompts reflection on the nature of belief and freedom. It underscores the necessity of genuine faith grounded in Jesus' teachings for true freedom to be realized. It exposes the reality of spiritual bondage and the transformative power of truth. Furthermore, it reveals Jesus' divine identity and his unique role in offering liberation to humanity.

We should examine our beliefs, challenging whether or not they find agreement in Jesus' word and experience the profound freedom they offer. We are called to deepen our understanding of Jesus' identifying our willingness to embrace the truth he embodies.

Prayers

Family and friends,

Those in need

Those robbed from the fullness of life

The Church

Those who mourn

Personal needs

Lord’s Prayer

Our Father in heaven, hallowed be your name, your kingdom come, your will be done, on earth as in heaven. Give us today our daily bread. Forgive us our sins as we forgive those who sin against us. Save us from the time of trial and deliver us from evil. For the kingdom, the power, and the glory are yours, now and forever. Amen.

Diocesan prayer for regeneration

As the kotuki gently rests upon the tree, come Holy Spirit and rest upon us as we pray for the regeneration of our Diocese.

Ever-living God, through your Spirit you constantly renew the whole creation; bring regeneration to your Diocese of Christchurch, grant us courage to grow disciples of Jesus, give us vision to reach young people and their families, and strengthen us to c

Tuesday 19 March

Open our lips O Lord, that our mouths may proclaim your praise

Reading: Matthew 18:18-25

Reflection

This passage contains Jesus' teaching on forgiveness and reconciliation within the community of believers. This passage begins with Jesus empowering his disciples with the authority to bind and loose on earth, a metaphorical representation of their role in upholding the standards of the Kingdom of Heaven.

The heart of this passage, however, lies in Jesus' parable of the unforgiving servant. In this story, a servant owes an astronomical debt to his master, an amount so large that it is impossible for him to repay. The master, moved with compassion, forgives the entire debt. However, this forgiven servant then encounters a fellow servant who owes him a much smaller amount. Despite being forgiven himself, he refuses to extend the same mercy and instead has his debtor thrown into prison.

Upon hearing of this, the master calls the unforgiving servant back and rebukes him for his lack of mercy, reinstating his debt and delivering him to the jailers until he can repay everything.

This parable is a powerful reflection on the nature of forgiveness and the Kingdom of Heaven. It highlights the immense debt of sin that humanity owes to God, a debt that cannot be repaid by our own efforts. Yet, through the boundless mercy of God, this debt is freely forgiven through the sacrifice of Jesus Christ.

However, the parable also serves as a warning against the hypocrisy of receiving forgiveness but refusing to extend it to others. Just as the forgiven servant's lack of mercy resulted in severe consequences, so too will our refusal to forgive others hinder our experience of God's forgiveness and grace.

Moreover, Jesus' teaching underscores the importance of reconciliation within the community of believers. Forgiveness is not merely an individual act but a communal practice essential for maintaining unity and harmony among God's people.

We are challenged to reflect on the depth of God's forgiveness, our response to it, and our obligation to extend that same forgiveness to others within the community of believers.

Prayers

Family and friends,

Those in need

Those robbed from the fullness of life

The Church

Those who mourn

Personal needs

Lord’s Prayer

Our Father in heaven, hallowed be your name, your kingdom come, your will be done, on earth as in heaven. Give us today our daily bread. Forgive us our sins as we forgive those who sin against us. Save us from the time of trial and deliver us from evil. For the kingdom, the power, and the glory are yours, now and forever. Amen.

Diocesan prayer for regeneration

As the kotuki gently rests upon the tree, come Holy Spirit and rest upon us as we pray for the regeneration of our Diocese.

Ever-living God, through your Spirit you constantly renew the whole creation; bring regeneration to your Diocese of Christchurch, grant us courage to grow disciples of Jesus, give us vision to reach young people and their families, and strengthen us to create vibrant communities of faith. All this we ask this in Jesus name. Amen

Monday 18 March

Open our lips O Lord, that our mouths may proclaim your praise

Reading: John 8:1-11

Reflection

John recounts the narrative of the woman caught in adultery, a passage rich with lessons on forgiveness, judgment, and grace. The scene opens with Jesus teaching in the temple courts while a group of religious leaders brings a woman they claim was caught in the act of adultery. They set her before Jesus, seeking to trap him with a question about the Law of Moses, which commanded that such women be stoned.

In response, Jesus bends down and begins to write on the ground with his finger, perhaps invoking the imagery of God writing the commandments with his finger on stone tablets. Scholars have debated the significance of this act, but whatever Jesus wrote remains a mystery.

When pressed for an answer, Jesus famously responds, "Let any one of you who is without sin be the first to throw a stone at her." This profound statement challenges the self-righteousness of the accusers and reminds them of their own imperfections. One by one, beginning with the older ones, they all leave until only Jesus and the woman remain.

Jesus then asks the woman where her accusers are and if anyone condemned her. She responds that no one has condemned her. Jesus, in his mercy, declares, "Then neither do I condemn you," revealing his divine authority to forgive sins. But he doesn't stop there; he exhorts her to "go now and leave your life of sin," urging her to turn away from her sinful ways and embrace a new life.

This passage illustrates several important truths. Firstly, it reveals Jesus as the ultimate arbiter of justice and mercy, challenging the legalistic mindset of the religious leaders. Secondly, it emphasizes the importance of self-reflection and humility, as Jesus confronts the hypocrisy of those who are quick to judge others. Lastly, it demonstrates the transformative power of grace, as Jesus offers forgiveness and the opportunity for a fresh start to the woman caught in sin.

John captures the essence of Jesus' teachings on forgiveness, compassion, and the redemptive power of grace, inviting all to examine their own hearts and embrace the transformative message of Christ.

Prayers

Family and friends,

Those in need

Those robbed from the fullness of life

The Church

Those who mourn

Personal needs

Lord’s Prayer

Our Father in heaven, hallowed be your name, your kingdom come, your will be done, on earth as in heaven. Give us today our daily bread. Forgive us our sins as we forgive those who sin against us. Save us from the time of trial and deliver us from evil. For the kingdom, the power, and the glory are yours, now and forever. Amen.

Diocesan prayer for regeneration

As the kotuki gently rests upon the tree, come Holy Spirit and rest upon us as we pray for the regeneration of our Diocese.

Ever-living God, through your Spirit you constantly renew the whole creation; bring regeneration to your Diocese of Christchurch, grant us courage to grow disciples of Jesus, give us vision to reach young people and their families, and strengthen us to create vibrant communities of faith. All this we ask this in Jesus name. Amen

Friday 15 March

Open our lips O Lord, that our mouths may proclaim your praise

Reading

John 7: 1-2, 10, 25-30

Reflection

In John 7:1-2, 10, 25-30, we glimpse into a moment of heightened tension in Jesus' ministry as He navigates the complexities of public perception and divine timing. The Feast of Tabernacles is approaching, and Jesus' brothers encourage Him to reveal Himself openly, seeking fame and recognition. However, Jesus, aware of the right timing for His divine mission, opts to remain in Galilee rather than making a grand entrance in Judea.

As the Feast unfolds, we find Jesus teaching in the temple. The crowd, stirred by rumors and debates about His identity, expresses uncertainty and varied opinions. Some recognize Him as the Prophet, while others question whether the Messiah could come from Galilee. The conflicting perspectives highlight the diverse expectations surrounding Jesus and the complexity of discerning His true identity.

Amidst the confusion, Jesus addresses the crowd, proclaiming His divine origin and the authority of the One who sent Him. He asserts that His time has not yet come, acknowledging the divine timeline governing His earthly ministry. This statement reflects Jesus' alignment with God's overarching plan, emphasizing the significance of divine timing in fulfilling His purpose.

The passage reaches a climax as the religious authorities attempt to seize Jesus. However, their efforts are thwarted because "His hour had not yet come." This recurring theme underscores the divine sovereignty guiding Jesus' actions and protection until the appointed time for His sacrificial mission.

In reflection, John 7:1-2, 10, 25-30 invites contemplation on the delicate balance between divine timing and human expectations. It prompts consideration of the challenges Jesus faced in managing public perceptions while adhering to the divine plan. This passage encourages believers to trust in the overarching purpose of God's timing, even when faced with uncertainty and conflicting opinions about the identity and mission of Jesus.

Prayers

Family and friends,

Those in need

Those robbed from the fullness of life

The Church

Those who mourn

Personal needs

Lord’s Prayer

Our Father in heaven, hallowed be your name, your kingdom come, your will be done, on earth as in heaven. Give us today our daily bread. Forgive us our sins as we forgive those who sin against us. Save us from the time of trial and deliver us from evil. For the kingdom, the power, and the glory are yours, now and forever. Amen.

Diocesan prayer for regeneration

As the kotuki gently rests upon the tree, come Holy Spirit and rest upon us as we pray for the regeneration of our Diocese.

Ever-living God, through your Spirit you constantly renew the whole creation; bring regeneration to your Diocese of Christchurch, grant us courage to grow disciples of Jesus, give us vision to reach young people and their families, and strengthen us to create vibrant communities of faith.

All this we ask this in Jesus name. Amen

Thursday 14 March

Open our lips O Lord, that our mouths may proclaim your praise

Reading

John 5: 31-47

Reflection

In John 5:31-47, Jesus presents a compelling argument about the validity of His testimony and the witnesses that affirm His divine authority. He begins by acknowledging that if He were to testify about Himself, His testimony would not be valid in human terms. However, He immediately introduces a series of witnesses that substantiate His claims.

Firstly, Jesus points to the witness of John the Baptist, who testified about Him. While John's testimony was well-received by many, Jesus acknowledges that the religious leaders rejected it. This acknowledgment highlights the resistance of some to accept the divine validation provided through John's witness.

Jesus proceeds to emphasize the witness of His works, declaring that these miraculous deeds are a testimony from the Father. The healing of the sick, the feeding of the multitude, and other signs serve as tangible evidence of His divine authority. Despite these compelling works, Jesus notes that some still refuse to believe, indicating a deeper issue of spiritual discernment.

The Scriptures themselves are presented as a third witness, with Jesus challenging the religious leaders to search and recognize that they testify about Him. He highlights their meticulous study of the Scriptures but notes a lack of understanding and acceptance of the revealed truth about Him.

Ultimately, Jesus directs attention to the witness of Moses, whom the religious leaders held in high regard. He asserts that if they believed Moses, they would believe Him because Moses wrote about Him. This connection between the Old Testament Scriptures and the testimony of Jesus underscores the continuity of God's revelation throughout history.

In reflection, John 5:31-47 calls believers to consider the various witnesses that affirm Jesus' divine identity. It challenges us to recognize the validity of His testimony through the consistent affirmation of credible witnesses – John the Baptist, the miraculous works, the Scriptures, and the continuity with the prophetic tradition of Moses. This passage invites contemplation on the sources of our own faith and the importance of discerning the testimony that affirms Jesus as the Son of God.

Prayers

Family and friends,

Those in need

Those robbed from the fullness of life

The Church

Those who mourn

Personal needs

Lord’s Prayer

Our Father in heaven, hallowed be your name, your kingdom come, your will be done, on earth as in heaven. Give us today our daily bread. Forgive us our sins as we forgive those who sin against us. Save us from the time of trial and deliver us from evil. For the kingdom, the power, and the glory are yours, now and forever. Amen.

Diocesan prayer for regeneration

As the kotuki gently rests upon the tree, come Holy Spirit and rest upon us as we pray for the regeneration of our Diocese.

Ever-living God, through your Spirit you constantly renew the whole creation; bring regeneration to your Diocese of Christchurch, grant us courage to grow disciples of Jesus, give us vision to reach young people and their families, and strengthen us to create vibrant communities of faith.

All this we ask this in Jesus name. Amen

Wednesday 13 March

Open our lips O Lord, that our mouths may proclaim your praise

Reading

John 5: 17-30

Reflection

Jesus provides a profound discourse on His relationship with the Father, the nature of His authority, and the profound implications of belief. He begins by stating, "My Father is always at his work to this very day, and I too am working." This assertion aligns Jesus' actions with those of God, emphasizing the oneness of His mission with the Father.

Jesus then delves into the theme of authority, declaring that the Son can do nothing by Himself but only what He sees the Father doing. This interconnectedness reveals the harmonious collaboration between the Father and the Son in the divine plan. The assertion that the Father loves the Son and shows Him all He does underscores the depth of their intimate relationship.

Furthermore, Jesus elaborates on his future role in judgment. He highlights that all authority has been given to Him by the Father, emphasizing the centrality of belief in the Son for eternal life. This proclamation establishes a pivotal point in Christian theology – salvation through faith in Jesus Christ.

Jesus asserts that a time is coming when the dead will hear the voice of the Son of God, and those who believe will live. This powerful statement underscores the transformative power of faith and obedience to the words of Jesus, offering the promise of resurrection and eternal life.

John presents a profound theological foundation for Christian belief. It illuminates the intricate relationship between the Father and the Son, emphasizing the unity of their mission. Jesus' words challenge believers to recognize His authority, trust in His redemptive work, and embrace the promise of eternal life through faith. In many ways, this passage serves as a cornerstone in understanding the divinity of Jesus and the profound implications of acknowledging Him as the Son of God.

Prayers

Family and friends,

Those in need

Those robbed from the fullness of life

The Church

Those who mourn

Personal needs

Lord’s Prayer

Our Father in heaven, hallowed be your name, your kingdom come, your will be done, on earth as in heaven. Give us today our daily bread. Forgive us our sins as we forgive those who sin against us. Save us from the time of trial and deliver us from evil. For the kingdom, the power, and the glory are yours, now and forever. Amen.

Diocesan prayer for regeneration

As the kotuki gently rests upon the tree, come Holy Spirit and rest upon us as we pray for the regeneration of our Diocese.

Ever-living God, through your Spirit you constantly renew the whole creation; bring regeneration to your Diocese of Christchurch, grant us courage to grow disciples of Jesus, give us vision to reach young people and their families, and strengthen us to create vibrant communities of faith.

All this we ask this in Jesus name. Amen

Tuesday 12 March

Open our lips O Lord, that our mouths may proclaim your praise

Reading

John 5: 1-3, 15-16

Reflection

The account at the Pool of Bethesda. This is a place, where a multitude of sick and disabled people wait for the stirring of the water, believed to bring healing. Among them is a man who has been an invalid for 38 years. Jesus, aware of the man's prolonged suffering, approaches him and asks a seemingly straightforward question: "Do you want to get well?" (In my mind this is a strange question as if he didn't want to get well, hw wouldn't be there.)

The man's response, rather than a straightforward "yes," reveals the complexities of his situation. He explains the challenges of accessing the pool and implies a reliance on others for assistance. Jesus, ignoring the man’s problems, instructs the man to pick up his mat and walk, instantly restoring his health.

The healing event takes place on the Sabbath, drawing the criticisms of the religious authorities who admonish the man for carrying his mat on the holy day. In defense, he attributes his actions to the command of the one who healed him, yet he does not know Jesus' identity.

Jesus not only addresses the physical ailment but also challenges the man's mindset and dependence on a ritualistic system. The healing on the Sabbath accentuates Jesus' authority over legalistic traditions, emphasizing the primacy of mercy and restoration.

The man's lack of knowledge about Jesus raises questions about the depth of faith and understanding required for divine intervention. It underscores the idea that God's grace operates independently of our comprehension, emphasizing the unmerited nature of healing and salvation.

True healing involves physical, emotional, and spiritual well-being. It challenges preconceived notions about the mechanisms of divine intervention, highlighting the transformative power of Jesus' compassion and the potential barriers to receiving God's grace.

Prayers

Family and friends,

Those in need

Those robbed from the fullness of life

The Church

Those who mourn

Personal needs

Lord’s Prayer

Our Father in heaven, hallowed be your name, your kingdom come, your will be done, on earth as in heaven. Give us today our daily bread. Forgive us our sins as we forgive those who sin against us. Save us from the time of trial and deliver us from evil. For the kingdom, the power, and the glory are yours, now and forever. Amen.

