Holy Week

Holy Week SERVICES @ TWT Redfern

Palm Sunday 10.30am

Maundy Thursday Evening. 7.30pm

Good Friday Shadow Service. 10.30am

Easter Sunday 10.30am

It is mandatory to preregister for these Services with me on Messenger Charlene Tania Roberts

If you have registered and are unable to attend, please contact me as soon as possible so other Whanau can attend.

Nga mihi Char

Palm Sunday

Palm Sunday!


Isaiah 50:4-9a

Psalm 31:10-18 

Philippians 2:5-11

Mark 11:1-11

Colour: RED


‘Hosanna! Blessed is the one who comes in the name of the Lord! Blessed is the coming kingdom of our ancestor David! Hosanna in the highest heaven!’  Mark 11: 10


God of the journey, you travel with us along paths both rough and smooth; as we celebrate your Son’s triumphant entry into Jerusalem travel with us into Holy Week, that through your Holy Spirit we may witness to the depth of your passion and be ready to rise into the fullness of Easter Day. Through Jesus Christ our Liberator, who is alive and reigns with you, in the unity of the Holy Spirit, one God, now and forever. Amen

 Tena koutou katoa e te whanau o Te Wairua Tapu.

 So, here’s a question.  Why did Jesus leave the temple and go to Bethany? You know this story. You remember what happened, aye? 

Jesus enters Jerusalem and he’s riding a borrowed colt. He’s leading a procession that’s on the move. People are in front of and behind Jesus. They are shouting their Hosannas (Save us! They Shout!). They are throwing down palms and their korowai (cloaks) for Jesus to ride over. Hence, Palm Sunday or the triumphal entry.  They are rolling out the red carpet for Jesus. There’s excitement and anticipation in. the air. Something big is happening! Jesus rides into Jerusalem. He enters the temple. He looks around at everything. And then he leaves.

It seems like the bubble created by the people has burst. Jesus does nothing. He says nothing. He just leaves. He goes to Bethany. It’s a strange and anti-climactic ending to the triumphal entry. It sounds like Jesus is retreating and getting out of town. What’s that all about? Did Jesus have somewhere else go? I wonder if he was scared. In other words, as we enter into Holy Week, it’s supposed to be a scary week. So, I wonder if Jesus was wavering a bit. Maybe he was having some doubts about what lay ahead, some questions he needed answered and just wanted to get away. Perhaps he needed to regroup and make another start. 

We’ve all done that, right? Haven’t you had to face really difficult conversations or situations? You know, the painful and scary decisions. We make a start but don’t finish. We back off, re-access the situation and then maybe try again. Could that be the reason why Jesus left the temple? This is such a strange ending to the triumphal entry into Jerusalem. 

Mark’s is the only one of the four gospels to describe this. In Matthew (21:10-13) the whole city is in turmoil when Jesus enters. He goes to the temple and drives out those who are buying and selling. He overturns tables and chairs. In Luke (19:40-46) Jesus weeps over Jerusalem and then enters the temple where he drives out those who were buying and selling. And in John’s account (12:12-33) Jesus doesn’t even go to the temple. He cleansed it at the beginning of the gospel. Instead, he enters the city and begins teaching. Mark’s gospel is the only one that says, Jesus entered the temple, looked around and left. So why did Jesus leave the temple and go to Bethany? The gospel tells us why. Jesus left the temple “as it was already late” (Mark 11:11).  What if this story is about something more than just the time of day? What if Jesus is late getting somewhere or getting something done?

But what could Jesus be late for? What if Jesus was thinking about the colt? You know, it was getting late to return the colt back to its owner. Mark’s account of the triumphal entry is the only one to say that Jesus promised to return the colt to its owner. All the gospels agree that the colt was either borrowed from its owner (Matthew 21:1-3; Mark 11:1-7; Luke 19:29-34) or found (John 12:19). But only Mark speaks about Jesus returning the colt. Jesus sent two disciples to borrow this colt and told them if anyone asked why they were taking the colt they were to say, “The Lord needs it and will send it back here immediately” (Mark 11:3). And that’s what they did.

