Tuesday, January 24, 2017

Prayer of thanksgiving and confession for Auckland Anniversary Weekend (maybe)

panorama from One Tree Hill with both of Auckland's  harbours in picture.

Auckland City CBD
 from under harbour Bridge
This week coming up is Auckland Anniversary Weekend. I don't always tie services and prayers into what is happening on the calendar but I thought I'd give it a go this week. So I sat down and wrote a prayer of thanks giving and confession for our service on Sunday. I'm not sure I'll use it. It's a bit formal. My languge again gets a bit flowery.  It does pick up some of the wonder of living in Auckland:

the amazing diverse landscape, just living in Auckland you are bi-coastal, tow very different coasts as well. we have two harbours and with the sprawl north it is slowly becoming three with the Kaipara. It is built on a large volcanic field. in one direction the city goes off west to the waitakere rangers and its protected ' native bush', the hills that I grew up looking at from our house on the Titirangi Road ridge. The market gardens of pukekohe, which I have to say I only usually see as I take Highway 1 over the Bombay hills on my way south. There is so much more you could give thanks for in this city in terms of natural beauty.

The amazing diversity of people. Auckland is one of the ten most multi cultural cities in the world. With over 40 % of people having been born "elsewhere". The Maori are the people of this land and the migration of others from Europe, the Pacific, Asia, the Americas and Africa has happened in waves over the last century and a half (or more). people from down country have come to Auckland for education and jobs (and with high house prices they are moving back south!).

It has been great to see the Gospel proclaimed and lived in this city for the past 180 years as well. It is good to be part of a group of people trying to live out and share the gospel in the here and now and as i get a bit older to see new generations, fresh expressions and denominations and new leaders carrying on the task.

But all is not well in the city and we have our challenges. Inequality, how to deal with our colonial past with justice and integrity, someone commented to me the disturbing fact that while we are one of the worlds most multi cultural cities we are also one of the most segregated as well. Children living in poverty is an issue. Housing costs mean that the poor find themselves pushed further out from the city centre to the south and west. Gentrification and demand for housing is an issue. 

But I also trust that we can bring our city to God trusting that he will hear our prayers and fill us with his Holy spirit to be his people in this place.   

Once again feel free to use or not use all or any of this prayer you may find helpful.  for my non New Zealand readers... Tamaki Makaurau is the Maori name for this part of the country. Tanagata Whenua means the people fo this land. Iwi means tribe. Other names in Maori are the recognised place names.  

Creator God

This anniversary weekend we want to thank you for this place,

Tamaki Makaurau, Auckland city our home

The sparkling waters of Waitamata and island encrusted Hauraki gulf,

Our sheltered east coast, Pohutukawa lined, white sand beaches.  

The vast reach of the Manukau, with hidden sand bar and fast tidal flow  

The bush clad slopes, and wave pounded iron sand of wild west coast

 For the vista from volcanic cones and valley with rich soil beneath

The wilderness of Waitakere range and abundance of Bombay hills,

For its natural beauty and the emerging city scape in which we live.

Loving God

This anniversary weekend we want to thank you for this place

Tamaki Makaurau, Auckland city, our home

For the Tangata Whenua, the first people of this land,

Iwi with deep roots and those who have heeded the urban call  

For the people who have come from “all over”, for new life in this place

Those who came by settler ship or by quick or long haul airplane trip

We thank you for the great wealth of cultures in this place

The world is our neighbour and we are enriched

By all these people made in your image and loved by you

God our saviour

This anniversary weekend we want to thank you for this place;

Tamaki Makaurau, Auckland city our home

We thank you for your saving love shown in Jesus Christ

His birth, life, death and resurrection, reconciling us with you

Thank you for those who have faithfully proclaimed the gospel here

Who have lived out their faith in this place, with compassion and love

For those who have gone before us, planting and growing your church

For our brothers and sisters who seek to be your people today

We trust your spirit to abide with, and lead future generations on

Holy God

This anniversary weekend we confess our sin in this place

Tamaki Makaurau, Auckland city our home

We confess the Tangata Whenua have not been treated with justice

We confess greed and self-interest have allowed inequality to grow

We have stood by as poverty pushes people to the periphery and the edge

We confess that while the world is our neighbour, we still seem to be so apart

We confess we have done wrong and left undone the good you call us to do

Thank you that you are faithful and just, thank you for Jesus Christ

That as we confess our sins you forgive us and wipe the slate clean

God who is with us by the Holy spirit

This anniversary weekend we want to pray for this place

Tamaki Makaurau, Auckland city, our home

Be with our leaders and those who plan for our future  

Give them wisdom and courage, lead and guide them

Fill this place with your love, compassion and justice

Help us all to love our neighbour as you have loved us

Fill us afresh with your spirit to be your people in this place

That all we say and do will bring glory to God: Father, Son and Holy Spirit

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