Haere mai ki te whakanui i a Matariki. Haere mai ki te tāngata katoa. Welcome everyone in this month of Matariki - the Māori new year.
The lives that we lead today are very different to what has been experienced at any other time in history. The time and place that we live in allows us to speak to others, and share peaceful relations with others from any culture or background. We respect and tolerate diversity - because we realise that diversity makes us stronger.
Our latest sermon series has reminded us of this, and the fact that everyone has a part to play in the Body of Christ.
"For just as each of us has one body made up of many members, and these members do not all have the same function, so too in Christ, we though many are members of one body, and each member belongs to all the others. We have different gifts according to the grace given to each of us" Romans 12:4-6a
We each have a part to play in the body, and while Christ does want unity in the church, he is not a fan of uniformity. It is sad when the church confuses personal preferences and attitudes for doctrine.
I have been a member of MWCC now for 17 years, and in this church I see a reflection of the body referred to in Romans. I have seen many broken and disadvantaged people come and receive grace and restoration. I have seen, and experienced, the tautoko and manaakitanga of church family during sad and difficult times. I have shared joy and celebrated with this church family.
Equally, I have argued with and challenged ideas that I don't agree with. In the process I have made good decisions and bad decisions, and threatened unity in the Spirit. So, it is fortunate that I have seen how strong and gracious people work through their differences, and make something beautiful for God.
Let's not just tolerate diversity - let's celebrate it!