Diocesan prayer for regeneration

As the kotuki gently rests upon the tree, come Holy Spirit and rest upon us as we pray for the regeneration of our Diocese.

Ever-living God, through your Spirit you constantly renew the whole creation; bring regeneration to your Diocese of Christchurch, grant us courage to grow disciples of Jesus, give us vision to reach young people and their families, and strengthen us to create vibrant communities of faith.

All this we ask this in Jesus name. Amen

Monday 11 March

Open our lips O Lord, that our mouths may proclaim your praise

Reading

John 4: 43-54

Reflection

Here we find a representation of Jesus' healing ministry. A royal official approaches Jesus, desperate for the healing of his son who is on the brink of death. The official implores Jesus to come and heal his son, emphasizing the urgency of the situation.

Remarkably, Jesus responds by challenging the official's need for tangible proof, stating, "Unless you people see signs and wonders, you will never believe." Jesus is really asking, how deep the man’s faith is? The official, undeterred by Jesus' initial response, persists in his plea, illustrating a persistent and unwavering faith in Jesus' ability to heal.

Jesus then assures the official that his son will live, prompting the official to trust in the mere spoken word of Jesus without witnessing a physical manifestation of the healing. The official's faith is rewarded when he later learns that his son was healed precisely at the moment Jesus spoke the words of assurance.

This passage illuminates the nature of faith – a trust that transcends the need for visible confirmation. The official's journey from desperation to belief serves as proof of the transformative power of faith in Jesus' words.

Johns Gospel emphasizes the nature of true discipleship. John invites readers to reflect on their own faith and the willingness to trust in Jesus even when faced with uncertainty.

John’s Gospel, emphasises the transformative impact of trusting in Jesus' words beyond the demand for tangible proof. It encourages us to cultivate a resilient and unwavering faith in the face of life's challenges, trusting that Jesus has the power to bring healing and life

Prayers

Family and friends,

Those in need

Those robbed from the fullness of life

The Church

Those who mourn

Personal needs

Lord’s Prayer

Our Father in heaven, hallowed be your name, your kingdom come, your will be done, on earth as in heaven. Give us today our daily bread. Forgive us our sins as we forgive those who sin against us. Save us from the time of trial and deliver us from evil. For the kingdom, the power, and the glory are yours, now and forever. Amen.

Diocesan prayer for regeneration

As the kotuki gently rests upon the tree, come Holy Spirit and rest upon us as we pray for the regeneration of our Diocese.

Ever-living God, through your Spirit you constantly renew the whole creation; bring regeneration to your Diocese of Christchurch, grant us courage to grow disciples of Jesus, give us vision to reach young people and their families, and strengthen us to create vibrant communities of faith.

All this we ask this in Jesus name. Amen

Friday 8 March

Open our lips O Lord, that our mouths may proclaim your praise

Reading

Mark 12: 28-34

Reflection

A scribe approaches Jesus with a sincere question, seeking to understand the greatest commandment. Jesus responds by quoting the Shema, (the fundamental Jewish declaration of faith” "Hear, O Israel: The Lord our God, the Lord is one. Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength." (This was a phrase integral to the traditional Book of Common Prayer.) This commandment emphasizes the centrality of wholehearted love and devotion to God.

Jesus doesn't stop there; he goes on to add a complementary directive from Leviticus 19:18, stating, "Love your neighbor as yourself." By intertwining these two commandments, Jesus establishes the principle that encapsulates the essence of true spirituality – a love that extends vertically to God and horizontally to fellow human beings. In reality, we can’t have one without the other!

Jesus implies that genuine love for God naturally results in a compassionate and selfless love for one's neighbor. The reality of one's devotion to God is evidenced by the quality of their relationships with others.

The Scribe, recognizing the wisdom in Jesus' response, commends Him for emphasizing the priority of these two commandments above burnt offerings and sacrifices. Jesus, in turn, acknowledges the scribe's insight, stating that he is not far from the kingdom of God. Understanding and living out the core principles of love, compassion, and devotion in one's spiritual journey is an ongoing mission.

This reading challenges us to explore the depths of our love for God and its manifestation in their relationships with others. It calls for an integrated and over-arching approach to spirituality, where love is the driving force in both vertical and horizontal dimensions. This passage transcends cultural and religious boundaries, emphasizing the universal importance of love in the fabric of human existence.

Prayers

Family and friends,

Those in need

Those robbed from the fullness of life

The Church

Those who mourn

Personal needs

Lord’s Prayer

Our Father in heaven, hallowed be your name, your kingdom come, your will be done, on earth as in heaven. Give us today our daily bread. Forgive us our sins as we forgive those who sin against us. Save us from the time of trial and deliver us from evil. For the kingdom, the power, and the glory are yours, now and forever. Amen.

Diocesan prayer for regeneration

As the kotuki gently rests upon the tree, come Holy Spirit and rest upon us as we pray for the regeneration of our Diocese.

Ever-living God, through your Spirit you constantly renew the whole creation; bring regeneration to your Diocese of Christchurch, grant us courage to grow disciples of Jesus, give us vision to reach young people and their families, and strengthen us to create vibrant communities of faith.

All this we ask this in Jesus name. Amen

Thursday 7 March

Open our lips O Lord, that our mouths may proclaim your praise

Reading

Luke 11: 14-23

Reflection

Today, Jesus encounters a man possessed by a demon, and through His “divine authority”, He casts out the demon. The people marvel at this miraculous act, but some skeptics accuse Jesus of using the power of the devil, the ruler of demons. This accusation prompts Jesus to provide a profound reflection on the nature of His authority and the kingdom of God.

Let me state that goodness is where God is and badness is where God isn’t. In Jesus time, people believed that disease was not caused by the inability for our body to heal itself, but by some act or omission in looking for Gods favour.

Jesus begins by explaining the inconsistency of Satan opposing his own kingdom. He asserts that if He is driving out demons by the power of Beelzebul, then Satan's kingdom is divided and destined to fall. This reasoning challenges the absurdity of the accusation and highlights the illogical nature of Satan working against himself.

The kingdom of God as a force that overpowers the kingdom of darkness. Jesus describes His exorcism as a demonstration of the arrival of the kingdom of God, ushering in a new era where God's authority triumphs over evil. This emphasizes the transformative power of God's kingdom, breaking the chains of demonic influence.

Furthermore, Jesus introduces the image of a strong man guarding his house, representing Satan. Only when a stronger man (referring to Jesus) overpowers and defeats the strong man can the house be plundered. This metaphor underscores Jesus' supremacy over the forces of evil, portraying His mission as a divine intervention to liberate humanity from the clutches of darkness.

The arrival of the kingdom of God, is a triumph over the forces of evil. It invites believers to recognize the transformative impact of God's kingdom and affirms Jesus as the ultimate source of liberation from spiritual bondage.

Prayers

Family and friends,

Those in need

Those robbed from the fullness of life

The Church

Those who mourn

Personal needs

Lord’s Prayer

Our Father in heaven, hallowed be your name, your kingdom come, your will be done, on earth as in heaven. Give us today our daily bread. Forgive us our sins as we forgive those who sin against us. Save us from the time of trial and deliver us from evil. For the kingdom, the power, and the glory are yours, now and forever. Amen.

Diocesan prayer for regeneration

As the kotuki gently rests upon the tree, come Holy Spirit and rest upon us as we pray for the regeneration of our Diocese.

Ever-living God, through your Spirit you constantly renew the whole creation; bring regeneration to your Diocese of Christchurch, grant us courage to grow disciples of Jesus, give us vision to reach young people and their families, and strengthen us to create vibrant communities of faith.

All this we ask this in Jesus name. Amen

Wednesday 6 March

Open our lips O Lord, that our mouths may proclaim your praise

Reading

Matthew 5: 17-19

Reflection

Today Jesus emphasises the enduring relevance of the Law and the Prophets. He declares, "Do not think that I have come to abolish the Law or the Prophets; I have not come to abolish them but to fulfill them." This statement reflects Jesus' commitment to Gods principles laid out in the Old Testament. Jesus (in his own words) didn't come to abolish, but to fulfil!

Jesus’ teachings and actions serve as a realization of the spiritual essence behind the commandments. Instead of merely following the letter of the law, Jesus calls for a transformation of the heart and a genuine commitment to righteousness.

Jesus requires us to be obedient to God and he emphasizes the value of every detail within the law, urging His followers to uphold even the least of the commandments. These requirementsare not for the faint-hearted.

The promise that those who teach and practice these commandments will be called great in the kingdom of heaven reinforces the idea that true greatness is found in a life dedicated to God. It establishes a link between faith and action, stressing the inseparability of belief and practice in the Christian journey.

Jesus' stance on the Law and the Prophets, highlights their enduring importance and the transformative nature of His teachings. It invites us to embrace a holistic commitment to God's commandments, recognizing the profound connection between faith, obedience, and true greatness in the kingdom of heaven.

Prayers

Family and friends,

Those in need

Those robbed from the fullness of life

The Church

Those who mourn

Personal needs

Lord’s Prayer

Our Father in heaven, hallowed be your name, your kingdom come, your will be done, on earth as in heaven. Give us today our daily bread. Forgive us our sins as we forgive those who sin against us. Save us from the time of trial and deliver us from evil. For the kingdom, the power, and the glory are yours, now and forever. Amen.

Diocesan prayer for regeneration

As the kotuki gently rests upon the tree, come Holy Spirit and rest upon us as we pray for the regeneration of our Diocese.

Ever-living God, through your Spirit you constantly renew the whole creation; bring regeneration to your Diocese of Christchurch, grant us courage to grow disciples of Jesus, give us vision to reach young people and their families, and strengthen us to create vibrant communities of faith.

All this we ask this in Jesus name. Amen

Tuesday 5 March

Open our lips O Lord, that our mouths may proclaim your praise

Reading

Matthew 18:21-35

Reflection

We find a profound lesson on forgiveness through the Parable of the Unmerciful Servant. Peter initiates the discourse by asking Jesus how often he should forgive a brother who sins against him. Jesus responds with the staggering suggestion of forgiving not seven times but seventy-seven times. Wow! Can we be so forgiving??

The parable unfolds with a king who decides to settle accounts with his servants. One debtor owes an astronomical sum, impossible to repay. The king, moved with compassion, forgives the entire debt. Astonishingly, this forgiven servant encounters a fellow servant who owes him a comparatively small amount. Instead of extending the same mercy he received, the forgiven servant harshly demands payment and shows no compassion. Witnessing this, the king revokes his forgiveness and delivers the unforgiving servant to be tortured until he pays the debt.

This parable serves as a powerful metaphor for God's forgiveness and the expectation for believers to mirror that forgiveness in their relationships. The enormity of the forgiven debt represents the magnitude of God's mercy towards humanity. And as such, we must, emulate this mercy in their dealings with others.

Let’s spend a few moments reflecting upon our own capacity for forgiveness.

(Take 5)

Like the forgiven servant, we are recipients of an immeasurable amount of grace from God. Yet, when faced with grievances from others, we often struggle to extend forgiveness. Jesus emphasizes that harboring unforgiveness jeopardizes the forgiveness we've received from God.

This is a challenging reading and one that calls for a transformative understanding of forgiveness, In effect, we must move beyond mere numerical calculations to embracing a spirit of boundless mercy and grace. We must consider the weight of God's forgiveness in our interactions, fostering a compassionate and forgiving attitude towards those who wrong us. In doing so, we participate in the redemptive and transformative power of forgiveness, reflecting God's grace in our relationships.

Good Luck!!

Prayers

Family and friends,

Those in need

Those robbed from the fullness of life

The Church

Those who mourn

Personal needs

Lord’s Prayer

Our Father in heaven, hallowed be your name, your kingdom come, your will be done, on earth as in heaven. Give us today our daily bread. Forgive us our sins as we forgive those who sin against us. Save us from the time of trial and deliver us from evil. For the kingdom, the power, and the glory are yours, now and forever. Amen.

Diocesan prayer for regeneration

As the kotuki gently rests upon the tree, come Holy Spirit an rest upon us as we pray for the regeneration of our Diocese.

Ever-living God, through your Spirit you constantly renew the whole creation; bring regeneration to your Diocese of Christchurch, grant us courage to grow disciples of Jesus, give us vision to reach young people and their families, and strengthen us to create vibrant communities of faith.

All this we ask this in Jesus name. Amen

Monday 4 March

Open our lips O Lord, that our mouths may proclaim your praise

Reading

Luke 4: 24-30

Reflection

Jesus faces rejection in his hometown of Nazareth! After performing miracles elsewhere, the people demand similar wonders from him. However, Jesus challenges their expectations, reminding them of past prophets who were rejected by their own people.

Once again we find this continuing theme of disbelief among those closest to Jesus. The crowd's initial admiration turns into resentment when Jesus implies that God's grace extends beyond their community. They reject the idea that someone familiar to them could embody the divine.

Nazareth’s rejection in many ways foreshadows Jesus' broader struggle against disbelief and opposition. It serves as a pivotal moment in his ministry, highlighting the difficulty of spreading his message among those who should theoretically be more receptive.

Even though rejected, Jesus' commitments himself further to his mission. He remains steadfast in delivering God's message, even when met with hostility. This resilience is something of a central theme throughout the Gospels, showcasing Jesus as a model of unwavering dedication to divine purpose.

The story prompts reflection on our own responses to unfamiliar or challenging perspectives. It urges us to examine our openness to divine teachings, even when they come from unexpected sources. The rejection Jesus experiences in Nazareth serves as a cautionary tale about the dangers of familiarity breeding contempt and the importance of humility in spiritual matters.

Jesus' confrontation with rejection in his hometown, reveals deeper themes of disbelief, commitment to mission, and the need for openness to divine teachings. We are challenged to reflect on our own attitudes towards unfamiliar or challenging spiritual truths.

Prayers

Family and friends,

Those in need

Those robbed from the fullness of life

The Church

Those who mourn

Personal needs

Lord’s Prayer

Our Father in heaven, hallowed be your name, your kingdom come, your will be done, on earth as in heaven. Give us today our daily bread. Forgive us our sins as we forgive those who sin against us. Save us from the time of trial and deliver us from evil. For the kingdom, the power, and the glory are yours, now and forever. Amen.

Diocesan prayer for regeneration

As the kotuki gently rests upon the tree, come Holy Spirit and rest upon us as we pray for the regeneration of our Diocese.

Ever-living God, through your Spirit you constantly renew the whole creation; bring regeneration to your Diocese of Christchurch, grant us courage to grow disciples of Jesus, give us vision to reach young people and their families, and strengthen us to create vibrant communities of faith.

All this we ask this in Jesus name. Amen

Friday 1 March

Open our lips O Lord, that our mouths may proclaim your praise

Reading

Matthew 21:33-43

Reflection

The parable of the tenants is a powerful narrative with great implications for the understanding of God's kingdom and human responsibility. This passage underscores themes of accountability, stewardship, and the call to bear spiritual fruit.

The parable portrays a vineyard entrusted to tenants, who, instead of yielding a harvest for the owner, mistreat and even kill the owner's servants and son. This story in reality is an allegory reflecting God's relationship with humanity. The vineyard symbolizes the world, God as the owner, the tenants as humanity, and the son as Jesus Christ.

We emphasize the concept of stewardship, recognizing that believers are entrusted with God's creation and are called to bear fruit in accordance with His will. The tenants' failure to produce fruit represents a rejection of God's call to righteous living and faithful obedience.

The rejection of the owner's son foreshadows Jesus' impending crucifixion, highlighting the rejection of God's ultimate revelation by some. In this rejection we see a stark reminder of humanity's tendency to resist God's guidance and the importance of acknowledging and responding to God's messengers.

The parable concludes with the vineyard being given to others who will produce its fruit. This provides as a message of hope, emphasizing God's redemptive plan. We are encouraged to actively engage in producing spiritual fruit, aligning their lives with God's purposes and sharing the message of the Kingdom.

