Easter

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And that was the Easter that was for 2015.

A visit over the long weekend down to see my mother in Invercargill.  I tried to do some tidying up at home.  A bit Grimm’s Fairy Tale.  Once I had filled the rubbish bin there was not much more I could do.

Stayed with Southern Dave again and did a bit of family catch up.  At the last moment I rummaged through the shelves for something to take with me and pulled Hellboy: Oddest Jobs edited by Mike Mignola from the shelves.  It proved to be an excellent anthology of short stories to travel with.  The constant figure in these stories is Hellboy, a monster, a demon, a constant indefeatable champion for humanity.  They were a delight to read, and I would like to track down the earlier anthologies Odd Jobs and Odder Jobs.  I’m sure that they will have the same taste for comic book horror and superheroes.

I returned from Invercargill with loot, Southern Dave found me books:

  • Light in Dark Isles, by Alexander Don, NZ Presbyterian book on mission to the New Hebrides in 1918, lots of period writing
  • By Love Serve: The Story of the Order of Deaconesses of the Presbyterian Church of NZ, by J. D. Salmond, another one for my Presbyterian bookshelves
  • Spirit in a Strange Land: a selection of New Zealand spiritual verse, edited by Paul Morris, Harry Ricketts & Mike Grimshaw.  Excellent to have my own copy of this, my original thoughts on looking at this collection, some years ago, was that NZ poets view religion with a powerful hermeneutic of suspicion. I will be interested to see if that sense is still dominant in the collection.
  • Enduring Legacy: Charles Brasch, patron, poet and collector, edited by Donald Kerr, another book about Brasch for my collection at Manono House.

From mum, an easter egg and and a jar of relish from the Centre Street Dairy; and from my sister in law, a selection of Mama Jo’s Homemade Jams and Pickles: apricot, black berry, gooseberry and mixed berries jams, and capsicum and mango relish.  I have some serious sampling to do!

Easter 4

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I was rostered to do the Prayers of Thanksgiving and Intercession today, Mothers Day.  I started to write on Saturday night.  The last paragraphs were written out before I left for church on Sunday morning.

Christ the Good Shepherd, stained glass window, First Presbyterian Church, Invercargill

Ah, dear lord, what shall we pray for today? Shall we pray for the world? We know you are everywhere; and to stretch yourself even further, you gave us mothers, and fathers, and sons and daughters, you made us into tribes, and nations, and families, and households. You made us to connect with each other, and you are in those moments.

In an uncertain world and at an uncertain time we give thanks for the success of the church fair yesterday. We thank you for the weather, for the company, for the enthusiasm to work, and to sell, and to benefit others. We celebrate the sharing of time, and talents, and gifts, with each other.

We pray for the world: We pray for peace in Eastern Europe and the reconciliation between rival nations. We pray for the children to whom our blankets go. May they know peace and prosperity in their countries. We pray each stitch will be for their warmth and their comfort.

You know the names of each one of the girls abducted in Nigeria, you are reminded in prayer for each of them by name, each one of them is an individual. Bring them home so they may be restored to their families. Let them have the freedom to become educated and informed citizens who can contribute in turn to their country. Break down the powers and principalities of fear and ignorance that would forbid a girl to read and learn.

We pray for Christchurch, the wounded and suffering city. We pray for those who are demoralised and scattered by the continuing loss and frustration of delay, obfustication and damage to property. We pray for the rebuilding of that city. With the word of hope in one hand and the tools for the job in the we pray for the restoration of Christchurch.

We pray for our city, Dunedin, for the university of Otago, the continuing progress of teaching and educating young people in our city. We hear the sound of the pipes as they lead students to graduation and the celebration of achieving their degrees. We pray that they may come to knowledge of you, and may they like us discover that learning is for life. Do not let them fall away from seeking and discovering the good in each other.

We pray for our Church, here as our community, as the Presbyterian Church in New Zealand, and as the body of Christ. Remember our leaders and our teachers, those who work in the offices of the church as administrators, accountants, theologians and care-givers. May they hear your voice and respond to your call.

God who keeps his sheep safe. We hear your voice, you call us to your fold, you stand as god-with-us between the safety of your embrace and the dangers that would steal us away. Your voice calls us and we pray the words that your disciples heard and learnt from you…

A meditation on Judas projected into the present displaying discontent and disappointment irrationally expressed

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This is the meditation I wrote and presented for the North East Valley Procession of the Cross:

 We live in uncertain times.

You are lucky to be in a regular job in this economy.

The land is cursed.

First you own a section of land.

If you don’t make enough you are driven off, then you rent land.

When you can’t pay for that then you are paid to work on someone else’s land.

You work through the heat of the day, every day, for the hope of minimum wages, enough to survive on.

This is our land.

Once it all belonged to us.

Me and my mates have been on the road for over a year.

They are lucky that I can keep track of our accounts.

We have nowhere to sleep at nights.

Only the shirt on our back and no coat for the road.

It’s all right for those who can dress up as fine as flowers but grass gets thrown into the fire.

The government taxes us as we go through the partitions it creates.

It builds the walls and raises monuments to the glory of empire.

The banks are no longer a guarantee that your investment is safe.

You might as well bury your money in a hole in the ground.

