Pohutukawa Coast Presbyterian Church
Clevedon Presbyterian Church
Kawakawa Bay
Clevedon Kidz

Dedication of the Sanctuary

February 14, 2021
Mark Chapman

1 Kings 8:54-63  After Solomon had finished praying to the LORD, he stood up in front of the altar, where he had been kneeling with uplifted hands. (55)  In a loud voice he asked God's blessings on all the people assembled there. He said,  (56)  "Praise the LORD who has given his people peace, as he promised he would. He has kept all the generous promises he made through his servant Moses.  (57)  May the LORD our God be with us as he was with our ancestors; may he never leave us or abandon us;  (58)  may he make us obedient to him, so that we will always live as he wants us to live, keeping all the laws and commands he gave our ancestors.  (59)  May the LORD our God remember at all times this prayer and these petitions I have made to him. May he always be merciful to the people of Israel and to their king, according to their daily needs. (60)  And so all the nations of the world will know that the LORD alone is God—there is no other.  (61)  May you, his people, always be faithful to the LORD our God, obeying all his laws and commands as you do today."  


Matthew 8:1-3  When Jesus came down from the hill, large crowds followed him.  (2)  Then a man suffering from a dreaded skin disease came to him, knelt down before him, and said, "Sir, if you want to, you can make me clean."  (3)  Jesus reached out and touched him. "I do want to," he answered. "Be clean!" At once the man was healed of his disease.


Dedication of the Sanctuary

February 14 2021

Let us Pray

May the words of my mouth and the thoughts of our hearts, be acceptable in your sight O Lord, our strength and our redeemer. Amen


The verse following Solomon’s dedication of the temple which Ruth just read, reads;


(62)  Then King Solomon and all the people there offered sacrifices to the LORD.  (63) He sacrificed 22,000 head of cattle and 120,000 sheep as fellowship offerings. And so the king and all the people dedicated the Temple.


You will be pleased to know that we don’t intend to follow suit

tonight – not even a barbeque sausage

which some of you may be pleased to know.


But it does remind me of the mother, who,

when the family cat died

told her daughter in solemn tones, that the tabby had gone to be with God.

To which the child replied, “Mum, why would God want a dead cat!”


Why God would want 22 thousand dead cows let alone 120 thou dead sheep.


Some of  the prophets in Solomon's day thought that was pretty stupid as well

and they wrote things like


Isa 1:11-17  God says: "Do you think I want all these sacrifices you keep offering to me? I have had more than enough of the sheep you burn as sacrifices and of the fat of your fine animals. I am tired of the blood of bulls and sheep and goats.   instead -  learn to do right. See that justice is done—help those who are oppressed, give orphans their rights, and defend widows."

Amos 5:21-24  (23)  Stop your noisy songs; I do not want to listen to your harps.  (24)  Instead, let justice flow like a stream, and righteousness like a river that never goes dry.

Zechariah 7:8-10  'You must see that justice is done, and must show kindness and mercy to one another.  (10)  Do not oppress widows, orphans, foreigners who live among you, or anyone else in need. And do not plan ways of harming one another.'


When we dedicate a worship centre we may think of hymns

ancient and modern

of all kinds of modern music where we tell God how much we love



But the whole idea of places such as this

seems to me to, in a variety of ways, connect us to the source of all

love, which is God

that love and compassion and mercy

might be found in us

not for us to squirt back to God

but to flow out into the community

so that a kind of halo effect is created.


A flow out into the community which says to people,

we do what we do out of compassion and love for you,

not so you will join our church

not so you will believe what we believe

not so you will agree with us

rather we will love you in in any way we can

because you deserve and need to be loved.


There is no person whom I have ever met

who does not long to be loved

no strings attached.


And when a Church loves that way

there spreads out in a community and a country,

what we know as a halo effect.

When people are loved they breathe easier

when burdens are lifted they walk more lightly

when they are listened to

and they weep

there is mental and emotional healing

in the community.


When they can hear that there is this love beyond the universe that won’t let them go

they have hope.


This past week something like close to 100 children

and their mothers/fathers/grandparents

came here for

3-6 hours for free coffee and food

and for their children to play in a safe environment

and for a few hours feel loved and special

leaving a little different to when they came.

It makes a difference to the physical and mental health of the community.


It is what you as a congregation

and the congregations you have come from tonight

have been doing

for 2000 years.


Sure, we have often got lost along the way,

yes, we have stuffed up.

At its worse the church has become a people of division

and self interest

and alienation and judgement

and persecution.

And yet time after time

we have been broken

and brought back  closer to the heart of God.

And we will continue to be.


At its best the church has been fighting against


and poverty, loneliness

war and injustice

for hundreds of years,

and as we dedicate this place to the Glory of God

we acknowledge that  

the fight is now ours.

And what matters for us as a congregation

is how well we run the portion of the race that is ours.”


Your presence in the wider community makes a difference.


The small group of women in leadership here

who when the possibility of this centre seemed impossible

said – yet in God’s will and purpose there must be a way..

We will make it happen. You made a difference.

You who gathered around them

and believed in their vision and prayed with them

and believed for them, you made a difference.


The leadership from St Columba

who believed in your vision

and volunteered expertise and direction.


The architect Jane who believed it possible

and volunteered much of her time

and who over this year project managed the completion.


The Northern Presbytery in a wonderful act of generosity

has made a difference.


A year ago I asked a gentleman to consider project managing this centre.

This was a man  of vision who in the most gracious of acts,

turned me down.

And then asked me: would a 100 grand do instead?

I was never so beautifully and magnanimously

turned down!


That act was the impetus needed to complete the task to where we are today.

You are undoubtedly made a difference.


I love the church

she has been my mother since I was born

my place of sanctuary

a place where numerous men and women looked out for me

men and women in whose faces I would find the face of Christ.


I believe that the local church still remains the hope for the world.


And so my prayer is that there ever flow from this place

a stream of life

may we always be a place of safety and

a sanctuary.

A place where irrespective of where you come from

and whatever your journey

you are safe.


My only regret is that I’m not forty years younger.

For there are greater adventures for us ahead.

My mind does keep telling me I am forty years younger

but my body keeps objecting!


So, at the grand old age of 70,

well actually 75, but that’s nearly 70,

I take to heart the grand words of Alfred Lord Tennyson

which could apply to a good few of us.


“Come, my friends,

'T is not too late to seek a newer world.

Push off, and sitting well in order smite

The sounding furrows; for my purpose holds

To sail beyond the sunset, and the baths

Of all the western stars, until I die.


It may be that the gulfs will wash us down:

It may be we shall touch the Happy Isles,

And see the great Achilles, whom we knew.


Tho' much is taken, much abides; and tho'

We are not now that strength which in old days

Moved earth and heaven, that which we are, we are;

One equal temper of heroic hearts,

Made weak by time and fate, but strong in will

To strive, to seek, to find, and not to yield.”


Thank you all.


The best is yet to come.


 Now unto God the Father, God the Son and God, the holy Spirit, be all the honour and

glory, world without end. Amen

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