Matthew 13:52 And he (Jesus) said to them, “Therefore every scribe who has been trained for the kingdom of heaven is like the master of a household who brings out of his treasure what is new and what is old.”
I recently learned that it was a Victorian custom to stop all the clocks in a house when someone died. The constant, comforting tick, tick, tick of time was silenced; the heartbeat of the home, stopped. People understood that in some powerful way, the death of one takes all those who remain, out of life, out of time. It creates a disorientation. When someone we know and love dies, for a time, we don’t know who we are, what we should do, where we should be. Time stops. The lines are blurred. Our power, our agency, the energy we have to be who we are and affect change in our world, is diminished. When my grandmother died at age 99, I realized that none of us at her funeral had ever lived in a world without her. When she died, the world as we knew it literally changed. We were in a new time, a new place, a new world. In the days and weeks and months that followed her death, did we miss her? Yes. But more than that, we had to find out who we were without her. That was, and always is, the hardest part.
These days our society has pushed dealing with death to the margins. It’s not that we don’t love others, don’t want to honor their life. It is, I think, that we don’t like dealing with disorientation. We want things back to normal as quickly as possible. In fact, we don’t want “normal” to be interrupted in any way. It unsettles us. We know who we are when we are in the middle of “normal”. We aren’t as sure when we stand in those thin places, those time out of time places, created by death. Perhaps this is part of our current hysteria that no one must die of coronavirus. I think we want to believe that if no one else dies, somehow “normal” will return and we will know who we are again. Time will keep on ticking, just as it has always done. But in our country, perhaps in our world, the clocks have stopped. We now stand in a thin place of disorientation and opportunity, a place that demands that we rediscover, redefine, who we are, and the world we want to live in. And it is hard.
It is hard because fear and grief and a profound sense of disorientation seem to suck the life out of us. Why, we ask, when God is demanding so much of us, has he left us with so little? Where is our clarity, our sense of purpose, our passion, our strength? Why don’t we know what to do? Why aren’t we sure of who we are? How do we find our way forward when we can’t see the road?
This Sunday in Matthew, Jesus speaks about the Kingdom of Heaven, the world as God intends, the reality that is “at hand”, right there for the grasping! He doesn’t talk about systems, or processes or strategic plans. He talks about simple things like shrubs that grow wild at the edge of fields, (weeds, really) that offer shelter and create with their generosity, diverse communities of life. He talks about yeast, that tiny bit of microscopic wonder that gives life and dimension to the dough, feeding the world. He says the Kingdom is a treasure beyond price, worth everything we have, and that it is for everyone, the deserving and the undeserving. And then Jesus says, as if he knew we would come to this confusing, timeless place, that people who are struggling to define the Kingdom, to reorient themselves and others, will need to not only take out old treasures, but have the grace to recognize new ones as well. Things will change, he seems to say. And in these wilderness places where the road is unclear, it is our treasures that will mark the way we go. So it is essential that we determine what treasures are worth keeping and what must make way for newness.
For me, this is the wisdom of the moment. When someone dies, you must sit and decide what to keep and what to leave behind. Even our memories, the stories we tell, will be sifted and sorted, some simply falling away. What we decide to keep and what we choose to release will determine our path forward. We will need to prayerfully consider what is essential, what is of God and God’s Kingdom, and give everything we have to its service. And then, with our God, who is always doing a new thing, we will find our way forward. The road will appear, the clocks will chime, and together, we will sing a new song!
We will live stream services from the church for the next few weeks until the infection numbers come down in Canyon County. Please wear masks, eat healthy and get a lot of fresh air and sunshine so we can get back to worshiping together in person as soon as possible!
Due to the increase in coronavirus cases in Canyon County, we will be shutting the office except for Wednesday and Friday. If you need to contact Karen+, please call her cell phone, 208-993-0048. Do keep all those who are ill in your prayers and let us encourage one another to be cautious in this difficult time.
Since we are back to online worship, please don't forget your pledge support of Grace. We have an online giving account you can access on the website if that is helpful for you. Your faithfulness in this difficult time has been a blessing!
Digital Coffee Hour. This Sunday we’ll be gathering via Zoom for coffee hour right after worship (11:30am). After worship, grab a cup of coffee (or whatever), click on the link, and check in with each other. Use this Zoom link:
Meeting ID: 843 9927 2014
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+1 253 215 8782 US (Tacoma)
Meeting ID: 843 9927 2014
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Mia’s ordination will be August 10th at 7pm. You can participate via Zoom. Link to be shared soon.
Book club reading “Inspired” by Rachel Held Evans, this Wednesday 7pm via Zoom, Same Zoom link as last time (if you don’t have it, please email RevMia20@gmail.com) We have room for you if you’d like to join us.
Spiritual Gifts Workshop. Mark your calendar: Sept. 13th. This will be an all-day parish-wide event. We’ll make sure that everyone can participate (on-site/at-home). This is a chance to examine the ways God works through you for the good of the world with unique gifts and talents. After exploring your own, we’ll also discuss how to spot spiritual gifts in others. When we all come out of our charisms, amazing things happen by the grace of God.