I arrived half-awake and upside-down in Auckland, New Zealand. Auckland, like Sydney, occupies a superb location next to a natural harbour. On my walk through the town I looked out for a church but came across none. However the War Museum is very moving. Such a small country gave so much in two World Wars.
In the Gospel reading today (April 14 Easter Tuesday) Mary leaves the empty tomb and meets Jesus, only recognising him when he greets her: ‘Mary’.
How often do we fail to recognise Jesus in our own lives?
Even perhaps when he is close to us, perhaps in the guise of another person who needs our help and support.
The power of the Resurrection hits one like a surging wave on visiting a War Museum like the one in Auckland.
New Zealand suffered generously in sending its young men to hopeless campaigns such as Paschendale and Gallipoli, thousands of miles from a homeland which, at least in the first war itself was under no conceivable threat of actual invasion.
In the debating chamber of the New Zealand parliament, I saw plaques reminding us of these bloody and costly campaigns.
New Zealand was the only British dominion that voted in 1916 to conscript all males of military age.
The New Zealanders went to their deaths both from a sense of loyalty and obligation to the mother country that had supported them in the Maori Wars (1860s & 70s).