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Chapel

Spirituality and Virtues

Throughout its long and rich history, Christ's College has maintained its foundation in Christian values, expecting boys to live lives underpinned by honesty, respect, spirituality, justice, compassion and stewardship.

These are timeless values which, once learned, will serve each boy well throughout his life. Our chaplain guides the spiritual life of the school, following the broad ethos of Anglicanism, whilst recognising the multi-denominational community in which we live. College welcomes boys of all religions and cultures.

At the heart of the school stands the Chapel. All boys attend Chapel services on Monday and Friday mornings, congregational singing practice on Wednesdays, and at least two Sunday services each term. Parents and families are warmly welcomed at Sunday services.

Boys are invited to be baptised if they wish, and a confirmation course is offered to Year 12 and 13 students.

In religious education classes, boys have the opportunity to learn about the great religions of the world, and to reflect on their on own beliefs. Knowing about religion, philosophy and ethics is not only valuable to finding meaning in life, but is also essential for a broad education and provides a foundation for other subjects, from art to English to history.

We aim to help the boys develop a mature understanding of social and cultural differences and to meet the challenges of good citizenship.

Chapel Notes 2019

  • Friday 13 September

    John 10:10
    "i haere mai ahau kia whiwhi ai ratou ki te orainatona nui noa atu
    I came that they may have life, and have it abundantly."
    Kia is a particle that looks towards the future; it’s a wish – for something to be it is desirable for something to occur.
    Ora is life.
    Jesus wants us to have – kia
    A big life – ora nui
    So when we say Kia ora – we are wishing someone life, wellness, wellbeing, health. When we say Kia ora – we are wishing someone what Jesus came to bring: fullness of life

  • Monday 2 September

    The Nunc Dimittis

    Lord, now lettest thou thy servant depart in peace:
    according to thy word.
    For mine eyes have seen : thy salvation,
    Which thou hast prepared: before the face of all people;
    To be a light to lighten the Gentiles :
    and to be the glory of thy people Israel.
    Glory be to the Father and to the Son :
    and to the Holy Ghost;
    As it was in the beginning, is now, and ever shall be :
    world without end. Amen.

    This is a prayer at the end - of the day; of one's life...

    And end is not simply the finish - it means the goal, the purpose.

    How do you end each day?
    We Talk about gratitude; commitment to compassion...

    If you believe in God: do you pray? Give thanks? Commit to next day?

    If you don’t – can you still end with gratitude & make new resolution, commitment next day.

  • Monday 26 August

    Glory to God in the highest, and peace to God’s people on earth

    Glory to God in the highest,
    and peace to God’s people on earth
    is one of the oldest Christian hymns we still have.
    It is modelled on the style of the Bible's psalms.

    1) It can sometimes feel God & universe & even teachers & other people are against us - out to get us.
    Certainly, the Gloria proclaims – God is ultimately on your side.
    2) Many of us are embarrassed; we think we have done something that cannot be forgiven; but the Gloria proclaims that we can always be forgiven
    3) If 'holy' doesn’t mean a lot to you – does it help that the word 'holy' and 'whole' are essentially the same word?

  • Friday 23 August

    Celebrating difference

    To create a sense of OUR group, we can tend to scapegoat others. We can fear "others" who are "different"; we can fear being "different" ourselves. The Bible, culminating in the life and death of Jesus, makes this dynamic visible (especially in the resurrection of Jesus). We see the scapegoat mechanism at work in large scale: USA, Brexit, the refugee crisis. We see it in our own lives. The fear of difference and the treating of others as scapegoats is unnecessary and totally wrong for those who follow the life and story of Jesus.

  • Monday 19 August

    Wellbeing Week

    People of faith, statistically, have higher well-being. 
    Practices for well-being can be found in religious disciplines honed over centuries and millennia.

