Mass for Waihopai/Ploughshares

Fr Peter urnane prepare the lter - with the US Embassy in the backgroundPrayer on the path to peace.

As the Waihopai Ploughshares head to trial tomorrow one of the defendents, Fr Peter Murnane, officiated at Mass this morning at the shrine outside the US Embassy.  About 40 came to worship and make communion with the body of Christ.

In his homily, Peter reflected on the nature of peace, and how it rests on the principles of repentance for wrongdoing, forgiveness of sin, and love for God and each other.  He drew attention to the Embassy and how the people living and working in it were in a state of constant fear- as shown by the weapons, defences and architecture of a building in the otherwise sweet sunshine and clear air of a beautiful Wellington day.

a reading from Paul's letter to the Corinthians

He contrasted that with the trees, grass, and living nature of the park in which God’s presence burned everywhere with green fire, and where we gathered to give thanks and praise.  He reminded us that God was also present in the hearts of those who worked for empire, and that our work as peace-makers was one of transformation rather than condemnation. 

So that while we might work to stop the military machine, and stop the bad behaviour of empire, the key aspect of our work was transformational as we called on God to restore the joy and clean hearts of all the Embassy personel, of ourselves, and of each other.

Then we made communion and prayed.

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Maori Welcome for peace activists

5.00 pm Wellington time, Saturday 6 March 2010

The shrine Adi built

Proceedings are under way for the trial of the Waihopai Dome-busters – Peter Murnane, Sam Land, and Adrian Leason.

Around 100 people (50 from Wellington, 50 from other parts of Aotearoa, and a couple of ring-ins from Australia, gathered at the Katherine Mansfield Park, in front of the US Embassy, to be welcomed by local Maori leaders.  The Embassy is typical of the Imperial American style, cameras, guard posts, steel bollards, high security fences and lots of reinforced concrete. 

On this beautiful Wellington evening the US Ebassy looked ready for war, even in this far flung outpost.

Katherine Mansfield Park has swings, trees, lawn, shrubbery and pedestrian pathways.  Today a shrine was added, created under the leadership of Adrian Leason, one of the defendents who face trial on Monday. 

 The shrine is a thing of beauty and power, proclaiming love, hope, and nonviolence as the future of humanity.

Talking Maori

The welcoming ceremony was conducted in Maori language, and the only words I could understand were “America”, “Afghanistan”, “Iraq”, and “Waihopai”.  It was explained to me that the welcome involved the visitors proclaiming their identity, presence and purpose, with the locals then reflecting on the river, mountain, and land before cohering with and welcoming the visitors.  The speaking sure sounded powerful.  Then everyone rubbed noses in a ritual circle.

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