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Pentecost in the park 2010 Sunday @ 4

Pentecost in the park 2010 Sunday @ 4

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The spirit of Jesus informing our practice

Station Pylons

Station Ceramics

Station Whau

Station Waka

Station Junction

Station Community

A community of practice— practice— he Spirit of Jesus informs our practices of contemplation, community and mission; through stillness and silence we enter into the presence and an understanding of God; through community and love we come to an understanding of the trinity and grace; through Jesus’ resurrection comes to us the hope that God will put everything-to-right, and our mission is to be part of making his kingdom on earth. Pentecost celebrates the coming of the Holy Spirit. This year we’re doing stations of the spirit again—but with a twist. By way of preparation, these are the characteristics of the Spirit of Jesus we’ll be exploring (with accompanying Bible references). What do you think they mean? Are there any ideas about the Spirit of Jesus here that you hadn’t come across before? How might they be relevant to you? How do they relate to our three areas of practice—contemplation, community and mission? How might they help inform your decisions?

The Spirit as support and helper. John 14:26, 1 John 2:26/7 The Spirit as producer of good fruit: Galatians 5:22 The Spirit as transforming power. 2 Corinthians 3:18 The Spirit as the guarantee of God’s future. Ephesians 1:13/14, 2 Corinthians 1:21/22 The Spirit including us in one body. 1 Corinthians 12:12/13 The Spirit as the bringer of freedom. Galatians 5:16 The Spirit adopts us into God’s family. Galatians 4:6/7, Romans 8:14/15 The Spirit as our guide into truth. John 16:13 The Spirit as creator of the community of practice we call Sunday@4. Acts 2:43-47 These ideas about the Spirit are all very well but I believe they will get more traction and be understood better if we attach objects to them. This is the point of the Page 2

Pentecost Service

Station Pou

Station Pylons

stations—to reify ideas about the spirit, to explore them through metaphor. Through these stations we explore the way in which our community of practice is informed and formed by the Spirit of Jesus. The stations give you opportunity to discuss, to think, to answer questions, to write, to share.

Sunday 23rd May 2010

Station Bridge

formed by jesus’ spirit

Station Hinaki

Station Waka

The Spirit as creator of the community of practice we call Sunday@4. All the believers were together and had everything in common. Selling their possessions and goods, they gave to anyone as he had need. Everyday they met together in the temple courts. They broke bread in their homes and ate together with glad and sincere hearts, praising God and enjoying the favour of all people. Acts 2:43-47 The final station—we meet back here once we’ve been around the eight other sculptures. This is not exactly a sculpture (it’s actually for climbing on) but it speaks volumes about community. We are connected and we exist as individuals at the nodes. But the nodes themselves are created by the connections they have to other nodes which in turn are created by their connections… What defines us then is not simply the I, but the I in relationship. It is not only ‘who I am’ but ‘whose I am’ that creates me. Your identity as partner, parent, colleague, friend, child is defined by the presence of another in your life. You, this group of people called Sunday@4, are gathered by the Spirit to be the Kingdom of Heaven on earth and to participate in the putting-to-right of all things. This mission-seemingly-impossible is made possible by the fact that we don’t exist on our own but we exist and are defined by our community. To think about: This Spirit is essential, not so we can be super-individualChristians, but so we can be community – the community called church which operates in ways that are foreign to the culture we live in, C1. This is the community born at Pentecost.


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Pentecost in the park 2010 Sunday @ 4

Pentecost in the park 2010 Sunday @ 4

The Spirit as support. The Helper, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in my name, will teach you all things and will remind you of everything I’ve said to you. John 14:26 This piece of art is a text few of us can read. We aren’t literate when it comes to Maori carving. Why, for example, is one hand shaped like a fork, the other like a pincer? It’s hard to make meaning of this. It’s difficult to translate because we don’t know the artist's language.


The carver has chosen to name this carving Pou, which means a few things in Maori – post, upright, support, pillar, teacher, expert. John, in his gospel, uses the Greek word parakletos to describe the Spirit of Jesus. How should we translate parakletos? The language of 1611 renders it comforter in the King James Version, but this is in the sense of its Latin root – comfortare meaning to strengthen, not in our modern sense of the word. In Greek parakletos means ‘called alongside to help’. Jesus says his Spirit will teach, remind, guide, declare. Later in his first letter, John revisits the idea of Spirit as teacher. He teaches us about everything and what he teaches is true not false, writes the apostle. Parakletos the helper, strengthener, the support, pillar, the teacher. Perhaps pou is a pretty good translation. Does translating parakletos as support, teacher and helper change your view of the Spirit? How might the helper and teacher inform decisions you need to make? The Spirit as producer of good fruit. But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. Against such things there is no law. Galatians 5:22


