There has been so much to contemplate and reflect upon in ministry this week. Many of my one-on-one interactions have involved a listening as persons have shared with me their updates in life and ministry. Like turning the pages of a journal, I have been graced with the opportunity of listening to the journeys of persons and families this last little while. Some of the pages have been hard, as I heard of anxiety, pain, hospitalization, death. Other pages have reflected upon the struggles and challenges of community, of self. Finally, still other pages have reflected joy and promise, hope and love, both in the past, and for the future.
I find it valuable to consider the ups and downs of life and ministry in relation to journalling. So often as a human being, I am tempted to react to the moment – the point in time, where I may experience joy or hurt, and have that shape my day and my response. When I consider turning the pages of a journal, I can relate that though there are ups and downs in daily life, when seen in a broader spectrum, there can be the reflection of the presence of God in the pages. When I consider my journeys in relation to past journeys and future treks, life is put into perspective. Trust me, this helped immensely as I cycled from Cape Spear to the Anglican Cathedral last week for RideforRefuge!
Communities too, must place their experiences, both joys and struggles, in relation to their past, present, and future. The Anglican Parish of St. Phillips, NL is in the midst of challenge and struggles that have been present these last ten years, as they attempt to loose the shackles of an old building and embrace new ministry opportunities. For some, this has been challenge upon challenge, as parts of the wider community have resisted their decisions. Thanks be to God, our Bishop, Geoff Peddle, has outlined a way forward that helps the community and individuals to look to the past, present, and future. In his letter, he outlines the struggles and joys, and the way in which the parish has been faithful to ministry and God’s presence in their decisions.
I believe that we all need to take time to reflect as we take steps forward in ministry. We need to consider the past, realize the present, and prepare for the future. We need to do this each and every day, not just when there is an issue or challenge that is present before us. We need to keep in practice ways to turn pages back in remembrance and thanksgiving, as well as turn pages forward in hope, joy, and expectation.
This autumn may we find opportunity to reflect upon the blessings and challenges of the past, as we continue to prepare for the future, ever mindful of God’s presence with us, with the community of faith, and with the entire world, throughout time.