Dear Friends in Valhalla Parish—
I wonder how it all started. In the beginning, when God created heavens and earth, how did the conversation begin? Were the three persons of the trinity sitting around their table, sipping artisanal coffees, playing their last hand of Canasta for the evening? Gathered there around the table, I wonder who went first. I wonder who whispered the question into the void, the question whispered out of sheer possibility and joy:
"How might we create a world," they asked...
"How might we create a world entirely infused with what we have here?
"How might we create a world of dance and flow? Of presence and sharing? Of interdependence and grace?"
"How," they asked again, "might we create a world in and for love?"
Every now and again my imagination takes me to places like these, wondering how or why God did some particular thing. This week as we come towards the end of the church year—for the Reign of Christ is something akin to the church's New Years Eve—my mind is drawn both to endings and beginnings.
My wondering about that card-game conversation comes from the knowledge that when we enter into a new world, when something new is added or created, something else shifts, perhaps comes to an end. I came to know this in some small way through the birth of my children. When each was added to our number, something forever changed.
Thinking about the trinity and their whispered excitement, I wonder if they knew how everything would change. I wonder if they knew exactly how life would be different when love exploded and all that we have come to know was called into being. I wonder if they knew about the sleepless nights and the fretting and worrying that go hand in hand with the exuberant joy they would experience.
This week we celebrate the Reign of the Christ. It is this Christ who we come to know in the person of Jesus: the one who is born, who was born, and who will be born again at Christmas. We do so on the eve of a new liturgical year. On the eve of all that is to come, we listen for God's whisper, preparing our hearts to welcome the reigning Christ who comes not in a great show of power, but in whispered humility.
God's reign, we have learned, is nothing like the power exercised by the rulers of this world: of empires and kingdoms, let alone parliamentary democracies. As we enter another liturgical year with the dawning of Advent, we will learn these things anew as they are given shape and resonance with our daily lives.
We prepare our hearts to welcome the one who comes to us as a child seeking nurture, comfort, and care.
We prepare our hearts to welcome the one who comes seeking relationship with us. We prepare our hearts, entering into the vulnerability of incarnation, so that we might all grow in the delight and love that was present in whispered anticipation at the very beginning.
This week as we gather together in worship, we do so honouring endings and new beginnings. This is the arc of our faith. It is the arc of Jesus' life, death, and resurrection. New life emerges as old ways come to an end.
Perhaps you have a story of endings and new beginnings in your life too. Perhaps you have a story of meeting Jesus in the low points, and through his ministry, experiencing your own resurrection. Perhaps it's a story that you've told many times. Perhaps it's a story that you keep close to your heart. However it is held, it is important. It's a part of you. It's a part of God's love. And it journeys with you into this world.
One thing I've discovered over the years, is the way in which sharing such stories can strengthen and sustain us. Not just ourselves, but our friends and communities.
When we bear witness to our experiences of waiting for God to show up and of discovering God where we least expect, we offer signposts—from our own lives—of how the Divine is made manifest in the here and now.
I wonder what your God story is. I wonder what stories you would tell of encounters with the divine, of beauty, or mystery, or unexpected resonance.
I wonder what stories you would tell of being reoriented through encounter with something beyond you, something that felt like a whispered invitation into a deeper experience of life.
We all have our stories. And when we share them, this is a sacred act. When we share these stories, we enter into new ways of seeing, new ways of being, new ways of living in the world, and all this in light of all we've experienced.
On Sunday, we'll enter more deeply into God's story, the story of a God whose reign is unrecognizable to the ways of power and authority in our world. We'll enter more deeply into the story of a God who gives up everything to experience ever-widening, ever-deepening relationship.
And we'll listen for the whisper. The whispered invitation of a God who says "I know things are crazy right now, but I have a dreamfor the way things could be...so what do you think? How might we create a world in and for love...?"