We had a tough meeting today. It was another meeting full of stress and dreary reports about the state of our finances. This time, though, was the worst so far.
We have one year to live.
If our pledges stay where they are, and our expenses keep rising, we will be broke in one year.
We have reached the bottom. We can see the
potential imminent death of our church as we know it.
And yet, there is hope.
There are plans for a visioning process, talk of change, discussions about being church more.
Oh, friends, it is tough stuff, to live out this resurrection story.
It is cruel and unfair and desperate. We wish to not drink of this cup. We drag our feet in toward the shadow of the looming cross before us. We weep and yearn to travel a different path.
Death of the old ways is looming. Familiar habits–and perhaps even places–will be lost. There will be grief, for certain.
Yet beyond the cold, dark tomb lies the hope of resurrection.
We will not come out on the other side the same as we are now. The Risen Christ was unrecognizable to his followers as he sat among them.
But we will still break the bread, and pour the cup, and share it with each other and make Christ’s presence known. We will tell the stories of our ancestors and teach our children about God’s love, and sing in praise and wonder. We will bear one another’s burdens and celebrate each others’ joys, and be guided by the movement of the Holy Spirit around and within us.
We will still tell the Good News.
We will still love God with all our hearts and souls and strength, and love our neighbors as ourselves.
We will still welcome the stranger and seek out the least and the lost.
We will still do justice, love mercy, and walk humbly with our God.
We will still pray without ceasing and allow the Spirit to intercede with sighs too deep for human words.
We will still be Church.
We have faith.
We will die, and we will be resurrected beyond our wildest imaginings.
Amen and amen.