Greetings as we prepare to celebrate Pentecost, the day many see as the birth of the Christian Church. It was the day when the Holy Spirit came in grand style with tongues like fire baptizing the 100 or so followers gathered in the upper room, drove them out into the world. This was a turning point in their lives and those who would come after them. It was probably a scary time, as so much changed around them and for them. It was also an exciting time as they discovered new possibilities, as the Spirit working in them led them to do more than they could ever have imagined. For me there is a symmetry between those early days of the Church, and our own context. Our world is changing, our lives are changing in ways that are both scary and exciting, with new possibilities we never dreamed of.
We know that over the centuries the Church, what we do, how we do it, how we express and live out our faith has continued to evolve and change as the world around us, the context into which we are called to witness and serve has changed. If the Church had not evolved and changed it would never have survived. That doesn’t mean change just for the sake of change, but change in response to new realities and opportunities over the last two centuries. What began as house churches and family gatherings evolved into worship centered in church buildings, and now we find ourselves again in home-based worship, with the advantage of technology that can gather us in new ways.
As we the stand on this cusp of a changing world, I want to invite you to imagine and dream about what the future might look like for you, for our communities and for the Church. Knowing that what was, the way we gathered, the way we worshiped, the way did many things, including small groups and fundraising will change. Now is time to imagine and dream about what might be possible. Questions for you to ponder include: What have you found life-giving, or brings you joy in this time that you/we can carry forward and even build on? How we can re-shape and transform what is important to us, to fit with the new world that we are living in? When we begin to think in terms of what is life-giving, of what brings us joy now, it might be surprising and different from what we thought was important and life-giving before. This time has changed us, and it changes what we view as important and what we experience as life-giving. We also recognize that for some things we hold as important, we may need to adjust how we do them, or put them on hold for a time, hoping they will one day be possible again.
As we seek to discern where God is leading us, what the future might look like, it will be important to find ways of engaging around these questions together, that are interactive, that allow for the exchange of ideas, for hearing and listening to one another. In the coming weeks I will be looking at the best ways to do this. Ideally looking to those mediums that allow for conversation rather than just reporting or fact gathering because this is not a fact-oriented exercise, it an opportunity to dream together. This will likely mean utilizing available technology such as Zoom which also allows for a dial in option for those without the same access to technology. For others we may have to look at alternative ways to invite them into these conversations. I am just beginning to envision and plan for how we might do this, but hope to have more details to share soon. As we begin to dream and plan for the next 10 weeks, and the next year, two years and beyond, we want your input, it will be important.
As the Easter Season draws to a conclusion with Pentecost this Sunday and we will soon be into Ordinary time, I am looking at ways of shifting some aspects of worship and tweaking the shape of it. I invite you to think about what aspects of worship are important or meaningful for you? What are you enjoying during our worship services? What do you wish was part of it? I really want to hear from you so that the worship can continue to nurture your faith and relationship with God. One change I am looking at is including as part of the weekly email a service outline that will allow you to hopefully more fully engage and participate, as we have become more comfortable praying and singing along in our own spaces.
This week at Trinity:
Pentecost celebration on Facebook Live at 10 am. The feed will go live at 9:55 am to allow people to connect and not miss anything.
Reflection: How is the Spirit empowering and encouraging you to dream new dreams for the future?
Prayer: God of wind and flame,send your life-giving Spirit upon your people: give fire to our words,strength to our witnessand boldness to our proclamationof your wondrous work in Christ;who, with you and the Spirit, lives and reigns now and for ever. Amen.
Opening Prayers (1997) alt.
One in the Spirit 2020 – Sunday, May 31 at 2:00 pm
You are warmly invited to attend an online celebration of Pentecost on May 31 at 2 p.m. which is being offered in a video on YouTube, from every corner of the Ecclesiastical Province of Ontario – from Moosonee and Algoma in the north and west, to Ottawa and Ontario in the east and Toronto, Huron and Niagara in the south. In word and song, in prayers, music and images we will catch sight and sound of the Spirit’s flame and work in our midst.
Tuesday, 10 am to noon– NEW Drop-in hours. I will be at the church, hopefully sitting by the James Street (north doors), weather permitting or inside those doors. You can drop by for a distanced chat or blessing, and drop-off any offering donations you have. This will be in place of the Thursday Zoom office I was offering.
Tuesday 7:30 pm, our bible study continues on Zoom. The focus this week will be the Time of Exile, reflecting on the Israelites time of exile and how it led to imagining new ways of being faithful to God and found a new identity out of this experience.
Wednesday 7:30 pm – Virtual Soul Survivors, on Facebook Video Chat
The News from the Pews will be coming out next week and we invited people in the last one to share any updates with the parish. This is your opportunity, since we cannot be together on Sunday mornings to share your good news stories and thanksgivings. Please email them to Margaret by Sunday evening for inclusion in this month’s edition, her email is email@example.com
Email your worship and faith-related questions to me at firstname.lastname@example.org for the Q&A sermon on June 14.
Zoom has updated their security and a few weeks ago released a software update. If you have not done so already you will be asked to update if you try to connect after May 30. So please, check for updates before the next time you log on, whether that is for study group, or coffee hour or my office hour. On the phones and tablets it will be an app update, like any of your other apps. For computers, it is the first drop down menu “zoom.us” and “check for updates” is about the 4th item on the list. As always, if you need the log on information please let me know.