We occupied the temple.

We drove out the money-changers.

We waited for a sign from heaven.

No sign came.

God has forgotten us.

Give us bread.

We need to live.

Give us our daily wages.

One man has brought us to this.

Who can I speak to?

Caiaphas, you say isn’t it expedient if one man dies for all the people?

How much will you give me if I hand him over to you?

New Weird is basically urban fantasy written by British socialists

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The title today comes from a quote I made at the writing workshop in Invercargill Writing Different Worlds at the Invercargill Public Library on Saturday. I lost two days this weekend to travelling there and back again. It was worth it as we imagined writing speculative fiction and the work I created in half an hour was as good as any shared at the workshop. Invercargill has a speculative fiction group that meets on a Sunday evening, Chapter I. I didn’t find out if there is a similar social group in Dunedin I could join up with.

What else happened this month:

  • The Southern Consort of Voices sang at St. Joseph’s Chapel. Highlights for me included a piece of Russian church music by Sheremetov that felt like it was going to break out into gospel singing, and Arvo Pärt’s Women with an Alabaster Box which made the choir sound like they were singing like a pipe organ.
  • The Centre for Theology and Public Issues put on a discussion about recent events in the Middle East. This was so popularly attended that they had to close the doors to bar more people from entering. The most interesting comment from the panel was developments in Syria could have serious repercussions for all the countries in the Fertile Cresent.
  • Lucia di Lammermoor, wonderful opera, basically a ghost story by Walter Scott. Imagine that there is this alternative kingdom called Escozia where everyone dresses as Victorian goths and speaks Italian. There has been a regime change and the great houses that have lost power are desparately trying to claw their way up the food chain.
  • Visit to the Art Gallery to hear Dr Jane Malthus talk about Regency fashion. I was in the minority of men attending this lecture, the ratio was about 10:1. It was a talk about fashion for women who could wear diaphenous revealing dresses with no stomachs (or else look like a muffin); very Holly Hobby or White Witch look. I wonder how much the Kate Middleton dress was influenced by this look?
  • The Right Reverend Graham Redding talked about worship in the Presbyterian Church to the Presbyterian Heritage Network.
  • The Presbyterian Synod of Southland and Otago met in Invercargill. The synod is the original governing body of the Presbyterian church in that region. It remained independent of the national church body until 1901. An article of the settling document of Dunedin made it one of the original property owners in the south. The money was held in trust and distributed twice a year. Since the millenium the synod has realised that while it has maintained the buildings well it is a decreasing and ageing number of people who patronise them. It now looks for projects from the parishes that will reverse this trend.
  • Parish Council met.
  • Easter Break happened and I had a four day weekend. I went to only one church service on Easter Sunday, not finding one I wanted to attend for Good Friday. Then I took off again to Invercargill on the next Friday for the writing workshop meaning I had a very short week.
  • A Polish Easter in Ireland

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    This link might interest Cajetan65. I understand that the immigrant Polish-speaking community to Ireland now outnumbers the Irish Gaelic-speaking community. Fortunately they are European co-religionists to the Irish so xenophobic feeling is minimal.

    Holidays after a festival are an odd feeling. They are sort of anti-climatic.

    Happy Easter season, Crist is astog.

    Tao’s big adventure

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    At first I wondered why Tao was making such a fuss downstairs. She knew where I was and despite making such a noise showed no hurry in coming looking for me. I went downstairs to investigate. I should have known. She had caught a mouse. A real mouse is better than a toy one for playing mouseball. Tao loves mice — this is the third one she has caught this season. I think when she’s bored with her food she goes looking for a little excitement. So long as she doesn’t catch birds or keep me awake with her food, I have no objection to her doing it.

    It’s sort of fun to see how close I can get before she snatches it away.

    One of my flatmates came home in the middle of Tao’s play. She was more squeamish than I to Tao’s activity. I assured her the mouse was dead. I did not mention that on closer examination I could see it breathing. To be courteous I put Tao and her new-found (and briefly-met) friend outside. This did not interrupt her play unduly.

    Then towards the end of the evening I discovered that I had to deliver some overdue newsletters up the hill to Falcon Street. I set off. Guess who followed me? Yes, Tao. She miaowed when I got too far ahead and I would pause to allow her to catch up. When I lived in Opoho she would follow me down in the evenings, sometimes as far as Knox Street. I would not encourage her to go further as I did not want to risk her in the traffic of North East Valley. She always made her way home ahead of my return.

    We encountered two dogs on our walk up the hill. The first was a well-disciplined labrador which turned back when its master called it. The second was a smaller dog and I carried Tao past it. When it followed us I shooed it away. We got a ride back down the hill. It was a long walk for a small 12-year old cat, the wee girl.

    I understand that there will be a boycott of Livejournal on Friday 21st March in protest against the company’s new policies, starting GMT time, which is halfway through the day for me. Talk about confusing! To do my bit I have set my RSSfeeds to check again in two days time. A shame really as the day is a high holy day for me (in as much as Presbyterians have such things.) Well it doesn’t matter as no one I know who reads this journal shares my pieties:

    Life, by Robert Wright. This photo was taken in the Recoleta Cemetary of Buenos Aires.

    Happy Easter.