Weekly Reflection - 4/6/2022
St. Mary's Reflection: The Rev. David Erickson
The Cracks in the Sidewalk Allow the City to Breathe
This past Sunday we experienced a candlelight (and mobile/flashlight) worship service. This was not due to any intentional spiritual intention, but rather the surprising discovery that our lighting system had crashed. Despite our best efforts for fix the problem, the lights never came on.
In the midst of this new circumstance, we did what we could. Volunteers assisted in lighting the candles. Altar guild members made sure our oil candles were full. A couple of headlamps were found to be used as flashlights for readers and prayer leaders. Members of the parish used their mobile phone lights to follow along in the bulletin. We came together to worship together, adjusting to the new reality around us.
I heard a rector say recently that she was “striving for participation, not perfection.” Her hope for her parish was to have all people partner with her in offering their regular worship. The important part was not that it looked or sounded good, but that it included the people making it happen. Indeed, the word “liturgy” can be translated as “The work of the people.” This is something that St. Mary’s does well, and we lived into it in a new way this weekend.
This week we are about to celebrate Palm Sunday. This is the Sunday where we begin our service outdoors triumphantly proclaiming Jesus as the one who will lead us into the new life of God. Within minutes, however, we will hear the story of how Jesus was crucified. The lights gone out on his ministry. It was not the “perfect” result that his apostles, and those cheering at his entry into Jerusalem, were hoping for.
And yet, we know the whole story. We know what God is capable of. God is able to take the darkest moments of our lives and make them our most cherished gifts. The difficulty is allowing that transformation to happen.
I was struck by how many people appreciated the candlelight service on a Sunday. Some even saying they thought it was intentional. It wasn’t on our part, but the Holy Spirit used it for her intention, allowing us to witness and receive creativity and grace in the midst of all circumstances, even in the ones that we wish were different. Maybe even especially in the ones that don’t live up to our expectations. It is a sweet reminder that in all things, God invites us to participate and experience the love and grace that is available at all times and places. It is indeed the breaking apart of what we think “should be” that ushers in what is real and true, the infinite grace and love of God.