marsden cross

The forecast was terrible. 80km winds and heavy rain. But we took the 4hr drive from Auckland anyway. State Highway 1 to Route 10. Then just past Kerikeri it is right onto Kapiro Rd and then left on to Purerua Rd and then finally another left onto Rangihoua Rd. A 25min walk down through a classic Kiwi valley and suddenly out onto the beach and then looking back at this.

It is Marsden Cross. It is the site of the first sermon preached in New Zealand - by Samuel Marsden on Christmas Day, 1814.

No rain. No wind. Just a beautiful setting sun.

Marsden preached from Luke 2:10. "Behold, I bring you tidings of great joy which shall be to all people." Later Marsden was to write in his Journal. "In this manner the gospel was introduced into New Zealand. I fervently pray that the glory of it may never depart from its inhabitants, till time shall be no more."

There remains a place for pilgrimage in the Christian life. Trips to this Marsden Cross is as good as it gets in New Zealand. I delight in the way it nestles in among Kiwi bush and Kiwi beach and Kiwi farmland and Kiwi rolling hills ... and then such a stark and simple cross. I'll be back - again and again.

nice chatting



Mark Maffey said…
Some 20 plus years ago at Summer Harvest we had a New Year's service at Marsden Cross. I can still picture the day and it is a site where the Spirit of God resides and I can understand why you wish to return.

The Carol "Te Harinui" (Tidings of Great Joy" captures the essence of Marsden's first sermon and is one which draws one into the original scene. For NZ church history it is the founding point and it needs to be preserved for generations to come.

In our "time poor" world we need to take time to go to places such as this and like Jesus know what it is to go away to quiet places and spend time with the Father.

Have you got a second?

Have you got a second?
Sorry just off to a meeting
Have you got a second?
Sorry I’m just in the middle of reading the paper
Have you got a second?
Sorry I’m on the telephone
Have you got a second?
Sorry I’m off to pick up the kids
Have you got a second?
Sorry I’m in the middle of something can’t it wait?

Dear God haven’t heard from you lately
Where’s my life going, why aren’t you saying anything?
I’m busy, but I need to know what you’re doing
Aren’t you out there, are you listening?
My life’s blurry, whirring, going before my eyes
Can’t you see me, are you there God?

My dear child, I am here, I keep knocking
My dear child, I keep saying, have you got a second?
Have you got a second? Have you got a second?
You see I have something to say to you today
Have you got a second? Have you got a second?

Child I have searched you and know you,
I know when you sit and rise
I perceive your thoughts from afar
I discern your going out and your lying down
I am familiar with all your ways
I know even before you say a thing what it is completely

I created your inmost being
I knitted you together in your mother’s womb
I saw your unformed body as it was weaved
I have ordained all the days of your life
You are fearfully and wonderfully made
My thoughts of you my dear child are precious
They are without number, my dear child I know you
I know your every need, have you got a second?

Mark Maffey, 1994
Ben Carswell said…
I'm so glad you've posted this. I am planning to email you later today with some thoughts from Saturday, but the reminder from the Marsden Cross is that evangelistic preaching in NZ DOES work!

I've still not made it up there and am very keen to. Perhaps we could go up there some time and talk about how we reach Aotearoa by preaching the Gospel, to ensure that the second half of Marsden's journal entry remains true.

Preach the Word! Do the work of an evangelist.

Tash McGill said…
I was disappointed to miss the weekend gathering - unfortunately photography at a wedding meant I couldn't be there - but that Marsden cross is a significant place for me also.
Paul said…
I am thinking of making an annual pilgrimage to Marsden Cross and taking whoever is interested - and grabbing the opportunity while there to pray for the peoples of this nation and that God would soften their hearts to the gospel AND strengthen the will of His people to communicate it.

Name a date Ben!

[you were missed, Tash!]
Mark Maffey said…
Those of you who missed "Kiwimade Preaching" missed a valuable day. Some very worthy topics and equally inspiring teaching.

It challenged me about the value of life long learning and in particular the role of theological education in providing tools which enable people to enhance god-given gifts and grow understanding. Perhaps another lump of study is in the offing.

Paul those of you who have sat under you know that you have much to impart and I hope as you develop your role with Langham that your teaching gift continues to be well-exercised, many will be the richer for it
Anonymous said…
thanks for the link - i've reciprocated on my blog!
great to be colleagues too!

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