So what if that’s why Jesus left the temple? Maybe he left so he could keep his promise and follow through on what he said he would do. Maybe this is about Jesus being true to himself and keeping his word. What if this is about Jesus staying centered within himself despite what the week holds for him? All the pain and suffering he must endure. What if returning the colt is a metaphor for us as we enter into and walk through this Holy Week? What might returning the colt mean for us throughout this week? It’s an image or metaphor to ponder on and it raises a couple of questions. 

Firstly, what do you need to return this week? What do you need to release or let go of? We all have stuff that we’ve carried around with us for far too long. It’s no longer able to take us anywhere or give us life. It’s just baggage we carry around that continues to weigh us down and corrupt our hearts. In other words, what do you need to let go of, release, and give up this week? Is it a grudge or resentment of someone? Anger? Fear? Disappointment? Regret? Maybe it’s Guilt? Or Envy? Maybe you need to return being in control, having to be right, your need for approval or perfectionism. I don’t know what it is for you but we all have stuff. Maybe this Holy Week is the time to return and release all your stuff, all your raruraru and hara to God, trusting that God can do something with our stuff when we were never able to do.

And, what if returning and releasing all this stuff is also about ourselves returning to God? Returning to our center and reclaiming our truest self? That means we could then move forward, not from the same old place, but from our newly recovered centered. That’s what Jesus did. He stayed true to himself throughout this week, and so must we. So maybe returning the colt is ultimately about returning to our original self, that self of beauty and goodness, that God created and has loved from the beginning? What if those are the movements you have to make this week? Surrendering to God and returning to God, releasing all your hara and letting them go. And reclaiming those parts of yourselves that have been lost, ignored, forgotten or denied. Even as we carry around that bad stuff that needs to be returned, so also there are parts of ourselves and our life to which we need to return.

And here’s my second question. What do you need to return to? What if you returned to a life of joy, hope, beauty, truth and honesty? What if we came back to justice, mercy and forgiveness? What if we reclaimed the dignity and holiness of each human life? What if we recenter ourselves in peace and courage? What if we returned to being able love our neighbours, our-self and our enemy? Coming back to our original selves would be like starting a new life, wouldn’t it?

So we begin this Holy Week, like Jesus, by returning the colt. What is it you need to give up and to what do you need to return? Those are the two questions. To answer them we must look around at everything in our lives. That’s what Jesus did. It’s not so much just looking around at everything outside of us but looking around at everything within us. Look at what’s there. Look at what’s missing in your life. Look at what you need, what you feel, who you truly are, and who you want to be. And then give that colt back. The one you took but never returned.

So, take that image of returning the colt with you this week. Take it wherever you go. Let it be present as you live your life and as you engage with people in relationships. Whether it’s in your family, at work, at school or at the shops. Returning the colt is how Holy Week begins. Returning to God and ourselves is the promise of how this week will end. So look at where you are and then go return the colt and come back to God. Amen

Archdeacon Kaio Karipa 

Photo: 28 March 2021

After Church
Mihi time
JJ’s first visit to Karakia

Passion Sunday!

Passion Sunday!


Jeremiah 31:31-34 

Psalm 51:1-12

Hebrews 5:5-10 

John 12:20-33

Colour: VIOLET


Jesus said, ‘Whoever serves me must follow me, and where I am, there will my servant be also. Whoever serves me, the Father will honour.’ John 12: 26


God of Wheat and of Harvest, you call us to follow you; help us to bear fruit so that your love will flourish and all will honour your name. Through Jesus Christ our Liberator, who is alive and reigns with you, in the unity of the Holy Spirit,

one God, now and forever. Amen

 Tena koutou katoa e te whanau o Te Wairua Tapu.

I know some of you would be disappointed that our karakia at Te Wairua Tapu was cancelled today but the weather in Sydney is just to dangerous for anyone to be travelling in, especially those living on the central coast and the greater western suburbs. So stay safe and take care of your whanau over the next few days.

 Today is the 5th Sunday in Lent, Passion Sunday. It’s called Passion Sunday because the Church begins, on this day, to make the sufferings of our Redeemer, Jesus Christ, it’s primary focus over the next two week period leading up to Easter. 

