THIS YEAR IS MAY 1
SERVICES IN AUCKLAND, ASHLEY AND DUNEDIN
Once again I have to apologize for the long interval (a year) since the last issue. I had hoped to bring out one shortly after the ordination in Auckland, but a number of things prevented me. A good deal has been happening, and we shall cover as much as possible in this issue. Firstly, however, let me address a matter that weighs very heavily on my mind at the moment, as a sort of last straw: the republican talk we have been hearing in recent weeks, and finally from the Prime Minister. While opinion polls are said to run still heavily in favour of the monarchy in New Zealand, it is my observation that the self-appointed makers of public opinion do not give up, but keep massaging the polls until they produce the answer that they want. It is therefore important that all of us who still understand what the monarchy is for, speak up, and point out:
1. There are plenty of republics arounbd for those that want them. There are few monarchies left. Let those who want a republic move to one.
2. If people do not like having a head of state overseas, let them petition the Queen to appoint one of the Royal Princes as Governor General and King of New Zealand. There are quite a few after all.
3. The Prime Minister has linked the abolition of the Monarchy with abolition of appeals to the Privy Council. One must ask whether this is because he wants there to be no higher authority than himself; and whether we thiunk it could possibly be good for the country for the governing party to be subject to n one beyond itself.
4. I was very much disturbed to receive a republican proposal contained in political material passed on to us by the Conference of Churches in Aotearoa-New Zealand. I replied then, and repeat now, that for Christians there ought to be no doubt: Christianity is all about the Christ who is called Christ precisely because he is Christos, Annointed as King. Christian societies naturally have a King over them as an icon of Christ.
The abolition of monarchy in societies traditionally Christian is the work of heretics (such as the Puritans who murdered first Archbishop Laud and then King Charles) or straightout unbelievers, suc as the French and Bolshevik revolutionaries, disciples of the so-called Enlightenment which set out to destroy Christianity; or simply secularizers, who are determined to remove from our midst everything that is sacred or holy.
It is true that when the prophet Samuel was first asked by the Israelites for a king, he tried to dissuade them. Nevertheless, he did annoint them a King, and at his second attempt chose David, who became the prototype for the expected Messiah or Christ. David himself refused to take any action against Saul, however erratic and wicked he became, because he was the Lord's Annointed. From the time of David on, the Old Testament resonates with the theme of kingship; and when our Lord began to preach, it was by saying, Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is at hand The phrase, Kingdom of God, or Kingdom of heaven, was constantly on his lips. Just imagine, if he had gone around talking of the Republic of God. Or if the title on the Cross had read: The President of the Jews. Or if the thief had prayed, Sir, remember me when you come into your Republic.
In fact, republics had been very fashionable in the centuries before our Lord's time. The Greeks and Romans had both experimented with them; but the Greek republics ended in Alexander, and the Roman Republic in Caesar Augustus. Our Lord was born at time when a universal kingdom (Empire) had brought peace in the whole known world. And so S. Peter * wrote: Fear God; honour the King (Emperor).
* I mistakenly wrote at the time: S. Paul. See correction in next issue.
That could be a slogan for
us, in this age of slogans. So could the message *[which the Canadian
Office has used for decades to frank its mail]:
* I thought so at the time as it came on mail from there. See correction in next issue.
Car stickers have been printeed based on these two messages and are available for use or for photocopying. It would be a pity if by our inaction we let the last mark of our identity as a Christian people go by default.<> I said above that republicanism among Christians was rooted in heresy. The Stuart kings were right to say: no Bishop, no King; that is, the kingship of Christ and his High Priesthood in the Church are expressed in the monarchy, and in the Bishops as successors of the Apostles. Reformation doctrines overthrew both, and produced the situation described in the Gondoliers:
Or, more accurately expressed: the doctrine of equality is misapplied to mean that there are no special persons in society, as the doctrine of free grace was misapplied so as to mean that there were no special means of grace, as baptism, eucharist, priesthood. But the truth is the opposite: it is because we have priests who have received in succession from the Apostles say in Christ's name: This is my Body, This is my Blood, and these words have power, and accomplish what they say, that the whole Church, including every baptized christian, is able to be priestly; so we have a Queen in Westminster not so that the rest of us can be commoners, but so that every man and his wife can be King and Queen in their own home, and, in the Eastern wedding service, are crowned as such.