    1. 1 emphasising the positive through gratitude – the primary Christian discipline is that of celebrating the Eucharist – the giving of thanks, the expression of gratitude. Eucharist is simply the Greek word for thanks. There the discipline called the Examen – where twice daily, we look through where God was present in the day. This is the God of beauty, truth, goodness, joy; this is watching our thoughts and seeing where they lead – we know where this series of thoughts will lead us – to emptiness and melancholy or this series of thoughts will lead me to exultation, to gratitude.
    2. There is Jesus’ strong teaching to live in the moment – don’t live in yesterday; don’t live in tomorrow. Live fully in the present
    3. Jesus created this strong sense of whānau – he broke down all the divisions between people; he created a new sense of family with his disciples – calling God 'Matua,' like a parent so we are all brothers & sisters; but he extended that beyond the in-group; even our enemies are part of the in group now
    4. There is holding on to the belief that God has a purpose for you and for me. Even when we do not sense it; even when we go through darkness and difficulty -  God gives meaning to our lives.
    5. There is the sense of vocation – this is what God is calling me to do; even when it doesn’t look like I am accomplishing much, God is working through me and with me
    6. And there is this strong sense of living a balanced life.

    Many will have spotted the connection with PermaV

    1. Positive emotions – gratitude; eucharist; the examine; watching the direction of our thoughts
    2. Engagement – living in the moment
    3. Relationships – our Father; brothers and sisters
    4. Meaning – a life of purpose
    5. Achievement – following our vocation
    6. Vitality – living a balanced life
  • Monday 12 August

    The Magnificat

    On Thursday, it is the feast of Mary, the Mother of Jesus. Today we looked at her Magnificat (Luke 1:39ff).
    Think of "god" as being what is most important to me/you/us.
    Some of us are polytheists - not having something that is most important, with many things equally very important.
    Jesus comes and challenges what is most important to us - our idea of god(s):
    shifting us from a focus on me to: service, about caring for others at least as much as & even more than ourselves, about self-sacrifice, about honesty, integrity. 
    God looks with favour on lowliness; on service.
    God scatters the proud in the thoughts of their hearts. 
    God brings down the powerful from their thrones,
    God lifts up the lowly; 
    God fills the hungry with good things,...

  • Friday 9 August

    Graduate Profile: Personal excellence – I strive to be at my best

    The Bible can challenge us to be perfect as God is perfect. This can be misunderstood as unachievable perfectionism.
    But the Bible is also clear: we cannot be perfect.
    The Greek actually means mature, complete, inclusive. 
    As we conclude the series on the Graduate Profile, we come full circle. 
    Starting with the aspiration for each of us to grow to be our best,
    we conclude with being excellent.
    And that includes loving and caring inclusively for all;
    as Christ does.

  • Monday 5 August

    Graduate Profile: Enterprise & curiosity – I approach the unknown with curiosity

    On Monday, I talked about curiosity – how technology should be able to help our curiosity, yet it can also numb our curiosity. Jesus asked 278 questions. We need to find questions that really grip us.

  • Friday 2 August

    Graduate Profile: Enterprise & curiosity – I approach the unknown with curiosity

    On Friday, I talked about enterprise, and used, as an example, my own living self-sufficiently, saving salaries, and travelling for six years, only one of those working.

  • Friday 26 July

    Graduate Profile: Global & Bicultural Competence – I approach the world and my place in it with an open mind.

    The last to notice the water is the fish. We take our (cultural) context for granted. We only see our own context once we can be outside it.

    To switch the metaphor: Walking with two legs. Sure – you CAN get around on one leg – you can hop. But being bicultural is a far, far better way. One leg is the leg of this land, the culture, the language of this land of the people of this land – the Tangata Whenua. The other leg is whatever your own background is – English, Dutch, Chinese, Korean, Scottish, whatever. Each of us walks on two legs – Tikanga Rua – the Tikanga, the way of doing things, the language, Te Reo, of this land, of this Whenua, and the English language and Tikanga, the Korean language and Tikanga... And that’s also how multiculturalism fits in – the Treaty of Waitangi gives all of us, all these different cultures, all these second legs, equal rights.

