Study and Worship
Not everyone would delight in a week of worship and study, so I appreciate that I may be an exception in that regard. I must share my gratitude for my week with the Festival of Homiletics. This year the festival was titled “After the Storm: Preaching and Trauma.” It was held at Central Presbyterian and Trinity United Methodist churches in Denver, Colorado, so I was also grateful I was able to attend online. At times there were more people online than there were in the churches, a telling sign of our lingering reluctance to travel.
Throughout the week we not only considered the joys and challenges of sermon writing. Speakers also addressed the particular challenge accompanying us in ministry in this time of recovery after a global pandemic. How do we care for one another in such a time as this? We first have to name the loss and grief that surrounds so many of us, and then create the space to live with that grief individually and collectively. One speaker named this as liminal time – the time in between
something that has been and whatever is yet to be. This liminal time gives us the space to let go ofsome things and make room for something else.
I was reminded that besides post traumatic stress, there is also post traumatic growth. Sometimes we learn the most about ourselves when we have been through a storm. We have all been through a lot together and individually over the last three years. Let’s take this time that is ours now to consider how we have grown and what we have learned.
The rituals we share together in worship and the spiritual practices we create space for in our personal lives, all help us move from fear and grief to hope. Our ancient stories remind us that God has been, God is, and God will be with us always. Therein lies our hope and our joy.
Peace and joy,