St Peters church service (2017)

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[00:00:00] This program is brought to you by Friday and [00:00:06] Good morning, [00:00:06] everybody. [00:00:08] I warm warm welcome this Sunday morning for this wonderful service the celebration of 50th anniversary of Godfrey Wilson's groundbreaking Suman I am Reverend any case, I am the priest in charge here at some pieces well as straight and as my as a privilege to be presiding here this morning. At this point, I just like to introduce some of our guests who I am sharing the space with this morning. It's absolutely wonderful, very picked up here. So we have the lovely Bishop Rima, who's come down from Auckland, Martin. And I have someone who for some of you might find a bit familiar. It's Bob Scott. We've got him over the news going to guide him through. And it is wonderful to have you here with us this morning. Our service begins on page 456, of the New Zealand prayer book. [00:01:12] And the name of God creator, Redeemer and giver of life, [00:01:17] Grace to You and peace from God, our Creator, the love at our beginning, and without the end, in our midst and with us. [00:01:36] Hope it's have been the place of history making. Since the earliest Christian times the pulpit, or Pope button to give it a proper name [00:01:50] was the place for speaking, inherited from our Jewish origins. And throughout the church, the ancient Greek Emma means both platforms steps and was used for a variety of secular raised speaking platforms in both Ancient Greece and Rome. [00:02:13] And from those times to today, the central raised platform in both Jewish synagogues and in Christian churches, is the place for the word. Nowadays, sermons and our addresses are often from the mo or the lectern, whichever you want to give it. [00:02:36] I'm rather pleased this Pope remains here. Because this too, is a place of history making. [00:02:48] On the 26th of June 1967, a startling sermon was preached from this platform, either then, the Reverend Godfrey Wilson [00:03:01] it was history making. [00:03:04] Because it may well have been the first sermon of its kind in the country, it probably was. And certainly the first sermon of its kind to be broadcast live on national radio. [00:03:18] And the short, [00:03:21] it shocked because it used an almost full Fitton word 50 years ago, homosexuality, [00:03:31] not an eyebrow raised today. [00:03:36] But then Godfrey was good at shocking people. [00:03:41] Watch Godfrey preached [00:03:45] was delivered in the certainty that it was and is the church's job to take the gospel to the margins, to break open God's word. [00:03:59] That challenge is and always will be to articulate gospel principles consistently and implement them compassionately. [00:04:14] We must preach that human flourishing is a primary goal [00:04:19] for far more important than the protection of our institutions. [00:04:27] preaching is part of the paradox of worship. [00:04:32] God works within us and within worship, [00:04:37] some something that never absolves us from the responsibility of making our responses, worship is the mutual giving and receiving of worth for that is what the meaning of worship is worth. And preaching is, or at least it should be. Part of that. It is not simply me to n n. It is not about making better informed Christians. It is not just about teaching. And it is not just about ethical instruction. It is part of our worship as a whole. And does it must be inclusive. [00:05:22] Worship then, is liturgical action, that helps us to see the world transformed. [00:05:32] And a sermon [00:05:32] must be part of that. [00:05:38] You go [00:05:40] sign of a solid, [00:05:43] you can give it a good selfie, thumbs down again, just like a desk in Parliament grant. [00:05:50] They come from the same origins [00:05:53] a few weeks ago. And it reminded us that the core of what is often referred to as good shepherd, so they is the unmistakable message that we are all both leaders and followers. [00:06:09] over several decades of very ministry, I have been humbled by those who have pursued a life of faith in a church that has not always welcomed or value them for their worth. [00:06:23] The Gay and Lesbian an intersex members of our church of the church as a whole. [00:06:32] And there's one of the sheep, I have been constantly reminded that we need to hear their voices time and again, and take seriously their experiences. [00:06:46] They show us continually show us a valuable expression of mercy in cut in calling the church to be more inclusive, more Christ like despite being given so many reasons to walk away. [00:07:06] So very sadly, so many have done just that, and walk away. [00:07:14] It was one set of Godfrey Wilson following one of his numerous controversial sermons. [00:07:21] He bleeds like a sheep. [00:07:24] And I hope as he heard that, that he took it as a compliment. [00:07:30] 50 years on. [00:07:34] It is an immense