WINTER – guest post by Heather Kelly of Aotearoa, New Zealand

In the midst of Winter –
seasonal, S.A.D. and dark soul like,
God painted an interactive picture
of His glory edging the clouds
with gold;
Filling the middle foreground
with small birds feeding, flocking
A sight to encourage, console
and comfort.

Balm for my soul.

Here is my question for my readers …

Some of you live in the southern hemisphere like Heather … Australia, Zimbabwe, Argentina and other places as well, all with very distinct climates but still southern hemisphere. Now it is winter. At Christmas it will be high summer and at Easter autumn. How do you feel about the pervasive snowy imagery for the first and new flowers for the second? I can tell you that many worship leaders in the north feel they have done their duty if they sing one Shirley Erena Murray carol.

But mostly I am thinking about Northern hemisphere readers. Can you read a winter poem in the summer? Summer is so short, you say, and I say, too – let me enjoy it. And in winter we don’t want to read about the beauties of summer – it only makes us jealous.

But mostly the question is about empathy. If we insist on reading, celebrating a holiday, in the way that matches our seasonal experience, then how can we even begin to take a moment to dwell with (it’s never really “understand”) another racial experience, another gender identity or sexual orientation, another cognitive or physical or mental appreciation of the world than our own?

We have different seasons. Begin there. Thank you Heather.


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4 Responses to WINTER – guest post by Heather Kelly of Aotearoa, New Zealand

  1. really love the covo- I’m all for it Amen to that!!

  2. Judy Redman says:

    Those of us who have grown up in the southern hemisphere are quite used to the winter imagery for Christmas. We just go with it, although it is highly unlikely that there were shepherds in fields if there was actually *snow* on the ground! We do, however, have Christmas carols that pick up the fact that Christmas happens in mid-summer.

    And it wasn’t until I did my theological training that it occurred to me that in the northern hemisphere there is some congruence between a proclamation of new life and the coming of spring with buds and new leaves etc. Because so little of Australia is above the snowline, most of our native vegetation doesn’t drop leaves during winter, so most of the spring budding comes from introduced species. New leaves/buds aren’t anywhere near as obvious here in spring as they are in areas where it gets very cold, so most trees are deciduous and lots of flowering plants die back in winter.

    And if you live in the tropics where there are two seasons – wet and dry – then there is even less possibility of linking what’s happening in nature with what’s happening in your liturgy. It’s probably nice, but not necessary for you to understand the meanings of the liturgical seasons, I think. 🙂

    Also, while I am posting – thank you for your work. In particular I appreciate your communion liturgies.

    • Maren says:

      You are very welcome — I enjoy doing them. It’s a big deep breath each time it comes around to make it different and joy in finishing. It does seem nice in on prayer book churches (especially rural ones) to link liturgy to climate (particularly with the errors of climate change) but not to forget the wide range of experiences people have. I have the joy of having spent time in New Zealand and and having a son-in-law who lives in the US for a Sydney firm (makes for some odd work times) as a continual reminder.

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