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Sunday Worship

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Worship Time 10:00 AM

Every Sunday morning our Community of Faith Gathers to join together in worship.  Our services are contemporary offering time for prayer and reflection and reflections that address biblical texts in today's context.


Everyone is welcome!  We would love to see young people too.  We have fellowship time immediately after our services.  

Sunday March 16, 2020

Third Sunday of Lent


Reflection: 2020 Vision


Based on  John 9:1-41   


Pastor Ian McLean 

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Reflection from March 16, 2020

2020 Vision

  

I couldn’t help but title this reflection 2020 Vision. (And thanks again to ………… for that inspirational title for our Annual Report that we just reviewed). I couldn’t help but reflect on our vision for 2020 because we had absolutely no idea whatsoever that we would be in this situation when we put together our 2019 report. Did anyone fathom that we would be suspending worship? Did anyone fathom that we would have to close our hall and the thrift store? When we look at the television and see empty amusement parks, vacant malls, and empty city streets, it is quite alarming the magnitude of what is going on around us. 

As I was thinking this through, I was also thinking about our flood of 2017. I have mentioned it several times before, but it is worth mentioning again how distressed I was when I got the call from ...….. I was in Vancouver at my commissioning service. “Ian, we have water coming into the basement of the Bargain Bin.” They didn’t train me for crisis management at the Centre for Christian Studies. Yikes, what do I do now?

Well as you all know it wasn’t really anything I specifically did; it was how our community of faith responded. We worked collectively and faithfully responding as best we could. A temporary storefront sprang up from the soggy basement. New recruits assisted in sorting and pricing and staffing the Bin. Folks monitored pumps at all hours of the day and night. There were parking lot sales (with cookies and coffee). We even had some fun. It all culminated in a splendid new Thrift Store (more like a boutique), and a gala celebration. 

And I am wondering if we are in the same situation now.

Like many of the Gospel stories during Lent, today’s reading from John is about belief, belief in a vision for something new, something profound, something unlikely. It is about belief in the impossible. 

From Verse 5 – 7; 5 As long as I am in the world, I am the light of the world.” 6 When he had said this, he spat on the ground and made mud with the saliva and spread the mud on the man’s eyes, 7 saying to him, “Go, wash in the pool of Siloam” (which means Sent). Then he went and washed and came back able to see.

Through this time of Lent, we are challenged to look at the world from a different perspective. We are challenged to look at things through a different lens. We are challenged to think about the possibility of resurrection. This can mean a physical resurrection such as the disciples, Mary Magdalene and others witnessed. It also suggests many other possibilities. 

For the blind man in this week’s Gospel, there was indeed a resurrection. He was reborn in a way, being able to see again after a birth anomaly robbed him of sight. I can’t imagine that, can you? You have been able to hear and smell, but you have no idea what colour is like. Your eyes are opened, and you see the world, trees, shrubs, flowers. You can for the first time associate the perfume of a rose with the deep crimson petal. The shapes of your parents faces would be familiar to you through touch, but now you actually see them! A hummingbird suspended in mid air drinking in nectar; a bee gathering pollen; all incredible. The sensory overload might actually be frightening! 

Of course, the man may not have had his sight visually restored. The story in John’s gospel could be metaphor, poetic prose meant to remind the reader that we can be blinded in many ways. We can be blinded by our ego, neglecting the needs of someone else in pursuit of our own agenda. We might be blinded by our greed, striving to obtain more and more possessions, while forgetting who or what we may be sacrificing in the process. We might be blinded by our insensitivity, forgetting to love neighbour as self, forgetting to treat others as equals. 

Perhaps John is using this story of Jesus the healer, just perhaps, to remind us that we can be blind even when our eyes are wide open, and even if we have 20/20 vision. I wonder about that. That makes a lot of sense to me.  

Either way, the “blind man” certainly experienced a resurrection event. Though his struggles must have been extremely difficult, he now has opportunities to live in a way he has never done before. An incredible opportunity awaits him. 

You know, that is, I believe, also possible for us as well. We might however not be thinking about it at the moment. 

The world news regarding the growing number of Covid 19 cases and the related deaths is very unnerving. Many of us, my self included, are not only self-isolating, but isolating from the television and other media. How much more can our human psyche take? The world seems to have become absolutely unglued. 

The children are out of school, all the restaurants are closed other than for take out, you can’t get your hair cut or, for those who are inclined, your nails done. 😊 The malls are deserted, you can’t visit anyone in hospital or in a care residence. (Our friend Evie is feeling very lonely).  Everywhere you turn, something has drastically changed. And people are frightened.  

I had my granddaughter out Saturday afternoon and decided it would be nice to get her an ice cream (well I fancied one too). I waited “a safe distance” from the person in front of me. When I paid, I was advised not to actually touch the debit machine, but just to hover my card above it. And I was asked to move aside when another individual came up to pick up their takeout order. Goodness gracious! It is hard not to be anxious. This is an unprecedented event we are going though, one which most of us are unlikely to see again in our lifetime. (Let’s hope so)!

The thing is, that, like our blessed Bargain Bin, we will rise through the chaos of the Covid crisis. Things are likely going to get worse before they return to something we can call “normal.” We will be more than inconvenienced. We pray that no one in our midst will catch this nasty virus but if they do, we will rally in pastoral solidarity. Our recently approved “and balanced” budget may quickly become a fictional document. Our Community of Faith, like countless others, will certainly be tested. It might be tested in ways we can’t yet imagine. Our 2020 vision might go out the window! 

Having said that, this Lenten time reminds us of one undeniable fact. As we walk along this path with Jesus toward the crucifixion, there will be a resurrection. We will be back greeting one another with warm hugs and laughing at jokes. We will be sharing both bread and cup. We will be praying and singing together. We will be celebrating birthdays and enjoying fellowship. 

From the disappointment of having to close the church, the hall and the bargain bin; from the frustration of not being able to greet each other warmly; from the concerns we will face with our finances and from whatever else comes down the pipe at us, our community will stay together and be stronger for it. That is the “Resurrection Promise.” We will all “see” again. That is a promise that a faith people know to be true. 20/20 vision will be restored. 

Hang in there my friends. Peace, prayers and blessings. We will be OK!

Amen