There was a battle at Gate Pa a hundred and fifty years ago. Maori and Pakeha fought over the land and men fell in the fight. Last Tuesday (April 29) hundreds gathered, and remembered, and sought reconciliation.
I shivered in the southerly breeze as the war-painted warriors roared and wielded their guns. The men, armed with muskets instead of taiaha, were quite terrifying as they lay their challenge for peace at the foot of the manuhiri, who stood staunch and silent.
The tangata whenua were eager to defend and protect those dearest to them; their woman, their children, and their land who gave them life.
There were speeches and songs and shouts. And then he sang and my spirit was very still. One warrior took careful steps to the centre of the clearing. He bent low, lay down his weapon and began to sing. I didn’t know the words that he was using, but it was like he was whispering to the wounded world beneath his feet, ‘it is finished’.
‘It is finished’, that’s what Jesus said. God was reconciling the world to himself in Christ, not counting people’s sins against them. And he has committed to us the message of reconciliation. (2 Corinthians 5:19) We are being reconciled to God and to one another.
May the Spirit of Christ, the Prince of Peace, who is closer than our breath, pass between us and bind us together as one people.