     

  • Monday 1 July

    Graduate Profile: Capacity to Lead & Follow – I know when to step up and when to step back.

    The older word for a leader is the conductor – from the Latin. The conductor of the orchestra, leads the orchestra. But, you know from your Music studies that there’s a conductor of the orchestra, and there’s also a leader of the orchestra - the principal first violin. Well, correct me if I’m wrong, but that’s apparently only been around for a couple of centuries. Apparently, the conductor of the orchestra was not clearly distinguished from that of the leader until about 1800.

    Traditionally, then, the leader is not separate from the group, the leader is fully part of the group. The leader is setting the direction not from outside the group but within the group.

    Leading is walking at the front. Leading is going before someone, being a guide, showing the way. You are part of the group AND giving the group direction.

    Let’s be clear about this – if someone is following what you are doing; then you are leading. I want to stress this, because you may not think of yourself as being a leader, you may not think you are leading, but if someone is following what you are doing, or what you are saying; then you are leading.

    It doesn’t matter even if you are following what someone else is doing – you are a leader if you are passing that action or idea onto others. And that can be for good. Or for not so good.

    You may not think of yourself this way, but lots of times you are a leader in the House, in your family, in your sports team, in the classroom, here in Chapel, on the stage, in your music. What you say and what you do (or don’t do), how you act and behave, can affect the way the group acts. That’s leadership.

     

  • Friday 28 June

    Graduate Profile: Capacity to follow

    Disciple in the New Testament is mathētḗs (μαθητής) - one who learns from another; an apprentice. This is where "mathematics" comes from. In Latin such a person would be called discipulus - where our word "disciple" originates. In the Talmud there’s an image encouraging people to be covered in the dust of their rabbi, their teacher. You walk so close, in the footsteps of one's leader, to end up with the leader's dust on you. Who do you follow and why?

  • Monday 24 June

    I am true to my beliefs

    The second half of the goal in the graduate profile: I am aware of my abilities and true to my beliefs

    There are four quadrants around core beliefs and application: centre and edges.

    Soft centre – soft edges: If you don’t stand for something, you’ll fall for anything.
    Hard centre – hard edges: inflexible; can snap; emotionally unintelligent; in the Bible often the Pharisees
    Soft centre – hard edges: can seem to have it all together – but when hardships come along, the beliefs shatter – there's no core
    Hard centre – soft edges: my own position; the Anglican approach; I think this is Jesus' position; cf the 3rd element of the Graduate Profile (confident humility); truth expressed with grace. A small hard core of strong beliefs, of firm principles – and being flexible and adaptable in the way we live with this core is the way we need to live in this rapidly changing world; in a multi-faith, multi-cultural global village.

  • Friday 21 June

    Caring

    We’ve been talking about compassion and self-awareness in the Graduate Profile. Several students have been talking to me about how can we keep the momentum going from such events as Mike King’s recent talk to the school.

    1. “Be kind, for everyone you meet is fighting a hard battle.
    2. Be aware that people often present differently on the outside than what is really going on on the inside.
    3. Talk to each other. Listen to each other – real talking; real listening; let’s be there for each other.

  • Monday 10 June

    Compassion & Empathy

    From The Graduate Profile: Compassion & Empathy

    I think about the feelings of others before I act."

    Religions often have a "silver rule" - "What is hateful to you, do not do to your fellowman. This is the entire Law; all the rest is commentary." (Talmud, Shabbat 3id). 
    Jesus turned this into a positive understanding of compassion - The Golden Rule: "In everything do to others as you would have them do to you; for this is the law and the prophets."

  • Friday 31 May

    Ascension on Grandparents' Day

    We welcomed Grandparents and celebrated Ascension Day (transferred) by highlighting that Ascension isn't an escape story, but a story uniting the sacred and the ordinary. Jesus is a down-to-earth God, and this union to creation is not shed with a return to heaven - creation is united to God eternally.

