Moments: Last Word

The Rev. Dr. Hilary Oxford Smith

13 August 2020

“All things come to an end” wrote Geoffrey Chaucer in his epic poem Troilus and Criseyde. It was centuries later before the word, ‘good’ was added to become the idiom that we all know so well. Whichever one you prefer, the underlying meaning of either is that nothing lasts forever.  

How fragile life is and how vulnerable we are in this global pandemic. Across the world and here in Aotearoa New Zealand so many of us are standing at thresholds that we never anticipated. It doesn’t take long for life to change and we can find ourselves standing on strange and shaky ground.

Everything that once was so steady and reliable has to find a new way of unfolding. We need blessing and protection, faith and trust so that somehow we can bless the times we now live in, hold the grief for what is past and present, hold the fear of present and future, and within the love of the Divine, which lasts forever, grow in trust and peace.  

My ministry of over 7 years at Vaughan Park is coming to an end later this week. I shall always cherish the spiritual presence of this beautiful space and place.

“Gratitude is the memory of the heart”, wrote the French bishop, Jean Baptiste Massieu. My heart’s memories of Vaughan Park include,

- the many wonderful people from Aotearoa New Zealand and overseas who I have encountered. They have have enriched my life and the life of Vaughan Park with their company and their friendship;  

- the creative spirit of the poets and writers who have contributed to the Moments page;

- the sound of the Ruatara Chapel bell, calling the community to a daily rhythm of prayer for the life of the world;

- the retreatants who have experienced healing, companionship, joy and renewal in this sacred space and the retreat facilitators who are channels of God’s grace;

- the care of the staff team who nurture guests with kindness, support and encouragement;

- the shore at Long Bay – with its edges, patterns, revelations, ebb and flow, beauty and story.

“If the only prayer you ever say in your entire life is thank you, it will be enough”, says Meister Eckhart. So with a grateful heart, this is my prayer: Thank You.

Ngā manaakitanga.

©Hilary Oxford Smith
Image Heart on Sand,