Dear Trinity Family,
In the wake of the extra funds our church had last month, thank you for joining with Vestry in discerning the best way to receive God's gifts, and to love our neighbors. (If you have not received your $100 to share with your particular neighbor/s, let us know! and if you need to use the money for your own situation, you know the freedom and grace in that as well!)
Remember that we have a good, good Father - as Paul calls him in 2 Corinthians 1, "the Father of compassion and the God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our troubles, so that we can comfort those in any trouble with the comfort we ourselves receive from God." Paul then reminds us that not only do we get to share in the comfort, but we also get to share in the sufferings of Christ. This, Paul says, is our privilege - our glory. Suffering has meaning because it is a small way that what happens to us matters in God's economy. Even suffering is transformed when we see it as a way of God letting us in on what he is doing in the world.
With this in mind, I've also been reflecting on Easter (now that we are 1.5 weeks beyond the day that marks the New Creation breaking in upon our world). What exactly is the Easter promise in the landscape of the coronavirus? Or - perhaps - does the coronavirus make the promise of Easter far more tangible, precisely because our context is far from utopian? Perhaps because of the coronavirus, this Easter we will allow ourselves to meditate on the fact that Easter is a promise, not a holiday!
"Easter is a promise, not a holiday!"
And what is promised?
Joy. Not a joy dependent on our circumstances. But a joy that is only found by directing our eyes to the Risen One who is our true home. Joy comes by pressing IN and THROUGH, not in having circumstances lifted. As Bonhoeffer wrote, "The joy of God has been through the poverty of the manger and the affliction of the cross; therefore, it is indestructible, irrefutable. It does not deny affliction when it is there, but it finds in the very midst of distress that God is there ... it looks death in the face and it is just there that it finds life." (As many of you know Bonhoeffer would be executed for his resistance to the Nazi regime, but joy remained his constant theme.)
Jesus' resurrection is the foundation for life in the present world as we find ourselves in it. His resurrection is not something reserved for "later" to comfort us when we are close to death. His resurrection gives meaning and hope to our lives now, in the midst of suffering - not because "in heaven all will be made new" but because the new life has already begun now, in us. The resurrection gives credibility to our bodies (and space, time, and matter) and the work we have to do, and the suffering we are going through. This is sacred space. This is the new creation. This is where our worship belongs - not just in church on Sundays, but out in the streets and in our homes and in our neighbors' needs. May our "Drive Thru Church" - however long it lasts - become part of our resurrection DNA. May we never forget the drive from Carson's benediction station out into the parish, seeing our neighbors - and ourselves - through the eyes of the resurrection.
May we awaken to Joy this week!