Onion Skins February 2017


I am not sure about you guys but I have had mixed feelings about coming into 2017. Christmas and New Year is a time of memories and some of these can be difficult

as there will be members of our families who do not come home for Christmas, or won’t be in touch and only we know the reasons, and not all the reasons will be geographical. There will be an ache in our hearts and sometimes a loneliness which

pervades the season. The hype going on around us, the news of yet more conflict in the Middle East, and the suffering of many people, pawns in the “game of thrones”, and religious wars played out by irresponsible leaders, does not help our peace of mind….. We also may have health issues which have become more challenging, and situations at work still to be dealt with….and what is more, in actually finding work these days, especially our younger people.


At our New Year Service at Caversham and Green Island, we were privileged to have the Rev Nancy Parker take the services. She dressed up as one of the Wise Men and had us on the edge of our seats hearing about their finding Jesus after following the star….but then “departing another way” as Herod the king had plans to kill the babe…and indeed, realising he had been duped he attempted to kill all the boys of a certain age while Mary and Joseph escaped with Jesus into Egypt, as fugitives, indeed as refugees. Nothing has changed!


I found this story quietly encouraging as it demonstrated that our Lord has experienced all of this. He is present with us now in the face of suffering, and in the middle of these seemingly insoluble problems. He is with us in our “rememberings” into 2017 and He is present in others that we meet in a surprising way.


Marion and I were on the bus the other day. One doesn’t mean to eavesdrop but sometimes if someone is speaking loudly in front of you and you have your hearing aids in you can’t help it! There was a somewhat tousled man talking about his kids in the UK, a marriage that had gone wrong on the other side of the world, and the challenges of the in-laws. The bus driver was listening intently and giving encouraging grunts from time to time….an unpaid counsellor!


While we were waiting for the bus to head back home later on that day there were a number of us all sitting on the same seat just below the Octagon. There was an elderly woman[ the same age as us I suspect!] “reorganising” the bus services at the top of her voice. Another gentleman came and sat with us commenting on the weather being so hot that the chemist had run out of sun tan lotion. It had been raining earlier that morning and the sun was nowhere in sight. We had to chuckle. Mentioning suntan “lotion” really dated him. A group of  Chinese tourists wandered past, spied us and smiled. I found these encounters strangely reassuring as it showed that life does go on, people are still talking to each other, encouraging each other, still debating, and there was certainly some humour abroad.


This humour and enjoyment was very apparent in the faces of those on our first January Jaunt to Pukehiki Church up at Highcliff, a beacon to the possibilities of  faith into the future for all of us.


God Bless, Pete S