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  • Added March 6th, 2011
  • Filed under 'Sermons'
  • Viewed 2157 times

Get up and do not be afraid... : after the earthquake

By Geoff King. in Sermons

An excerpt from worship in Christchurch following the destructive aftershock

Get up and do not be afraid... : a reflection by The Rev. Geoff King on
Transfiguration Sunday, 6 March 2011.

This service was held for the congregations of Knox Church, St
Paul's Trinity Pacific, and St Andrew's, at Rangi Ruru.

Matthew 17: 1-7.
'Get up and do not be afraid.'
That's easier said than done, Jesus.
I doubt there's a single person in Christchurch who hasn't been afraid at some point since last September;
And I'm pretty sure all of us have got down underneath something, seeking shelter from the shaking during these past weeks.
Since September last year, we have lived with not knowing when or how the earth will move beneath us,
We have seen what the forces of nature can do to us and the people we love, when the buildings we live and work in are shattered and fall.
So we've got reason to fear, Jesus, and yet in our reading this morning you say 'Get up and do not be afraid.'
Of course the people you were talking to had just seen you revealed in all your glory.
They had just had one of those mountain-top experiences that inspire and encourage people of faith.
We could do with one of those experiences this morning,
But it's hard even to think about mountaintops when the hills that surround our city have come crashing down through houses,
And the glorious old buildings where we used to gather for worship have been reduced to piles of rubble and swirling dust.
Does that mean that our glory days are behind us, Jesus?
What does the future hold for us, the people of your Church?
Where will we see you revealed in all your glory?
How can following you help us get through these dark days?
We have some choices to make this day and in the days and weeks to follow.

Whilst we mourn what is lost, there is too much need around us in the present to waste time and energy weeping for the past.
There are also plenty of people who are following your example, Jesus;
I've met some of them in my travels:
The woman who's taken a homeless family and an elderly neighbour into her household,
The man who came over from the islands to care for his cousins,
The families cooking and delivering meals to people living in tents...
There are plenty of glorious things happening on the broken streets and in the silty suburbs of this city, Jesus,
Things that are transfiguring us, transforming us, changing us and our city, for the good.
And I've noticed something in my travels around Otautahi Christchurch since the earthquake, Jesus.

I've noticed that when people reach out to one another, when people help one another up and share the burdens we're all bearing,
When people make the time to eat and drink and talk and pray together
We are no longer afraid.
When we lift our eyes from our own griefs and worries, look with love on the needs of our neighbours and act on what we are seeing,
We become whanau, aiga, family, community, capable of doing far more together than we could ever do on our own.
And that's why we're here this morning, gathered around this table,
Making time to eat and drink and talk and pray together,
As people of faith have been doing for hundreds and thousands of years.

We are here because now more than ever we need to be reminded that the glory of Jesus is not just found on mountaintops or in historic buildings,
But it lives and grows in people who love and serve others in their time of need.
So let us get up, and come to this table where all are welcome.
Let us draw strength and courage from eating and drinking and praying together,
And let us go from this place encouraged, inspired, and no longer afraid.

Geoff King.