Thought For The Week 11 July 2021
Today is the last day of official Matariki celebrations. For many of us, we are unfamiliar with the meaning and significance of Matariki but it has become a significant cultural event in our year and will be given a public holiday from next year. Matariki is the Maori term for the star cluster of Pelaides also known as the Seven Sisters or in Japan Subaru.
The cluster rises in the north eastern horizon just after the equinox, hence signalling our movement closer to the sun and the warmer seasons. The darkest part of winter is over and we are heading towards spring. For Maori, this signalled the beginning of a new year and a time to celebrate, create and remember those who have departed this life. Like many cultures the world over, the dark nights around the winter solstice were brightened with festivities. It’s no coincidence that the birth of Christ- whose actual date is unknown- is celebrated at the northern hemispheres winter solstice.
Our modern world has mostly lost touch with these seasonal rhythms as we live in climate-controlled spaces and on demand food supplies. But I wonder if Matariki invites us to contemplate an order to life that is beyond our control? The constancy of the stars is a reminder of the Creator who put everything in order and who we can fully depend on to order our lives.
From Monday to Wednesday we are thrilled to be running our winter holiday programme at St Stephens. The theme is ‘I wonder’ which invites kids to explore their uniqueness as God’s creation.