This Week at St. Stephen’s–March 24, 2013

ALIVE AND GROWING IN FAITH

Mar 24Our theme throughout Lent has been growth. On Sundays, at the 10:30 service, we have witnessed the weekly progress of delicate plants whose seeds we planted way back in early February. We have looked over the shoulders of the children gathered at the front of the church and marvelled ourselves at the new life shooting up right in front of our eyes.

During the same time we have been going to tender in preparation for renovations that will bring new life to our ageing buildings. That which was becoming burdensome to us will now be a source of pride and a providential vehicle for ministry and for mission into the wider community.

New life is apparent as well on Parish Council where a new generation of church members is taking up the challenge of imagining the future direction of our parish, and leading us there.

And in hundreds of silent ways, we have each been growing in our faith. We have been wrestling with loss, finding strength in one another, entering into a deeper appreciation of scripture, extending our helping hands into the world, exploring our sense of vocation, and taking time to cherish the many blessings of this life.

This is as it should be. A congregation of Christian disciples who claim the Spirit of Jesus in its midst should be, above all else, alive … alive and growing. It should embody the experience of springtime, new life emerging from old. St. Stephen’s is such a place these days.

This Week at Stephen’s–March 17, 2013

GROWING IN GOD’S LOVE

Mar 17Have you noticed the first signs of spring yet?  On poplar trees around the city, you can see the first signs of new buds, and the branches of the willows at River Park are turning yellow in preparation.  These are our first signs of hope: we could still have another month or more of winter to slog through, but the time is coming – and now is! – when Spring is springing.  Later will come that wonderful time, when Spring is in the smell of fresh earth in the air, and the sounds of birds and squirrels getting serious about their domestic arrangements, when the trees and plants are quivering with energy, pushing new green life into the world.  If we didn’t know it by experience, it would be hard to believe Spring could happen; but it has already started, deep down in the earth.

The kingdom of heaven is like Spring: sometimes, when we think of our lives how they are now, it can be hard to imagine how much we might change and grow.  We think we should be better people, or more educated, or more generous, or more diligent.  We can be so focused on all that we’re not, that we can miss the subtle signs of God’s transformation in us.  But it’s there, deep in the earth of our being.  So this last week of Lent, let’s look for the Spring of God’s love growing in our lives, and walk into Easter filled with new possibility.