From 2011 Winter Arena – New Zealand Corner
It’s been an eventful year so far here in the Land of the Long White Cloud. Just when people were starting to recover from last year’s earthquake, along came another, much bigger one, resulting in many deaths and injuries, and incredible damage. And in similar ways to the previous event, people responded with an even greater outpouring of community spirit. There were so many stories of individuals setting off to Christchurch to help in any way they could, and families here in Auckland opening their homes to ‘refugees’ to give them respite from the continual shaking and the scenes of devastation. Attendance at church services increased dramatically, as is often the way in such circumstances. One week after the event, the whole country stopped for 2 minutes’ silence – an intensely emotional experience but very bonding.
Are we becoming more God-conscious? Are New Zealanders turning to God, however they might conceive of him, in these times of trouble? Only time will tell, but I am reminded of the words that Jesus spoke to the disciples on the way to Gethsemane; “You should not be perturbed by famines or earthquakes;” ( p. 1913). He goes on to refer to their ‘steadfastness in the gospel of the kingdom”. The enormous comfort and inner security offered by the knowledge of God’s love and overall plan for us all is a gift beyond price in times such as these, and hopefully all believers, no matter what form their belief takes, will take every opportunity to share this knowledge with people who are distressed and overwhelmed by the insecurity of the ground beneath their feet.
We readers in Auckland are looking forward to the National Study Day, and wish all participants a stimulating time of study and fellowship, which, like the 2 minutes’ silence, will serve to unite us in our search for greater wisdom, understanding and the opportunity to serve those in need.
From 2011/12 Summer Arena – New Zealand Corner
As the end of another year approaches, when people around the world celebrate the birth of Michael, and , hopefully, spend time with their families appreciating all the good things life has to offer, we in The Urantia Book readers’ family can reflect on and deeply appreciate the vastness of the universe kin group that we belong to.
The midwayers could be seen as older siblings, the seraphim and cherubim perhaps take the role of aunts and uncles, and of course there is our Universe Mother Spirit and Michael being our much loved and loving spiritual mother and father. To me, one of the great gifts of Michael’s birth was the creation of a family, a theme that runs through much of the book right up to our Father in Paradise. Despite all the over-commercialism of Christmas in our society as it is celebrated today, and despite all the negative results of these celebrations, domestic abuse and debt being the most prominent, still it is a celebration of family, and the great strengths and support that this social institution can provide to the welfare and growth of every individual.
In this spirit we readers in New Zealand send very warm greetings to you our spiritual sisters and brothers in Australia. We deeply value the support you give us, the sharing of ideas and insights into the book we all study, the wonderful gatherings of our ‘family’ which are so uplifting and inspiring, and often just your presence there over the Ditch, assuring us that we are not alone in our endeavours.
We wish all readers in Australia a very happy Christmas and New Year, and a rich harvest of the fruits of the spirit in 2012.