St. Luke’s Leeds Riff on Ecclesiastes 3 and ‘Surprised by the Spirit’
For everything there is a season, and a time for every matter under heaven:
a time for apostles, long ago and right now to be confused, fearful, disoriented and uncertain, and a time to be eager, hopeful, desiring to focus on what’s important and optimistic;
a time to look back,
and a time to look forward;
a time without ‘a place’ for worship, with communications broken, families and friends apart, without touch or gathering for grieving, with deep struggles for Indigenous Peoples,
and a time of resilience, working together, comfy couch worship, discovering the joy of introversion and the wonders of technology;
a time of learning what is good – in safer rural life, in great thankfulness, in clear information, in community that continues, in interdependence,
and a time of learning what is troubling – in ongoing crisis, in gaps in community, in recognition of how tenuous our social systems are;
a time to wrestle with questions about global COVID-19, jobs and income, supporting people in loss, confronting our fears, acknowledging everyone’s humanity, and tensions between moving forward or back,
and a time for hope from deep care about issues like UBI, climate summits and personal actions for creation care, more birds, and kindness;
and sometimes, like right now, those can be the same times.
What does our congregation, our wider church gain from this toil?
We learn from ourselves, together as teachers, to more fully realize that we are the ecclesia, we ARE the church, the interdependent community that sees that the Holy Spirit can work good, even through government!
We learn from ourselves, together as teachers, that we’re not really ‘doing without’, and that we can stay in to keep all safe.
We learn from ourselves, together as teachers, that we are resilient, that we need each other, that we must listen, and that our faith is to be shared.
We learn from ourselves, together as teachers, that every human needs opportunity, and that we may need to be taught to be kind, patient and more appreciative.
And we see other things under the sun, with which we and others are called to wrestle:
That our faith must inform our decision about masks and vaccines and staying home and more; That each person is to be respected;
That we are to provide housing, safety and care for all;
That there is tension between going back to something and moving forward to new ways;
That there is challenge in keeping forward momentum;
That we must continue to discuss how to ‘be’ the church, not ‘go to’ church.
So, though we may not know what will happen after us, we enjoy sharing hope: That there will be an end to this pandemic;
That we are gifted with common sense;
That we are community;
That we can be resilient;
That there are many examples of sharing;
That there is opportunity to move forward;
That we can appreciate what we have in each other, and express that; That the Holy Spirit is not going to stop doing what it does;
That God hasn’t brought us this far to drop us on our head now!