This passage emphasises the themes of stewardship, accountability, and the call to bear spiritual fruit. It challenges us to recognize our role as stewards of God's creation, respond to His messengers, and actively contribute to the growth of God's kingdom through a life of faithful obedience and fruitful living.

Prayers

Family and friends,

Those in need

Those robbed from the fullness of life

The Church

Those who mourn

Personal needs

Lord’s Prayer

Our Father in heaven, hallowed be your name, your kingdom come, your will be done, on earth as in heaven. Give us today our daily bread. Forgive us our sins as we forgive those who sin against us. Save us from the time of trial and deliver us from evil. For the kingdom, the power, and the glory are yours, now and forever. Amen.

Diocesan prayer for regeneration

As the kotuki gently rests upon the tree, come Holy Spirit an rest upon us as we pray for the regeneration of our Diocese.

Ever-living God, through your Spirit you constantly renew the whole creation; bring regeneration to your Diocese of Christchurch, grant us courage to grow disciples of Jesus, give us vision to reach young people and their families, and strengthen us to create vibrant communities of faith.

All this we ask this in Jesus name. Amen

Thursday 29 February

Open our lips O Lord, that our mouths may proclaim your praise

Reading

Luke 16:19-31

Reflection

In this parable, Jesus shares the story of a wealthy man and a beggar named Lazarus. The passage underscores the moral lessons embedded in the reading, focusing on themes of social justice, compassion, and the consequences of one's actions.

We draw attention to the stark contrast between the rich man's opulent lifestyle and Lazarus's destitution, highlighting Jesus' concern for the marginalized and we are reminded of the Christian responsibility to address social inequalities and extend compassion to those in need.

Our tradition emphasizes the concept of stewardship, recognizing that material wealth is a gift from God to be used responsibly. As we reflect upon how believers manage their resources, we are urged to consider the ethical dimensions of wealth and its impact on the wider community.

The parable's depiction of the afterlife also plays a role in Anglican reflection. It underscores the eternal consequences of one's choices, emphasizing the importance of living a life aligned with God's values. In effect, this is a call to prioritize spiritual well-being and moral integrity over material prosperity.

Believers are encouraged to cultivate a compassionate heart, recognizing the inherent worth of every individual. The parable challenges us to break down societal barriers and actively engage in acts of mercy, echoing our commitment to social justice and loving one's neighbor.

Social responsibility, ethical stewardship of resources, and the eternal significance of one's choices are brought to bear in our personal relationships. It calls us to embody Christ's compassion, especially towards the marginalized, and to view material wealth through a lens of moral accountability.

Prayers

Family and friends,

Those in need

Those robbed from the fullness of life

The Church

Those who mourn

Personal needs

Lord’s Prayer

Our Father in heaven, hallowed be your name, your kingdom come, your will be done, on earth as in heaven. Give us today our daily bread. Forgive us our sins as we forgive those who sin against us. Save us from the time of trial and deliver us from evil. For the kingdom, the power, and the glory are yours, now and forever. Amen.

Diocesan prayer for regeneration

As the kotuki gently rests upon the tree, come Holy Spirit an rest upon us as we pray for the regeneration of our Diocese.

Ever-living God, through your Spirit you constantly renew the whole creation; bring regeneration to your Diocese of Christchurch, grant us courage to grow disciples of Jesus, give us vision to reach young people and their families, and strengthen us to create vibrant communities of faith.

All this we ask this in Jesus name. Amen

Wednesday 28 February

Open our lips O Lord, that our mouths may proclaim your praise

Reading

Matthew 20:17-28

Reflection

Jesus shares a profound teaching on servant leadership with his disciples, revealing a counter-cultural perspective on authority and greatness. This passage holds a significant message about the nature of Christian service and the transformative power of humility.

Our tradition values humility as a virtue central to Christian discipleship, and in today’s reading, this theme resonates strongly. Jesus, foretelling his impending suffering and death, contrasts the world's pursuit of power with the humble path of service. This passage invites us to emulate Christ's sacrificial love, recognizing that true greatness lies in selfless service to others.

The request of James and John for positions of honor prompts Jesus to redefine the concept of leadership within the Kingdom of God. Jesus' response is a call to reject the world's hierarchical understanding of authority and instead embrace a model of leadership characterized by humility and service. The Son of Man, Jesus himself, serves as the ultimate example of this servant leadership.

Servanthood is an integral aspect of Christian discipleship, challenging individuals to put the needs of others before their own ambitions. This teaching aligns with our commitment to social justice and compassion, encouraging believers to actively engage in serving the marginalized and promoting the well-being of the broader community.

Furthermore, this reading underscores the call to unity within the Christian community. By emphasizing service over self-promotion, this passage fosters an environment where believers work together harmoniously, recognizing the inherent dignity and worth of each member.

We are called to re-evaluate of leadership paradigms, emphasizing the transformative power of humble service. It challenges us to embrace a counter-cultural understanding of greatness and authority, rooted in the example set by Christ himself.

Prayers

Family and friends,

Those in need

Those robbed from the fullness of life

The Church

Those who mourn

Personal needs

Lord’s Prayer

Our Father in heaven, hallowed be your name, your kingdom come, your will be done, on earth as in heaven. Give us today our daily bread. Forgive us our sins as we forgive those who sin against us. Save us from the time of trial and deliver us from evil. For the kingdom, the power, and the glory are yours, now and forever. Amen.

Diocesan prayer for regeneration

As the kotuki gently rests upon the tree, come Holy Spirit an rest upon us as we pray for the regeneration of our Diocese.

Ever-living God, through your Spirit you constantly renew the whole creation; bring regeneration to your Diocese of Christchurch, grant us courage to grow disciples of Jesus, give us vision to reach young people and their families, and strengthen us to create vibrant communities of faith.

All this we ask this in Jesus name. Amen

Tuesday 28 February

Open our lips O Lord, that our mouths may proclaim your praise

Reading

In Matthew 23:1-12

Reflection

Jesus addresses the crowds and his disciples, cautioning them against the hypocritical practices of the religious leaders. This passage holds significant implications for understanding authentic discipleship and the nature of leadership within the Christian community.

The reading emphasizes humility as a cornerstone of Christian life, drawing from the example of Christ who, though divine, embraced humility during his earthly ministry. Jesus critiques the Pharisees for their ostentatious displays of religious observance and highlights the importance of living out one's faith with genuine humility.

This is a call to reject titles and positions that elevate individuals above others within the faith community. The focus shifts from hierarchical structures to a communal understanding of shared discipleship. True leadership lies in service and humility, echoing the model of Christ who came not to be served but to serve.

The admonition against exalting oneself resonates deeply, emphasizing the need for leaders to avoid seeking personal glory and recognition. Instead, it encourages leaders to lead by example, demonstrating a humble and sacrificial attitude in their service to others.

Moreover, the call to humility aligns with our values of inclusivity and equality within the Church. We emphasise in our faith, the priesthood of all believers, rejecting the idea of a spiritual elite. This interpretation reinforces the idea that every member of the faith community has a role to play in the shared journey of discipleship.

This is a call to genuine humility, servant leadership, and a rejection of self-promotion within the Christian community. It challenges us to embody Christ's humility and to foster an environment where all are recognized as equal participants in the Kingdom of God.

Prayers

Family and friends,

Those in need

Those robbed from the fullness of life

The Church

Those who mourn

Personal needs

Lord’s Prayer

Our Father in heaven, hallowed be your name, your kingdom come, your will be done, on earth as in heaven. Give us today our daily bread. Forgive us our sins as we forgive those who sin against us. Save us from the time of trial and deliver us from evil. For the kingdom, the power, and the glory are yours, now and forever. Amen.

Diocesan prayer for regeneration

As the kotuki gently rests upon the tree, come Holy Spirit an rest upon us as we pray for the regeneration of our Diocese.

Ever-living God, through your Spirit you constantly renew the whole creation; bring regeneration to your Diocese of Christchurch, grant us courage to grow disciples of Jesus, give us vision to reach young people and their families, and strengthen us to create vibrant communities of faith.

All this we ask this in Jesus name. Amen

Monday 26 February

Open our lips O Lord, that our mouths may proclaim your praise

Reading

In Luke 6:36-38,

Reflection

Jesus imparts a profound lesson to his followers, emphasizing the virtue of compassion and generosity. It begins with a call to emulate the divine attribute of mercy: "Be merciful, just as your Father is merciful." Here, the importance of reflecting God's mercy in our daily interactions is accentuated.

The subsequent verses delve into the reciprocal nature of kindness and generosity. The imagery of a measure pressed down, shaken together, and running over implies an abundance that results from a heart willing to give generously. We could interpret this as an invitation to transcend mere compliance with rules, encouraging believers to go beyond the minimum requirements of righteousness.

The communal aspect of faith, underscores the interconnectedness of individuals within the Body of Christ. Further reflection finds a call to cultivate a spirit of forgiveness and generosity within the community, fostering an environment where grace overflows.

Furthermore, the passage encourages discernment in judgment. We must caution against condemnation as a reminder to approach others with humility, recognizing the imperfections shared by all. This attitude promotes unity and understanding within our Community of faith, reflecting the broader Christian principle of unconditional love.

This reading serves as a guiding principle for living out the faith in a tangible way. It encourages us to embody God's mercy, practice generosity, and cultivate a non-judgmental spirit within the community. The passage challenges us to move beyond legalistic adherence, embracing a transformative faith that impacts both individual lives and the broader Christian fellowship

Prayers

Family and friends,

Those in need

Those robbed from the fullness of life

The Church

Those who mourn

Personal needs

Lord’s Prayer

Our Father in heaven, hallowed be your name, your kingdom come, your will be done, on earth as in heaven. Give us today our daily bread. Forgive us our sins as we forgive those who sin against us. Save us from the time of trial and deliver us from evil. For the kingdom, the power, and the glory are yours, now and forever. Amen.

Diocesan prayer for regeneration

As the kotuki gently rests upon the tree, come Holy Spirit an rest upon us as we pray for the regeneration of our Diocese.

Ever-living God, through your Spirit you constantly renew the whole creation; bring regeneration to your Diocese of Christchurch, grant us courage to grow disciples of Jesus, give us vision to reach young people and their families, and strengthen us to create vibrant communities of faith.

All this we ask this in Jesus name. Amen

Friday 23 February

Open our lips O Lord, that our mouths may proclaim your praise

Reading

Matthew 5:20-26

Reflection

Jesus delves into the heart of righteousness, challenging his followers to exceed the external righteousness of the Pharisees. Within the Anglican tradition, this passage inspires reflections on the transformative nature of true righteousness, reconciliation, and the significance of inner disposition.

Anglicans, rooted in a liturgical heritage, understand that righteousness transcends mere adherence to religious practices. The call to surpass the righteousness of the Pharisees directs Anglicans toward a deeper engagement with faith, emphasizing the transformation of the heart. The Anglican approach to worship and spiritual disciplines seeks an authentic, inward righteousness that extends beyond external observances.

Jesus highlights the importance of reconciliation in verses 23-24, urging believers to reconcile with others before offering their gifts at the altar. This resonates profoundly with Anglican emphasis on forgiveness and reconciliation, both sacramentally in the Eucharist and practically in daily life. The Anglican tradition recognizes the interconnectedness of worship and ethical conduct, encouraging a life marked by reconciliation and peace.

The Anglican commitment to social justice finds echoes in this passage, particularly in the emphasis on being reconciled with one's brother or sister. Anglicans are called to address conflicts and injustices, recognizing that a reconciled community reflects the Kingdom of God. This resonates with the Anglican focus on living out the Gospel in tangible ways within the broader society.

The passage concludes with a sense of urgency, encouraging swift reconciliation to avoid adverse consequences. This aligns with the Anglican understanding of the immediacy of God's grace and the importance of addressing conflicts promptly. Anglicans are reminded that a reconciled heart is foundational to genuine worship and faithful living.

In this, Jesus emphasizes the transformative nature of true righteousness, the significance of reconciliation, and the integration of worship and ethical living. This passage challenges Anglicans to cultivate an inward righteousness that reflects the love and reconciliation found in Christ

Prayers

Family and friends,

Those in need

Those robbed from the fullness of life

The Church

Those who mourn

Personal needs

Lord’s Prayer

Our Father in heaven, hallowed be your name, your kingdom come, your will be done, on earth as in heaven. Give us today our daily bread. Forgive us our sins as we forgive those who sin against us. Save us from the time of trial and deliver us from evil. For the kingdom, the power, and the glory are yours, now and forever. Amen.

Diocesan prayer for regeneration

As the kotuki gently rests upon the tree, come Holy Spirit an rest upon us as we pray for the regeneration of our Diocese.

Ever-living God, through your Spirit you constantly renew the whole creation; bring regeneration to your Diocese of Christchurch, grant us courage to grow disciples of Jesus, give us vision to reach young people and their families, and strengthen us to create vibrant communities of faith.

All this we ask this in Jesus name. Amen

Thursday 22 February

Open our lips O Lord, that our mouths may proclaim your praise

Reading

Matthew 7:7-12

Reflection

Jesus encourages his followers to seek, ask, and knock, assuring them that those who seek will find, those who ask will receive, and those who knock will have the door opened. This passage, commonly known as the "Ask, Seek, Knock" passage, resonates deeply within the Anglican tradition, emphasizing the importance of prayer, trust in God's providence, and the ethical teachings of Christ.

Anglicans, grounded in a tradition of liturgical worship, find solace and guidance in the transformative power of prayer. The words of Jesus in this passage reinforce the significance of persistent and earnest prayer. Anglicans are encouraged to approach God with confidence, knowing that God responds to sincere hearts and faithful petitions.

The relational aspect of prayer within Anglicanism aligns with the teachings of Jesus in this passage. The imagery of a loving Father who gives good gifts to His children underscores the familial nature of the Christian's relationship with God. This resonates with Anglican spirituality, emphasizing the intimacy of communion with God through prayer and the sacraments.

The "Golden Rule" presented by Jesus in verses 12, "So whatever you wish that others would do to you, do also to them," aligns closely with Anglican ethical teachings. The emphasis on treating others with love, respect, and fairness reflects Anglican commitment to social justice and the dignity of every human being. This ethical framework guides Anglicans in their interactions with others and their engagement in broader societal issues.

This reading centers on the transformative power of prayer, the intimate relationship with God, and the ethical imperative to treat others with love and fairness. This passage serves as a guiding light for Anglicans, encouraging them to approach God with confidence, live out the teachings of Christ in their daily lives, and embody the love and justice of the Kingdom of God.

Prayers

Family and friends,

Those in need

Those robbed from the fullness of life

The Church

Those who mourn

Personal needs

Lord’s Prayer

Our Father in heaven, hallowed be your name, your kingdom come, your will be done, on earth as in heaven. Give us today our daily bread. Forgive us our sins as we forgive those who sin against us. Save us from the time of trial and deliver us from evil. For the kingdom, the power, and the glory are yours, now and forever. Amen.

Diocesan prayer for regeneration

As the kotuki gently rests upon the tree, come Holy Spirit an rest upon us as we pray for the regeneration of our Diocese.

Ever-living God, through your Spirit you constantly renew the whole creation; bring regeneration to your Diocese of Christchurch, grant us courage to grow disciples of Jesus, give us vision to reach young people and their families, and strengthen us to create vibrant communities of faith.

All this we ask this in Jesus name. Amen

Wednesday 21 February

Open our lips O Lord, that our mouths may proclaim your praise

Reading

Luke 11:29-32

Reflection

Luke presents a passage where Jesus responds to the demand for a sign by emphasizing the importance of spiritual discernment. Within the Anglican tradition, this passage prompts reflections on the nature of faith, the call to repentance, and the recognition of God's presence in the ordinary.

Anglicans, with a rich liturgical heritage, appreciate the significance of signs and symbols in worship. However, this passage challenges the mere pursuit of miraculous signs, redirecting focus towards a deeper spiritual understanding. It invites Anglicans to engage in thoughtful reflection on the essence of faith beyond the sensational.

