“Together” is the central message.

Cardinal John’s newsletter | 10th February 2022.

Kia tau te rangimārie ki a koutou

“Together” is the central message.

For two years now we have been responding to the Challenges of Covid 19. The pandemic and all that has come with it have meant that we have had to re-think how we communicate, how we worship, how we teach, how we interact with our families and members of our faith communities (parish and school).

Our lives as disciples of Jesus are about relationships, ministry is about relationships. Discipleship is not about getting jobs done or performing tasks, it is always about the one we relate to one another, interact with one another. It has been so since the very first Christian communities (Read Acts 2:42-47).

However, Covid has disrupted our communities and therefore our relationships in so many ways:

· we do not usually communicate through a face mask

·  we do not worship by looking at a screen, we are an incarnational Church and need to be bodily present, screens may help us to pray, but it is not out usual way of worshipping

· because of Lockdowns the presence which enables relationships to flourish (in schools and parishes) was removed and digital experiences hindered the togetherness which usually brings warmth and joy.

Our privilege as teachers and priests, as family members and communities’ members is to help one another to open our minds to the Scriptures. That is much harder to do when we are not together. As leaders (and we all are) we are inspired and privileged top open our hearts to others, and to facilitate the openness of their hearts to themselves, their neighbours, to the world, to Jesus and to God.

“Together” is the central message of our response as disciples, but it is very hard to do that when we know that to keep on another safe, we must wear and keep social distances. It is very hard to be together when so many events and gatherings are postponed or cancelled.

We are though people of HOPE, we are people of COURAGE. I hope the following prayer helps as we journey through 2022 together.

God with communities locked down,
God with communities opened up:
those first believers in resurrection
gathered in fear behind closed doors,
until a spirit of fire and connection,
tongues of everyday language,
Pentecost courage, came to be a part
of who we are.  Emerging from our
fears, may we find words for the
message we have to share. And may
we gather separated people together
in wonder of the good news this courage will spread. Amen.

Naku noa,  +John