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Margaret Mayman's last reflection

Audio of Rev. Dr. Margaret Mayman's last reflection "The blessing of gratitude". After nearly twelve years of ministry, Margaret gave her last sermon at St Andrew's on the Terrace in Wellington on Sunday, 24 November 2013. A special thank you to Margaret and St Andrew's for allowing us to record this reflection.

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In the final reflection delivered by Reverend Dr. Margaret Mayman at St Andrew's on the Terrace in Wellington, the theme centered on the "blessing of gratitude." After a ministry spanning nearly twelve years, Mayman chose to focus on a message of thankfulness and appreciation for the experiences and connections forged during this time rather than on the heavy responsibilities of their work for peace and justice, an often revisited subject in their past sermons.

The reflection began by drawing an analogy between the constancy of sermon-writing at different dining tables, representative of the home's everyday life, embodying family, hospitality, conversation, and gratitude. Emphasizing the importance of such a setting, Mayman highlighted how the routine act of dining together encourages pausing to give thanks for life's nourishment—both physical and spiritual. The connection to the natural world, seen through the dining table at Kari where Mayman resided, served as a backdrop for contemplation on life, beauty, suffering, and gratitude.

Mayman invoked a story from the Gospel of Luke about a Samaritan leper who, upon being healed, chose to return and thank Jesus, thereby highlighting the profoundness of gratitude beyond mere politeness. This act of giving thanks by returning to Jesus symbolized a deliberate pause, a choice to give attention and acknowledgment to life-changing events, and an appropriate response to the acknowledgment of life as a gift from a holy source.

In their reflection, Mayman also addressed the issue of interdependence, countering the myth of independence by expressing gratitude to the numerous hands involved in the journey of food from soil to table and emphasizing the significance of a living wage for all workers. This gratitude to the community was echoed in the reference to the Epistle to the Colossians, where a community fraught with theological conflict is called to embrace love, peace, and thankfulness.

Mayman noted that thankfulness is not merely good manners but a perspective on life. It helps one see the good around them and engage compassionately to change what is unjust. This message was encapsulated in a Jewish parable about a man overwhelmed by living in a crowded space with their family, who, upon the rabbi's advice, learned to appreciate their situation once they changed their perception by first introducing and then removing a goat from the living space. Here, thankfulness was shown as a lens through which one could identify and experience joy in creation amidst adversity.

The reflection culminated with a personal note of thanks from Mayman for the gifts received from the faith community at St Andrew's and the broader Wellington area. Gratitude extended towards shared experiences, learnings, and the intimate connections formed with individuals across various faiths and the wider community.

In summary, Mayman's final sermon at St Andrew's on the Terrace was a heartfelt articulation of the power of gratitude as a spiritual practice and a worldview that can enrich community, foster awareness and connection, and animate lives with love, generosity, and awareness of the divine in everyday moments. The address served both as a benediction to their time spent in ministry and a call to live attentively, with thankful hearts and a recognition of the interwoven bonds of humanity and the sacred.

This summary is created using Generative AI. Although it is based on the recording's transcription, it may contain errors or omissions. Click here to learn more about how this summary was created.

Record date:24th November 2013
Location:St Andrew's on the Terrace, Wellington
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Archive:The master recording is archived at the Alexander Turnbull Library (OHDL-004289).