The call to repentance, echoed by Jesus in this passage, resonates with Anglican theology. Repentance is not merely a one-time act but a continual process of turning towards God. Anglicans, grounded in the sacramental life, recognize the importance of repentance as a transformative journey towards spiritual renewal and growth.

The Anglican tradition places emphasis on recognizing God's presence in the ordinary aspects of life. While Jesus denounces the demand for extraordinary signs, Anglicans find assurance in the ordinary signs of God's grace, present in everyday experiences, relationships, and the beauty of creation. This passage prompts Anglicans to cultivate a discerning heart, attuned to the subtle signs of God's work in the world.

In Anglicanism, there is a balance between the mystical and the practical. The passage encourages Anglicans to seek a deeper understanding of their faith, acknowledging that true wisdom comes not from extraordinary signs but from a sincere and open-hearted pursuit of God's will.

Luke calls for a thoughtful engagement with faith, a commitment to ongoing repentance, and an awareness of God's presence in the ordinary aspects of life. This passage invites Anglicans to embrace a discerning spirituality, recognizing the transformative power of a faith that goes beyond mere signs and embraces the deeper truths of God's kingdom.

Prayers

Family and friends,

Those in need

Those robbed from the fullness of life

The Church

Those who mourn

Personal needs

Lord’s Prayer

Our Father in heaven, hallowed be your name, your kingdom come, your will be done, on earth as in heaven. Give us today our daily bread. Forgive us our sins as we forgive those who sin against us. Save us from the time of trial and deliver us from evil. For the kingdom, the power, and the glory are yours, now and forever. Amen.

Diocesan prayer for regeneration

As the kotuki gently rests upon the tree, come Holy Spirit an rest upon us as we pray for the regeneration of our Diocese.

Ever-living God, through your Spirit you constantly renew the whole creation; bring regeneration to your Diocese of Christchurch, grant us courage to grow disciples of Jesus, give us vision to reach young people and their families, and strengthen us to create vibrant communities of faith.

All this we ask this in Jesus name. Amen

Tuesday 20 February

Open our lips O Lord, that our mouths may proclaim your praise

Reading

Matthew 6:7-15

Reflection

The Lord's Prayer is a profound and foundational aspect of Christian spirituality. Within the Anglican tradition, this passage holds deep significance, reflecting Anglican theology and worship practices.

The Anglican emphasis on liturgy and corporate worship aligns seamlessly with the communal nature of the Lord's Prayer. Anglicans engage in common prayer, finding unity and shared devotion through these sacred words. The structured and repetitive nature of the prayer resonates with Anglican worship, fostering a sense of continuity and connection across generations.

Anglicans hold a profound reverence for Scripture, and the Lord's Prayer, being a scriptural prayer given by Christ himself, holds a central place. It serves as a guide for personal and communal prayer, encapsulating essential theological truths and emphasizing the sovereignty of God.

The Lord's Prayer encapsulates the Anglican commitment to both personal piety and communal worship. In private devotion, Anglicans find solace and guidance in the familiar words, while in congregational settings, the prayer becomes a unifying force, echoing through the centuries as a shared expression of faith.

Within Anglicanism, there is an acknowledgment of human frailty and dependence on God's grace. The prayer's petitions for forgiveness and deliverance from temptation resonate with Anglican understanding of the human condition, reinforcing the constant need for divine guidance and mercy.

Anglicans appreciate the Lord's Prayer as a comprehensive and balanced expression of Christian discipleship. It encompasses adoration, petition, and acknowledgment of God's sovereignty. Anglican reflections on Matthew 6:7-15 often emphasize the transformative power of this prayer in shaping the spiritual lives of individuals and the collective identity of Anglican worshiping communities. In the rhythm of the Lord's Prayer, Anglicans find a timeless and universal expression of their faith, connecting them to the broader Christian tradition.

Prayers

Family and friends,

Those in need

Those robbed from the fullness of life

The Church

Those who mourn

Personal needs

Lord’s Prayer

Our Father in heaven, hallowed be your name, your kingdom come, your will be done, on earth as in heaven. Give us today our daily bread. Forgive us our sins as we forgive those who sin against us. Save us from the time of trial and deliver us from evil. For the kingdom, the power, and the glory are yours, now and forever. Amen.

Diocesan prayer for regeneration

As the kotuki gently rests upon the tree, come Holy Spirit an rest upon us as we pray for the regeneration of our Diocese.

Ever-living God, through your Spirit you constantly renew the whole creation; bring regeneration to your Diocese of Christchurch, grant us courage to grow disciples of Jesus, give us vision to reach young people and their families, and strengthen us to create vibrant communities of faith.

All this we ask this in Jesus name. Amen

Monday 19 February

Open our lips O Lord, that our mouths may proclaim your praise

Reading

In Matthew 25:31-46

Reflection

Jesus presents the narrative commonly known as the "Judgment of the Nations." Within the Anglican tradition, this passage resonates deeply with its commitment to social justice, inclusivity, and a sacramental approach to life.

Anglicans, echoing the teachings of Christ, find a true concept of social justice. This passage underscores the righteous being commended for acts of kindness and compassion, emphasizing the Anglican dedication to addressing societal inequalities. It calls upon Anglicans to actively engage in the alleviation of suffering, mirroring Christ's concern for the marginalized.

Furthermore, the Anglican commitment to inclusivity and hospitality aligns with the virtues praised in the passage. Welcoming strangers, feeding the hungry, and caring for the sick reflect Anglican values. This inclusivity extends beyond mere tolerance, emphasizing a genuine embrace of others, a characteristic deeply embedded in Anglican identity.

The sacramental living within Anglicanism finds resonance in the ordinary deeds highlighted in the passage. Acts of kindness become avenues for encountering the divine in the midst of daily life, reinforcing the Anglican belief that the sacred is immanent in the ordinary.

Balancing corporate worship and personal piety is another hallmark of Anglicanism. The passage underscores both personal acts of charity and collective responsibility, showcasing the Anglican ability to navigate the dual aspects of faith – personal commitment and communal engagement.

Repentance, a central theme in Anglican theology, is echoed in the call for transformation within the passage. Anglicans view repentance not as a mere acknowledgment of wrongdoing but as a transformative process leading to a more Christ-like way of living.

This reading emphasizes the accepted connection between faith and action, championing social justice, inclusivity, sacramental living, the balance of personal and communal aspects of faith, and the transformative power of repentance in the light of Christ's teachings.

Prayers

Family and friends,

Those in need

Those robbed from the fullness of life

The Church

Those who mourn

Personal needs

Lord’s Prayer

Our Father in heaven, hallowed be your name, your kingdom come, your will be done, on earth as in heaven. Give us today our daily bread. Forgive us our sins as we forgive those who sin against us. Save us from the time of trial and deliver us from evil. For the kingdom, the power, and the glory are yours, now and forever. Amen.

Diocesan prayer for regeneration

As the kotuki gently rests upon the tree, come Holy Spirit an rest upon us as we pray for the regeneration of our Diocese.

Ever-living God, through your Spirit you constantly renew the whole creation; bring regeneration to your Diocese of Christchurch, grant us courage to grow disciples of Jesus, give us vision to reach young people and their families, and strengthen us to create vibrant communities of faith.

All this we ask this in Jesus name. Amen

Friday 16 February

Open our lips O Lord, that our mouths may proclaim your praise

Reading

Matthew 2:13-18

Reflection

Matthew recounts the tragic events following the visit of the Magi and the revelation of Jesus as the prophesied Messiah. Filled with divine foresight, Joseph is warned in a dream to flee to Egypt with Mary and the infant Jesus to escape King Herod's ruthless decree to kill all male children under the age of two.

This passage unveils the harsh reality of a world opposed to the arrival of the promised Savior. Herod's paranoia and desire to eliminate any potential threat to his reign lead to the massacre of innocent children—a gruesome response to the news of the birth of the true King.

The flight to Egypt echoes the biblical narrative of Israel's history, drawing parallels to their journey during times of crisis. Joseph, Mary, and Jesus become refugees, symbolizing the vulnerable and displaced in the face of political tyranny. This reflects a recurring theme in Scripture—God's identification with those who suffer and the divine intervention to protect the chosen ones in times of peril.

The massacre of the innocents mirrors the darker aspects of the human condition, illustrating the consequences of unchecked power and the lengths to which people may go to preserve their authority. It emphasizes the contrast between the worldly and divine kingdoms, revealing the inherent conflict between the two.

As we study this paricope (small piece of scripture) we encounter the stark realities of a fallen world and the hostility faced by the embodiment of divine love. The passage invites contemplation on the suffering endured by Jesus from the early stages of his life, foreshadowing the ultimate sacrifice on the cross.

In the midst of this darkness, the narrative underscores God's providence and guidance, protecting the Christ child and ensuring the fulfillment of prophetic promises. Ultimately, we are invited to recognize God's sovereignty amid adversity, offering hope and assurance that, even in the bleakest circumstances, divine purpose prevails.

Prayers

Family and friends,

Those in need

Those robbed from the fullness of life

The Church

Those who mourn

Personal needs

Lord’s Prayer

Our Father in heaven, hallowed be your name, your kingdom come, your will be done, on earth as in heaven. Give us today our daily bread. Forgive us our sins as we forgive those who sin against us. Save us from the time of trial and deliver us from evil. For the kingdom, the power, and the glory are yours, now and forever. Amen.

Diocesan prayer for regeneration

As the kotuki gently rests upon the tree, come Holy Spirit an rest upon us as we pray for the regeneration of our Diocese.

Ever-living God, through your Spirit you constantly renew the whole creation; bring regeneration to your Diocese of Christchurch, grant us courage to grow disciples of Jesus, give us vision to reach young people and their families, and strengthen us to create vibrant communities of faith.

All this we ask this in Jesus name. Amen

Thursday 15 February

Open our lips O Lord, that our mouths may proclaim your praise

Reading

Luke 9:22-25

Reflection

Luke captures a significant moment in Jesus' ministry where he reveals to his disciples the impending suffering, death, and resurrection he will face. This passage underscores the paradox of discipleship, emphasizing the cost and sacrifice inherent in following Jesus.

Jesus' statement, "The Son of Man must suffer many things," challenges conventional expectations of a triumphant Messiah and introduces the concept of redemptive suffering. It reveals a divine plan that involves sacrifice for the sake of humanity's salvation, offering a profound lesson on the transformative power of self-denial.

The call to take up one's cross daily echoes throughout the passage, symbolizing a commitment to endure hardship and persecution for the sake of Christ. This metaphorical cross represents the challenges and trials inherent in discipleship, calling believers to embrace the difficulties that may arise in their journey of faith.

The verse "For whoever wants to save their life will lose it, but whoever loses their life for me will save it" encapsulates the paradoxical nature of Christian discipleship. It challenges the conventional pursuit of self-preservation and material gain, emphasizing that true life and salvation are found in surrendering one's life for the sake of Christ and the Gospel.

Further reflection finds us confronted with the radical demands of discipleship. It prompts a deep examination of personal priorities and a willingness to sacrifice for the sake of the Kingdom. The passage calls for a shift in perspective, urging believers to understand that true life and fulfillment come not through self-centered pursuits but through selfless dedication to Christ.

This is a challenge to believers to embrace the cross, acknowledging the transformative power of sacrificial living, and inviting them to a profound and counter-cultural journey of discipleship.

Prayers

Family and friends,

Those in need

Those robbed from the fullness of life

The Church

Those who mourn

Personal needs

Lord’s Prayer

Our Father in heaven, hallowed be your name, your kingdom come, your will be done, on earth as in heaven. Give us today our daily bread. Forgive us our sins as we forgive those who sin against us. Save us from the time of trial and deliver us from evil. For the kingdom, the power, and the glory are yours, now and forever. Amen.

Diocesan prayer for regeneration

As the kotuki gently rests upon the tree, come Holy Spirit an rest upon us as we pray for the regeneration of our Diocese.

Ever-living God, through your Spirit you constantly renew the whole creation; bring regeneration to your Diocese of Christchurch, grant us courage to grow disciples of Jesus, give us vision to reach young people and their families, and strengthen us to create vibrant communities of faith.

All this we ask in Jesus name. Amen

Wednesday 14 February (Ash Wednesday)

Open our lips O Lord, that our mouths may proclaim your praise

Reading

Matthew 6:1-6, 16-21

Reflection

Today we read of Jesus' teachings on acts of righteousness, prayer, fasting, and the pursuit of earthly treasures. It begins with a caution against performing acts of righteousness for public recognition, emphasizing the importance of sincerity over outward displays. The passage underscores the intimate nature of one's relationship with God, suggesting that genuine devotion requires a private, heartfelt connection rather than seeking applause from others.

Regarding prayer, Jesus encourages a personal, authentic communication with God, discouraging the use of empty, repetitive words. This challenges believers to cultivate a genuine dialogue with the Divine, fostering a connection that goes beyond mere ritualistic practices.

The section on fasting reinforces the theme of sincerity, cautioning against public displays of self-denial to gain admiration. Instead, it advocates for a discreet approach, highlighting the personal and transformative nature of fasting as an intimate discipline between the individual and God.

The latter part of the passage delves into the idea of treasures and priorities. It advises against accumulating earthly wealth that is vulnerable to decay or theft. Instead, the focus should be on accumulating treasures in heaven—spiritual investments that endure beyond the transient nature of material possessions.

Jesus prompts believers to examine their motives in acts of devotion. It encourages a shift from performative spirituality to a more profound, intimate connection with God. The emphasis on the private nature of these practices challenges us to seek God's approval rather than human acclaim.

In the context of treasures, the passage encourages a re-evaluation of priorities. It invites believers to consider where their true investments lie, emphasizing the enduring value of spiritual pursuits over fleeting material possessions.

Ultimately, this reading serves as a profound guide for cultivating a sincere, private, and spiritually enriching relationship with God, redirecting our focus from external displays to the internal transformation of the heart.

Prayers

Family and friends,

Those in need

Those robbed from the fullness of life

The Church

Those who mourn

Personal needs

Lord’s Prayer

Our Father in heaven, hallowed be your name, your kingdom come, your will be done, on earth as in heaven. Give us today our daily bread. Forgive us our sins as we forgive those who sin against us. Save us from the time of trial and deliver us from evil. For the kingdom, the power, and the glory are yours, now and forever. Amen.

Diocesan prayer for regeneration

As the kotuki gently rests upon the tree, come Holy Spirit an rest upon us as we pray for the regeneration of our Diocese.

Ever-living God, through your Spirit you constantly renew the whole creation; bring regeneration to your Diocese of Christchurch, grant us courage to grow disciples of Jesus, give us vision to reach young people and their families, and strengthen us to create vibrant communities of faith.

All this we ask in Jesus name. Amen

Tuesday 13 February

Open our lips O Lord, that our mouths may proclaim your praise

Reading

Mark 8:14-21

Reflection

This is a pivotal moment in Jesus' ministry as he warns his disciples about the leaven of the Pharisees and Herod. The disciples, misunderstanding his metaphor, focus on their physical lack of bread rather than grasping the deeper spiritual lesson.

This passage underscores the importance of spiritual discernment and the potential pitfalls of a narrow, materialistic perspective. Jesus uses the leaven metaphor to caution against the corrupting influence of false teachings and hypocrisy. The Pharisees and Herod represent a distorted understanding of religious authority and political power, and Jesus urges his disciples to guard against such influences.

The disciples' preoccupation with physical bread reveals their struggle to comprehend the profound spiritual truths Jesus imparts. His frustration with their lack of understanding serves as a reminder that faith requires not only observation but also a depth of insight and spiritual awareness.

In our own lives, it prompts us to examine our priorities. Are we fixated on material concerns to the detriment of spiritual growth? Jesus challenges us to rise above the immediate demands of daily life and perceive the broader spiritual realities at play.

