While you are reading this in May, I’m writing it near the end of April, after our Easter Sunday service. And I’m writing because I wanted to share with you how moved I was during the musical offertory of that service.
Earlier in the morning, we had done a shared litany using words that had been placed as treasure inside Easter eggs. At the end of the litany, each of us were invited to share our own excitement, joy, hope for the present and for the coming of spring and summer in our own lives and in our congregation. It was a ritual exercise in sharing things that sustain us.
And, of course, the offering itself is the collection of different kind of sustainability: a financial one. As a self-governing congregation, we thrive only when we are generous to and with each other. On this particular Sunday, we were also collecting the wishes, dreams, and joys of the congregation into baskets along with money.
For the offertory itself, our accompanist, Rob Lindey, chose a piano instrumental version of Leonard Cohen’s “Hallelujah”. The congregation spontaneously broke into song, joining together during the choruses. Hallelujah, hallelujah, hallelujah, hallelujah, we sang as one, moved by the power of music, all while pouring gifts of money and plastic eggs filled with messages of love and hope into offering baskets. I was, in a word, undone.
Because, you see, while myself, the worship team puts enormous time, effort, learning, and training into what happens in our sanctuary every Sunday morning… there must always be room for the congregation to take it someplace none of us can plan for. And that is exactly what happened on this particular Sunday. It was a community revealing itself in that one moment as deeply connected, and deeply trusting of each other. It was a community revelling in the power of commitment, of generosity, and of a faith in each other to be companions on a path together, moving into our shared future.
As I said that day, it was a gift to me. As we reach the two-year anniversary of your vote to call me as your settled minister, I was reminded once again how powerfully I was drawn to you, and how much I love this congregation. Let us continue to build relationships with each other, to cultivate and earn trust, and to sing for our lives.
In gratitude and faith,