Kotahitanga: ‘That they might be in perfect unity’.
The last passionate prayer of Jesus from John chapter 17 expressing His heart for His people to reflect the very essence of the Godhead, Oneness.
‘Perfect Unity’ in the Maori Bible is the word ‘Kotahitanga’. We find this invitation to ‘Oneness’ not only in the pages of Scripture (see also Eph 2:14-15), but deep in the history of our land; words expressed by Governor Hobson to each of the Maori chiefs upon signing the Treaty of Waitangi: ‘he iwi tahi tatou’, (that these two peoples might become one nation). We see this same sentiment powerfully declared in the huge mural emblazoned across the Christchurch City Council/ Ngai Tahu building at the entrance on Hereford St, quoting the words of the great Ngai Tahu leader Matiaha Tiramorehu, beseeching Queen Victoria in 1857:
‘this was the love that was laid upon thy governors, that the nation be made one, that the white skin be made one, and that he be made just equal with the brown skin that we might all enjoy a peaceful life.’
The ongoing and immense challenge remains in seeking to embody such a noble principle! As the wider church across the city this invitation lays before us, not just to discuss a principle, but to embody the reality! Perhaps specific events help shape and express this reality; Festival 200 in December being a time to celebrate our unity, expressed through our rich diversity. And on Nov 8th a one day conference, called “Kotahitanga” facilitated by Grace Vineyard, Hope Presbyterian and Northcity churches seeks to create space for this conversation around Oneness. Listening to the stories of our past, to Tangata whenua, of the call of the Spirit, Kotahitanga envisions a bold future as the united people of God earthed in the wonderful land of Aotearoa.