It was the week before Easter. William Fairburn was returning home at night to the Paihia mission station accompanied by a young Maori man. As their boat glided over the darkened waters of the Bay of Islands the young man pointed in wonder at the beautiful full moon rising. He acknowledged the Great God who had made it and declared “You cannot give such a garment as that!” Fairburn assured him that all who trusted in Jesus Christ would be clad in shining garments like that for eternity.
So it is written in the diary of Marianne Williams on Good Friday 1824. She wrote too of how the local chief Te Koki “after talking of the good Son of the great God, and of the ‘utu’ or payment he had made for our sins by his death, said, it would be very good for their children to understand all these things…”
History records that in the decades after that evening on the waters near Paihia, tens of thousands of Maori and their children did indeed hear and understand the good news of Jesus Christ – Te Rongopai. It changed the course of our history, laying the way for a Treaty and a union of two peoples. It continues to offer the greatest hope for our unity together now and into the future.
When you look up and see the full moon this week, remember that night 192 years ago in New Zealand. And remember that Jesus journeyed to Jerusalem this week so that peoples and nations to the uttermost ends of the earth might be clothed in the shining garments of the glory of God.