By Rev. Canon Val Kenyon
As I write this brief reflection for the September issue of the Huron Church News, like everyone, we are writing some weeks in advance of its publication. In days gone by this would not have been so much of an issue, but the age in which we find ourselves is rather unpredictable in nature.
This is not news to anyone. As on many fronts we are being called to accountability, we are reminded over and over again from both the pulpit and our daily newsfeeds, that as followers of Jesus we are called to be and to act in a way that reflects the Gospel as lived out for us by Christ. Again, not really news to anyone.
As a child I remember seeing a series of very simple films all about the parables of Jesus. In this series designed for children, they always began with the same phrase. “A parable is an earthly story with a heavenly meaning,” a story that we can relate to in some way yet with a meaning that is usually quite different than anything we might have imagined on our own. As a teaching device Jesus used the parables to challenge set ways of thinking in order to open the minds of his listeners. The parables were designed to take the listener from somewhere and something they recognized, to an entirely new place and a new understanding.
The author Alan Roxburgh in several of his books speaks of a great unraveling in the Church. The knitters amongst us, and anyone who has observed an avid knitter, will know that unraveling is required from time to time when we’ve noticed a flaw of some kind in what we have crafted. Unraveling allows us to go back to that point to make a change. Sometimes a garment can be unraveled to be repurposed and made into something quite different, usually a garment more suited to the moment at hand. Roxburgh asks us to reconsider that while unraveling is unquestionably challenging, is it God initiating it? Jesus’ ministry was in large part all about unraveling, asking those around him, and us by extension, time after time to try on new perspectives and new vantage points.
We live in an age that is asking us to acknowledge the flaws in our garment, to use Roxburgh’s image, and to allow God’s Spirit, to knit it afresh. While in some ways this may feel unfamiliar to us, staying awake and alert to what is needed as we share the Gospel, has always been the church’s task from its very beginning.
As has been shared before, central to the purpose of an EfM group is the practice and process of both study and reflection. With classes returning to in-person in the Fall, please consider your participation. Groups for the 2021/22 year are currently forming so If you are interested in learning more about joining others on this journey, please be in touch as soon as possible with Libi Clifford, the Diocese of Huron EfM Coordinator or myself Val Kenyon at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Rev. Canon Dr Val Kenyon is the EfM Animator in Huron