Trash or Treasure – June 3, 2019

The late Phyllis Tickle has said, and I believe it is in her book, “The Great Emergence: How Christianity Is Changing and Why” (October 1, 2008) that churches go through great transitions every 300-500 years. It is like purging the attic of a house to see what is worth keeping and what needs to go.
In the last few months, the neighbouring United Churches where I live and serve have met twice. Our first meeting was held on March 30th and the second, just a few days ago on June 1.
In conversations we had many questions come up:
What is church? What does the church need? What does she do?
Who is church? Who is to lead the church? Who wants to be the church?
Why Church? Why bother having a minister? Why bother having ministries?
Why bother to meet every Sunday? How will the church survive?
How will we ever get more people in the pews?
As I listened to these questions, a little voice reminded me about the attic purge of Phyllis Tickle. In my ponderings I wondered how these little churches will carry on and know exactly what to get rid of and what to keep. It is dangerous to do things in a rush, as we can easily get rid of small treasures that do not look much, tucked in the attic of our life; and in the rush of things we mistake them for trash and get rid of. I am also reminded of a conversation I had with a Presbyterian colleague at the Montreal School of Theology, back in the day. He shared with me how his friends and neighbours were asking him, “Why are you going into a career that is dying Costa? How do you know if you will have a job in a few years?” We both agreed that we were going into this Call, with trust in the One who has called us and brought us this far. This conversation was about twelve years ago.
Today, I look back and I understand just a little bit more why the church needs to go through changes every 3-5 hundred years, because in the greater scheme of things, everything must change. Life is always evolving, creating and recreating through the Grace of God. Nothing stays the same – Except God’s Love – The Righteous, and the Faithful One loves us from eternity to eternity – why be afraid, when God’s Love is greater and stronger than anything and anyone.
Next Sunday, June 9, is Pentecost Sunday – The Wind will blow where the wind wants to blow. The Spirit of God will blow and move us – but we need to adhere to that Spirit and be flexible enough to MOVE… Monday, June 10th is the 94th Anniversary of the United Church of Canada, through which I serve the Creator. So, I wonder, like any of us turning 94, isn’t it our duty to purge the attic, have garage sales and make the load lighter on this journey, and give the precious treasures to those we love and get rid of the trash?
Beloved, this idea of purging and travelling light can also be applied to our own personal life. What things are bogging you down? What do you need to cut out of your life or make it more prominent in your life to nourish your soul?
Take time, meditate, contemplate. Look back where you have come from and where you are in your life? Do not take your daily life for granted. Ask the questions for your own journey ahead and see what treasures you need to unveil and what trash you need to purge. God calls us and says, “The survival of the church is my responsibility. You are my Beloved and called to Love EVERYONE unconditionally and share the Hope, the Peace, the Joy that I have placed in YOU with EXCITEMENT”.
Beloved, Focus on Love, Respect, Joy, Hope and Peace right here, right now, and the world will be a better place. May You find treasures in those hidden places of your heart and have no hesitations to purge what slows you down from deepening your relationship with the Creator, Redeemer and Sustainer. Amen.

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