June 17, 2021
Last week as part of a virtual event I attended, I was reminded that we are living in a liminal time, on a threshold between a time that is ending and time that has not yet begun. To varying degrees most of lives are lived moving from the past to the future, but liminal time is different because it is also a time of heightened or multiple layers of disruption to life and society. This seems like an apt description of the times we are living in from pandemic to heightened awareness of racism and more recently as we have been confronted with the legacy of Residential Schools in Canada. All of this has led to greater uncertainty and angst among many. As I quoted Bishop Ryscilla on Sunday, the elastic band of our lives has been stretched too far and for too long to ever return to its original shape. Liminal times are ripe with emotion, from grief as we mourn what is ending and what we have lost, to anxiety about the uncertainty of the future, on top of a whole range of emotions as we wrestle with the societal shifts we are in the midst of. The bible is filled with examples of liminal times. In the Hebrew Scriptures this includes the Israelites preparing to enter the Promised Land and the Exiles returning from Babylon. All of the New Testament reflects a liminal time as Jesus’ announcement and invitation into the Kingdom of God inaugurates a new way, and those who followed tried to figure out what this new life was and how they were to live into it. As we read the Acts of the Apostles we hear them negotiating this new world and the new relationships and ways of being that were a part of it.
One of the choices we face in times like these is how we will respond to the fluidity of life. We can look back mourning and lamenting what was, often romanticizing the past into something it was not. At the same time, we need to honour the past for what it has to teach us, deciding what aspects to bring into the future and what to leave behind, as well what we need to make amends for or make right. We can look to the future and try to plan for what we want it to be and how to get there, a sign of our hope and belief that whatever is coming is worth planning for and our commitment to those who come after us. And finally, we can focus on the present, being attentive to our feelings, to what we are seeing and experiencing around us in this moment and what we can learn from those observations. This is probably the one we struggle with the most because we crave stability and control over our lives, but it is also important because it allows us to stop and reflect, to enjoy the gift of this moment and the possibilities before us. To focus on the present, is a conscious decision we make and keep making, choosing to focus on the here and now, on celebrating the joys, and reflecting on the lessons learned during this time. I think we engage in all three to varying degrees depending on our personality, including in the moment depending on what is happening in our life at that moment.
I admit I am not very good at staying in the moment, on staying in today. My temptation is to jump to the future, to plans so I can feel in control of what is happening and will happen, and so I can speak with confidence when asked about the future. A couple of recent events though reminded me how easy it is to miss the sacredness of the present moment if I’m not attentive to it. First was the unexpected death of an acquaintance my own age, which when you are middle aged can be shock, and is a reminder that tomorrow is not promised. It reminded me how important it is to take advantage of every opportunity to connect with others, because you don’t know when or if you will have that opportunity again. Second, this weekend we had a backyard visit to celebrate my nephew’s birthday. On Sunday when we arrived, I put out my arms for the usual air hug, and instead my nephew threw his arms around me. A million thoughts ran through my head, mostly whether this was OK and should I say something, but the feeling of his arms squeezing me tight stopped me in its tracks, and I simply soaked in the moment. It would have been easy to have been so wrapped up in my over-thinking it and missed the moment, the pure joy, after all soon enough he will probably be too old and cool to hug his Auntie Dana. These moments reminded me that being in the moment, focusing on the gift that is today is important, because it so easy to miss the moments that we can never get back.
I suspect we all have moments like these that remind us of the importance and sacredness of the present. In this liminal season, when it can feel like the earth is moving under our feet and we are just trying to keep standing, it is important to pay attention to these moments, these are God moments, gifts that give us hope and fill us with joy and wonder.
This Week in Worship – 4th Sunday after Pentecost, National Indigenous Day of Prayer
Scripture Reading: John 1:1-18
Reflection Question: How is my faith and relationship with God reflected in my prayers and action when it comes to Indigenous People? How have I been and can I be an ally?
Prayer: Creator God, from you every family in heaven and earth takes its name. You have rooted and grounded us in your covenant love, and empowered us by your Spirit to speak the truth in love, and to walk in your way towards justice and wholeness. Mercifully grant that your people, journeying together in partnership, may be strengthened and guided to help one another to grow into the full stature of Christ, who is our light and our life. Amen (The Anglican Church of Canada)
Cycles of Prayer: Anglican Cycle of Prayer: The Church of North India
Deanery Cycle: The Parish of Mulmer and the Rev. Canon Darrell Wright
Parish: Dick and Gretchen Dewhirst; Rev. Dana and Stewart; Cathy Evans-Hughes.
All indoor programs and worship remain suspended at this time, but we are cautiously resuming outdoor office, garden knitting and ladies’ coffee within the limit of 10 people outdoors – masks are required, at least when moving around, and registration is required for the latter two due to gathering limits.
Financial offering can be mailed, remembering the P.O. Box, e-transferred, made online through our website, or dropped off at the church on Thursday mornings.
Please send your Hymn Sing dedications to Margaret by June 30 for inclusion in the recording.
We need a new webmaster. The task is not hard, requiring no more than an hour a week with regular high-speed internet. Please contact Cynthia Riley for information or to volunteer.
Tuesday June 22 – 7:30 pm Evening Prayer and Study group on Zoom. This week are watching and discussing a sermon by Otis Moss III, a dynamic preacher.
Wednesday June 23 – 9 am Morning Prayer from the Rectory live on Facebook
2 pm – Garden Knitting – please call Anne Silvey 905-775-3237 to register
7:30 pm – Advisory Board on Zoom
Thursday June 25 – 10:30 am to noon – Drop-in office resumes at the James St. doors
Saturday June 26 – 11 am Ladies Coffee Break on the south lawn. Please call Lynn Woods, 905-775-7007. Bring your own everything – chair, beverage and snacks.