Look around this “award winning” park. What do you see? Notice the objects of art and appreciate the talent and creativity that formed each piece and what it represents. Did you take any notice of the power pylons? It’s easy to ignore them despite the way they dominate, some would say scar, the landscape. They are ubiquitous. As the photos were being shot, it was almost impossible to take them without the pylons and power Contd on p.8

Here is a metaphor of the church to sit alongside those of the family and the body. To show that we are his children God has given us the Spirit of his Son which enables us to say "Abba". We are adopted as children of God. We’re family. In this sense we are all in the same boat, paddling in unison. What is your part in the waka? What do you contribute? How easily do you join with others in this community of practice? Where is the waka heading? How might the other paddlers inform decisions you need to make? The Spirit as our guide into truth. But when he, the Spirit of truth, comes, he will guide you into all truth. He will not speak on his own; he will speak only what he hears and he will tell you what is yet to come. He will bring glory to me by taking from what is mine and making it known to you. John 16:13 /14 This sculpture is entitled Junction. Stand behind it on the bank and study the meeting of ‘roads’. At each point you have choices. When you come to a junction which path do you choose? What informs you? Which culture determines your choices? Which story, S1 or S2, will help you decide? How do you make good decisions? What guides you? Jesus describes the Spirit as revealing the truth about God and leading us into all truth. This happens in a variety of ways – there is that still small internal voice that we learn to hear in the silence, there is the voice of the community and its collective wisdom, there is the truth revealed in S2 that God through the death and resurrection of Jesus has started to put-things-to-right and we are to make decisions that contribute to the grand story of the cosmos.


What crossroads are you standing at? What small choices are you being asked to make? What big decisions are pressing in on you? How will you make those? What story and what community will form you? How can you create silences that allow you to hear the still, small voice of the Spirit. How might the truth from different sources inform decisions you need to make?


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Pentecost in the park 2010 Sunday @ 4

For many, religion, and Christianity in particular, is a trap, a curtailment of our freedoms. We end up like the eels—confined and imprisoned. Think of all those restrictions, all those boundaries, all those injunctions ‘not to’, all those ‘thou shalt nots’, all those petty old-fashioned and rather boring rules and regulations. Paul, however, has a different take. “Yes”, he says, “Those rules and regulations are a trap because they lead to people feeling self-righteous if they can nail most of them.” But life in union with Jesus isn’t restrictive, it’s not a trap. The law of the Spirit he says, has set us free Those things which we thought were guarantees of freedom – power, money, a ‘modern approach to sex’ and even being ‘good’ better than others – are the things which trap us. But in order to show that we are his children, God sent the Spirit of his Son into our hearts …. So then we are no longer slaves, entrapped in the hinaki, but children of God. Freedom is what we have.


What are things that entrap us as individuals and as a community? What are those tempting morsels that pull us in? How can we heed Paul’s warning not to become slaves again to rules and regulations. The Spirit adopts us into God’s family. For the Spirit that God has given you does not make you slaves and cause you to be afraid; instead the Spirit makes you God’s children, and by the Spirit’s power we cry out to God, “Father! My Father!” God’s Spirit joins himself to our spirits to declare that we are God’s children. Romans 8:14—16 Portage Rd is so named because it is one of the narrowest parts of the North Island. Coming from the Waitemata Harbour, up Whau Creek, into the New Lynn dock at high tide, a boat could unload and its shipment ‘portaged’ across this narrow gap to the Manukau Harbour. This saved the trip around the top of the North Island to get to the West Coast or Australia. Maori did the same, hauling their waka between the two harbours.


A waka requires individuals to paddle it. These paddlers are woven, flax like, into a community that is determined to take the canoe places. Individuals, community and mission. Page 8