  • Friday 17 May

    Pink Shirt Day

    The 3rd element of the Graduate Profile is: 

    Confidence & Humility – I hold my head high but not to look down on others.

    Confidence and humility are not in opposition - they are two sides of the same coin.

    "Humility is not thinking less of yourself – it is thinking of yourself less." CS Lewis

    Sir Laurence Olivier, what does it take to make a great actor: “Humility enough to prepare and confidence enough to perform.” 

    So we can talk about Confident Humility or Humble Confidence. 

    New Zealand schools (and workplaces) have an unacceptable level of bullying.  Pink Shirt Day is to celebrate diversity and commit ourselves to creating an environment where all people can feel safe, valued, and respected. We know this is about growing in Confident Humility or Humble Confidence.

     

  • Monday 13 May

    Humility & Confidence

    "I hold my head high but not to look down on others."

    We humans are creatures of the earth - Adam in Hebrew - which connects with "humility", being down to earth. But our history as earth-creatures is a royal history, and our destiny is also in the idea of the resurrection, the Second Adam. Confidence and humility don’t stand in contrast to one another – they are two sides of the same coin. Confidence and humility is the way we treat ourselves; confidence and humility is the way we treat one another – all people; everyone. 

  • Friday 10 May

    Israel Folau

    The debate around Folau includes (1) the edges between between freedom of speech and hate speech; (2) the breaking of his promise (last year) to stay out of this space on social media; (3) "homosexual" not being in the Galatians quote he references in his Instagram post; "hell" not being in the Galatians quote he references in his Instagram post - "homosexual" was a word first used in a Bible translation in 1946 for a Greek word we are unclear about the meaning of; (4) Jesus often speaks about the dangers of wealth - never about homosexuality; (5) we can weaponise the Bible, and make God look silly or scary by taking literally metaphor and hyperbole - Jesus' use of the word "hell" refers to the burning rubbish dump in Jerusalem; (6) there is a lot unclear in the Bible, Christianity, life: let's get going viral what is clear: love, respect, caring...

  • Monday 6 May

    The earliest account of Easter

    The earliest account of Jesus' resurrection is not, as many think, in the Gospels - it is in Paul's first letter to Corinth written two decades after the events. Paul turned from persecuting the followers of Jesus to being prepared to die for this story. What would give you the courage to live with purpose, meaning, direction? Money - how much? Friends? Admiration?...

  • Friday 3 May

    Holy Saturday

    "On the seventh day God rested". Holy Saturday is the odd day between the death of Jesus on Good Friday and the Resurrection on Easter Day - nothing looks like it will happen. Cocoons on our swan plants look as if nothing is happening - that nothing will happen. Our lives often can feel like that [in study, sport, meditation, relationships, music,...] But Holy Saturday, the cocoon and the butterfly, promise that an amazing future awaits us.

  • Monday 29 April

    Remembering ANZAC

    For most of human history sacrifice meant destroying something else; even hurting, destroying someone else. Bullying; making someone else a scapegoat. Jesus changed that. For Jesus, sacrifice isn’t destroying another – for Jesus sacrifice is self-offering. When we talk about sacrifice we mean corresponding to the life and act of Jesus of Nazareth. Today we celebrate, we remember, we honour those who sacrificed themselves – so that we might live the life we so-often take for granted. Sacrificed themselves by going off to war. Sacrificed themselves by even giving up their life for this that they believed in. The challenge to live in the sacrificial spirit of Christ is as relevant in peace time as it is in the time of war.

  • Monday 1 April

    Remembering Jesus

    Jesus asks us to remember him using bread and wine  which he calls his body and his blood. This is a way to refer to himself and his life. He gives himself and his life for us and for others. Christians have been very good at remembering Jesus in the Eucharist with bread and wine. Perhaps we have not been so good at remembering Jesus by giving ourselves and our lives for others to remember Jesus.

