Newsletter – Spring 2021 – Rev. Takouhi’s Reflection…
Exactly a year ago today, March 8, 2020, was the last time that I led worship celebrations – like we knew it – at the communities of faith that I served. Without any fear we were shaking hands, hugging each other, sitting side by side, singing fearlessly, praying, passing the Peace of Christ, the offering plates, dancing, clapping, having coffee, cookies, celebrating birthdays, and breaking bread together as the Sacrament of Communion or dinners/lunches for mission fundraisings and otherwise.
Today, when I look back, I sense that a whole year has passed by so fast, yet it is not passing fast enough. I have been reminded once again that life can change in a split second, yet change does not happen overnight.
Beloved, we are journeying through the Lenten Season of 2021, but it feels like we are still stuck in the wilderness of 2020. However, whether we acknowledge it or not, the days go by and do not stop because we are going through a pandemic. Spring is around the corner, Easter is on the horizon, new life will be evident, Resurrection will be celebrated.
As we know, Lent is a time in the Wilderness where we learn to live through the sandstorms of life; avoiding the thorns that come our way; searching for living water in the middle of the parched lands. This silent journey in the desert reminds us to live intentionally, paying attention to who we are, how we are breathing, where we are found, and how God is journeying with us. Lent is a time to learn how to Trust the Creator who is walking with us in the deserts of life. This pandemic has made Lent into a reality from figuratively imagining the Wilderness, into a reality of experiencing the sting of death, by the millions globally.
Often, we want to avoid shadows of life because we are afraid. However, there are no shadows without LIGHT. The Light of the Creator is either behind us, next to us, or in front of us at times and that is when shadows become apparent. Reminding us – We are NOT Alone.
Today, my word of encouragement is simple: Hang in there, this too shall pass. Hang in there, there is no Resurrection without Good Friday. All seeds begin their growth in the darkness of the soil.
This pandemic is NOT the first one and it will not be the last. Charles Dickens, began his famous novel, A Tale of Two Cities with these words, “It was the best of times, it was the worst of times…” This classical novel stands true to life because life is NOT simply good times – there are always ups and downs. Did you know that since 1334, over 12 pandemics have taken place?. It will be a shame for us to waste this time of isolation and not live intentionally, but ask ourselves, what have we learned or still can learn during this Pandemic? I cannot guess what you have learned or still are learning, but I can share a few of my learnings with you.
First: Life is Fragile. Handle with Care
Did you know that wearing masks, washing hands, keeping physical distance, and using sanitization gels more frequently, there has been less colds and flu this year?
Second: Crises of Life bring forth Truth, Transformation and Self-Discovery
The depth of racism, and ageism, have come apparent more than ever before. Innocent people dying or being beaten because of their skin colour, race, ethnicity. We have discovered how fragile our health care system is in hospitals and retirement/nursing homes. We have learned that we might be in the same storm, but not all have the same means to weather this storm. Some barely have life jackets to survive, while others are found in their comfortable yachts.
Third: What are the Essentials of life?
Since COVID-19 took over the world, I, we, have realized that relationships are more important than material possessions, time with friends and family are more precious than we ever realized. It became apparent that we cannot live on our own, we need one another – relationships are essential for our wellbeing. The best gifts we can offer one another are: Care, Compassion, Kindness, Smile, Wearing a Mask, Washing Hands, Respecting physical distance, and many more details of daily activities that we had taken for granted.
Fourth: The Pandemic DOES NOT affect the Creator — God is still at Work
I never imagined that I would serve a new Community of Faith any time soon, yet God called me to Grace United Church in the middle of a pandemic. I have learned once again that God is NOT limited by a pandemic, nor a church building – God works freely and constantly. God is NOT limited by pandemics, buildings, or natural disasters. Moreover, the Church is not limited to her building, the Church are the people, and wherever they are found, the Church is alive. When you make someone be hopeful and experience abundant life, that is Church. The Spirit of God is reaching out since the beginning of time, through the chaos of life, and now more than ever, through technological waves of the internet, TV, and you and me.
I remember clearly how churches, pre-COVID, were always preoccupied to get their pews filled. Now, during COVID, we have had more people listen and watch our virtual worship celebrations than our pews could accommodate.
Friends, no one is immune of difficulties, but Spring, Easter, The Resurrection Morning, reminds us that death, difficulties, and demise do NOT have the last word, LOVE does!
Today, I implore you, do not long for the past and rush into a future, just for the sake of “returning to normal,” whatever that normal was. Like Dave Hollis says, “In the rush to return to normal, use this time to consider which parts of normal are worth rushing back to”.
Be patient, this too shall pass, and hang tight to the Promises, Presence, and the Peace of God, because NOTHING separates us from the Love of God, and Easter is the testimony to that reality, reminding us that New Life is on the Horizon – Today and Always. Amen.
Rev. Takouhi Demirdjian-Petro
B.A., B.Th., M.Div.
 “A History of Notable Pandemics” – www.theconversation.com/this-isnt-the-first-global-pandemic-and-it-wont-be-the-last-heres-what-weve-learned-from-4-others-throughout-history-136231 – March 7, 2021