Friday, April 02 2021
“Some years ago in the last century George McLeod, returned from fighting in the First World War; a war that he came to realize was fought for no good reason. He eventually became ordained, and founded the Iona Community, and at one point he said this about this faith that we hold as followers of Jesus: I simply argue that the cross be raised again at the center of the marketplace as well as on the steeple of the church. I am recovering the claim that Jesus was not crucified in a cathedral between two candles, but on a cross between two thieves, on the town garbage dump, at a crossroads so cosmopolitan that they had to write his title in Hebrew, Latin and Greek. It was the kind of place where cynics talk smut, thieves curse, soldiers gamble. That’s where he died. And that’s where we as Christians ought to be and what we as Christians ought to be about” (Presiding Bishop Curry).
It has been a full year since many of our parishioners have been at church at St. John’s. This has been very bittersweet. Some folks have been unable to connect to the virtual services and have fallen away from church. Some folks were already in the process of falling away before the pandemic. The experts say that between 20 percent and 30 percent of the members will not return to your church.
Yet at St. John’s, I get the sense that our community has gotten stronger during this pandemic. Morning Prayer, Bible Study, Spirituality Group, outreach, zoom services, streaming, Prayer shawl ministry, and in person services are all trending up. In addition, many parishioners have increased their giving to those in need. Our bulletin board is loaded with thank you letters and cards from grateful folks in our community. We have also worked really hard on racial reconciliation and have attracted many newcomers through our Sacred Ground program.
I attribute our success with the love we have for Jesus Christ and our willingness to share what we have with others. I see the most important trends so far at St. John’s to be increased bonds between parishioners, deeper relationships with Jesus Christ, a greater hunger and thirst for justice, and a willingness to go out into the community. As we celebrate Easter this Sunday and move towards the celebration of Pentecost on May 23rd, I ask you to ponder the words of our Presiding Bishop and look for Jesus in the poor, naked, thirsty, hungry folks in our streets.
My sincere thanks to everyone who has contributed to Holy Week services by giving your time, talent, and treasure. In the weeks and months ahead we will begin to assemble again in person as one body in Christ. Many of us have a pent up desire to be together in church and at coffee hour. Nelly mentioned the other day at Morning Prayer that Jesus is with us even in the darkest of times. Jesus will be with us as we get back together in church and he will be with us when we go out into the community. May you have a blessed Easter and meet our Lord on your journey, so that you may say, like Mary, “I have seen the Lord.”
In Christ's Love,
Rev. Duncan A. Burns, Rector