Dear Friends in Christ,
We spent the Lent season this year pondering and talking about the gardening image of cultivating and letting go. Our beautiful ‘tree’ in the sanctuary, that earlier in Lent let go of its leaves, is now covered in butterflies made from the pieces of paper where you wrote about the things you wanted to cultivate. Just like a caterpillar changes into a butterfly, your flat pieces of paper changed and came to life as three-dimensional pieces of art. My prayer is that your inner spirit was also changed as you released what you needed to let go and began to see blossoming the gifts that God inspired you to cultivate.
At Easter we celebrated the resurrection and the ways that God brings new life out of the tombs of our despair. I came across this quote from C.S. Lewis: It may be hard for an egg to turn into a bird: it would be a jolly sight harder for it to learn to fly while remaining an egg. We are like eggs at present. And you cannot go on indefinitely being just an ordinary, decent egg. We must be hatched or go bad. We cannot stay still; we are always changing; God is forever creating.
As Adrian and I are preparing to leave you all and move for three years to England, we have started the process of letting go of our possessions. We are taking a few things with us and putting a lot into storage until we return; there is much though that we are sorting through to throw away, recycle, give away or sell. While letting go is hard, there is something quite freeing and satisfying in seeing the piles of “stuff” that we no longer need, or perhaps never needed, becoming smaller. With the ability to scan documents and to take photographs, the process of letting go is slightly eased as we have a digital reminder of the treasures we are releasing. I am still concerned though as to whether we can reduce the quantity sufficiently! Each day, Jesus’ instructions to his disciples that they should not store up treasures on earth, but to store up treasures in heaven, resonates and challenges me. How much do we really need? How can we do the most good with what we are giving away? We will be furnishing our new English parsonage with items from the local thrift stores and we are looking forward to seeing how our budget can stretch but also benefit our new community. As I let go of my earthly treasures and cultivate that empty space for God to surprise me, what will I learn in the process? How will I be transformed? What new life will spring forth? I do not have the answers yet, but I know that I can trust in God’s presence and amazing grace to be with me through these changes. I also know that God will be with you too as you begin the process of releasing us and cultivating a new relationship with Pastor Suzanne and her family.
— Pastor Joan