Noticings – March 27, 2024

Holy Week and Church
“It’s heavy.”

An answer to prayer arrived in my inbox. In the busyness of putting together all of our Holy Week services and the numerous reflections and sermons therein I was not sure what I had left in the creativity tank for today’s Noticings. And then my inbox went ‘ding’ and the reflection below appeared. It is written by the Executive Minister of our East Central Ontario Regional Council (which is the wider church region Faith is part of). His name is Rev. Eric Hebert-Daly. I thought that it captured not only the challenge of Holy Week, but also puts into words some of the angst folks are feeling about Faith’s upcoming change in ministry when I retire in June. I found Eric’s words hopeful and helpful this week. I pray you will as well.

Easter Message – Rev. Eric Hebert-Daly

When I survey the wondrous work of the communities of faith in our regional council, I can’t help but be impressed at the work that so many are doing to be the hands and feet of Christ in their context. I am also quite aware of the challenges that face them… lack of ministry personnel, diminishing volunteers, dwindling funds and a sense that there is no future for our church in the years to come. It’s heavy. It’s not an easy burden to bear. It’s a lot like Holy Week.

We keep doing what we feel we need to do to keep things moving, we are actively trying to maintain churches that never needed to work at attracting new people in the heydays when all we needed to do was open our doors and people would walk in. There are serious challenges that we cannot ignore. But, like in Holy Week, we know that Sunday is coming.

We are a resurrection people, but sometimes the weight of Good Friday makes it really hard to believe that new life is possible. With new life comes new ways of seeing the world… just like the early disciples who spent most of their ministry with Jesus confused and unclear, who followed faithfully, but didn’t quite know what it all meant… we struggle too. What is the meaning of this time when we feel, like Jesus, that God has forsaken us? What are we to learn in this passion-period of our church life? What needs to die in order to leave space for resurrection? I invite you to consider these things, to understand our scriptures in this season as a parable for our time and space. God is not done with us yet. We are not alone. Thanks be to God!