honor and privilege to repeat scot free sermon, and to reflect on the pastoral leadership of one who was so often thought of as a black sheep in the bigger flock, the church. [00:07:52] And so to that certain [00:07:57] God, please text was from the front live john, from both chapter three and four. [00:08:05] Little children, Let us love not in word or in speech, but in deed and in truth. [00:08:15] If anyone says I love God and hates his brother, he is a liar. [00:08:22] For he who does not love his brother, whom he has seen, cannot love God, who he has not seen. [00:08:31] And this commandment we have from him, that he who loves God should love his brother also. [00:08:40] Love people. times without number. He's founded the use and the abuse that familiar and ambiguous word. And now the prison chaplain has used it, sitting there in his office, listening to John's story. [00:09:00] JOHN has been three weeks in prison. [00:09:04] Perhaps the three blackest weeks of a life already overburdened with shadow. [00:09:11] Put him in a group of other men of say around 30 you would see nothing to mark him as different. He is able intelligent, and well thought of in the bank, where he wants worked. But he is different. [00:09:28] JOHN is a homosexual [00:09:31] if his his own sex that he is attracted to, as it is with men that he seeks to make those loving relationships on which any full life as a person depends. [00:09:45] I don't know when john first realized he was different. His mother to whom he was very close at sometimes commented on the lack of interesting girls. But that was earlier. He was a born patch. He said not wanting to hurt. And in time, she recognized and accepted. [00:10:08] When he left home to work in Wellington, he was trying hard to come to terms with his condition. [00:10:16] He led quite a full social life and made friends particularly in the amateur drama group that he joined. But he kept telling himself This is as far as I can go. Just friends. In you only too well what society thinks of homosexuals. After all, didn't he read the newspapers? and hadn't he overheard the landlady telling her friends with some discussed that she thought she had a queer among the borders. [00:10:49] It was like background radiation, the attitudes, the things you read and heard. JOHN tried, but the only thing to become more more aware of something vital lacking of a growing emptiness at the center of his life. [00:11:08] He wanted to give himself to love and to be loved. But how cookie the way he wants? [00:11:17] Well, john did fall in love. With a young man he met on the nights in a coffee bar and got talking to him. Colin was his name. they clicked, as we say, of men and women who fall in love. And after some months of culture, they moved into a flat together. [00:11:38] JOHN took these steps in fear and trembling. It wasn't all together satisfactory, that we've tensions, quarrels, sometimes jealousy over friends, as in other human relationships. But there was also love, genuine care for each other. And the fulfilling experience of facing life in partnership. [00:12:04] JOHN couldn't imagine the return to his solitariness. [00:12:09] They had been together for nearly a year when the landlord gave them notice. Apparently another challenge had complained to him about having queers for neighbors. And about the pack of pansies who came round visiting. [00:12:27] He was sorry, but he didn't want to upset his fellow tenants. [00:12:33] It was no use making a fuss. After all, as far as they were concerned, he had the whip hand, john and Collin core over over the upheaval, and the relationship ended on a sour note. [00:12:50] To cut a long story short, [00:12:54] john went back to his solitary boarding house existence. But now he was getting picture. He felt more deprived and frustrated than before. And it was This, coupled with the desperate desire to regain something of what he had lost. that drove him from one casual relationship to another, and finally, into the arms of the law. [00:13:22] He got probation for the first offense. But the second time, it was 12 months in prison. [00:13:32] What's the use, john said to the chaplain, I've tried to fit in, I tried to live my life and find happiness like everyone else. I didn't ask to be homosexual, I didn't choose to be different. [00:13:48] And yet, you've made me an outsider, a criminal, a greater threat to society, apparently, then the adulterer who breaks up a home, or the man who gets a girl pregnant, and leaves holding the baby. [00:14:06] And look, if you fall in love, and Mary, that's fine. But if I fall in love, and want to share it, that's perverse, and must be persecuted and punished. [00:14:21] Do you wonder that I've thought of suicide? [00:14:26] What then is there for me? Who cares about me? Yes, who cares? [00:14:39] Well, I'm glad I'm not that chaplain. I wouldn't know what to say to someone in John's position. I mean, hearing about john I suddenly realized