Tuesday, June 26, 2007

Team New Zealand

“I must go down to the seas again, to the lonely sea and the sky,
And all I ask is a tall ship and a star to steer her by;
And the wheel's kick and the wind's song and the white sail's shaking,
And a grey mist on the sea's face, and a grey dawn breaking.”

The call of the sea resonates in these islands. New Zealand is a seafaring nation. People arrived by waka, frigate and sloop, the sea has been a lifeline, a living and a recreation. Today NZ has the highest level of boat ownership in the world, New Zealanders have won every major international sailing title, including the America's Cup (twice), the Whitbread Race (three times), the Admiral's Cup (once), the Kenwood Cup (three times), the Southern Cross Cup (four times), New Zealanders have won more than 60 world titles, while sailing's 10 medals make it New Zealand's most successful Olympic sport.

Alinghi and Team New Zealand are locked in maritime combat for the oldest prize in world sport. The Auld Mug or as it is more properly known the Americas Cup. There is a buzz in the air here as people talk excitedly of the race the night before. I don’t begin to understand all the intricacies of how you race these yachts but they are an awesome sight on full sail. It is fascinating to watch the crew at work. They all have clearly defined roles including grinder, bowman, navigator, strategist and helmsman. If you look at what they are each doing you would hardly believe that they were involved in the same endeavour. Grinders are furiously working their handles, while someone up the mast is calmly scanning the horizon for wind shifts and another is preparing for the next tack. Each crew member playing their part is essential for the skipper to race the yacht competitively. It is a great picture of the truth Paul talks about to the Ephesians Chapter 4 albeit using a different metaphor! “Under his control the whole body fits together so that when each part functions as it should the whole body builds itself up and grows through love”.

In a different Team New Zealand, people with different characters and complimentary gifts, from diverse backgrounds are united in common cause and contend as one person for the cause of the gospel in Aotearoa and to the ends of the earth.

An Americas Cup yacht has a crew of 17 onboard during the race but there is a back up team of around 150 people providing support, logistics and back up. This does not include the sponsors who largely fund the enterprise. Our Team New Zealand has a back up team. These Friends, Graduates, Churches, Trusts and Supporters are an essential part of the fellowship and enable us to do the work that God has called us to. We are hugely grateful for your prayers and partnership with Team New Zealand.

Our confidence is not in programmes, resources, people or budgets. We have thought often through this year that it is “not by might or by power by God’s spirit” that the work of God is advance. Like the other Team New Zealand we appreciate that our activity is very dependent on the wind.
We look to Jesus and the sovereignty of God realising that “The wind blows where it wishes you hear its sound, but you do not know where it comes from or where it goes.” In the providence of God we want to go sailing today!

Join us in the next phase of this adventure and pray that God would fill our sails with the wind of his spirit and enable us to work together, under his command for his glory.

I like the middle verse of “Sea Fever” by John Masefield best

“I must go down to the seas again, for the call of the running tide
Is a wild call and a clear call that may not be denied;
And all I ask is a windy day with the white clouds flying,
And the flung spray and the blown spume, and the sea-gulls cry”