Today I am thinking about my first congregation. I was born and raised in the city of Sarnia. As a baby I was baptized in the name of the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit by the Rev. Clayton Searle. The congregation was Central United Church and our family both attended worship and participated in mid-week programming.
My parents poured energy into the fellowship. However, sad to say, news has come that the congregation has sold its building. The last service will be this November. At present the intention for the now small congregation is to
amalgamate with another United Church congregation in Sarnia.
I tell you this as an illustration that divinity does not come and stay, but comes and goes. Yes, that fellowship had moments of divine presence. I remember the minister whose messages confirmed my faith. His preaching had passionate insight. Frequently enough, he used to say that eternal life wasn’t so much a quantity of time that was endless, as a quality of relationship
that was always being made fresh.
He would explain that folks could be turned off from faith, because they thought endless life in heaven might be boring. He would then ask, “How long is an hour?” And the answer would be that it depends on with whom you are spending the hour.
Some hours do drag; but some hours should never end. When the quality of the conversation is such that it feels vitally good and graciously true, then you just have to conclude that it should go on forever. Heaven on earth happens, oscillating between coming and going. Heaven that lasts forever would need to be beyond this creation.
Central Church had and probably has talented people. But, talent alone does not guarantee a future. What needs to combine with talent is a yearning for unity. Trinity Church is to be congratulated for its efforts to stay connected. Rev. Linda has had afternoon conversations using Zoom; Natalie has shared her written / online talents; Vlad has inspired with his insights from the world of music. And, our own personal openness to one another is important too.
My work with others in the Concerned Citizens for the Homeless in Newmarket is an attempt to be open to those who yearn to be treated with dignity and compassion. It is a demanding time. But it is also a time for divine visitation.
May I suggest a reflection about the holiness of this lyric and the life-taking injustice done to George Floyd who couldn't breathe.
Respectfully submitted by Rev. Ross Carson