Drummond Hill Newsletter, March 9, 2022
Lent 2 (Philippians 3:17-20)
“Brothers and sisters, join in imitating me, and observe those who live according to the example you have in us. For many live as enemies of the cross of Christ; I have often told you of them, and now I tell you even with tears. Their end is destruction; their god is the belly; and their glory is in their shame; their minds are set on earthly things. But our citizenship is in heaven, and it is from there that we are expecting a Saviour, the Lord Jesus Christ.”
Here we are again. Those of you who survived high gas prices of the 1980s know how difficult the lives of people were. Long cues at gas stations meant more hardship for those who could not afford to spend time waiting to fill up. As prices surge more people are getting anxious. In general our world becomes a harsher place as people tend to focus on their own needs and less on the needs of others. We get caught up in this fear of ‘not being able to afford,’ becoming less able to receive and share God’s abundant grace.
For many Christians, Lent season is marked by “giving up” things we enjoy and like to remind ourselves of the importance of living in God’s grace. We start the first Sunday of Lent by reciting the temptations Jesus faced in the wilderness. This is to centre us on God who sent Jesus to redeem us from this sinful world. Sin alienates not only God from us, but also one from another. Sin divides neighbours from each other. Sin forces us to tend to our needs and concerns only. In sin neighbours become blind to each other’s needs and concerns. In sin, we are unable to share God’s grace with each other, making our own needs and desires (in Paul’s expression, the belly) our God.
This is why we follow the old Christian tradition of giving up what our hearts need or desire during Lent. In this way we refocus ourselves on God, resisting sin.
Human beings are creatures of habit. Certain things we do simply because we always have done them. Unless we are forced by circumstances, we do not take time to think of changing our ways. We have been a parish church for over 500 years now. Since the Reformation we have built churches serving people in a certain geographical area. The pandemic restrictions and rules of social distancing have changed our ways of thinking.
Worshipping online is not something we like to do, but we are getting used to participating in worship. People are building communities differently. Just look at those who formed the “Freedom Truck Convoy.” Strangers heard of each other, met online, and formed a community of common cause to do something together. Many people have gotten used to ‘work from home.’ Everyone, including ministers, learned that work from home can be done effectively.
Most of us have gotten used to doing things on the internet. We still prefer doing things in person, together with others. But we did learn that we do not require a permanent building to meet. It does not mean that all things can be done online. It means that there are different ways of doing things that often do not include owning a building. To them, we are the legacy institutions, being burdened by physical structures, requiring enormous amounts of resources to maintain and keep ourselves going.
It turns out that we need both legacy and digital communities to flourish in this century. Doing things in-person and virtually requires a different approach. It means we do not need as much physical space in buildings to be a community of God’s people. Again this is why we ask ourselves what to let go while keeping the essentials. The sanctuary to worship, certainly. Everything else? Not necessarily. I can hear someone saying, “What about our dinners? Where will we have them?” This is why we are rethinking and reimagining a new way of being the community of Christ’s followers.
21st Century Drummond Hill
What will Drummond Hill be like in five, ten or twenty years? Someone reminded me gently not to think too far ahead since most of us are not even sure what will happen at the end of the day. Indeed! Who in their right mind could have guessed that the entire world would come to a stop because of a virus five years ago?
What we agree as well as hope for is that Drummond Hill will be here for a long hall. Our prayer is that God’s love for the world will continue to sustain and nurture and be present with those who are faithful in this part of God’s vineyard. This prayer is not a wishful thought. It is a conviction that is borne out of history. We know that God’s love is indeed the cause of life here.
As Christ’s followers we know that God’s love, manifested in Christ, lives today through the Church which is the body of Christ. Through this body, Christ continues to love the world, calling the world to repentance. What will this life of Christ’s love look like to others in the future? How will we manifest the love of God so that the world may be full of grace and mercy?
Drummond Hill, being always faithful to Christ, being fully embraced by God’s love and grace, will be a place where people experience God’s hospitality–God’s unconditional welcome. It will be an oasis to those who have been spiritually thirsty. We will be a place where people on their journey will find rest until they recover. Like a hospital, or a roadside inn, we will welcome all with Christ’s love so that pilgrims in life find refreshments and strength for their journey. We will be small, yet, caring, always sharing God’s hospitality to those weary and broken people to find respite, readying them to continue their life in and with God.