Clergy Notes — Easter Sunday, April 16, 2017
Over the last six weeks I have had the privilege of being with many of you in our Lenten Study by the Cowley Fathers: the Five Marks of Love. I have learned a great deal about the people of St. James’ as individuals and as a community. I have seen us compromise in conversation and in food preparation, where, let’s face it, not everyone does things the way we might prefer to!
I have heard testimony of God at work in individual struggles. I have watched pairs and groups of you talk, laugh and eat together as we have learned how we can live out the Five Marks of Mission in a loving way. I think what has impressed me most in both the Thursday and Sunday study groups, has been the hospitality that you have shown to people who have joined us along the way.
This is how the early church grew, by welcoming strangers, and intentionally living in community, breaking bread together. People would observe Lent in fasting and study, new Christians were prepared for baptism at Easter. All kinds of different people were suddenly in community with each other as the church emerged, and as at St. James’ the community was diverse.
It takes a lot of work and commitment to be in community with one another. This Holy Week, a great deal of work has gone into the preparations for each service, both practically and spiritually. I read an article recently from Steven J. Cole, he liked people at church to porcupines, quipping that: “we need each other, but we needle each other!” I think I might have been a porcupine this week, and I know I saw a couple!
I think the greatest and perhaps hardest thing to accept about the resurrection and Jesus conquering sin and death, is that even the people who needle us to a greater or lesser extent are offered the same gift that we are. Grace abounds and is for all. Easter is the greatest feast of our year, so jump into it, all of us together. Remember the first Easter, live it and proclaim it!