how easy would be to take for granted the love and affection and care and friendship that I enjoy. [00:14:55] Beta try imagining how it feel of people whispered behind my back, every time I took a girlfriend home, or even worse if I'd been evicted, because what other tenants said, when I tried to sit down with my wife [00:15:07] row reason and for helping men like john with to see what they like to see that God intended human nature to find fulfillment in marriage and the raising of the family. [00:15:19] Yeah, but but not everyone gets married. [00:15:22] True. But some choose monitoring for various reasons [00:15:27] and sheer force of circumstances prevents [00:15:30] us. [00:15:32] And what's this force of circumstances that prevented john from getting married? He simply wasn't born the way so much of society still treats as normal, whatever that [00:15:42] are born bachelor, is that what you mean? That's what he told his mother you remember? But I promise you it was approved, even if that's what they would have right? [00:15:53] Now Now you know, as well as I do that our sexual tendencies become Philly. See it today age when we are too young, too much influence on what happens. JOHN could no more prevented has sexual outlook, then you could yours or I could be no matter how rich objectively speaking, yours might be. [00:16:14] Ah, so you do agree that it's better not to be a homeless? [00:16:20] You're missing the point to missing the point. Yes, yes. Do assuming that john had some choices sexuality, when in fact, he didn't show you must have had [00:16:28] some higher? [00:16:31] Well, you ask yourself, did you choose your sexual book? Did you read? [00:16:43] person can't help being born left handed. But the Scripture tells us that it might be at the worst unhealthy? Is it a certain if a person grows up with a different kind of sexual personality? We know it's not a sin to be left handed. So why should a homosexual vs. Listen. [00:17:03] I must admit I'm [00:17:07] watching mean is that it's not sinful to feel affection for one's own sake? Well, everybody does that up to a point. [00:17:16] I suppose it was a sexual behavior, which results from the zoom calls and run away with you? [00:17:22] That's not really the simple thing [00:17:25] is you can say that, and of course in the same in the case of heterosexuals, right. It's those who use that gift of sexuality, whose son [00:17:34] this I see that criteria now. [00:17:36] But there is another side to the picture. [00:17:41] Show me the rest of the community has the right to ensure that the sort of behavior [00:17:47] Isn't it just as much for their own good summer strangers put on them. But it can the community really restrain them? [00:17:58] And if you try that, [00:18:03] but by can deeming him, the community hasn't solved his problem. In fact, it's made it worse, right. And the in the communities worst fears will be confirmed. And this will be taken as conclusive proof that prison is the only place for him. It's that old excuse for ignoring the problem. [00:18:23] Oh, my God, we moved on from that theory. [00:18:28] But we've got to keep [00:18:29] coming back to the same fundamental problem. So toe, denounces homosexuals. [00:18:37] But haven't we learned a great deal about six since those days? pole and the Old Testament writers had the mistaken idea which we've already been through that homosexual choose what it has to be? It doesn't help me to see what john supposes centers. [00:18:57] Now you're making unless searing difficulties? I thought we'd already agreed that his son was his abuse of God's gift of sexuality. [00:19:08] No, not at all. JOHN is a homosexual take his relationship with Colin, but was he abusing his gift of sexuality? And therefore Sunday? [00:19:19] I'm sorry, I don't quite follow. [00:19:22] Well, is it like this, much of Christianity continues to condemn homosexuality, for it represents the denial of what is the good life. Simple, for instance, talks about deeds prompted by love. And although it's an old fashioned word, it does at least help us what he thinks about what he thought sexual centers. And he says it's a lack of respect for yourself, or for other people and sexual relations as a sort of disrespect or abuse that leads to deliberately establishing a sexual relationship simply for what you can get out of it. You know, as well as I do, that we if we had that sort of attitude to six, that it's not long before the whole meaning gets destroyed. [00:20:08] Or create a relationship to people and Jane exchange love, affection, and which they share a common life and common interests of responsibility. Outside of this [00:20:21] becomes a destructive for you get attention. [00:20:26] And just remember the end. [00:20:28] Yes, but isn't this a different situation where one kind of marriage and having children isn't a possibility? So because a couple homosexual, and the love is genuine, that are committed to each other, and they