Moreover, this passage encourages believers to cultivate a discerning spirit, recognizing and resisting the subtle influences that can compromise genuine faith. It's a call to engage with teachings at a deeper level, beyond surface-level concerns, and to be vigilant against the pervasive leaven of falsehood.

Mark invites us to consider whether our focus is solely on the tangible aspects of life or if we are attuned to the spiritual dimensions that shape our understanding of faith. The challenge is to move beyond the literal and embrace the transformative power of spiritual insight, allowing the teachings of Jesus to shape our perspectives and guide our journey of faith.

Prayers

Family and friends,

Those in need

Those robbed from the fullness of life

The Church

Those who mourn

Personal needs

Lord’s Prayer

Our Father in heaven, hallowed be your name, your kingdom come, your will be done, on earth as in heaven. Give us today our daily bread. Forgive us our sins as we forgive those who sin against us. Save us from the time of trial and deliver us from evil. For the kingdom, the power, and the glory are yours, now and forever. Amen.

Diocesan prayer for regeneration

As the kotuki gently rests upon the tree, come Holy Spirit an rest upon us as we pray for the regeneration of our Diocese.

Ever-living God, through your Spirit you constantly renew the whole creation; bring regeneration to your Diocese of Christchurch, grant us courage to grow disciples of Jesus, give us vision to reach young people and their families, and strengthen us to create vibrant communities of faith.

All this we ask in Jesus name. Amen

Monday 12 February

Open our lips O Lord, that our mouths shall proclaim your praise

Reading

Mark 8:11-13

Reflection

Jesus encounters the Pharisees, who demand a sign from heaven to test him. This request reflects their lack of faith and understanding of the signs already presented to them. Jesus, aware of their hardened hearts, sighs deeply and refuses to provide another sign.

This passage prompts reflection on the nature of faith and the human tendency to seek constant validation. Jesus had performed numerous miracles, yet the Pharisees remained skeptical, seeking further evidence. Their refusal to acknowledge the signs reveals a deeper spiritual blindness.

The sigh of Jesus conveys a sense of disappointment and compassion. Despite his divine power, he laments the spiritual condition of those around him. This challenges us to examine our own faith and receptivity to the signs of God's presence in our lives.

Furthermore, this passage highlights the danger of demanding signs as a condition for belief. Faith requires a willingness to trust without always relying on tangible proof. Jesus' response encourages believers to cultivate a faith grounded in the recognition of the signs already present, such as the teachings and miracles witnessed.

We are called to examine our hearts and question whether we, like the Pharisees, seek constant reassurance or if we can trust in the signs and teachings already given. It urges us to cultivate a faith that goes beyond the desire for miraculous events, embracing the profound significance of God's ongoing presence in our lives.

Ultimately, this passage prompts believers to strive for a deeper, more mature faith that transcends the need for continuous signs and instead rests on a profound trust in the revealed truth of God's love and redemption.

Prayers

Family and friends,

Those in need

Those robbed from the fullness of life

The Church

Those who mourn

Personal needs

Lord’s Prayer

Our Father in heaven, hallowed be your name, your kingdom come, your will be done, on earth as in heaven. Give us today our daily bread. Forgive us our sins as we forgive those who sin against us. Save us from the time of trial and deliver us from evil. For the kingdom, the power, and the glory are yours, now and forever. Amen.

Diocesan prayer for regeneration

As the kotuki gently rests upon the tree, come Holy Spirit an rest upon us as we pray for the regeneration of our Diocese.

Ever-living God, through your Spirit you constantly renew the whole creation; bring regeneration to your Diocese of Christchurch, grant us courage to grow disciples of Jesus, give us vision to reach young people and their families, and strengthen us to create vibrant communities of faith.

All this we ask in Jesus name. Amen 

Daily Devotions: Friday 9 February

God of Everything, open our minds to hear your voice speaking to us within the business of our day, that we might focus ourselves upon you and the grace you offer ourselves and our Church. Amen

ReadingMark 7:31-37

Refection of the Gospel reading

This is a poignant moment in Jesus' ministry, where he heals a man who is deaf and has a speech impediment. This passage highlights not only Jesus' miraculous power but also the profound impact of divine compassion on an individual's life.

   The setting of the healing, in the region of the Decapolis, emphasizes Jesus' ministry reaching beyond traditional Jewish territories. It underscores the universal nature of his compassion, extending to those outside his immediate cultural context. The deaf man's condition symbolizes not only physical impairment but also the inability to fully engage with and comprehend the world around him.

   Jesus' method of healing, touching the man's ears and tongue, conveys a personal and intimate connection. It reflects the tangible nature of divine compassion and the transformative power of God's touch. The command "Ephphatha," meaning "Be opened," not only restores the man's physical senses but also carries a broader spiritual significance, symbolizing the opening of one's heart and understanding to the divine.

   The response of the crowd, filled with astonishment and acclaim, highlights the tangible impact of Jesus' miracles on the people. Beyond the physical healing, this encounter serves as a metaphor for the spiritual liberation that comes through encountering Christ. It underscores the notion that through divine intervention, one's ability to hear and speak metaphorically expands, allowing for a deeper understanding and expression of faith.

   Let us then, consider the transformative power of divine compassion and the universality of Jesus' healing ministry. It invites believers to consider their own openness to the touch of God and challenges them to be vessels of compassion in reaching out to others. This passage resonates as a testament to the accessibility of God's transformative love, breaking through barriers and bringing healing to both the physical and spiritual dimensions of human existence.

 

The Profession of our faith

                               

We believe in one God,
the Father, the Almighty,
maker of heaven and earth,
of all that is,
seen and unseen.

We believe in one Lord, Jesus Christ,
the only Son of God,
eternally begotten of the Father,
God from God, Light from Light,
true God from true God,
begotten, not made,
of one being with the Father;
through him all things were made.
For us and for our salvation
he came down from heaven,
was incarnate of the Holy Spirit and the Virgin Mary
and became fully human.
For our sake he was crucified under Pontius Pilate;
he suffered death and was buried.
On the third day he rose again
in accordance with the Scriptures;
he ascended into heaven
and is seated at the right hand of the Father.
He will come again in glory to judge
the living and the dead, 
and his kingdom will have no end.

We believe in the Holy Spirit,
the Lord, the giver of life, 
who proceeds from the Father and the Son,
who in unity with the Father and the Son
is worshipped and glorified, 
and has spoken through the prophets.

We believe in one holy catholic and apostolic Church.
We acknowledge one baptism for the forgiveness of sins.
We look for the resurrection of the dead,
and the life of the world to come.    Amen.

We offer prayers for the fulfilment of our hopes and dreams:

·     Our family

·     Our local community

·     Our world

·     Those robbed from the fullness of life

·     Those in pain

·     Our own hopes, aspirations and dreams

·     The Lord’s Prayer

May the God of Hope continue to bless us and our ministries, and may you walk with me on this day Amen.

Daily Devotions: Thursday 8 February

God of Everything, open our minds to hear your voice speaking to us within the business of our day, that we might focus ourselves upon you and the grace you offer ourselves and our Church. Amen

Reading: Mark 7:24-30

Refection of the Gospel reading

Today’s reading unfolds a unique encounter between Jesus and a Syrophoenician woman, showcasing the breadth of Christ's compassion and challenging societal norms. This passage stands out as Jesus engages with someone outside the Jewish community, breaking down cultural and religious barriers.

    The woman approaches Jesus, seeking healing for her possessed daughter. Her persistence, despite Jesus initially seeming to reject her plea, reflects unwavering faith. Jesus' response, though seemingly harsh, exposes societal prejudices of the time, highlighting the prevailing attitude toward non-Jews.

    Jesus' use of the term "dogs" to describe non-Jews was a cultural expression of the era, yet the woman's quick and clever reply shows her humility and profound faith. She acknowledges her status but appeals to Jesus' mercy, emphasizing her recognition of his ability to extend grace beyond cultural boundaries.

    This encounter challenges readers to confront their own biases and prejudices. Jesus' ultimate acknowledgment of the woman's faith and the subsequent healing of her daughter demonstrate the universality of God's love and the breaking down of religious barriers. It serves as a powerful reminder that no one is beyond the reach of divine compassion, regardless of cultural or religious background.

   This reading invites reflection on the inclusivity of God's grace and challenges believers to examine their attitudes toward those deemed different or outside their cultural or religious circles. It prompts a reevaluation of societal norms and a recognition that faith transcends boundaries.

    This narrative unfolds faith triumphing over cultural barriers. It urges readers to emulate the woman's persistent faith and challenges them to foster a more inclusive understanding of God's grace, breaking down the walls that society often erects between individuals and communities.

 

The Profession of our faith

                               

We believe in one God,
the Father, the Almighty,
maker of heaven and earth,
of all that is,
seen and unseen.

We believe in one Lord, Jesus Christ,
the only Son of God,
eternally begotten of the Father,
God from God, Light from Light,
true God from true God,
begotten, not made,
of one being with the Father;
through him all things were made.
For us and for our salvation
he came down from heaven,
was incarnate of the Holy Spirit and the Virgin Mary
and became fully human.
For our sake he was crucified under Pontius Pilate;
he suffered death and was buried.
On the third day he rose again
in accordance with the Scriptures;
he ascended into heaven
and is seated at the right hand of the Father.
He will come again in glory to judge
the living and the dead, 
and his kingdom will have no end.

We believe in the Holy Spirit,
the Lord, the giver of life, 
who proceeds from the Father and the Son,
who in unity with the Father and the Son
is worshipped and glorified, 
and has spoken through the prophets.

We believe in one holy catholic and apostolic Church.
We acknowledge one baptism for the forgiveness of sins.
We look for the resurrection of the dead,
and the life of the world to come.    Amen.

We offer prayers for the fulfilment of our hopes and dreams:

·     Our family

·     Our local community

·     Our world

·     Those robbed from the fullness of life

·     Those in pain

·     Our own hopes, aspirations and dreams

·     The Lord’s Prayer

May the God of Hope continue to bless us and our ministries, and may you walk with me on this day Amen.

Daily Devotions: Wednesday 7 February

God of Everything, open our minds to hear your voice speaking to us within the business of our day, that we might focus ourselves upon you and the grace you offer ourselves and our Church. Amen

Reading: Mark 7:14-23

Refection of the Gospel reading

Today we delve deeper into Jesus' teachings on defilement, shifting the focus from external rituals to the internal condition of the heart. In this passage, Jesus underscores the significance of one's thoughts and intentions, challenging the prevailing understanding of purity and emphasizing the root of moral defilement.

    Jesus declares that it is not external factors like food that defile a person, but rather what originates from within. He lists a series of moral vices, highlighting that evil thoughts, adultery, theft, and other sins arise from the heart. This shift in perspective challenges the Pharisaic emphasis on ceremonial purity, pushing his audience to recognize the deeper moral dimensions of righteousness.

    The teaching emphasizes the universality of sin, reminding the audience that all humans share a fallen nature. By pointing to the heart as the source of defilement, Jesus breaks down the external-versus-internal dichotomy, illustrating that genuine purity involves a transformation of the inner self.

    This passage prompts reflection on personal responsibility and accountability for one's thoughts and actions. It calls believers to examine their hearts, acknowledging the need for inner renewal and reliance on God's transformative power. The teaching challenges the tendency to rely solely on external behaviors as markers of righteousness and urges a holistic understanding of morality.

    This reading serves as a profound reminder that authentic spirituality transcends external appearances. It directs attention to the core of human nature, challenging individuals to confront the internal sources of moral impurity and seek a transformation of the heart. This passage echoes the timeless call to embrace a genuine and inwardly focused righteousness, recognizing that true purity emanates from a heart surrendered to God.

 

The Profession of our faith

                               

We believe in one God,
the Father, the Almighty,
maker of heaven and earth,
of all that is,
seen and unseen.

We believe in one Lord, Jesus Christ,
the only Son of God,
eternally begotten of the Father,
God from God, Light from Light,
true God from true God,
begotten, not made,
of one being with the Father;
through him all things were made.
For us and for our salvation
he came down from heaven,
was incarnate of the Holy Spirit and the Virgin Mary
and became fully human.
For our sake he was crucified under Pontius Pilate;
he suffered death and was buried.
On the third day he rose again
in accordance with the Scriptures;
he ascended into heaven
and is seated at the right hand of the Father.
He will come again in glory to judge
the living and the dead, 
and his kingdom will have no end.

We believe in the Holy Spirit,
the Lord, the giver of life, 
who proceeds from the Father and the Son,
who in unity with the Father and the Son
is worshipped and glorified, 
and has spoken through the prophets.

We believe in one holy catholic and apostolic Church.
We acknowledge one baptism for the forgiveness of sins.
We look for the resurrection of the dead,
and the life of the world to come.    Amen.

 

 

We offer prayers for the fulfilment of our hopes and dreams:

·     Our family

·     Our local community

·     Our world

·     Those robbed from the fullness of life

·     Those in pain

·     Our own hopes, aspirations and dreams

·     The Lord’s Prayer

May the God of Hope continue to bless us and our ministries, and may you walk with me on this day Amen.

Daily Devotions: Tuesday 6 February

God of Everything, open our minds to hear your voice speaking to us within the business of our day, that we might focus ourselves upon you and the grace you offer ourselves and our Church. Amen

Reading: Mark 7:1-13

Refection of the Gospel reading

Today we capture a critical moment in Jesus' interactions with religious leaders who question him about the disciples' failure to adhere to traditional ceremonial washing before eating. This passage delves into the tension between religious rituals and the true essence of spirituality, with Jesus challenging the Pharisees' external observances.

    The Pharisees and scribes confront Jesus, highlighting the disciples' deviation from the established ritual of washing hands before eating. In response, Jesus rebukes them, quoting Isaiah and accusing them of prioritizing human traditions over the commandments of God. This confrontation underscores a recurring theme in the Gospels, emphasizing the disparity between external religious practices and the state of one's heart.

    Jesus critiques the Pharisees for using traditions to nullify the Word of God, pointing to the danger of becoming entangled in religious formalities while neglecting genuine faith. He emphasizes that true defilement comes from within, from the intentions and attitudes of the heart. This challenges the prevailing notion that external rituals alone define one's righteousness.

    The passage invites reflection on the balance between tradition and authentic spirituality. It prompts readers to consider whether their religious practices align with a sincere and humble heart before God. Jesus' words urge believers to prioritize inner transformation over outward conformity, emphasizing a relationship with God that transcends mere adherence to rituals.

    This reading serves as a call to self-examination, challenging individuals to assess the motivations behind their religious practices. It prompts believers to embrace a faith that goes beyond external observances, recognizing the transformative power of a heart genuinely devoted to God. This passage resonates as a timeless reminder to cultivate a faith that reflects inner authenticity rather than getting entangled in superficial rituals.

 

The Profession of our faith

                               

We believe in one God,
the Father, the Almighty,
maker of heaven and earth,
of all that is,
seen and unseen.

We believe in one Lord, Jesus Christ,
the only Son of God,
eternally begotten of the Father,
God from God, Light from Light,
true God from true God,
begotten, not made,
of one being with the Father;
through him all things were made.
For us and for our salvation
he came down from heaven,
was incarnate of the Holy Spirit and the Virgin Mary
and became fully human.
For our sake he was crucified under Pontius Pilate;
he suffered death and was buried.
On the third day he rose again
in accordance with the Scriptures;
he ascended into heaven
and is seated at the right hand of the Father.
He will come again in glory to judge
the living and the dead, 
and his kingdom will have no end.

We believe in the Holy Spirit,
the Lord, the giver of life, 
who proceeds from the Father and the Son,
who in unity with the Father and the Son
is worshipped and glorified, 
and has spoken through the prophets.

We believe in one holy catholic and apostolic Church.
We acknowledge one baptism for the forgiveness of sins.
We look for the resurrection of the dead,
and the life of the world to come.    Amen.