The reformers has some excuse in that the mediaeval Church of Rome had interpreted the Power of the Keys in terms of earthly dominion; however, the proper cure for error is not an opposite error, but the truth.
Let us now lead our
in a Lenten direction by recalling the character of our Lord's
so different from what his own nation had expected and the world still
To His disciples (Luke 22, 25):
The kings of the Gentiles (nations, heathen) exercise lordship over them, and they that exercise authority upon them are called benefactors. But ye shall not be so; but he that is greatest among you, let him be as the younger; and he that is chief, as he that doth serve. ...I am among you as he that serveth.
To Pilate (John 18,37): Thou sayest that I am a king. (i.e. As you, say, I am a king) To this end was I born, and for this cause came I into the world, that I should bear witness unto the truth . Everyone that is of the truth heareth my voice.
His kingdom is not based on force to exert power over others, but he serves us at his table in his kingdom (Luke 22, 30) in ordere to make us partakers of his Divinity, and he shares with us his knowledge of the Father by teaching those who will hear, and by imparting his sonship to them. He overcomes the Evil One not by force, but by suffering and death. By letting the Evil One have his day of power, bu entering no contest to the power games of the world, He is free of them and shares His freedom with us. We work with him to extend His kingdom, not by gaining control of earthly kingdoms for the Church, not by manipulating minds throught adverttizing, or seeking attention through demonstrations, but by a simply witness (telling it as it is), and by bearing our own crosses and regarding them as His. The demonic captiicity of today's society requires not denunciation as its cure, but the same that our Lord recommended to His disciples: this kind cometh not out but by prayer and fasting.
When the Queen of New Zealand was crowned, like her predecessors she wore the robes as worn by the Emperor Constantine and his successors: the dalmatic which is basically the vestment of the deacon, the minister or servant. To my mind, she was most truly Queen when she told us simply in her last Christmas message that she really hadn't had a very good year; or when, over the years, she has pointed to the teaching of our Lord Jesus Christ as the way to realize the hopes of families and societies. Recently, the convention that prevents the Palace from defending itself from slanders has made her an icon of the Lamb that opened not his mouth, and who taught us to turn the other cheek. In doing so she stands in a tradition going back at least as far as King Alfred who himself translated the Bible into Old English and sent it to his Bishops for his people's good. What President, Politburo, or Committee of Public Safety would be likely to do as well?
- God save the Queen of New Zealand.
SCHEDULE: FATHER AMBROSE
S. Nicholas, Christchurch:
March 27, June 26, October 23, December 17.
Christ the Saviour, Pirie St, Wellington:
February 27, April 24, May 29, July 24, August 28, October 30.
S. Michael, Palmerston North:
January 30, May 22, July 31, September 25, November 27.
Romanian Church, Wellington: August 14.
Our Lady of Kazan, Webb Street, Wellington:
All other Sundays, and many weekdays.
We are sorry that the delay in getting SPOTLIGHT out
made some of the above days redundant.A visit by Fr Jack to Wellington
last year gave a picture of the valuable work being done there by the
in settling refugees, and in building up a Sunday congregation
and weekday services in English. It is good to hear also that progress
has been made in providing sufficient funds for the work. We hope the
for a farm to serve as a country retreat will also meet with success
We hope to have more news, and some photos, for our next issue.
AUCKLAND MISSION PARISH
From a telephone conversation with Fr Michael we have learned that things are going well with a growing congregation. He was able to visit our Bishop and concelebrate with him in Sydney. We are promised pictures of his ordination soon, and hope to bring more news in our next issue.
HOLY WEEK AND EASTER
Times and details will vary in different
but we hope the Orthodox people will make a real effort for Lent, by
coming to Church, asking forgiveness of one another and of their
(confession), and especially in Holy Week. At Ashley we hold the
important services as follows: Maundy Thursday 6 pm, Good Friday 6 pm,
Holy Saturday 11.30 pm (April 28, 29, 30)
Things will be similar elsewhere, but there are services every day in Holy Week and the more you can attend the better. May our Lord through His Cross and passion draw us closer to Himself.
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