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'Acting for change’

19 July 2022

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Refinement by fire – Akapakari atu ki te A’i

Saturday 2 July 2022 | Written by Supplied | Published in Church Talk, Features

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Refinement by fire – Akapakari atu ki te A’i
Tupapa-Maraerenga residents turn out at Aotearoa House to cast their votes in 2018. The 2022 General Election will be held on August 1. FILE/22063018

Yesterday, July 1st marked our countdown to August 1st Cook Islands General Election, another big challenge to see if all our contesting political parties can beat our one Covid death case only by setting an historic record of a zero tolerance to corruption or bribery petition claims at least for once, at this forth coming general election, writes Bishop Tutai Pere of the Apostolic Church of the Cook Islands.

“But He knoweth the way that I take: when He hath tried me, I shall come forth as gold…Kua kite ra Aia I te arataa taku e aere na: kia oti au I te timataia e Ia, e riro au mei te auro I reira” – Job/Iobu 23: 10.

The last book of the Old Testament – Malachi, in chapter 3: verses 2 and 3 speaks of the last days as such, “But who may abide the day of His coming and who shall stand when He appeareth? For He is like a refiner’s fire, and like fuller’s soap: 3, And He shall sit as a refiner and purifier of silver: and He shall purify the sons of Levi, and purge them as gold and silver, that they may offer unto the Lord an offering in righteousness.” Is it any surprise that in any world class or international sporting events like the Olympics, Commonwealth or South Pacific Games, three main medals gold, silver and bronze are awarded to winners as rewards for the placings they had won in becoming first, second or third? Each of the medals are products that had undergone intense heat and fire refinement tests, taking into recognition with significance the intense physical and mental disciplines that the athletes have committed themselves into becoming no less than top medal winners. Nothing of class, perfection and excellence ever come any less than that.

Both Job and Malachi above also likens our spiritual endurance and perseverance in service, commitment and loyalty to God in our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ as a form of spiritual refinement and purification, after having been tried, shall come forth as gold and ready to be presented unto the Lord an offering in righteousness. On both side of the spectrum, some athletes who had set their focus on winning failed their own selves by unnecessary drug defaults – Christians too fail of moral and spiritual defaults.

Literally there are no two ways about it, no short cut and no cheap way to ultimate success and victory. We had our own time of refinement and purification by fire contending with Covid-19 pandemic the last two years but came out triumphant since our full border opening with 5780 Covid cases, zero hospitalisation and one death only. We may have championed over Covid-19 deaths but still dying at an alarming rate to NCD (non-communicable disease), cancer and alcohol related traffic or domestic abusive fatalities.

Though tourists are back, tourist accommodations and local businesses have picked up remarkably, yet both tourists and locals alike are scrambling over high demanding local fruits, vegetables, fishes and imported food items even in main supermarkets. Due to the loss of local and hardworking Filipino workers to fruit picking and meat companies or better pay employment opportunities abroad, yet more than locals, Fijian workers are still happy to return to work in Rarotonga.

Yesterday, July 1st marked our countdown to August 1st Cook Islands General Election, another big challenge to see if all our contesting political parties can beat our one Covid death case only by setting an historic record of a zero tolerance to corruption or bribery petition claims at least for once, at this forth coming general election. That will most definitely be a generous gift offering of righteousness to our Almighty God and Saviour Jesus Christ with no unnecessary court ruling delays, that whosoever wins on the day immediately get down to business chasing to stamp out the ever increasing and fast economic inflationary rates on practically everything. Lest we forget, God’s Word in Proverbs 14: 34 still insists that, “Righteousness exalteth a nation: but sin is a reproach to any people”. And “Blessed is the nation whose God is the Lord; and the people whom he hath chosen for this own inheritance” – Psalm 33: 12.

God save, bless, preserve and protect our little paradise Cook Islands. Have a safe, pleasant, peaceful and problem free long weekend.

Te Atua te Aroa and God Bless!