We offer prayers for the fulfilment of our hopes and dreams:

·     Our family

·     Our local community

·     Our world

·     Those robbed from the fullness of life

·     Those in pain

·     Our own hopes, aspirations and dreams

·     The Lord’s Prayer

May the God of Hope continue to bless us and our ministries, and may you walk with me on this day Amen.

Daily Devotions: Monday 5 February

God of Everything, open our minds to hear your voice speaking to us within the business of our day, that we might focus ourselves upon you and the grace you offer ourselves and our Church. Amen

Reading: Mark 6:53-56

Refection of the Gospel reading

Todays reading recounts the aftermath of Jesus' ministry in the region of Gennesaret. As he and his disciples land, the people recognize him and rush to bring their sick to be healed. Jesus immediately had a profound effect with his ability to bring healing to those in need.

     The scene opens with the people recognizing Jesus, highlighting the widespread awareness of his miraculous abilities. The mention of Gennesaret underscores the far-reaching impact of Jesus' ministry, reaching beyond the immediate vicinity. The swift gathering of the sick indicates a deep faith and desperation among the people, believing that merely touching the fringe of Jesus' garment could bring healing.

     The act of reaching out to touch the hem of Jesus' robe reflects a profound trust in his power and divinity. It speaks to the intimate connection between faith and healing, emphasizing the accessibility of divine grace to those who earnestly seek it. The passage conveys a sense of urgency and longing among the people, demonstrating their yearning for spiritual and physical restoration.

     Jesus' response to the touch is poignant; he acknowledges the faith that propelled the act and subsequently brings healing. The power emanating from Jesus is portrayed as transformative, capable of restoring health with a mere touch. This reinforces the narrative of Jesus as a compassionate healer, attuned to the needs of the afflicted.

     In essence, Mark 6:53-56 portrays a community eagerly seeking solace and healing in the presence of Jesus. The passage encourages reflection on the inseparable link between faith and restoration, reminding believers of the transformative power inherent in a genuine connection with the divine. It serves as a testament to the enduring impact of Jesus' ministry, inviting contemporary readers to consider the relevance of such faith in their own lives.

The Profession of our faith

We believe in one God,
the Father, the Almighty,
maker of heaven and earth,
of all that is,
seen and unseen.

We believe in one Lord, Jesus Christ,
the only Son of God,
eternally begotten of the Father,
God from God, Light from Light,
true God from true God,
begotten, not made,
of one being with the Father;
through him all things were made.
For us and for our salvation
he came down from heaven,
was incarnate of the Holy Spirit and the Virgin Mary
and became fully human.
For our sake he was crucified under Pontius Pilate;
he suffered death and was buried.
On the third day he rose again
in accordance with the Scriptures;
he ascended into heaven
and is seated at the right hand of the Father.
He will come again in glory to judge
the living and the dead, 
and his kingdom will have no end.

We believe in the Holy Spirit,
the Lord, the giver of life, 
who proceeds from the Father and the Son,
who in unity with the Father and the Son
is worshipped and glorified, 
and has spoken through the prophets.

We believe in one holy catholic and apostolic Church.
We acknowledge one baptism for the forgiveness of sins.
We look for the resurrection of the dead,
and the life of the world to come.    Amen.

We offer prayers for the fulfilment of our hopes and dreams:

·     Our family

·     Our local community

·     Our world

·     Those robbed from the fullness of life

·     Those in pain

·     Our own hopes, aspirations and dreams

·     The Lord’s Prayer

May the God of Hope continue to bless us and our ministries, and may you walk with me on this day Amen.

Daily Devotions: Friday 2 February

God Almighty, walk with us today as we go about our daily lives. Help us to see you in the faces of those who we meet, the situations we encounter and the challenges that open before us. May we allow the examples of your presence to empower us to be your work and witness in tjis world. Amen

Reading: Luke 2:22-40

Refection of the Gospel reading

The presentation of Jesus at the temple, provides a glimpse into the faithful lives of Simeon and Anna. This passage is rich with themes of devotion, recognition, and the fulfillment of divine promises.

 

The narrative begins with Mary and Joseph fulfilling the customary rituals for newborns at the temple. Here, Simeon, a devout and righteous man, is prompted by the Holy Spirit to enter the temple precisely at the moment Jesus is brought in. Simeon's recognition of the infant as the fulfillment of God's promise brings forth a beautiful hymn of praise, known as the Nunc Dimittis. This moment reflects the deep connection between faithful waiting and the revelation of God's salvation.

 

Anna, a prophetess known for her devotion to the temple, also encounters the infant Jesus. Her response is one of immediate gratitude and proclamation. Like Simeon, Anna recognizes the significance of this child, signaling the beginning of redemption for Jerusalem.

 

This passage emphasizes the patience and faithful expectation of individuals like Simeon and Anna. Their lives were marked by continuous devotion and anticipation for the arrival of the Messiah. It prompts reflection on our own capacity to patiently wait on God's promises, trusting that God's timing is perfect and His faithfulness unwavering.

 

Furthermore, the diverse reactions to Jesus' presence in the temple highlight the contrasting responses to the Messiah. Simeon and Anna rejoice, recognizing the fulfillment of divine promises, while others remain unaware of the extraordinary significance of the moment. This serves as a poignant reminder of the varied ways people respond to the revelation of God in their midst.

 

We are encouraged to accept a patient expectancy in our faith journey, to be attuned to the movements of the Holy Spirit, and to recognize the fulfillment of God's promises even in seemingly ordinary moments. It challenges us to adopt an attitude of worship and proclamation when encountering the presence of God in our lives.

We offer prayers for the fulfilment of our hopes and dreams:

Our family

Our local community

Our world

Those robbed from the fullness of life

Those in pain

Our own hopes, aspirations and dreams

The Lord’s Prayer

May the Grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, the love of God and the Fellowship of the Holy Spirit be with us always. Amen.

Daily Devotions: Thursday 1 February

God Almighty, walk with us today as we go about our daily lives. Help us to see you in the faces of those who we meet, the situations we encounter and the challenges that open before us. May we allow the examples of your presence to empower us to be your work and witness in tjis world. Amen

Mark 6:7-13

Reflection on the Gospel reading

Mark writes of the moment when Jesus empowers His twelve disciples to extend His ministry by sending them out in pairs. This passage unfolds as a significant transition, marking the disciples' active participation in spreading the message of the Kingdom.

 

Firstly, the act of sending them in pairs emphasizes the importance of community and partnership in ministry. By pairing up, the disciples not only share the workload but also provide mutual support and encouragement. This model underscores the relational aspect of spreading the Gospel, emphasizing the collaborative nature of discipleship.

 

The instructions Jesus gives to the disciples are noteworthy. They are sent with minimal provisions, relying on the hospitality of those they encounter. This deliberate limitation prompts the disciples to trust in God's provision and fosters a dependence on the communities they serve. It reflects a lesson in humility and reliance on divine guidance, reinforcing the idea that their effectiveness in ministry is not solely dependent on material resources.

 

Furthermore, the call to shake off the dust from their feet as a testimony against those who reject the message is a powerful symbolic gesture. It communicates a detachment from resistance and a commitment to move forward. This aspect of the passage encourages reflection on how we handle rejection in our own lives and ministries. Are we able to shake off the dust and continue in our mission, trusting that God's Word will find fertile ground elsewhere?

 

The disciples' subsequent report of their experiences reveals the impact of their mission. They not only preached repentance but also performed miracles, validating the authority bestowed upon them by Jesus. This underscores the connection between proclamation and demonstration, emphasizing that the message of the Kingdom is not merely spoken but lived out through tangible acts of love and healing.

 

In this reading, we are  challenged to consider our approach to sharing the Gospel. Are we willing to collaborate with others, trust in divine provision, and persist in our mission even in the face of rejection? The passage serves as a blueprint for authentic discipleship, emphasizing the transformative power of a message proclaimed and lived out in community.

We offer prayers for the fulfilment of our hopes and dreams:

Our family

Our local community

Our world

Those robbed from the fullness of life

Those in pain

Our own hopes, aspirations and dreams

The Lord’s Prayer

May the Grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, the love of God and the Fellowship of the Holy Spirit be with us always. Amen.

 

Wednesday 31 January

Mark 6:1-6

Today we are presented with  a poignant scene where Jesus, upon returning to His hometown of Nazareth, faces rejection by the very community that watched Him grow. Despite witnessing His wisdom and miracles, the people express disbelief, questioning the source of His authority and wisdom.

 

The passage raises profound questions about familiarity and prejudice. The Nazarenes struggle to reconcile the Jesus they knew as a carpenter's son with the teacher and healer He had become. Their skepticism seems rooted in preconceived notions about His humble origins, hindering their ability to recognize the divine wisdom emanating from Him.

 

Jesus' response, "A prophet is not without honor, except in his hometown and among his relatives and in his own household," reflects the challenge faced by those intimately acquainted with a person's ordinary life. It highlights the difficulty of transcending familiarity and acknowledging the extraordinary potential within someone we've known in mundane contexts.

 

The passage encourages us to examine our own attitudes towards familiarity and bias. Do we sometimes dismiss the wisdom or potential of those close to us due to our preconceived notions about their past or background? Are we open to recognizing and accepting growth and transformation in people we think we know well?

 

Furthermore, the rejection in Nazareth prompts Jesus to marvel at their unbelief. This challenges us to reflect on our own receptivity to the divine in the midst of the familiar. Are we open to encountering God's work in unexpected ways and people, even if it defies our expectations?

 

In today’s reading the sobering reality that our familiarity with someone may hinder our ability to perceive the divine within them. It urges us to cultivate openness and humility, recognizing that God's transformative work can occur in the most ordinary and familiar aspects of our lives and relationships.

Tuesday 30 January

Mark 5:21-43

Today, Mark presents a compelling narrative intertwining two instances of healing, illustrating Jesus' compassion and the significance of faith. Jairus, a synagogue leader, approaches Jesus, pleading for his dying daughter. Amidst the urgency, an unnamed woman with a twelve-year-long issue of bleeding reaches out to touch the fringe of Jesus' garment, believing in the healing power emanating from Him.

 

This passage emphasizes the diverse ways faith manifests itself. Jairus exhibits a direct plea for his daughter's healing, demonstrating a faith that seeks Jesus' intervention. In contrast, the woman's silent touch signifies a quieter yet profound faith in the potency of Jesus' mere presence. Both stories highlight the accessibility of healing through faith, whether expressed through vocal supplication or quiet conviction.

 

The interruption caused by the woman's touch underscores the limitless nature of Christ's compassion. Despite the pressing situation with Jairus' daughter, Jesus acknowledges and commends the woman's faith. This teaches us that in the grand tapestry of God's mercy, every individual, regardless of circumstance, is seen and valued.

 

Jairus faces a moment of testing when messengers bring news of his daughter's death. Jesus, however, encourages him to persist in faith. The girl's resurrection illustrates the transformative power of unwavering belief in the face of apparent hopelessness.

 

Mark invites us to examine the depth and nature of our faith. Do we approach Jesus with trust in His ability to bring healing, even in seemingly impossible situations? Are we open to unconventional ways in which His mercy may manifest? This passage prompts us to consider the vitality of our faith, recognizing that, like Jairus and the unnamed woman, our encounters with Jesus have the potential to bring about profound transformation, whether through miraculous healing or a renewed sense of hope.

Monday 29 January

Mark 5:1-20

Mark recounts the story of Jesus encountering a demon-possessed man in the region of the Gerasenes. The man lived among tombs, uncontrollable and tormented by evil spirits. When Jesus approached, the demons recognized His authority, addressing Him as the Son of the Most High God. Astonishingly, Jesus commanded the legion of demons to leave the man and enter a herd of pigs nearby.

 

This passage highlights the power of Jesus over spiritual forces, demonstrating His divine authority. The pigs' subsequent rush into the sea serves as a vivid manifestation of the destructive nature of evil when confronted by the purity and holiness of Christ.

 

The reaction of the people in the area is intriguing. Instead of celebrating the miraculous healing, they were filled with fear and asked Jesus to leave. The presence of such power disrupted their understanding of the status quo. It prompts us to reflect on how we respond when confronted with the transformative power of Christ in our lives. Are we open to change, or do we resist, clinging to familiar but destructive patterns?

 

The healed man's desire to follow Jesus contrasts sharply with the community's fear. Jesus, however, instructs him to stay and share the story of God's mercy. This underscores the importance of personal testimony in spreading the message of redemption.

 

This reading challenges us to examine our own fears, prejudices, and resistance to change when confronted with the divine. It prompts us to consider how we might be instruments of God's transformative power in the lives of others, sharing our experiences of healing and redemption. The passage invites us to embrace the profound reality that encountering Jesus has the power to disrupt our lives in ways that lead to freedom, purpose, and a testimony that can impact others.

26 January

Mark 4:26-34

These two parables offer great insights into the nature of the Kingdom of God. The first parable depicts the growth of the seed, emphasizing the mysterious and gradual process that occurs as the kingdom unfolds. It emphasises the role of God in initiating and nurturing the growth, showcasing God’s ownership and the need for patient trust in His timing.

 

This imagery of growth encourages us to embrace a sense of humility, acknowledging that while we may play a part, the true power and initiative comes from God. It reminds us that the expansion of the Kingdom is not always immediately apparent; rather, it unfolds in ways that may be hidden or unnoticed.

 

The second parable likens the Kingdom to a mustard seed, initially the smallest of seeds but growing into a large plant that provides shelter for birds. This analogy speaks to the transformative and expansive nature of the Kingdom, starting from humble beginnings yet evolving into something substantial and inclusive.

 

The mustard seed parable challenges preconceived notions of greatness, illustrating that significant impact can arise from seemingly insignificant origins. It prompts reflection on the potential within each believer to contribute to the growth and impact of the Kingdom, regardless of their perceived smallness or inadequacy.

 

Together, these parables highlight the dynamic and multifaceted nature of the Kingdom of God. They encourage believers to trust in God’s process, to be patient in their spiritual journey, and to recognize the transformative potential inherent in even the smallest acts of faith.

 

In our own lives, these teachings invite us to embrace a posture of receptivity, allowing God to work in us and through us, even when the outcomes are not immediately evident. They inspire a humble acknowledgment of God's sovereignty and a commitment to participating in the growth of God's Kingdom, contributing our unique gifts and trusting in the power of divine transformation.

25 January

Matthew 19:23-30

This reading captures an interesting conversation between Jesus and his disciples, emphasizing the challenges associated with wealth and the ultimate reward of discipleship. Jesus declares that it is difficult for the rich to enter the kingdom of heaven, illustrating the potential entanglement of material wealth with spiritual priorities.

 

The image of a camel passing through the eye of a needle vividly portrays the seemingly insurmountable difficulty for the wealthy to detach from their possessions. This challenges us to reassess our relationship with material abundance, urging us to recognize the potential pitfalls of wealth when it becomes a hindrance to spiritual growth.

 

However, Jesus doesn't merely highlight the challenges but assures that with God, all things are possible. This statement underscores the transformative power of faith and divine intervention, suggesting that even the seemingly impossible detachment from wealth can be achieved through reliance on God.

 

The subsequent dialogue with Peter reveals the disciples' concern about their own sacrifices in following Jesus. In response, Jesus reassures them that those who leave everything for the sake of the Gospel will receive manifold blessings in this life and eternal life in the age to come. This reinforces the principle that the cost of discipleship, though demanding, is accompanied by immeasurable rewards.

 

We are encouraged to reflection on our own attachments, prompting us to evaluate the role of wealth in our lives and its potential impact on our spiritual journey. It invites us to consider the sacrifices we are willing to make for the sake of the Gospel and challenges us to trust in God's promises of abundant blessings.

 

This reading serves as a poignant reminder of the delicate balance between earthly possessions and spiritual devotion, urging us to prioritize the eternal over the temporal and trust in the transformative power of God's grace.

