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1. Find God in Everything,
2. Be Contemplative in Action.
3. Believe in an incarnational Spirituality
4. Ignatian Spirituality is about Freedom and Detachment
Finding God in everything is clear enough. “Being contemplative in action” needs an explanation. It is described by Andy Otto: “Activity informs your contemplative time and that informs your future activity and so on.” https://godinallthings.com/2012/07/19/the-ignatian-way-contemplative-in-action/
Jesus’ command “Return to Galilee” is to rest, reflect, reboot, repeat. In the diagram, Rest, Reflect, Learn is the contemplative period of recharging, which then enables a return to mission, or activity, with renewed energy and greater vitality. Ignatius Loyola described this as being Contemplative in Action. The beauty is that it can be repeated throughout the day with 5 to 10 minutes rest and reflection or it can be done for longer periods as on retreat.
These past 2 ½ months of COVID inspired semi-isolation have been a time of rest, reflection, refueling and learning. Is it time to cautiously step out, back into activity? For good reason we are afraid to step out too quickly. The world will never be the same, but I am hoping, despite the heartbreak there will be at times, that not ever being the same will be a good thing.
How often in life, do you get a do over? We have the chance of a lifetime to reboot; To make a world better than the one we have been destroying. I read that in the last 2 ½ months carbon gas emissions are down 17½ percent because of less vehicular and airline traffic. Some countries have taken on new measures to cooperate with one another against Covid-19 and to mitigate adverse effects on the world economy. This may have meaningful positive outcomes for the future. Canada is in the forefront.
Despite displays of malignant nationalism we see on the news I get the impression that we are seeing an increase in community based, humanitarian care giving.
Our church, both Nationally and locally, has a tremendous opportunity to reinvent itself, to serve our community in new ways, not just to retool our old ways. Because of our infrastructure we are uniquely qualified, equipped and empowered to seek out where we are needed and to serve in God’s mission. I know each of us has become increasingly mindful of our neighbours and are supportive of one another. I heard a heartwarming story of a Kentucky garbage collector who became worried that an older woman on his route had not put out her garbage for two weeks. He checked up on her and found she had no garbage because she had no food…her caregiver had quit. She had no family and had been without food for 10 days. Making up a large shopping list the man filled her shelves using his own cash and he resolved to keep track of all the customers on his route. This is one of Jesus’ present-day “who is my neighbour” parables.
Food security is a serious problem and is will worsen in the coming months. Financially helping the food banks is one way we will help mitigate this. I hope you will remember Food Banks in your weekly offering. Another way of helping with food security may be found in your own back yards. Are you planting a garden this year or do you have a small area that could be used to grow potatoes, squash, beans, peas? If you plant a surplus, this could be distributed to those in need?
Where might we find other ways of ministering to our communities? I am sure those of you reading this will have identified other problems and other solutions that we can respond to.
Where do we go from here?
I will repeat Sonya Renee Taylor as she writes:
“We are being given the opportunity to stitch a new garment. One that fits all of humanity and nature.”
Let’s not try to return to “Normal”. We can’t get there from here. But we can make the world a better place by starting in our own communities, doing what Jesus has empowered us to do. And so they “returned to Jerusalem with great joy.”
Be Calm, Be Kind, Be Safe Dr. Bonnie Henry