Wednesday, 6 February 2008

Waitangi Day

Today New Zealanders celebrate Waitangi Day and remember the signing of the Treaty of Waitangi, a foundational document in this country's history. It is a treaty between the Crown and Tangata Whenua, the people of the land, and legally sets out a relationship between the Crown and Maori. Waitangi Day is a time to remember and think about what it means to be a New Zealander, to live in this country, and to have our history.

It's also a holiday, and so we headed out for a drive in our new backyard. We found a nice spot, the boys threw rocks in a stream, ate some bread roles and enjoyed the very nice land that God has given us. I read the paper.

And of course the paper was full of treaty issues, of discussions about the relationship between Maori and Pakeha (that's us white fellas), and so on. And again there was the perennial plea for us to focus on what unites us, rather than what divides us (Waitangi Day has, in the past, seen more than its fair share of protests, violence and calls to 'honour the treaty'). We are all New Zealanders, we're told. We have so much more in common than that which is different. And yet the protests continue. Our unity doesn’t seem to be that deep.

As Christians our unity comes from the fact that each one of us is indwelt by the very same God. We have one Lord, one faith, one baptism, one God and Father of all, who is over all and through all and in all. That is where our unity comes from. We can't help being united. It's what we are. And it comes not from a piece of paper but from the death and resurrection of Christ, and the gracious pouring out of his Spirit.

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