Church of the Good Shepherd

Now New Zealanders or Kiwis as they are affectionately known, are not generally an arrogant bunch.  Yet, they refer to  their homeland as  “God’s Own Country”.  What cheek!  What audacity!   It seems to implies that they share the same postal code with God while the rest of us non-Kiwis live in the slummier side of creation.

Now, of course, I believe that God is omnipresent which means that He is everywhere and He does not solely hold a New Zealand passport.  Indeed, the wonders of God’s creation can be seen in so many things and places all around the world.  Yet, one has to agree with the residents of Aotearoa, the “Land of the Long White Cloud” (yet another fancy name they have for their country), that they seem to have more than their fair share of natural beauty for such a small piece of real estate.

This being Easter week, the week in which Christians remember Jesus’ journey to the cross of Calvary, I thought about the worship of God and decided to pay a visit to “God’s Own Country” and specifically to the little Church of the Good Shepherd on the shores of Lake Tekapo.

Now I have seen many impressive cathedrals with towering spires, massive domes and ornate carvings.  Some of them have been awe-inspiring but I have found others too over-the-top and gaudy.  And really, my favorite place to meditate and worship God is really on a mountain top; not surrounded by any man-made structure but amidst God’s wonderful creation.  Of course, out in the elements like that can be rather cold and wet at times!

So this is why the Church of the Good Shepherd is rather special to me.  Rather than some elaborate and ornate man-made altar, this simple chapel of stone just has windows which allows the beautiful mountains and the glistening Lake Tekapo to be the main feature of the altar.  I think it is stunning and a wonderful place for communing with God in prayer or in praise.

The Church of the Good Shepherd (Photo by LGS)
Lake Tekapo (Photo by LGS)
The Awesome Altar View at the Church of the Good Shepherd (Photo by LGS)

Invariably, Lake Tekapo and the small stone church is very much part of the tourist circuit these days but even so, there is still sufficient awe and tranquility to make a visit worthwhile.  Another interesting attraction is a bronze statue that rightfully honors the faithful service of the New Zealand Collie Sheepdog, without which, New Zealand would not have been able to become a nation with more sheep than people.  2009 figures indicate a human population of 4.2 million while there were actually 40 million sheep.

The New Zealand Collie Sheepdog is Honored in Bronze (Photo by LGS)
Sheep Not-so-much in a Rush Hour (Photo by LGS)


15 thoughts on “Church of the Good Shepherd”

  1. Lovely Spot – you forgot to mention that the church is built of rock … 🙂

  2. Beautiful area; one of many in this world. I to call northern Wisconsin God’s Country. God did a beautiful job when He created this world. How can we expect less? Man can do little to beautify, but can and has made it ugly. Beauty is in the eye of the beholder.
    The road scene makes me think of the deer and turkeys we have to watch for crossing the road. Only had one quick stop for a bear.

  3. oceangirl,
    I am sure you have enjoyed awesome sky from your sailing days.

    Thanks for visiting and leaving a comment. It is indeed beautiful there. Starkly beautiful.

  4. Graham,
    It was partly seeing all your pictures of stone buildings that reminded me of this church.

    I am sure Wisconsin is mighty pretty too. I have stopped for bear too (in Banff, Canada).

  5. I don’t believe I have ever been in a building that brought me close to God. Magnificent, awe inspiring, yes, but nothing like Mother Nature herself can.

  6. The NZers have it wrong. While I haven’t been there myself-would love to go, absolutely-and I am fond of mountains (as you well know) I don’t think New Zealand is God’s country. He might vacation there, have a weekend cottage perhaps. I certainly wouldn’t blame him.

    Unsurprisingly, I think Canada is God’s country. We don’t just have green fields and mountains, but still-untamed forests, tundra, prairies, truly every conceivable landscape is here, including desert. But, if that’s not enough, I also have this story from a travelling author doing research on churches along the Eastern US seaboard.

    As he was travelling up from Georgia, visiting and photographing old churches along the way, the pastors he interviewed all proudly pointed out the pearl phone in the corner. Above the phone was a sign reading ‘Direct line to God-$10,000/call’. All the pastors were adamant this was a direct line to Heaven, and he saw these phones up the coast at every church he visited, from Georgia to New York.

    He saw a pearl phone in three separate churches in Buffalo alone, each with its sign declaring ‘Direct line to God-$10,000/call’. Seeing as he was on the border, he crossed over to Canada, curious to find if Canadian churches had these phones. To his surprise, the first church he came to did. But the sign said ‘Direct line to God-25c/call’.

    He found the priest and asked him, “I have seen these phones all along the eastern seaboard, but on the States it is $10,000 per call. Why is it just a quarter here?”

    The priest smiled and said, “Well, you see, my son, here it is a local call.”

    And that is why the NZers have it wrong and Canada is God’s country.

  7. Well you’re just getting into semantics here with “God’s Own Country.” Because really, every acre on earth is God’s Own Country. So they were right about their country, as anyone else would be who said it. And the pictures are lovely. Lucky you. I know only one other person who has been there. I’ll have to tell you that story.

  8. Gee and all this time I though Detroit was God’s country…we’re kind of like the Kiwi’s, we have more preachers than people here by about the same ratio. Nice little building but snow, rain or sun I’ll go with Mr. C outside on my place to truly be one.

  9. Mr. Charleston,
    You’ll get no argument from me on that. I too prefer meditating to the vista from a mountaintop or to the rustling of leaves in a forest or the breaking of waves on the shore.

    You know I am a Canada-phile and I totally love the beauty of Canada but NZ truly is unique cause it has so much for such a small place. Good story though. Loved it.

  10. Riot Kitty,
    Hope you do get to NZ. It is an amazing place to go as a tourist or traveler.

    I can’t wait to hear that story. You make it sound so mysteriously fascinating.

  11. Mark,
    I thought Detroit was Ford’s country or was that GM’s country? But what you are saying is that you have more would-be shepherds than there are sheep? Not a healthy natural situation. I agree with you and Mr. C about the great outdoor cathedral but this small church is definitely moving in the right direction with a basic, practical design and leaving the glory to God’s creation.

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