So, in our gospel reading from John, Jesus speaks about his upcoming death. A subject most of us tend not to engage with. Yes, we acknowledge death when it happens but for the most part we don’t talk about death with any real depth or substance, and certainly no enthusiasm. We don’t deal with it. We deny it. We ignore it. We even avoid it because no one wants to die. We don’t really acknowledge, talk about, and deal with death. The death of our loved ones is too real and too painful for us. Facing our own death is far too scary. The relationships and parts of our lives that have died are too difficult. So, for the most part, we just avoid the topic of death. Besides it’s depressing in a culture that mostly wants us to be happy, feel good and avoid difficult realities.

I am sure the Greeks in today’s gospel didn’t go to see Jesus expecting to talk or hear about death. They just wanted to see him. And who can blame them? Jesus has a pretty good track record up to this point. He has cleansed the temple, turned water into wine, healed a little boy, fed 5000, given sight to the blind, and raised Lazarus from the dead. I don’t know why they wanted to see Jesus but I know their desire. I want to see Jesus too. And, I’m sure you do too. Seeing Jesus makes it all real. After all, seeing is believing. We all have our reasons for wanting to see Jesus. If you want to know your reasons for wanting to see Jesus look at what you pray for. It’s often a to do list for God.  You probably know those kind of prayers. We want to see Jesus on our terms. We don’t want to face the pain of suffering loss and death in whatever form it comes. Sometimes we want something from Jesus more than we want Jesus himself. 

There is a real danger that we will become consumers of God’s life rather than participants in God’s life. We pick and choose what we like and want, but we skip over and leave behind what we don’t like, want, or understand. Christianity, however, is neither a buffet nor a spectator sport. Christianity means participating in the life, death and resurrection of Jesus Christ. That’s what Jesus sets before the Greeks who want to see him.

Unless a grain of wheat falls into the earth and dies, it remains just a single grain; but if it dies, it bears much fruit. Those who love their life lose it, and those who hate their life in this world will keep it for eternal life. Whoever serves me must follow me, and where I am, there will my servant be also.

If we want to see Jesus then we must look death in the face. To the extent where we refuse to acknowledge the reality of death, where we avoid and deny death, especially our own death, we refuse to see Jesus. Really looking at, acknowledging, and facing death is some of the most difficult work we will ever do. It’s, as Jesus describes, soul troubling. It shakes us to the core.

There’s always the temptation to skip over death and get to resurrection. So it’s no coincidence that this week and last week, the Church points us towards Holy Week and reminds us that death is the gateway to new life. Death comes first. However, death is not always physical. Sometimes it’s spiritual or emotional. We die every day. There are the deaths of relationships, marriages, hopes, dreams, careers, health and beliefs. Regardless of what it looks like, this is not the end. Resurrection is always hidden within death. But there can be no resurrection without a death.

When we fear death we are afraid to fully live. Every time we avoid and turn away from death we give it more power that’s stronger than God, more real than life and, therefore, the ultimate winner. The unspoken fear and avoidance of death underlies all our “what if” questions.” What if I fail, lose or fall down? What if I get hurt? What if I don’t get what I want? What if I lose that one I most  need and love? Every “what if” question separates and isolates us from life, God, one another and ourselves. It keeps us from bearing fruit. We are just a single grain of wheat. We might survive but we aren’t really alive.

Jesus did not ask to be saved from death. He is unwilling to settle for survival when the fullness of God’s life is before him. He knows that in God’s world strength is found in weakness, victory looks like defeat, and life is born of death. This is what allowed him to ride triumphantly into Jerusalem, a city that will condemn and kill him. That is what allows us to ride triumphantly through life. Triumph doesn’t mean that we get our way or that we avoid death. It means death is not a prison and the beginning not the end.

Regardless of who or what in our life has died, God in Christ has already cleared the way forward. We have a path to follow. That path is the death of Jesus. Jesus’ death, however, is of no benefit to us if we are not willing to submit to death, physically, emotionally, and spiritually. Ultimately, death, in whatever way it comes to us, means that we entrust all that we are and all that we have to God. We let ourselves be lifted up; lifted up in Christ’s crucifixion, lifted up in his resurrection and lifted up in his ascension into heaven. He is drawing all people to himself, so that where he is we too may also be.