  • Monday 25 March

    Deserted by friends

    Today we reflected on the experience of being deserted by friends (Jesus in Gethsemane). Friendship and desertion are about being "in" and being "out". In the story of Jesus, those boundaries are: rich/poor; Jew/Gentile; Gentile/Roman; well/sick; Galilean/Judean; powerful/weak - and Jesus crosses all those boundaries. 
    Edwin Markham:
    “He drew a circle that shut me out-
    Heretic, rebel, a thing to flout.
    But love and I had the wit to win:
    We drew a circle and took him In!”

  • Friday 22 March

    Enfleshed Yearning

    Lent has a strong focus on what we yearn for, including our temptations. Our deepest yearnings are for beauty, truth, goodness, love, peace... When we yearn for, say, water - even when water is not before us - somewhere there is water... This is so with all our yearnings. Christians, Muslims, and others believe that there is One who fulfils our yearning for beauty, truth, goodness, love, peace without limit... We also spent time preparing for the lunchtime time on the Quad, including going over the meaning of the Muslim call to prayer that is broadcast at 1:30pm. Seniors have studied this respectfully. Years 9 & 10 are yet to study Islam.

  • Monday 18 March

    Acknowledging Friday's terrorism

    We acknowledge the tragedy of Friday’s terrorist attack. Friday’s events went against everything that we talk about in Chapel – acceptance of diversity; celebration of difference.

    We focused on the insight articulated by Martin Luther King, Jr, that darkness cannot drive out darkness; only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate; only love can do that. This leads us to remember the good in people – including the good between us and within each of us, the goodness that Christians and Muslims call God.

    However we name that goodness, this is our only way forward.

    We can care for each other. We can be gentle with ourselves. We can take care when within ourselves we notice fear of people different from ourselves. In a school in which we study Islam with respect, we can take care not to spread ignorance and hatred and fear.

  • Monday 11 March

    Silence

    Using silence positively as a discipline for Lent was the focus this morning - being a human being; not simply a human doing. Suggestions for the silence: Think, Plan, Be grateful, Pray (for self; others; off by heart prayers - slowly), Mantra, Kyrie eleison, Rosary, Word – without concept or emotion (Constantly – or come back to it), Feeling breath – counting 1-10. We concluded by spending a minute in silence together.

  • Monday 4 March

    What is Lent?

    Counting 40 days backwards from Easter (and skipping the Sundays), we get to this Wednesday - "Ash Wednesday".

    It is a period of focused reflection, about what is wrong in our lives, about what we would like to have as the centre, the heart of our lives. There is an increase in prayer and generosity. 

    Lent is a preparing period, a season of preparation – and the church’s colour for preparation is purple. We don't use "Alleluia" and don't have the "Glory to God in the highest..." in the Eucharist. There are normally no flowers. All this is to make the Easter Season more of a contrasting celebration.

  • Friday 1 March

    A disposition to serve

    We focused on the life and approach of Ignatius of Loyola who, after being injured in war, turned from a life of focusing on self to one of focusing on others (and The Other, God). As we serve others, the life of God is lived out in and through us. The prayer which expresses his shift from a self-focused soldier to serving in the name of Christ is:

    Lord, teach me to be generous.
    Teach me to serve you as you deserve;
    to give and not to count the cost,
    to fight and not to heed the wounds,
    to toil and not to seek for rest,
    to labour and not to ask for reward,
    save that of knowing that I do your will. Amen.

  • Friday 22 February

    Behaving

    We have spoken about Belonging and Believing - the third dimension is Behaving. 

    There are some things we can fake; some things we cannot fake (playing an instrument; jumping over a bar). With such terrible behaviour of so many who say they follow Christ, it surprises me that people continue to follow him. 

    But, with the letter of James today, I hope that the Christ-life, the Christ-behaviour does thrive and flourish – in our acceptance of difference; in our celebration of difference; in our encouraging each other – on the sports field today; in the classroom; on the stage; here in Chapel.

