Waiting for Light

On Palm Sunday, April 14, our Chancel Choir, Celebration Singers, Bell Choir and instrumentalists will join at 8:15 and 9:45 to bring us an offering of music – a cantata – that will lead us with richness and depth into Holy Week.  At 11:15 a.m. brass instruments will join our Praise Team to guide us into the last week of Jesus’ earthly life, leading up to Easter on April 21.  We actively wait – with music, Scripture and the message, Walking with Jesus–for God’s light to break through.

Last Friday, March 30, we had 18 queen caterpillars of varying sizes on the milkweed plants on our patio. Because they had eaten their way through two plants we bought another milkweed plant at a local nursery. Most of the caterpillars migrated quickly to the new plant and within 24 hours were growing small, sluggish and dying. By Monday, April 1, all but three had died. We did all we could including trying to discover why this was happening, but it happened anyway. Art and I have been very sad about this.

We brought the three survivors inside in a container. They have not looked particularly healthy but yesterday one spun its way into a chrysalis. Joy! Now we watch and wait.

As part of the United Methodist Church’s waiting, at St. Mark’s we are also waiting for the decision of the UMC’s Judicial Council about the constitutionality of the traditional plan for the future of the UMC, which was passed at the General Conference in late February.  The Judicial Council meets after Easter in Chicago; we expect a decision on or around April 26.

We’ve been waiting. I want you to know, though, that this has not been passive waiting.  I have met and had in depth conversations with our lay leaders, Advisory Board, Covenant Council, and our Common Grounds (people in their 20s-40s) group. I and your other pastors have talked with many individuals to try to interpret the decisions of the General Conference. All the clergy of the Desert Southwest Conference met with our Bishop in late April. In the cracks and brokenness of all that has happened, we are both experiencing the light of God peeking through, and waiting and longing for more of God’s light.

I have talked with many individuals and groups – some listed above – about “what happens next?”  Waiting is hard. Active waiting – trying to pray earnestly and do what we can – is hard, too. I can reinforce for you, out of all these conversations and my own prayer is the deep commitment to welcome and include all people at St. Mark’s, creating an atmosphere of love and care that is shown to us by Jesus.

As we’ve talked this Lent about Confronting Suffering and Evil we’ve used the image and the line from the Leonard Cohen song, “Anthem”…. “there is a crack in everything. That’s how the light gets in.”  Jesus says both, “I am the light of the world” and “you are the light of the world.” In this time of waiting, as we enter into the heartache and joy of holy week, I commit once again to actively waiting, looking for those places where the light of Christ is already breaking through, and leading you, with God’s help, into those places and beyond.

During Holy Week I will be writing a daily devotion.  Watch for it!

Blessings, Sharon