Grains of wheat. That’s what we are. Through death, however, we can become the bread of life. “Unless a grain of wheat falls into the earth and dies….”.


Archdeacon Kaio Karipa 

Christ the Light!

Christ the Light!


Numbers 21:4-9

Psalm 107:1-3,17-22 

Ephesians 2:1-10

John 3:14-21 


For God so loved the world that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life. John 3: 16


God of Light and Love, you come into the world not to condemn but to redeem; enter our lives, again, with your love, bringing new life, eternal and abundant, so that we, your servants, may show light and love to others. For you are alive and reign with the Father, in the unity of the Holy Spirit, one God, now and forever. Amen

 Tena koutou katoa e te whanau o Te Wairua Tapu.

John 3:16 says: “For God so loved the world that he gave his only Son, so that everyone who believes in him may not perish but have eternal life.”

This verse is probably one of the most well know verses in the bible. You hear it recited at almost every funeral. This verse is essentially the picture that Jesus offers of God. For the “giving of the Son” isn’t simply God sending Jesus to deliver a message, it’s giving Jesus over to die, to die on a cross and to die on that cross for us.  This verse is truly the heart of all the gospels!

However, if you listen carefully, you will notice that God doesn’t ask for our opinion about all of this first. God doesn’t ask our permission. God doesn’t even consult us. In fact, God, just goes ahead and gives the Son over to die…for us.

And that’s where it starts to get tricky! That’s when the red flags go up for me! You see, part of me is incredibly grateful but part of me is also a bit angry. I mean, seriously, how dare God! How dare God sacrifice so much for us and by doing so have such a claim on us! It’s not just scandalous but, if you think about it, it’s even offensive, as it leaves absolutely no room for our hopes, our plans and all our wants or desires. It leaves us completely out of control.

Clever alright God. God gives freely and unconditionally with no conditions on us because if God does, then we, suddenly, have tremendous power. We can negotiate with God. We can threaten to reject God’s love. We can even tell God to go take a jump if we don’t care for God’s terms and conditions. 

But when God just loves us–completely and unconditionally–and when God just goes and dies for us, well then the scam is up; there’s just nothing we can do to influence God. And that’s just what happens in this verse. Listen to it once more: “For God so loved the world that he gave his only Son, so that everyone who believes in him may not perish but may have eternal life. Indeed, God did not send the Son into the world to condemn the world, but in order that the world might be saved through him.”

And there it is, in a nutshell: God in Jesus has made God’s decision…and it’s for us. Yep, you can all bolt now. But you and I can’t change the fact that God loves us, that God in fact loves the whole world more than we can imagine. No wonder this is the world’s most popular Bible verse, because it is, indeed, good news, even the greatest news. 

But at first it’s hard. Hard because we’re not in control. Hard because it’s not up to us. Hard because every time we hear how much God loves us we also know that we had nothing to do with it, cannot influence it, and therefore out of our control. And, sometimes, that can make us afraid. Scared.

Perhaps trained by our bitter experience of life to believe that no one can be trusted, or that life itself is such a gamble and so chaotic that we’d better stay in control no matter what. God’s unconditional, uncontrollable love can frighten us. John says as much in today’s reading: “And this is the judgment, that the light has come into the world, and people loved darkness rather than light because their deeds were evil. For all who do evil hate the light and do not come to the light, so that their deeds may not be exposed.” Desiring to maintain some semblance of control at any cost, we sometimes run from the light, fleeing God’s loving embrace, only to find ourselves trapped in the darkness of our own devices.

But then along comes the light, the life, God, or destiny, or tragedy, or whatever you want to call it, something that shakes us up, presents something utterly beyond our ability to cope, and drives us to our knees in despair–you know, like the end of an important relationship, or the death of a loved one, or the return of illness, or the loss of a job– and you realise in a flash that you were never in control. Not of your life, not of your circumstances or fate, and certainly not of God. 

And all of a sudden this difficult, disturbing, even offensive message about God’s grace becomes the best news you can imagine. Because we aren’t  in control of God and therefore not in control of our relationship with God, we realise that it’s the one relationship we can’t blow, the one relationship that we can’t screw up. God has taken responsibility for this one. And God has promised to bring it to a good end. Think about it.

