“Come, Holy Spirit, fill the hearts of your faithful! Kindle in us the fire of your love!”
In these days between the Ascension and Pentecost we have been praying, in union with the Mary, the Mother of Jesus, the Apostles, and the whole Church, on earth and in heaven, for a fresh outpouring of Holy Spirit: in our own lives and at St. James’, upon the whole Church across the world, upon this City of Vancouver and the Lower Mainland, upon the whole of Creation. This Spirit is the Creator’s gift: to continue the work and love of Jesus; to lead us into all Truth; to refresh and renew; as at the beginning, to bring order out of chaos. How much we, how much our world, is in need of this precious gift! This gift, which is alive, active, dynamic! May the Spirit’s gift of wisdom and discernment lead us all forward out of the darkness engendered by this pandemic.
Already, even in the midst of darkness and fear, if we look around us, we see signs of new life, signs of hope, new ways of being. The environment is benefiting from being allowed to breathe fresh air. Animal and bird life is showing itself in the quiet city; the rivers and seas are clearer, fish swimming in waters too noisy and polluted only a few weeks ago. Despite the pressures and trauma of lockdown, and the devastating impact on people’s livelihood and the global economy, many have discovered new ways of relating, new ways of being community: by online means, social media, Zoom, YouTube, etc. Many people are realising – at last, some might say! – that there is more to life than the rat-race, the endless seeking after more.
As and when “normalcy” returns, though things will never be exactly how they were before, let’s pray that the Spirit challenges our world to draw from these new insights, to reset some of our values and expectations, both on a global scale, and closer to home as well.
I was encouraged very much by our Zoom conversation after Liturgy at Home last Sunday; I hope you were too. It was remarkable that so many – 49! – engaged together for some 40 minutes (apologies for any technical difficulties which inhibited some from joining in fully): sharing hopes and concerns; longings – for community, to be together; for Holy Communion; for music in worship; apprehension about safety and transit; commitment to our DTES neighbourhood. Whilst recognising its limitations, it was good to hear the general appreciation of the Zoom Liturgy, particularly in terms of keeping community together, and its opening a door for people who, for health, age, distance reasons, cannot otherwise attend. The desire for Zoom connection to continue in some form into the future was heard loud and clear: worship, but also Formation, meetings and small group work.
Trustees are working hard to prepare the application to the Archbishop for permission to resume public worship, in accordance with the Provincial and Diocesan guidelines. Last Sunday’s conversation will be taken into account, alongside all the detailed practical considerations. We will not be ready to open on Sunday 14 June: as soon as a date is fixed it will be shared, along with practical advice for parishioners. Like BC under Dr. Bonnie Henry’s guidance, we envisage a phased return, keeping things fairly low-key over the summer and then reviewing further development for the fall.
Please continue to pray the Spirit’s guidance on St. James’, Archbishop Melissa, and the churches of our Diocese; upon our Governments and civic authorities; and on the work of the Federal and Provincial Health Officers.
[ for the Liturgy at Home booklet for Sunday, May 31, click: Liturgy at Home Sunday May 31 2020 ]