Let’s start with two quotations from today’s service. First, Sheila U.: “I know that I am with forgiving friends.” Second, Huda Kandalaft: “If our lives have no message, then our message has no life.” These may not be 100% accurate word for word, but I believe that I’ve captured the essence of both.
To contextualize for those of you unfortunate enough not to attend the 9:30 service, Sheila was doing double duty both with the Greetings and Announcements and the Minute for WMS. As she returned with the correct notes for the second, she made a lovely save with the first sentence. She acknowledged her slip and invited us graciously to understand. Who among us has not misplaced a piece a paper? Let he who has not made a public speaking slip cast the first stone, really. But what a statement of community in a spontaneous quip!
The second quotation from Huda was from her sermon on what is mission, what is it to be a missionary and the relationship between the church’s participation and God’s mission for us. Her examples were all overwhelming and very touching – at least to me. But as she was speaking of a Catholic priest offering refuge to Muslims and Christians alike in Homs, Syria during their times of struggle, I thought – OK, but what can I do? For me, and I venture to say at least a few among us, it is inconceivable to divest ourselves of material and property and live an uncomfortable life in what is increasingly seeming like a one-sided civil war. There must be some way that I, that we all, can contribute to mission. Donating to the Women’s Missionary Society is certainly one way – health care to women and children in Gaza is indeed a worthy endeavour, but what more personal can we do? Then it hit me – Sheila’s sentence says it all – she *is* with forgiving friends and part of our mission is to forgive and be in community with each other and then go out to the extra-mural world – perhaps not as far afield as Syria, but in our own neighbourhoods and cities, there are so many opportunities to contribute.
I’ll be thinking this week of Huda’s challenge – how have you changed your life after Easter, as Jesus reminded the disciples to do after the Resurrection.