Hello everyone, and welcome to another Friday. Hopefully we can welcome each other to worship this Sunday, unlike last. Hopefully that last blast of winter is behind us and we can welcome spring properly, with all its long-awaited promise.
Whatever your weekend holds (‘Guess Who’s Coming to Lunch’ or Fashion Show preparations/ticket buying or any of the myriad of community life options available at Trinity), I hope that you know peace and joy in the midst of it all. I believe that, in the midst of a world of questions and wonderings, there ought to be a certainty of knowing you are surrounded by God’s love and mercy. I pray that you will find that here, this Sunday and always.
With love to you all,
Friday, April 20, 2018
This week’s worship prep time has looked much different than usual. With last weekend’s ice storm changing all of our best laid plans for Sunday, we were left with the unexpected decision of what to do with a set-to-go liturgy: set it aside and save it for who knows when, or put everything into play for the Sunday to follow? We’ve opted for the latter and hope that you don’t mind.
The unexpected decision brought some unexpected time, which filled promptly with a host of other things that needed attention. It also brought a moment I’ve never experienced before – a strange-ish moment actually, when I walked in the sanctuary early in the week, and had the funny sensation of a space that still sat ready for the service that hadn’t come to be. Quite often I walk through, post-worship, and there’s a wash of memories from our Sunday gathering, but there was nothing immediate to draw upon this week, and my heart felt that gap. My heart missed you, but also the experience of being together in that space, drawing strength and renewal for the days to come.
This past Tuesday, I was at a gathering with other local clergy, and naturally we spoke of the storm’s impact on our services. For many of us, that was the first experience of Sunday closure, and for all of us, it was hopefully the last. I know some will suspect that’s rooted in a loss of offering, or even a loss of identity for clergy-types, but I really think it’s something more. I prefer to think there’s a shared sense of reliance on the Sunday morning gathering; on the weekly time set aside to worship as a body, in the spirit of the Body of Christ. For me, there’s an emptiness without it. As one of my colleagues said, it just made for a weird Sunday. Amen to that.
So all of the above has left me thinking about something more: what would it be like if our church ceased to be in this community? I don’t contemplate that as anything close to a real possibility, and I would mourn that day if it came. I ask it only as a hypothetical; a genuine wondering about the difference that our faith community makes in the life of our broader community. What we do on Sunday matters to me, and I trust to us as whole – but does our life ripple out in noticeable ways beyond these walls? Would our absence change someone else’s presence?
Much as I long for all this wintry weather to be behind us, maybe a little part of me is grateful for last weekend’s late blast. Maybe I needed the time to face the gap; to be reminded of what I treasure, and to solidify this passion to live with faithful impact, every day of the year. The Christian experience is certainly not the norm anymore, and there are many for whom Sunday mornings are always a quiet, stay-at-home occurrence, but I’m so grateful that, for this faith family, called into being in the Way of Jesus, it’s a recurring gift of time: time to be changed; to share the power of hope; to lift up faith and all its mysteries; to invite any and all to be part of this journey; and to reassure all God’s people that this faith, in this time, is worth our steady presence.
With love to you all,
“There’s a thread you follow. It goes among things that change. But it doesn’t change. People wonder about what you are pursuing. You have to explain about the thread.
But it is hard for others to see. While you hold it you can’t get lost. Tragedies happen; people get hurt or die; and you suffer and get old. Nothing you do can stop time’s unfolding. You don’t ever let go of the thread.”
(By William Stafford, from The Way It Is, 1998)
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