Kia Ora Family,

Graham Burt here. Festival One Director. Thanks so much for praying for Christchurch and our nation over the last few days. As a country we have responded wonderfully to an unspeakable and unthinkable tragedy. I guess like most of you, my mind over the last few days has been swinging from one polarity to the other - Why this? What should be done? How could this happen? What do we do next? What about the perpetrator?

I found this morning’s reading on YouVersion instructive. It is the passage in John 13:14 where Jesus washes the disciples feet. The Message version says this in the middle, Jesus speaking, "I’ve laid down a pattern for you. What I’ve done (washing the feet of others) you do too.”

That led me to another passage in Colossians 3:12-14 MSG version. "So, chosen by God for this new life of love, dress in the wardrobe God picked out for you: compassion, kindness, humility, quiet strength, discipline. Be even-tempered, content with second place, quick to forgive an offence. Forgive as quickly and completely as the Master forgave you. And regardless of what else you put on, wear love. It is your basic all-purpose garment. Never be without it."

In the days as ahead, as grief turns to analysis, and endless opinions are put forwards, may I encourage us to remember two things. Our faith in Jesus Christ the Son of God is not primarily about rules, or even primarily about payment being made. It is at its core about relationship. About a God who went to great lengths to restore and then continue to enjoy a relationship with humankind. At its core it is a love story, not a story based on rules or accounting. It is about love. God is love.

Can I encourage us all to daily, hourly, put on love as our “basic, all-purpose garment. Never be without it.”

Aroha nui, 
Graham, Jayne and family