In Galatians 2:20 Paul writes, ‘It’s no longer I who live’. The ‘I’ has died (metaphorically of course) and been re-born into a ‘we’. The identity of the old Paul has died (though traces remain) and a new identity has been forged. He calls this new identity, this we, this new tribe he has joined, “in Christ.”
Growing up in Auckland as a kid of the 80s, I had been used to the carefree nature that we had everything in front of us. We had our playground in front of our house, a piece of grass the size of the foyer area. No gates or fences to keep us in, I would play outside with the neighbours on summer nights it would be cricket and touch and during winter rugby and handball or should I say gutter ball. It was a period in our life where we thought we were invincible. Money wasn’t an issue although we would hear a few grumbles from the old man about this and that, but it was never something discussed in our presence. Our parents worked hard labourers’ jobs, mum sometimes two but they learnt to work it out and make ends meet.
Every Lent at least one of the readings will be about the story of Jesus being tempted, 40 days and 40 nights, in the wilderness. It echoes of course the Moses story of wandering in the wilds for 40 years before finding the so-called ‘promised land’ (which of course was Canaanite land!).
Waitangi literally means ‘water of tears’ – a name which can infer both grief and tearing apart, as well as the healing of grief (of which tears are a part). It’s also a name which underlines the importance of water for life, for journeys and trading, for healing and refreshment. It’s a good name for a National Day, a day to recognize both the trials of the past and the tasks before us, as well as the gifts we have as peoples of this land to bring healing, to widen our vision, and embrace the new and challenging.