This is why I find John 3:16 so difficult, so offensive…and at the same time so desperately hopeful and life-giving. It promises that God will never let us go, that God will not take “no” for an answer, that God will pursue no matter what, until we are God’s own.

Does that mean that we have nothing to do, nothing to contribute to this most important relationship? Absolutely not! Once we have been loved this fully, this completely, we can respond in love, honouring God and sharing the news of God’s love for the world with all we meet. Furthermore, we can love each other, throwing ourselves into struggles and celebrations all around us, always working for the good of our neighbours and the world, propelled forward by the knowledge that God loves us and this world so very much. So, there’s plenty to do. But we do it all knowing that we are messengers, witnesses to what God has done for us, not managers.

So hear both the judgment and promise of this passage once again. You are not in control–of this world or even your life, not really. But the God who created the vast cosmos will hold onto you amid the chaos, love you even when you feel most unlovable, and bring you to eternal life. As St. John writes and as Jesus’ cross and resurrection guarantees, “For God so loved the world that he gave his only Son, so that everyone who believes in him may not perish but have eternal life.” Like it or not.

Let us pray: God of all loving compassion, love us, keep us, hold onto us in all things, even and especially when we are tempted to flee your love and light, and then release us again that we might in turn love one another. Amen.

Archdeacon Kaio Karipa 

Photo: 14th March 21

Jesus the Temple

Tena koutou katoa e te whanau o Te Wairua Tapu.

Our theme today is Jesus the Temple.

And, in our gospel reading from John, when Jesus said, ‘Destroy this temple, and in three days I will raise it up.’ The people that day didn’t get it. They didn’t understand that he was talking about the temple of his body because they were all focused on business. And, it was business as usual that day when Jesus showed up at the temple. Animals were being bought and sold. Coins were being changed. All the usual people had their usual places and their usual roles.

This is one of those stories that we need to set aside a couple of distractions before we can understand what is happening. We need to set aside what we have been told or thought this story is about so we can hear it again, maybe for the first time.

I don’t think this story is simply about Jesus getting angry. Jesus got angry. I get angry. It’s ok to get angry. But that misses the point. There’s more to this story than that. And I don’t think it’s about the animals or the moneychangers being in the temple. Jesus surely had to have known they were there. He grew up as a faithful Jew going to the temple. He didn’t show up this day and say, “Wow! There are animals and moneychangers here. I didn’t know this was going on. This is wrong.” The animals and moneychangers had always been there. That’s how the system worked. It was business as usual for them to be there.

I think Jesus went to the temple that day for one purpose; to throw out and overturn the business as usual stuff. There are times when we need the tables of our life overturned and the animals thrown out. A good clean out! It’s just so easy to fall into the trap of business as usual.

You know what I mean? Life becomes mechanical? You just go through the motions. You show up but you’re not really there. Different day, same stuff! That’s business as usual. Maybe you woke up in the morning and you are as exhausted as you were when you went to bed the night before. That’s business as usual. Have you ever felt like you weren’t yourself? Nothing seemed right? Boredom has set in and there’s no creativity. There was no enthusiasm, wonder, or imagination. It was just the usual stuff. Sometimes we look at life and the world and it all seems like a waste of time. We’re busy but not really getting anywhere. There’s no depth or meaning in our lives, only business as usual. Business as usual can happen anywhere: in relationships, friendships, parenting, work, even in the church.

However, the things I just outlined are not the problem. They are the symptom in the same way that the animals and moneychangers in the temple are not the problem. They are the symptoms of something deeper going on. The problem is not so much in the temple as it is in the ‘human heart’.

That deeper issue is, what gives rise to business as usual. Sometimes it’s about our fear. We’re fearful about what is happening in our life or the uncertainty of the future and we want some type of security and predictability so we can keep on doing the same old things. Business as usual is predictable and steady but it creates only an illusion of security. Sometimes business as usual is a symptom of our grief and sorrow. Something has been lost. We can’t get back the life we want so we cling to business as usual because it’s familiar and we want some stability. 