lines lurking in the background. Pylons are ugly. They are things that we would prefer to keep out of sight; beside the motorway or around the back of the industrial area. Is it appropriate having them loom so large in this park? We don’t want them mixed in with our homes, our playgrounds and our art. In our lives, our community and in the world, we constantly encounter ‘pylons’, those not so attractive facets of us and our world. They are the things we would rather keep ‘out of sight’, things we try to keep hidden, flaws we choose to ignore, injustices we turn away from, attitudes and actions we try to cover. All of us have these ‘pylons’ that we are not proud of, yet they also sit alongside pieces of ‘art’. Paul describes some of this ‘art’ in Galatians. The Spirit produces love, joy, peace, goodness, kindness, faithfulness, self-control and patience. But ‘pylons’ stride through the middle of the art and have to be acknowledged. They are part of the those things that we are putting-toright. What do the “pylons” represent in your lives, as individuals, as a community or globally? What are the things that we would rather not see or acknowledge yet form such an integral part of our personality, our community or our world? How might the growth of the fruit of the Spirit inform decisions you need to make? The Spirit as transforming power. All of us, then, reflect the glory of the Lord with uncovered faces; and that same glory coming from the Lord, who is the Spirit, transforms us into his likeness in an ever greater degree of glory. 2 Corinthians 3:18 Part of our history in West Auckland is built on the pottery of Crown Lynn –paid homage to here in a steel coffee pot and three sturdy NZ Rail tea mugs. Ceramics, whether beautiful or utilitarian, start with softness. The clay is pliable and ready to be moulded. The potter is in control, applying pressure here, smoothing there, sculpting, spinning, removing, wetting, shaping to produce a vessel that is used every day or a work of art to adorn a mantelpiece. This is what the Spirit desires—to be allowed control—to mould and


Pentecost in the park 2010 Sunday @ 4

make beautiful, to transform us into the likeness of Christ. Once moulded, pottery is fired to harden into something that will hold its shape. Transformation happens through our inward and upward journey to Christ, through our relationships in community and our engagement with the world. As Paul says to the Christians at Corinth, it is the Spirit of Jesus who transforms us into God’s likeness in an ever greater degree of glory. But change is often unpleasant and hard. Transformation more so because it requires death and resurrection. Are you prepared to embrace it? Are you afraid of losing control? Is there one part of your life that needs to be transformed by the Spirit? The Spirit as the guarantee of God’s future. You believed in Christ, and God put his stamp of ownership on you by giving you the Holy Spirit he had promised. The Spirit is the guarantee that we shall receive what God has promised his people, and this assures us that God will give complete freedom to those who are his. Ephesians 1:13/14, 2 Corinthians 1:21/22


The native cork tree or whau has elongated seed pods, sculpted in orange metal in this work. A seed is a plant in miniature, a promised tree. A seed is a guarantee of future life. Eventually what will grow from the buried and seemingly dead seed is a plant that will provide a roost for tui, shelter for a myriad of insects and shade to picnickers. Paul tells the Corinthians in his second letter that the gift of the Spirit of Jesus is a guarantee of all that God has in store for us. Again, writing to the Christians at Ephesus, he describes the Spirit of Jesus in the same terms; the guarantee that we shall receive what God has promised his people. Our hope is that God is putting-all-things-to-right. The Spirit is the guarantee of the full deal being completed. Like the seed, the guarantee might be small. Is there anything that we’re missing because we overlook what we think is ‘insignificant’? Jesus often said the kingdom starts small. What decisions do I make now if I have the hope that God is putting-all-things-to –right even if the evidence seems unremarkable? How might the hope of what God has in store inform decisions you need to make?

The Spirit including us in one body. The body is a unit though it is made up of many parts; and though all its parts are many, they form one body. So it is with Christ. For we were all baptized by one Spirit into one body—whether Jews or Greeks, slave or free—and we were all given the one Spirit to drink. 1 Corinthians 12:12/13


Bridges can be metaphors for a whole lot of things. They connect two banks, they move us over obstacles, join here and there, bring together that which is separated. They make our journeys easier, safer, quicker (and probably less wet). They are ‘from’ and ‘to’. But we often don’t build bridges to connect with others. Our natural inclination is to make ourselves the centre of the universe, pushing away centrifugally from that centre everything and everyone that seems to impede its freewheeling. We even push away bits of ourselves and in the end may push away You Know Who. But, says Paul to the Corinthians, we have been baptized into the one body by the one Spirit. The Spirit of Jesus requires us to build bridges – the means to leap over the chasms, valleys, gulfs and rivers that we create to separate ourselves from others, parts of ourselves and eventually from God. As you cross this bridge, are there bridges you need to build? What parts of yourself have you pushed away? Do your ideas of a harsh and judging God push him away as well? How might the need to build bridges inform decisions you need to make?


The Spirit as the bringer of freedom. We too were slaves of the ruling spirits of the universe before we reached spiritual maturity … so then we are no longer a slave but God’s children Galatians 4:3 and 7 If you know a little about fishing, and eeling in particular, you might be able to guess that this sculpture, hinaki, is an eel trap. Open wide at both ends, the trap contains bait which attracts the eels. In the narrow confines of the trap, they are unable to find their way back out.

Pentecost 2010  

The brochure to start conversation about the sculptures and the Spirit

Pentecost 2010  

The brochure to start conversation about the sculptures and the Spirit