Musings, On Space Bar Previews and the Spaces between the lines...
This morning as the lights in the entryway gradually brightened in sync with the arrival of dawn (thanks to the marvel that is Apple Homekit), I found myself pondering Epiphany seasons past. I was browsing files of liturgies and reflections from past years as I prepared to send out the invitation to the weekly lectionary gathering for Tuesday morning.
There are times when I wish Apple HomeKit could do this work for me – but I don’t think there is an algorithm for that yet – likely because it is work of the heart. It is not enough to simply know that the readings for this coming Sunday include Isaiah 49:1-7, Psalm 40:1-11, 1 Corinthians 1:1-9 and John 1:29-42. Nor it is enough to know that in ten instances of being presented with these possibilities for reflection, on five occasions I have focused on the Isaiah passage, four instances the gospel passages, one time on the Corinthians texts and not once, have I explored the Psalm.
In sitting with each of those ten reflections I was drawn to the stories between the lines on each page – I found myself recalling the people and the bits and pieces of their individual lives and the corporate life of the community that informed the reflection offered that Sunday morning! Of course, especially with some of the earliest of my efforts I found myself shaking my head and muttering to myself: Did I really believe that?!, No, I didn’t say that!
MacOS has a wonderful feature for previewing documents – in Finder, you simply highlight the file you want to preview and tap the space bar – and, you can easily preview the document without opening it… and so, as I tapped the space bar and skimmed what is essentially the product of thirty years of ministry, I was reminded again and again, in a profound way, that Word that is preached is spoken out of, and into a specific space, a unique context, and what I have on this one terabyte hard-drive are gigabytes of words past their expiration date! Not a comforting thought as one considers the product of one’s vocation.
But then another thought stuck me… these words are not sealed containers – they have been opened and interacted with, and in that opening and sharing they have nurtured, sustained, and sometimes even challenged individuals and communities. Hopefully, they have offered slivers and glimmers of light... bringing us to this point in the journey, a place to pause in gratitude, with softened hearts, open minds and hands, ready to serve, to discern that next steps in Following the Way of Jesus.
The Week Ahead
This morning I am working from home until about 11AM when I will make my way to the Drew Nursing Home where I’ll engage in four or five pastoral visits. After lunch I am at the Hospital visiting folk there.
I will be in the office on Tuesday morning. Following the Lectionary Study Group that begins at 10:30AM and ends at 11:30AM, I will be having lunch with Rebecca Houtsma as we plan her dad’s memorial service. You are invited to join others for the first Senior’s Lunch Gathering of 2023. Bring your lunch and join with others in the community for sharing and conversation! A warm atmosphere and coffee and tea will be provided! This gathering will begin at about 11:45 and end when folks have exhausted themselves of things to talk about! Hope to see you there! I have two visits scheduled for Tuesday afternoon.
I’ll be at the Church again on Wednesday morning and look forward to welcome Seniors Sharing the Table and Open Sky for their weekly Coffee Hour! All are welcome! This morning the Worship and Sanctuary Committee will be drawing upon the energy of volunteers to assist them in packing up and putting Christmas away for another year! Many hands make light work! As you are able please come and assist! Once Christmas is packed up and put away the Worship and Sanctuary Committee will meet to begin looking at plans for Lent and Easter.
On Wednesday afternoon I am looking forward to gathering with United Church colleagues of the Greater Moncton area. This will be the first time we have met since November and the question that we’ll be pondering is seasonally appropriate: In this season of Epiphany what is the light revealing to you?
On Wednesday evening I will be with the Sackville United Church Executive for the monthly Grounding Meeting which will be led by Janet Hammock.
Thursday will be a day of working from home as I seek to give shape to the liturgy and reflection for Sunday and begin work on the memorial service for John Houtsma which will take place on Saturday at 11AM.
I have two meetings on Friday morning, and it is likely that the balance of the day will be spent finalizing the memorial service for Saturday.
A Memorial Service for John Houtsma will be held on Saturday at Sackville United Church. The service will begin at 11AM and be followed by a light lunch of homemade soup so that folk can continue to share memories and offer care and support to one another in community. And at 3PM I am many others will be gathering to celebrate the birthdays of Simav, Lilav and our own Luc Poirer!
And of course, as a new week begins on Sunday you are invited to join in community at 11AM to name our gratitude and grief, our wonder and awe, and ponder next steps. Join in-person or via Facebook Live. All are welcome – and all means all!
Happy Birthday Luc and Simav and Lilav!
Looking forward to celebrating with you all on Saturday afternoon!