24 January

Mark 4:1-20

The Parable of the Sower is a poignant teaching by Jesus. In this, Jesus employs agricultural imagery to illustrate the varying responses people have to the message of the Kingdom of God. The sower represents the one who proclaims the Word, while the different types of soil symbolize the receptivity of individuals.

 

The seed that falls on the path signifies those whose hearts are hardened, preventing the Word from taking root. The rocky ground represents those who initially receive the message with joy but lack depth, leading to withering when faced with trials. The thorny soil depicts individuals preoccupied with worldly concerns, stifling spiritual growth. Finally, the good soil represents those who receive the Word, allowing it to flourish and produce abundant fruit.

 

This parable prompts reflection on the state of our own hearts. Are we receptive to the Jesus, or do external influences harden our hearts? Do we allow the roots of our faith to penetrate deep, or do we falter when confronted with challenges? Are we mindful of worldly distractions that can choke the vitality of our spiritual life?

 

Furthermore, the parable highlights the importance of cultivating a receptive heart. It encourages believers to be intentional in nurturing their faith, removing impediments that hinder growth. It serves as a call to prioritize the Kingdom of God over fleeting concerns.

 

The enduring relevance of the Parable of the Sower challenges us to examine the soil of our hearts continually. It invites self-reflection and urges us to seek the transformative power of the Word. As we navigate life's journey, may we strive to be the good soil, allowing the seeds of truth to take root and bear fruit in abundance.

23 January

Mark 3:31-33

Today we find a brief but impactful moment in Jesus' ministry, highlighting the tension between family and spiritual connections. In this passage, Jesus' mother and brothers seek him, perhaps with concerns or a desire to intervene in his growing popularity. When informed of their presence, Jesus responds enigmatically, stating that those who do God's will are his true family.

 

This episode underscores a shift in understanding family bonds within the context of following Jesus. Jesus broadens the concept of family beyond biological ties, emphasizing the spiritual kinship formed by shared commitment to God's will. It challenges conventional notions of loyalty and belonging, inviting disciples to prioritize their spiritual connection over familial relationships.

 

While not diminishing the significance of family, Jesus points to a deeper, eternal connection with those who align themselves with God's purpose. This challenges believers to assess their priorities, recognizing that adherence to God's will forms the foundation of true spiritual kinship.

 

We must spend time reflecting on the transformative nature of discipleship and the redefined sense of belonging in the Kingdom of God. It invites believers to consider the depth of their commitment to God's will and the implications for their relationships, urging them to align their lives with a higher calling that transcends earthly connections.

 

In essence, this passage challenges us to reconsider the meaning of family in the context of discipleship, emphasizing the centrality of God's will in forming lasting and meaningful bonds. It calls for a paradigm shift, where spiritual ties become paramount, echoing Jesus' profound redefinition of familial relationships within the framework of divine purpose.

22 January

Mark 3:22-30

This is critical moment in Jesus' ministry, where the scribes accuse him of casting out demons by the power of the Devil. Jesus responds with a profound argument, asserting that a house divided against itself cannot stand. This passage highlights the tension between Jesus and the religious authorities, revealing their reluctance to accept his divine authority.

 

Jesus' assertion about a divided house carries deeper meaning, emphasizing the inherent conflict between good and evil. His miracles, aimed at healing and liberating individuals, challenge the established order. The scribes, however, blinded by their institutional position, attribute his actions to demonic influence. This confrontation illustrates the struggle between the kingdom of God and the forces of darkness.

 

The mention of unforgivable sin adds gravity to the narrative. Jesus warns of blasphemy against the Holy Spirit, suggesting that persistently attributing God's work to evil demonstrates a hardened heart resistant to divine influence. This stern warning prompts reflection on the nature of spiritual discernment and the consequences of rejecting the evident workings of God.

 

The passage invites us to examine own hearts and prejudices, urging them to recognize and embrace God's presence, even in unexpected ways. It challenges the tendency to judge based on preconceived notions and calls for humility in acknowledging the mysterious ways in which God operates.

 

Ultimately, te reading encourages believers to ponder the nature of spiritual discernment, the consequences of hardened hearts, and the importance of recognizing God's work, even when it challenges established norms. It serves as a cautionary tale about the danger of letting religious traditions blind us to the transformative power of God's love and grace.

 

 

20 January

This weeks readings in summary (Mark 2:18-3:19)

These readings presents a sequence of narratives that delve into various aspects of Jesus' ministry, highlighting themes of discipleship, religious traditions, compassion, and the growing opposition against Jesus.

 

The passage begins with the Pharisees questioning Jesus about fasting practices. Jesus responds with a metaphor of a wedding feast, emphasizing the need for joy and celebration in the presence of the bridegroom, symbolizing himself. This reflection challenges traditional religious norms, emphasizing the transformative nature of Jesus' presence and the joy found in his teachings.

 

The account of Jesus healing on the Sabbath further intensifies the conflict with the religious authorities. His act of compassion reveals a God-centered approach, prioritizing human needs over rigid adherence to rules. This challenges conventional interpretations of the Sabbath and underscores Jesus' authority to redefine religious practices.

 

The final verses detail the growing crowds and Jesus' strategic selection of the twelve disciples. The immense popularity of Jesus contrasts with the escalating opposition from religious leaders, setting the stage for the increasing tension in his ministry.

 

The naming of the twelve apostles, along with the mention of Judas Iscariot, foreshadows the unfolding narrative of betrayal. This somber note hints at the complex dynamics within the chosen circle and lays the groundwork for the profound events to come.

 

The contrasting reactions to Jesus – the crowds seeking healing and the religious leaders plotting against him – illustrate the polarizing impact of his ministry. This polarization becomes a central theme as Jesus' popularity grows, revealing the divisive nature of his teachings and actions.

 

The readings of this week invite us to consider the transformative nature of Jesus' ministry, the clash between traditional religious norms and compassionate intervention, and the escalating tension as opposition to Jesus intensifies. The passage serves as a pivotal moment in Mark's narrative, setting the stage for deeper theological exploration and the unfolding drama of Jesus' mission.

19 January

Mark 3:13-19

Today we look at Jesus selection of his Apostles. This passage illuminates key aspects of discipleship, leadership, and the transformative power of divine callings

 

Jesus' ascent to the mountainside before choosing the twelve signifies a sacred moment, highlighting the importance of seeking spiritual elevation and communion with God before making significant decisions. The deliberate choice of twelve disciples mirrors the twelve tribes of Israel, suggesting a symbolic renewal and fulfillment of God's covenant with His people.

 

The term "apostle" implies a distinct mission and authority. Jesus bestows upon the chosen disciples the power to preach, heal, and cast out demons, illustrating the transformative nature of divine callings. This act of empowerment challenges them to move beyond mere followership and actively engage in the ministry of Jesus.

 

The naming of Simon as Peter is a pivotal moment, symbolizing a transformative identity shift. This renaming echoes biblical traditions where God bestows new names upon individuals to signify their purpose and destiny.

 

The diverse backgrounds of the selected disciples underscore the inclusive nature of Jesus' ministry. From fishermen to a tax collector, the eclectic group challenges societal norms and emphasizes that God's grace transcends human categorizations.

 

However, the inclusion of Judas Iscariot, who would later betray Jesus, adds a poignant layer to the narrative. This serves as a reminder that even within the chosen circle, challenges and betrayals may emerge. It prompts reflection on the complexities of human nature and the inevitability of trials within the journey of faith.

 

This reading encourages us to reflect upon the transformative power of divine callings, the inclusive nature of God's grace, and the challenges that may arise even among the chosen. It invites contemplation on the significance of seeking spiritual communion before making important decisions and the potential for redemption amidst human frailty.

18 January

Mark 3:7-12

In todays reading, Mark captures a pivotal moment in Jesus' ministry as crowds from various regions flock to him, seeking healing and solace. This passage unveils the universal appeal of Jesus, transcending geographical and cultural boundaries, and underscores the transformative impact when one encounters God.

 

The sheer magnitude of the crowds illustrates the widespread yearning for spiritual guidance and healing. People journey from Galilee, Judea, Jerusalem, Idumea, and the regions beyond the Jordan to be in the presence of Jesus. This convergence highlights a collective longing for something beyond the ordinary, an innate human desire for connection with the divine.

 

Jesus' response to this immense gathering is notable. Rather than withdrawing or succumbing to the pressure, he strategically uses a boat to create distance while still ministering to the multitude. This reflects a balance between accessibility and the need for contemplative space—a model for those in positions of influence to navigate demands without compromising their purpose.

 

The healing narratives within this passage further emphasize the transformative power of encountering Jesus. Afflicted individuals press forward, seeking not only physical healing but also a touch that transcends the humanity of Jesus. This mirrors a broader human yearning for a profound connection that addresses not just external ailments but internal struggles and spiritual emptiness.

 

Moreover, the acknowledgment of unclean spirits declaring Jesus as the Son of God unveils a deeper spiritual recognition, emphasizing the cosmic significance of Christ's mission. The demons, despite their malevolence, bear witness to the divine authority inherent in Jesus.

 

We are prompted to reflect upon the universal appeal of Jesus, drawing people from diverse backgrounds in search of healing and spiritual fulfillment. It challenges us to examine our own hopes and dreams for transcendence and consider how encounters with God can change not only our physical state but also our spiritual being, encouraging a life-changing connection as we continue to explore who God is in our lives and how the Almighty alters us.

17 January

Mark 3:1-6

Mark recounts a poignant moment in Jesus' ministry, where he enters a synagogue, encountering a man with a withered hand. This narrative serves as a profound reflection on compassion, societal norms, and the transformative power of faith.

 

In this passage, Jesus challenges conventional expectations by intentionally healing on the Sabbath, a day traditionally reserved for rest and worship. His actions defy the rigid legalism of the religious leaders, emphasizing the priority of mercy over adherence to rules. It underscores a fundamental principle in Jesus' teachings – the essence of love and empathy taking precedence over rigid adherence to religious rituals.

 

The man with the withered hand symbolizes marginalized individuals, often overlooked or dismissed by society. Jesus, however, sees beyond the surface and addresses the man's need with compassion. This challenges us to examine our own attitudes towards those society deems as 'different' or 'broken,' urging us to emulate Christ's empathy in our interactions.

 

Moreover, the passage highlights the hypocrisy of the religious leaders who, instead of celebrating the restoration of a life, plot against Jesus. It serves as a cautionary tale about the dangers of legalism and the potential for religious practices to deviate from their intended purpose of fostering compassion and community.

 

Ultimately, we are encouraged to reflect on the transformative nature of faith. The healing not only restores physical wholeness but also signifies a deeper healing of the soul. It prompts us to consider our own understanding of faith – whether it merely adheres to rituals or truly embodies the compassionate essence that Jesus exemplifies.

 

This reading challenges us to reassess our priorities, emphasizing the supremacy of love and compassion over rigid adherence to rules. It prompts introspection on our treatment of the marginalized and urges us to embrace a faith that actively transforms lives, fostering a community founded on empathy and grace.

16 January

Mark 2:23-28

Mark narrates an incident where Jesus and his disciples pluck heads of grain on the Sabbath, prompting criticism from the Pharisees. This encounter unfolds into a profound teaching on the purpose of the Sabbath and Jesus' authority over it.

 

Jesus responds by referring to the example of David and his men eating the consecrated bread, emphasizing the principle that mercy takes precedence over legalistic observance. He declares, "The Sabbath was made for man, not man for the Sabbath," challenging the Pharisaic understanding of Sabbath regulations. This statement encapsulates a pivotal shift in perspective, emphasizing the relational and compassionate aspect of God's commandments.

 

By asserting that He is the Lord of the Sabbath, Jesus claims a divine authority that transcends traditional interpretations. He positions himself as the ultimate arbiter of Sabbath observance, directing attention to the essence of rest and restoration that the Sabbath signifies.

 

This passage invites reflection on the balance between legalistic adherence to rules and the compassionate, merciful heart of God. It prompts us to reconsider our approach to religious practices, urging us to prioritize love and understanding over rigid enforcement of traditions. Jesus' assertion challenges us to view the Sabbath not as a burden but as a gift designed for our well-being.

 

In this passage, Jesus invites us to embrace a more profound understanding of divine principles, one that recognizes the primacy of compassion and mercy. It encourages us to adopt a perspective that aligns with the heart of God, acknowledging that rules and regulations should serve the well-being of humanity rather than becoming burdensome constraints.

15 January

Mark 2:18-22

Jesus is questioned about fasting by the disciples of John the Baptist and the Pharisees. The juxtaposition of fasting and feasting becomes a backdrop for profound teachings on the nature of Christ's presence and the arrival of the new covenant.

 

Jesus responds with a metaphor comparing himself to a bridegroom and his followers to wedding guests. This metaphor highlights a moment of celebration and joy, indicating that the presence of Jesus is a cause for rejoicing, not mourning through fasting. It introduces a paradigm shift, emphasizing the new era that Jesus inaugurates.

 

The reference to new wine and old wineskins further reinforces this shift. New wine represents the teachings of Christ, and old wineskins symbolize the rigid structures of the religious traditions. Jesus implies that his message requires a fresh approach and cannot be confined within existing frameworks. The call for new wineskins suggests openness and adaptability to receive the transformative teachings of Jesus.

 

This passage challenges us to examine our religious practices and expectations. Are we rigidly adhering to traditions, or are we open to the transformative power of Christ's teachings? It encourages us to embrace the dynamic nature of spirituality and be receptive to the evolving work of God in our lives.

 

Ultimately, Mark is inviting us to reflect on the joyous nature of our relationship with Christ and the need for openness to the newness of His message. It prompts us to question whether we are ready to discard old wineskins and embrace the revolutionary teachings that Jesus brings, understanding that His presence brings a new and transformative era.

13 January

The first chapter of Marks’ Gospel introduces us to Jesus' public ministry, emphasizing the urgency of repentance and belief in the gospel. Jesus calls Simon, Andrew, James, and John to follow him, symbolizing the transformative power of Christ's message.

 

The narrative then shifts to Mark 2:1-12, where Jesus heals a paralyzed man. These passages collectively underscore the central themes of Jesus' ministry—repentance, discipleship, and the manifestation of divine authority through miraculous acts.

 

As Jesus proclaims the arrival of the kingdom of God, he challenges people to reconsider their lives and align with the transformative message of redemption. The call of the disciples exemplifies the immediacy with which individuals respond to Jesus, leaving their former lives behind.

 

In Mark 2:1-12, the healing of the paralyzed man becomes a powerful illustration of Jesus' authority to forgive sins. The unconventional approach of lowering the man through the roof demonstrates the lengths to which faith-driven individuals will go to encounter Christ. Jesus, recognizing their faith, addresses the deeper spiritual need by forgiving the man's sins before healing his paralysis.

 

This sequence of events invites reflection on the interconnected nature of repentance, discipleship, and divine authority. It highlights the radical nature of Jesus' call and the transformative power of encountering him. The healing of the paralyzed man serves as a tangible manifestation of the forgiveness offered through Christ.

 

These passages collectively challenge believers to examine their response to Jesus' call, emphasizing the importance of repentance, faith, and the recognition of Jesus' authority over both physical and spiritual realms. The narrative invites individuals to embrace the transformative journey of discipleship, acknowledging the radical change that occurs when one encounters the living Christ.

12 January

Mark 2: 1-12

Today, Mark recounts the healing of a paralyzed man by Jesus in Capernaum. The story begins with Jesus returning to a house, and soon a crowd gathers, making it impossible for anyone to enter. Four men carrying a paralyzed friend resort to unconventional means, lowering him through the roof. Witnessing their faith, Jesus forgives the man's sins, sparking controversy among the religious leaders who question Jesus' authority to forgive sins.

 

In response, Jesus poses a rhetorical question, emphasizing his authority by connecting physical healing with forgiveness. This act challenges the prevailing understanding of sin and its consequences. Jesus, as the divine healer, demonstrates his power not only to restore physical health but also to grant spiritual wholeness.