Other times we are so busy and worn out making a living that life turns into one task after another, one appointment after another, a never ending to do list, and it’s business as usual. Maybe we’ve taken people, relationship, and things for granted. Maybe we’ve lost our sense of gratitude, wonder, or mystery.

I don’t say any of that as a criticism or judgment of you, me, or anyone else. I’m just naming what often happens to us. What has business as usual looked like in your life? In what ways is it business as usual for you today? There are thousands of reasons and ways in which we fall into this trap of business as usual. 

But there’s one thing that I keep coming back to. Forgetfulness. Business as usual is born of forgetfulness. We forget that we really are the temple of God’s presence. We forget that all of creation is the residence of God. We forget that in whatever direction we might turn, there is the face of God gazing upon us. And as soon as we forget those things about ourselves, each other, or the world, life becomes business as usual.

I think that’s what happened in the temple. They didn’t see themselves or one another as the true temple of God. It was all about the human built temple, the animals, and the money. They had forgotten that God was more interested in them than in their festivals and that God wanted them more than their offerings.

When we forget that we are the temple of God, life can easily become a series of transactions. Relationships and intimacy are lost. Priorities get rearranged. Making a living replaces living a life. Life becomes a marketplace rather than a place for meeting the holy, the tapu, in ourselves and one another. And it’s business as usual.

That’s what Jesus is overturning and driving out of the temple. In the gospel according to St. John this happens at the very beginning of Jesus ministry. The Word became flesh (John 1:14), water became wine (John 2:9), and now the temple is becoming human. And it doesn’t stop here. Throughout the rest of the gospel Jesus will be interrupting business as usual.

Remember the Samaritan women at the well (John 4:4-26)? She’s had five husbands and she’s living with a man who is not her husband. Despite what we have done to her, that’s not a statement about her. It’s another manifestation of business as usual. Her first husband died, divorced her, or ran off. Who knows? What we do know is that is was improper and dangerous to be women without a man. Business as usual meant she had to belong to a man. So there was a second man, and a third, and a fourth, and a fifth, and a sixth. Jesus meets this women at the well and interrupts business as usual. It’s not about the man or men in her life. It’s about her. Jesus recognizes her as the temple of God.  The temple is neither on this Samaritan mountain nor in Jerusalem. She is now the well of living water.

And then there’s Lazarus (John 11:1-44). He’s been dead three days already. Martha knows that death is present. Jesus tells her it will no longer be business as usual. “Take away the stone,” he says. Death will not have the final word. “Lazarus, come out.”

And let’s not forget the five thousand people that show up empty and hungry (John 6:1-13). Philip is sure there’s not enough food. There’s no way to feed the people. Empty and hungry people are business as usual. But Jesus has other plans. Two fish and five loaves are more than enough. Everyone was satisfied and twelve baskets were filled with leftovers. It wasn’t business as usual for the empty and hungry.

Over and over again, Jesus is interrupting, disrupting, overturning, and throwing out business as usual. Business as usual is destructive of our lives and relationships. It destroys our ability see and participate in the holy that is already present in and among us.

The Word became flesh so that the temple might become human. Jesus continues to overturn and throw out business as usual because the truth is, there are still women waiting at the well in our world today. Empty and hungry people are still a reality in our world and there are dead people waiting to be resurrected.

Maybe for you, today isn’t about other people. Maybe you are the women at the well. Maybe you are empty and hungry today. Maybe you need to be called to life. Maybe business as usual needs to be interrupted in your life.

Regardless of who we are, what we’ve done or left undone, or how we see or judge our life, we are the temple of God and there is one who stands in the temple of our life interrupting business as usual. 

So tell me this. What does the temple of your life need today? What tables in your life need to be overturned? What animals need to be driven out of you and your whanau?

I’m not asking about what needs to happen so that you can become holy or become the temple, but so you can see that you already are the temple and claim what is already yours. Jesus doesn’t make us into something we were not. He calls us back to who we’ve always been.

Jesus was speaking of the temple of our body. Amen

Archdeacon Kaio Karipa 

Bible Study from 9am to 10am
Tamariki time has finished, now lunchtime

Photos: 7th March 2021