Porters Pass

I had a wonderful venture up organised tracks and make believe tracks in Porter’s Pass with my friend Bernard.  We circumnavigated a whole stream catchment over 7 hours and discovered many wonders.  In particular an enchanting beech forest.

I want a face that reveals

Bosch Christ Carrying the Cross
A poem as I contemplated the face of Christ
in Hieronymus Bosch’s painting ‘Christ Carrying the Cross’


I want a face that reveals
what is going on inside me.

It is not that I want to show off
the speed of my understanding
For most of my understandings
have taken so much time to sink in
that the face I wore at the time
I first heard any revelation
is long forgotten.
Nor is it because I am now
so happy with what is inside me
that the beauty of what lies within
will radiate all the loveliness
of my soul at peace.
No, I want a face that reveals
that fear no longer dominates
I want a face that reveals
openness to the wind
confidence in the light
ease with my neighbour
forgiveness of those who would harm me
a posture of delight in the possibility of things…
a face so free,
that I can be courageous
even when descending into a mess
martin stewart 2016


I always say a prayer when about to be borne down a runway at high speed. Over the years I have refined the prayer to be less narcissistic, thus it has become a prayer of gratitude for the inventiveness, safety-consciousness and skill-set of maker, engineer and pilot; and a final prayer of gratitude for the life I have lived and the life I hope to continue living should all go well!
The opening lines of this poem popped up two weeks ago as the plane I was fastened to headed down the runway in Christchurch…

In a machine made from the earth
but presuming a place in the sky
we leave the ground that has birthed us

we breathe the same air
believing it is right to be here
putting our trust in the capacity

of pilot and engineer
as if it is an ordinary thing.
It may turn out to be nothing

a flight quickly forgotten
or, a flight forever
remembered by others.

Few of us know each other
few of us will meet again,
but if this is our last journey

we will be linked forever,
leaving our breaths as invisible prayers
for those who come after us.

martin stewart 2016

Palm Sunday prayer written for tomorrow

Palm Sunday Prayer

[Using the John O’Donohue poem Fluent]

I would love to live
Like a river flows,
Carried by the surprise
Of its own unfolding
– John O’Donohue

This Palm Sunday remembrance suggests such a flow
– an ease – feeling good, all going well,
heads lifted to the shining sun
and arms waving in the gentle breeze,
with you O God, at the centre,
and a vibrant path of possibilities unfolding before us.

But the thud of the real world comes upon us. Continue reading

Site Blessing


An opportunity to gather a small circle of people (only as many as we could find flouro vests for) to offer a site blessing for the new church building at Bryndwr… a long way down the line from the earthquakes that begun in 2010!

God, in many different ways you call us into partnership in your creativity and we sense your delight in what comes of it.

We pray for a joyful spirit in all that happens here, that all of those involved will have sense of what kind of community they are building for and in whose name it will be commissioned.



The Treadmill – Going for ages to get nowhere

In recent times an anomaly has occurred.  Humans (not beasts) have gone voluntarily to treadmills.


In ancient times the treadwheel was a machine driven by oxen or humans to pump water or grind grain.  The only way they worked was if the beast or human kept walking.  The beasts were tethered – they had no choice.  The humans protested.  Consequently tethered humans were used – people in prison.  Both were driven by the whip. Both beast and human were diminished by the experience.

In recent times an anomaly has occurred.  Humans (not beasts) have gone voluntarily to treadmills.  With hand grips and mechanised floors (adjustable for fast or slow, run or walk) these treadmills exist in gyms made of concrete, glass, and floor-to-ceiling mirrors.  They exist in abundance.  People pay to be tethered to them Continue reading

you would want to be awake

Hanmer 1

you would want
to be awake
early these days

when autumnal skies
pick up summer’s dust
refracting the light of dawn

you would want to find
a high place where you could
take off your shoes

in the clean air
before winter’s banked fires
smoke the atmosphere

you would want
to keep silence

the sacred space
between dreaming and working

you would want to be
washed by the emerging colour
as the things of the day come into focus

you are ready then
to attend to
the food
the paper
the conversation
and the beckoning tasks

martin stewart 2016