want to make a life together, isn't really necessarily sinful for six to come into this [00:20:48] role if you put it like that. But why do [00:20:54] I feel john has been made a victim of his sexuality, he is aware of is that but he's told it's not a gift that occurs. He's aware of its potential reality for good and for bed, perhaps more. We're in a way then we who took us It took us to granted. But he has told that however he expresses them he is sending. He wants to use his gifts in a creative way that he has warned that he must inevitably destroy. He wants us to share an ordinary given take of love and affection. He wants to have this sort of relationship with another person, without words over the exceptional few find life doll and empty. But his total presses able urges. Just like you and me, he finds it perfectly natural to want to fulfill the physical side of his nature. Not for what he can get out of it, but for what he can given to it. But he is told that this is condemned. [00:21:57] Now, I don't find any destructive work at force at work. In this particular case, I see no exploitation know denial of personal worth, only the needs and limitation of a human being trying to find fulfillment in ways that will be rewarding and emerging. [00:22:14] But if you believe this, then it's impossible for us to say whether Jonah's sunning or not. You would need to know so many things about his personal is an ally, to be an Olsen. [00:22:27] And why should we? Why should we decide that question? Is it our place to delve into anyone's personal life? Surely only God sees the heart and the soul. And it isn't a purse position to where the person's worth. [00:22:43] I am beginning to see what you mean. You mean, we've all said and done some way or another I haven't. And if we don't constantly remind ourselves of this basic fact about human nature, we're in great danger of putting ourselves in God's place. what it amounts to is this [00:23:01] not our place to judge [00:23:02] and condemn Exactly. But it's something so much more positive than that. For me, the whole meaning of Christianity boils down to God's concern for all people, no matter who they are or what they have done. We are all made in God's image. God accepts us old, not just in Word and His speech as a reading product, but in deed, and in truth. God got so deeply involved with us that he even became one of us and died for us and older so that we could stop merely existing and began living life to the full. acceptance is the key word. And you can't accept unless you love, love, Christian love, the sort of love God has for us and to offer us. It isn't a transit feeling we enjoy well at last, but a demand to accept all people as God accepts them, with no reservations. unconditional love. The idea that rigid black and white distinctions are possible that I want to reject. Isn't that the lesson we learned from john story? [00:24:14] We know that times have changed dramatically in half a century. [00:24:21] We know that 30 years ago, there was a law reform that decriminalized homosexuality. [00:24:31] Sadly, an Act of Parliament doesn't change everybody's minds or lines. The legacy of coffee sermon is a reminder that we still have a long way to go in caring for the marginalized of our society. [00:24:47] Sure, we don't lock people up anymore. [00:24:52] And we don't necessarily reject certain lifestyles, we might decide are unhealthy. Before we inquire of our own minds, what would be the reaction of Jesus. [00:25:05] But that is where we have to start the reaction of Jesus, not in the course of Parliament. Through that security, though that circuitous route may sometimes be a help. But here at the heart of the Christian family, God's house is where we stopped. And in private conversations with God, in our prayer life, [00:25:32] no matter who we are, unconditional means exactly that it means unconditional. [00:25:43] The infinite value of human life is to be both touchstone and foundation for determining the morality of a given act or issue. [00:25:58] Christian morality should be more concerned with the well being and the dignity of each and every person, then with the rules norms for canonical commandments. That is the teaching of Jesus. [00:26:19] I cannot deny the faithful scholarship, a Bible loving, true seeking Jesus loving and done by a scholars who find no other alternative. But to conclude that the Bible is actually affirming of LGBT q i, and all the rest people. I cannot condemn where there is certain certainty. But an undeniable history of wrongful judging, disapproving, and damning things, lights have proven to be benign, even though [00:27:02] I am learning never to trust, a conservative church that demands I love conditionally. [00:27:11] Surely, [00:27:14] it should be the desire of us all to live life beyond condemning, discriminating and sin labeling mantras of any church, that crucifies first, and consults Jesus later. [00:27:33] I leave you with