 

The scribes' skepticism is met with a powerful demonstration as Jesus instructs the paralyzed man to rise, and he does, walking away healed. This miraculous event underscores Jesus' divine authority, revealing his ability to address both the visible and invisible aspects of human brokenness.

 

The story prompts reflection on faith, forgiveness, and the transformative power of encountering Jesus. The persistence of the friends in bringing the paralyzed man to Jesus highlights the communal aspect of faith and the importance of intercession. Jesus' willingness to forgive sins challenges our understanding of grace and redemption.

 

Additionally, the narrative calls attention to the reactions of the religious authorities. Their skepticism serves as a cautionary note about the dangers of rigid dogma and the potential for missing the profound truth revealed through Jesus' actions.

 

This reading invites contemplation on the interconnectedness of physical and spiritual healing, the transformative power of faith, and the challenges posed by religious skepticism. It encourages a deeper understanding of Jesus' authority and the radical nature of his message, calling us to reflect on our own beliefs and openness to the transformative work of Christ in our lives.

11 January

Mark 1:40-45

Mark recounts a powerful encounter where a leper approaches Jesus, seeking healing. This passage showcases not only Jesus's miraculous ability to heal but also the profound compassion that underlines his ministry.

 

The leper's approach is marked by humility and desperation, as he kneels before Jesus and pleads for cleansing. Leprosy was not only a physical ailment but also carried social and religious stigma, making the leper an outcast. By reaching out to Jesus, the leper displays a deep faith that transcends societal barriers, recognizing Jesus's authority to heal and restore.

 

Jesus's response is striking. He does not merely heal the leper; he touches him, a gesture laden with compassion and significance. In a culture where lepers were shunned and avoided, this touch communicates acceptance and love. Jesus not only heals the physical ailment but addresses the emotional and social wounds inflicted by isolation.

 

Furthermore, Jesus instructs the leper to follow the customary process of presenting himself to the priest for verification and reintegration into society. This adherence to the established religious practices emphasizes Jesus's respect for the existing order while challenging societal norms that devalue certain individuals. It invites reflection on the intersection of faith, tradition, and compassion.

 

Despite Jesus's instruction for silence, the healed leper cannot contain his joy and begins to spread the news. This unintended publicity complicates Jesus's ability to move freely in populated areas, reflecting the tension between his desire for a focused ministry and the inevitable public response to his miraculous deeds.

 

In conclusion, today’s reading prompts reflection on themes of humility, faith, compassion, societal norms, and the tension between private healing and public proclamation. It challenges believers to approach Jesus with unwavering faith, recognizing his ability to heal not only physical ailments but also the deeper wounds of the soul, and to navigate the complexities of societal expectations with compassion and adherence to higher principles.

10 January

Mark 1:29-39

Today, Mark unfolds a sequence of events in the early ministry of Jesus, illustrating his compassion, healing power, and commitment to his mission. The passage begins with Jesus healing Simon's mother-in-law, emphasizing his immediate response to human suffering. This act not only reveals his compassion but also showcases his authority over illness.

 

The scene at Simon's house portrays the relentless demand for Jesus's healing touch. The whole city gathers, underscoring the widespread recognition of his miraculous abilities. In the midst of the crowds, Jesus retreats to a solitary place, emphasizing the importance of prayer and communion with the Father. This serves as a poignant reminder for believers to seek solitude and spiritual nourishment in the midst of demanding circumstances.

 

The disciples' pursuit of Jesus in his solitary place highlights their eagerness to be with him. They recognize the significance of his mission and are committed to being close to their Teacher. This challenges believers to reflect on the depth of their commitment to Christ and the extent to which they prioritize being in his presence.

 

Jesus's response to the disciples, indicating a move to other towns for preaching, underscores his overarching mission. He sees beyond the immediate popularity and healing demands, emphasizing the purpose of proclaiming the message of the kingdom. This prompts reflection on the balance between addressing immediate needs and staying focused on the broader mission of sharing the gospel.

 

The reading concludes with Jesus preaching in synagogues throughout Galilee, reinforcing the centrality of his teaching ministry. His mission encompasses both healing and proclamation, emphasizing the holistic nature of the kingdom of God. This challenges believers to engage in a comprehensive witness, addressing physical and spiritual needs in tandem.

 

In conclusion, Mark offers reflections on Jesus's compassion, healing power, commitment to prayer, disciples' pursuit, and the balance between meeting immediate needs and fulfilling the broader mission. It encourages believers to emulate Christ's holistic approach, seeking both personal communion with God and active engagement in the mission of proclaiming the kingdom.

9 January

Mark 1:21-28

In today’s reading, Mark portrays a moment in the early ministry of Jesus when he enters the synagogue in Capernaum and astonishes the people with his teaching. What stands out in this passage is the immediate recognition of Jesus's authority, both in his words and actions.

 

Jesus's teaching is described as authoritative, in stark contrast to the scribes. The people are captivated not only by the content of his message but also by the power with which he delivers it. This underscores the unique and divine nature of Jesus's authority, inviting reflection on the source of such power.

 

The presence of a man with an unclean spirit further emphasizes Jesus's authority. The demon recognizes Jesus and acknowledges him as the "Holy One of God." This acknowledgment, however, is not a confession of faith but an involuntary recognition of the authority that Jesus holds even over the spiritual realm. It prompts us to ponder the depth of Jesus's authority and its impact on both the physical and spiritual dimensions of existence.

 

The exorcism that follows highlights Jesus's power to confront and overcome evil forces. His authority extends beyond words to direct action, demonstrating his role as the liberator from spiritual bondage. This challenges believers to trust in the authority of Jesus when facing the spiritual battles in their lives.

 

Additionally, the reaction of the people – amazement and questioning – mirrors the tension between recognizing Jesus's authority and fully understanding its implications. This tension remains relevant today as individuals grapple with the profound implications of surrendering to the authority of Christ in their lives.

 

In conclusion, this reading prompts reflection on the authoritative nature of Jesus's teaching, his power over spiritual forces, and the ongoing tension between recognition and understanding of his authority. It encourages believers to embrace the transformative impact of submitting to the authority of the "Holy One of God" in every aspect of their lives.

8 January

Mark 1:14-20

Today we find Mark narrating the pivotal moment when Jesus begins his ministry, proclaiming the kingdom of God and calling his first disciples. In this passage, Jesus's message is succinct: "The time is fulfilled, and the kingdom of God is at hand; repent and believe in the gospel."

 

The immediacy of Jesus's call to action is striking. The phrase "repent and believe" encapsulates the essence of discipleship – a transformative process rooted in acknowledging one's shortcomings and embracing faith. It challenges us to reassess our priorities and align them with the kingdom of God.

 

The response of Simon, Andrew, James, and John is equally noteworthy. Their instantaneous decision to leave their occupations and follow Jesus suggests a profound sense of purpose in Jesus's words. This underscores the magnetic power of his message and the transformative impact it can have on those who encounter it.

 

The symbolism of the fishing imagery is powerful. Jesus calls them to be "fishers of men," signaling a shift in their life's purpose. The act of casting nets for fish becomes a metaphor for spreading the message of the gospel to others. This challenges us to consider our own roles as ambassadors of God's kingdom, actively engaging in the work of bringing others into a relationship with Him.

 

Moreover, the passage highlights the simplicity of the disciples' faith. There are no elaborate criteria or conditions for following Jesus – just a willingness to respond to his call. This challenges contemporary believers to examine the authenticity of their discipleship and whether they are truly prioritizing the kingdom of God in their lives.

 

In conclusion, this passage serves as a powerful call to action. It prompts reflection on the immediacy of Jesus's message, the transformative nature of discipleship, and the simplicity of responding to his call. As we navigate our own journeys of faith, may we echo the disciples' decisive response and actively participate in the work of the kingdom of God.

6 January

The weeks readings in Summary

The first chapter in the Gospel of John introduces the profound theological concepts surrounding the identity and mission of Jesus Christ. The chapter opens with a poetic prologue emphasizing Jesus as the Word, present at creation and embodying divine light. It sets the stage for the Incarnation, revealing the Word's (Word meaning Jesus) descent into the world.

 

The periscope then transitions to the ministry of John the Baptist, who testifies to the coming of the Light. He baptizes and points to one greater than himself, preparing the way for Jesus. Two disciples of John follow Jesus after hearing John's declaration, "Behold, the Lamb of God!"

 

As these disciples spend time with Jesus, he invites them to "Come and see." This simple yet profound invitation encapsulates the essence of discipleship and personal encounter with Christ. Andrew, one of the disciples, immediately shares the news with his brother Simon, leading to Simon's transformation into Peter.

 

The subsequent passage introduces Philip and Nathanael, demonstrating a chain of personal invitations. Philip invites Nathanael to meet Jesus, overcoming Nathanael's initial skepticism. Jesus astounds Nathanael by revealing supernatural knowledge, solidifying Nathanael's acknowledgment of Jesus as the Son of God and the King of Israel.

 

Overall, John 1 serves as a theological prelude, presenting Jesus as the Word incarnate (made human) the Light that dispels darkness, and the Lamb of God who takes away sins. The chapter unfolds through personal encounters, emphasizing the significance of relationships in understanding and accepting Christ. It sets the foundation for the Gospel's overarching theme of belief in Jesus as the Son of God and Savior of the world.

5 January

John 1: 43-51

The Jesus narrative continues with Jesus deciding to go to Galilee. There, he finds Philip and invites him to follow. Philip, in turn, excitedly informs Nathanael that they have discovered the long-awaited Messiah, Jesus of Nazareth. Nathanael expresses skepticism, questioning whether anything good could come from Nazareth.

 

Undeterred, Philip encourages Nathanael to come and see for himself. As Nathanael approaches, Jesus surprises him by acknowledging his true character, stating that he saw him under the fig tree before Philip called him. This revelation astounds Nathanael, leading him to proclaim Jesus as the Son of God and the King of Israel.

 

Jesus responds, promising Nathanael that he will witness greater things, including the heavens opening and angels ascending and descending upon the Son of Man. This alludes to the connection between heaven and earth through Jesus, reminiscent of Jacob's dream in Genesis.

 

The passage underscores themes of divine insight and recognition. Jesus, through supernatural knowledge, reveals Nathanael's character, breaking down skepticism and inspiring belief. The narrative emphasizes the importance of personal encounters with Jesus, as Nathanael moves from doubt to a profound confession of faith.

 

Additionally, the reference to angels ascending and descending highlights Jesus as the bridge between heaven and earth, linking the spiritual realm with the earthly domain. This declaration sets the stage for the unfolding revelation of Jesus' identity and mission.

 

John’s final verses in chapter 1 captures the transformative power of personal encounters with Jesus, showcasing his divine insight, the overcoming of skepticism, and the profound declarations of faith that lay the foundation for a deeper understanding of his role as the Son of God.

4 January

John 1:35-42

In this passage we witness the early interactions between Jesus and his disciples. The passage begins with John the Baptist standing with two of his followers, and as Jesus walks by, John declares, "Behold, the Lamb of God!" This prompts the two disciples to follow Jesus. Sensing them behind him, Jesus turns and asks what they seek. They respond by addressing him as "Rabbi," meaning teacher, and inquire about where he dwells. Instead of giving a location, Jesus invites them to "Come and see."

 

They spend the day with Jesus, an encounter that deeply impacts them. One of the disciples, Andrew, is compelled to share this newfound connection and rushes to find his brother Simon, announcing, "We have found the Messiah!" Bringing Simon to Jesus, he is renamed Cephas, (which loosely translated means “rock”) which translates to Peter, signifying his future role as a foundational figure in the Christian faith.

 

This passage emphasizes the transformative nature of encountering Jesus. The disciples' initial curiosity transforms into a profound recognition of Jesus as the Messiah. Andrew's immediate desire to share this revelation illustrates the inherent impulse to spread the good news.

 

The narrative highlights themes of seeking, finding, and sharing in the journey of faith. It establishes a pattern where individuals, upon encountering Jesus, are moved to bring others into that transformative experience. The simplicity of the exchange between Jesus and the disciples reflects the accessibility of faith and the personal nature of the journey each believer undertakes.

3 January

In John 1:19-28

This passage focuses on the Jewish leaders questioning John the Baptist about his identity and mission. They inquire whether he is the Messiah, Elijah, or the Prophet. John explicitly denies being any of these figures, emphasizing his role as quoted from Isaiah, “The voice crying in the wilderness, preparing the way for someone greater”.

 

The religious authorities press further, questioning why John baptizes if he isn't the awaited Messiah or a prominent prophet. John responds by explaining that he baptizes with water, symbolizing repentance, but among them stands one whose sandal strap he is not worthy to untie. This acknowledgment underscores the profound humility John feels in the presence of the coming Messiah.

 

The narrative reveals a delegation sent by the Pharisees, indicating the scrutiny John faced from established religious groups. Despite their skepticism, John maintains his focus on his preparatory role, declaring the imminent arrival of the Messiah. He emphasizes that he baptizes to reveal the Messiah to Israel.

 

In this passage, the humility and clarity of John the Baptist shine through. He doesn't claim grand titles for himself but directs attention to the greater purpose of preparing the way for the one who is to come. This sets the stage for the introduction of Jesus in subsequent verses, highlighting the significance of John's role in paving the way for the unfolding events in the Gospel of John.

2 January

John 1: 19-28

This passage focuses on the Jewish leaders questioning John the Baptist about his identity and mission. They inquire whether he is the Messiah, Elijah, or the Prophet. John explicitly denies being any of these figures, emphasizing his role as the voice crying in the wilderness, preparing the way for someone greater.

 

The religious authorities press further, questioning why John baptizes if he isn't the awaited Messiah or a prominent prophet. John responds by explaining that he baptizes with water, symbolizing repentance, but among them stands one whose sandal strap he is not worthy to untie. This acknowledgment underscores the profound humility John feels in the presence of the coming Messiah.

 

The narrative reveals a delegation sent by the Pharisees, indicating the scrutiny John faced from established religious groups. Despite their skepticism, John maintains his focus on his preparatory role, declaring the imminent arrival of the Messiah. He emphasizes that he baptizes to reveal the Messiah to Israel.

 

In this passage, the humility and clarity of John the Baptist shine through. He doesn't claim grand titles for himself but directs attention to the greater purpose of preparing the way for the one who is to come. This sets the stage for the introduction of Jesus in subsequent verses, highlighting the significance of John's role in paving the way for the unfolding events in the Gospel of John.

1 January

Numbers 6:22-27 and Luke 2:15-21

These passages hold significant cultural and religious importance as they share common themes of blessings and consecration.

 

In Numbers 6:22-27, often referred to as the Priestly Blessing or the Aaronic Blessing, (the blessing from Aaron) God instructs Moses to convey a special blessing to the Israelites. The blessing comprises three distinct parts:

·       a call for God's face to shine upon the people,

·       the granting of grace

·       and the assurance of peace.

This blessing is a sacred invocation, emphasizing the divine favor and protection over the chosen people.

 

On the other hand, Luke 2:15-21 narrates the events surrounding the birth of Jesus Christ. The shepherds, having received the angel’s proclamation of Jesus' birth, visit the stable in Bethlehem. After witnessing the miraculous event, they spread the news, glorifying and praising God. The passage culminates with the circumcision and naming of the infant as Jesus, in accordance with the angel's instructions.

 

While the contexts of these passages differ, there are noteworthy parallels. Both involve divine communication and blessings: Numbers 6 conveys a blessing from God through Moses to the Israelites, while Luke 2 showcases the joyous announcement of Jesus' birth and the subsequent glorification of God by the shepherds. Additionally, both passages emphasize the significance of names—Numbers 6 suggests that by invoking God's name, the Israelites receive His blessing, while Luke 2 highlights the naming of Jesus, signifying his identity and purpose.

 

 

These passages resonate with themes of divine favor, communication, and the profound impact of names. They contribute to the overarching narrative of God's plan for salvation and the manifestation of His blessings upon humanity, connecting the Old Testament traditions with the fulfillment found in the New Testament through the birth of Jesus Chri