For those of you who felt that my Easter video message was posted rather prematurely, I understand! It was posted eary to give those of you who might use it tomorrow or later in the season of Easter a ‘heads up.’
But given that we are still in the shadow of Good Friday, and not yet to Easter Sunday, allow me to offer my Good Friday op ed which appeared in the Toronto Star yesterday. It is – at heart – about soul, community and creation:
And as some of you vote this weekend, here is a Holy Week message that I sent to United Church congregations last Monday:
Dear Friends in Christ,
Each of us must come to terms with the cross and the empty tomb. Do you remember how the disciples first reacted when they saw the empty tomb?
According to John, they returned to their homes—because they didn’t understand the meaning of scripture.—and with our own powerful experiences of the living Christ—resurrection is a familiar experience in our lives personally and in community. We know abundant life in the way of Jesus, as the body of Christ.
Their first instinct was to return to business as usual. It wasn’t until they had a powerful personal experience of the risen Christ that the community of Jesus was able to regroup. Jesus asked them, and inspires us, to continue as community in His way.
After 2,000 years of trying to understand the meaning of scripture …
For more of this Easter message, I invite you to visit YouTube, where you’ll see the full message as recorded in February on the Mount of Olives, before an election was called in Canada:
To download this video or the transcript in English or French, please visit The United Church of Canada’s website www.united-church.ca.
Given that we are now into a federal election, please allow me to say something more:
Youth and young adults throughout our church are asking me to ask you to vote – and so am I!
Personally, I am disheartened by predictions that we may be on the brink of seeing the lowest voter turnout in Canadian history. As people of the living Christ, this kind of “business as usual” attitude toward the great privilege of voting is itself a turning away from fullness of life in community.
With other Canadian faith leaders, I have been praying for all who live in Canada and for all who offer themselves for public office. As faith leaders we have also been meeting with parliamentarians of all federal parties, urging them to pay particular attention to matters of poverty, Indigenous concerns, and climate justice in this election. Below is a link to a letter from the Rev. Dr. Karen Hamilton, General Secretary of the Canadian Council of Churches, speaking for us as chair of this interfaith partnership. I encourage you to consider the matters Karen has put forward on our behalf:
Mostly, though, I encourage you to participate fully in this democratic process through prayer and action. It’s wonderful to hear stories of lively all-candidates’ meetings, and I commend you for all of these efforts.
If you’re looking for help to shape questions for candidates on a variety of issues and concerns, you may find the resources on our United Church of Canada website helpful: http://bit.ly/eg102r
Ministers have also been sending me good questions that should be asked about climate justice, including these from the “Let’s Elect a Future for Our Grandkids” campaign offered by The Association of Suzuki Elders: http://bit.ly/f4EPQG
Candidates’ meetings are a great way to engage the youth and young adults in your community too. I spent last Friday with 136 teens and their leaders at London Conference Youth Forum. As we shared thoughts about how important it is to both “pray and picket” as a United Church person of faith, I was reminded that this is also a season in which we are welcoming new members and confirmands into our church. Please allow me to extend the welcome of this vibrant and dynamic church to your new members and confirmands with this short video greeting addressed to them:
You bring your own wisdom and experience by which to introduce the commitments of our church to new members and confirmands – and to those seeking political office. Thanks be to God for abundance in community.
Christ is risen. Resurrection continues.
Joyeuses Pâques! Easter Blessings!
In our abundant life in Christ,
Moderator Mardi Tindal