10th March Lent 1

Vicar’s Reflection: Lent 1, 10th March 2019

Just north of Paraparaumu you can turn off the busy highway into a layby rest area. There is a carpark and entrance-way to the Barry Hadfield Nikau Reserve. We wanted to take our grandchildren for a bush walk and this was easily accessible. It was a hot dry day, the sun baked us and the

traffic on the highway was busy and noisy. After everyone was out of the car and packs on, we walked a few metres to the reserve entrance and stepped through into a different world. It was cool dark and green.

Speckles of sunlight filtered through the canopy of trees and palms. The sound of traffic faded like turning down a sound track. I will never forget the look of wonder and almost fear on the faces of our grandchildren. They were entering a different and unfamiliar world. This reserve is special as it is one of the last remnants of lowland forest with the nikau palms

indigenous to the Horowhenua coast. It is a stopping place for kereru and other native birds travelling between Kapiti island and the Tararua Forest Park. The flowering and fruiting trees, especially the nikaus, are like a takeaway bar for these travellers refreshing them for the next stage of their journey. This is what the wilderness was like for Jesus, a place of awe and wonder, a stopping-place for reflection and refreshment on his journey to the cross. May this Lenten season give us times of refreshment, awe and wonder.

Alex Czerwonka

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