these few words, bless it, Thomas Merton. [00:27:38] The whole idea of compassion is based on a keen awareness of the interdependence of all living beings, which are all part of one another, and all involved in one another. [00:27:56] Amen. [00:28:03] Caring God, we thank you for your gifts in creation, for our world. [00:28:12] For our land, its beauty and its resources. [00:28:19] We pray for those who make decisions about the resources of the earth. [00:28:27] For those who work on land and sea and city and an industry [00:28:36] for artists, scientists and visionaries [00:28:51] ready to God will lay before you [00:28:55] left last 50 years [00:28:58] of slowly moving understanding [00:29:03] of the love relationships between those who are accepted and those who are not. [00:29:11] We give thanks to you, for the witness of Godfrey and Mary Rose, in ministry in this place. [00:29:24] We give thanks for those during the last 50 years, [00:29:30] who've plowed through the intolerable conferences, Commission's [00:29:38] reflections [00:29:41] for 30 years [00:29:44] and still not reached a common decision. [00:29:53] We pray for your forgiveness [00:29:56] of this institution. In that matter. [00:30:06] We remember the thousands of people [00:30:10] whom the church ignored [00:30:13] sometimes hastened [00:30:21] the time when people committed suicide, because they felt lost, uncared for, [00:30:33] pray for the families of those people. [00:30:37] who say I can eat continued for years and years. [00:30:46] And so now we pray clearly, [00:30:49] that our church and it's seven meetings. [00:30:55] And it's reflections of the local level, may see new lights [00:31:03] may see new energy [00:31:07] may claim some joy, in a determination [00:31:14] for joy, and for love. [00:31:20] Our prayer is [00:31:23] that in the next few years, [00:31:27] we comin we may continue to march forward seeking new truths, you commitment in the name of love. [00:31:35] Instead of waiting for yet another condition. [00:31:43] We ask this [00:31:46] in the name of Jesus, who taught us how to love [00:31:50] and [00:34:53] most loving God, creator and Redeemer, we give you thanks for this foretaste of your glory. Through Christ and with all your sites we offer ourselves and our lives to your service. Send us out in the power of your spirit to stand with you in your world. We asked us through Jesus Christ, the servant, our friend and brother, I mean, [00:35:21] I'm going to take liberties, one of the things we'd like to do today is bliss, our beautiful rainbow banner, you can see it draping artistically in the corner over there. It was created for a gathering spiritual gathering last year. And we would like to take today as an opportunity to police it. [00:35:43] And because of the nature of today's celebration, I wanted couldn't help myself I to be part of it. So you'll see there's a bit of a rainbow banner on the left hand over the out with a cross on it. My parents were members of this congregation 50 years ago, and Godfrey Wilson was the Africa. And they were married here in 1969. By Godfrey [00:36:06] and my mother one of the things that she has given me as she's a person who makes basements for clergy and priests and deacons around the country. And as a result, she's got a lot of fabric. [00:36:20] So I said to her, what I'd like to do is create a banner to remember and recognize this 50th anniversary so all the fabric from that banner as pieces that was set aside for basements for Fuji in this country, and I thought more than appropriate that we use that for our banner here today. So I get to have a little bit of something here. And we've my story further to the wonderful story and legacy of this parish and all that it stands for and all that I hope that it stands for in the future. [00:36:55] Yeah. All right. [00:37:03] So in that spirit, for all those rainbow banners and, and flags that we have in this vicinity right now. We know that in the beginning, God created the heavens and the earth and all that as an end God said, It is good, all of us. And so and that spirit made these banners be a symbol of that all encompassing, generous, amazing. And the ending that love for all that all who see it may be overwhelmed by the power of that love and no God that you are a God of love. And we bless these spinners and the name of the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit. I mean [00:37:50] I'm going to hand over to remember to give the blessing [00:38:00] God be with [00:38:07] a angels watch you [00:38:09] through a [00:38:16] sword and spear. [00:38:21] Sense [00:38:21] keep you [00:38:26] up to speed [00:38:31] and [00:38:34] go

This page features computer generated text of the source audio - it is not a transcript. The Artificial Intelligence Text is provided to help users when searching for keywords or phrases. The text has not been manually checked for accuracy against the original audio and will contain many errors.