Monday, 1 September 2008

Late night musings on the Installation of Bishop Victoria Matthews

If you were looking for signs and wonders as an Anglican in Christchurch, you couldn’t have gone much farther than the Installation of Bishop Victoria Matthews in Christchurch on Saturday. After weeks of flooding and horrendous storms the day cleared and in the walled garden of The Community of the Sacred Name the Sisters informed us that the Victoria plum tree had broken into blossom that very day.

If it seems like I am waxing lyrical then so be it. It was a day when not only were you aware that history was being made, you were a part of it. Never have I seen the Cathedral so full or been apart of so many voices raised in song and prayer.
What was interesting to me were the moments where not only were individuals moved but where as a corporate body there was an indrawn breath. When she stripped down to her alb and prostrated herself in supplication there were many who in the long silence of prayer were moved to tears. To witness her total subservience to God, the total giving of herself to us as Bishop was enough to move the most hardy among us (well nearly move them).

When I really began to notice that this was something different was earlier however among the speeches of the local Iwi (tribe Kai Tahu) and when the Representative of Te Hui Amorangi O Te Waipounamu Bishop Gray spoke. My Maori is pretty warn at the best of times yet in my desperate attempts at translating I became aware of a level of invitation to relationship that was unprecedented certainly in my hearing. When translated in part at the end in English once more it was reiterated the heralding if you like of a new relationship within the three tikanga church. Her mana and that of her supporters was acknowledged and she was in that speech claimed as one of our own.

There were moments when not only was tradition acknowledged, but when the Bishop herself gave us a hint of what we may expect for the future. When asked to respond to the question by Archbishop David Moxon “In selecting, training and ordaining, will you be thorough and discerning?”
Instead of replying with “I will God grant me wisdom to care for those ordained” she added “and for those in discernment responding to Gods call”. As someone in the discernment process I was at that moment aware of my place in all this, as were the several ordination candidates sitting in front of me.

When it came to administering communion she walked (to the tune of Canada’s first indigenous hymn) towards the expectant clergy and passed them by, she walked towards the dignitaries and they too were passed by, she walked towards the mass of us at the back, and we too were passed by as she walked out of the Cathedral and administered communion to those seated in the square outside.

For more intelligent musings than my post installation and pre-synod organizing brain can handle here are a few sights of interest that can tell you more.
In anticipation for the future happy first day of Spring

2 comments:

Christopher Orczy said...

How absolutely wonderful. I wish I was there. This has made me very homesick.

Fringe Dweller said...

Chris you would have loved it! It is going to be played on CTV and we are going to be selling a DVD so when I get one I will lend it to you so you can see what it was like. Blessings to you and the fam Meg