    Having a Christ culture at Christ’s College could make this community a parable of hope in a world of so much hypocrisy, so much strife, so much focus on self. Having a Christ culture at Christ’s College – you can’t fake that.

  • Wednesday 13 Feburary

    Believing

    Believe is an ambiguous word - we need to take care how we use it. I am using it in the sense of trust, commitment, love. We believe in democracy; we believe in the All Blacks. Believing is not contrary to science or history - quite the opposite. Science and history have different ways to establish truth. Believing is different again. We can work out what we believe by looking at what is important to us and asking "why?", "why do I value this?", again and again, deeper and deeper, until we arrive at something and we can go no further.

  • Monday 11 February

    Belonging

    We belong to this community, Christ's College, whether we feel like it or not. And we are called to help each other to have this sense of belonging.

    On Friday, March 15, at 6:45pm (with the choir) there will be a simple service for anyone seeking to be baptised (christened). That is the rite of belonging fully to the church - whatever the denomination. Speak to the Chaplain (or email the Chaplain) to find out more.

  • Sunday 10 February

    Catch People Live

    Sunday's Gospel from Luke uses a rare word for catching people rather than fish - that was Jesus' statement to Simon Peter. Jesus is contrasting the dead and dying fish with catching people to give them life. We join in Jesus' new venture, at the start of this year, to enable healthy spirituality - good news - leading to fullness of life not to death.

  • Friday 8 February

    Christian Foundations to Treaty of Waitangi

    Anglican missionary Thomas Kendall began the work of writing down Te Reo.  In 1820 he and the chiefs Hongi Hika and Waikato visited England to work with Cambridge University linguist Samuel Lee to produce the first Grammar and vocabulary of Te Reo.

    Missionaries here were increasingly concerned about the effect of European immigrants on Māori.  In Britain, Christians such as James Stephen, the brother in law of William Wilberforce, were also concerned that a just way be found for Māori.

    Māori saw and see the Treaty in spiritual and Christian terms. The Te Reo name for the Treaty is ‘Te Kawenata o Waitangi’ (‘the Covenant of Waitangi’).

    Hobson said to each signing chief “He iwi tahi tatou” (“we are one people”). The missionary, Henry Williams, had come up with those words based on the letter to the Ephesians.

    Missionaries with considerable mana with Māori – particularly Henry Williams – took the Treaty throughout the country to be signed. Māori often signed because of the trust they had in the missionaries.

  • Monday 4 February

    Te Kawenata o Waitangi

    Why celebrate the Treaty in Chapel? Because missionaries in Aotearoa increasingly were concerned at the growing number of European immigrants without a legal framework; in Britain, Christian politicians and public servants were conscious of the effects on Māori; the missionaries helped Māori develop a written Te ReoMāori regarded (and regard) the Treaty as a sacred covenant; the participation of the missionaries helped the signing of the Treaty as it travelled the country. This is a faith-inspired agreement that challenges and encourages us to work for justice, celebration of difference, and the keeping of our own promises.

  • Friday 1 February

    Leadership

    We too easily misuse and misunderstand leadership:

    Hierarchy means "holy rule" - which Jesus shows, in words and action, means service rather than bossing and dictating.
    Pontifical means bridge rather than our usual usage: pompous.

    A handful of ideas about leadership:

    1) Believe in something bigger than yourself
    2) Build on what God has given you
    3) Bring out the best in people
    4) Bridge the gaps of difference
    5) Blind your eyes to petty criticism 
    (Bounce back after you are knocked down)

  • Wednesday 30 January

    I Love You, You're Perfect, Now Change.

    The reading from Isaiah is a great encouragement as we start the year: God's love for each person (expressed through the way we relate to each other), and the challenge to grow, to have a growth mindset, to put energy and perseverance into this year. We can change and grow because we are secure and unafraid.
    It's not a bad summary of the Good News that Jesus Christ preached: I Love You, You're Perfect, Now Change.

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