Garden on the Street

In remembrance of...


Today's sharing is slightly different from my usual format. I am not suggesting a song that you can listen to and I am not commenting on this Sunday's Gospel. However, I wish to make this brief comment on the Gospel here. I see a clear link with Luke 13:1-9 about the fig tree and it's fruitfulness to our personal and national ongoing response to the tragic events in Christchurch. As so many are wanting and expressing now, we need to continue in the days, months and years ahead to bear the fruit of understanding, tolerance and unity in diversity. In doing so the 50 people gunned down in the Deans Ave and Linwood mosques on Friday 15 March will not have died in vain.   

I was on Vermont St in Auckland outside the mosque for the 2-minute silence yesterday as we remembered those killed just one week ago in Christchurch and their grieving families. Silence is very familiar for us in a Church context. We find comfort in prayer and ritual. This experience with complete strangers on the street was for me an experience of Church not in a building but on the street. It was good and reassuring to be together. When faced with the horror of violence on such an unprecedented scale there is a need to do something personally and together. In a secular country like ours is, the usual 1-minute silence, vigil services and the laying of flowers have become common rituals all of us can do. I witnessed on the street welcome through smile, respect and the gift of our common humanity in the face of an act utterly inhuman.


Speaking of humanity, I was incredibly moved by the tradesman interviewed on the news who was one of the first on the scene in Christchurch. What an inspiration. He sat beside a dying man encouraging him to keep fighting for his life. Sadly, the man died but the tradesman wanted to reassure the dead man’s family that he did not die alone. These are the stories we need to remember and shout from the roof tops.


Artists have been responding in various ways too that can be very helpful to us to express what we find difficult to put into words. Wellington artist, Ruby Jones, is one such person. Her works have a beautiful poignant simplicity that inspire hope. One of her works you may know has been chosen for the cover of Time Magazine.


I have a work in progress that I would like to share with you. I have entitled it ‘Garden on the Street’.


Garden on the street


We place these flowers here for you

We lay them down here at your feet

We stand united at your door

We plant a garden on the street


Garden of love to soothe and heal

A simple act of how we feel

Peace, Rangimarie

Love aroha the way

Peace Rangimarie to you


We plant a garden on the street

Bunches of flowers at your feet

We hope they comfort and help to ease your sorrow

We hope the garden on the street

Will remind you when we meet

Of our longing for a safe and new tomorrow


We know these flowers will wilt and fade

And soon the garden will be gone

We can’t conceive the price you’ve paid

But hope the bonds we share live on


Garden of love to sooth and heal

A simple act of how we feel

Peace, Rangimarie

Love aroha the way

Peace Rangimarie to you


We plant a garden on the street

Bunches of flowers at your feet

We hope they comfort and help to ease your sorrow

We hope the garden on the street

Will remind you when we meet

Of our longing for a safe and new tomorrow


We place these flowers here for you

We lay them down here for you

We stand united here with you

And plant a garden on the street

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© 2018 Chris Skinner.
Created by Loren van Gent.