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The spot for the good news, the good word, the quick reports of the many, many wonderful news items I hear all the time and want to share with the rest of you. Expect to find the good news when you come to check out "what’s the good word?"

Monday, July 4, 2011

Missing

How often have you been in a gathering, say at church, and the person up front appears ready to welcome you all and instead they begin to go on about how many are missing? You know, the line about how it’s summer and so many are off at the cottage, or maybe at camp or reunion. “It’s too bad we’re so few this morning, but we think about all those missing from our midst and look forward to their return.” And maybe you think “what am I, chopped liver?”

I wrote last week about my concern that we try to squeeze our call to mission into the bits of year between cottage time and snow bird season. Remember? It’s here. As with many of the good words I ponder, there is more than one way to think about them. I still think it’s important that we remember that call to be the Body of Christ—even on vacation!

But this morning I’m thinking about our sense of the missing. What is it that makes the missing ones just so very present for us? I’m not going to preach at you about being in church where you belong because you’re missed. I’m not going to remind you to send your offering (or sign up for PAT) because the church’s expenses continue even in your absence. I’m just thinking about how I miss so many who are not with us.

I am sitting with a major sense of loss this morning as I write. It does seem as if there are many who’ve left our community. We have had what feels like an inordinate number of farewells, funerals and memorials lately. I’m not going to list any because every one is a dear one of someone and I don’t want to leave any out. These are pillars in our extended community, wise elders we’ve looked to for years for advice, for wisdom, for stories of our history, for reminders of our heritage. I remember laughs, deep conversations, even stirring arguments with many of the men and women who will be missing from our next gathering.

They won’t be in their familiar places when next we gather. Someone might mention them and we may wipe away a tear together. We may squeeze the hand of our neighbour and we’ll both know what we mean. We’ll smile and remember each in our own way. We can sense the presence of those missing.

Others are still with us and we can be thankful for their presence and let them know we love and appreciate them. We can do what we can to knit new and precious relationships that link our community together. We can pull others into this web that needs to keep growing if it is to be alive.

I’m reminded of that familiar verse from the letter to the Hebrews encouraging the church: Therefore, since we have so great a cloud of witnesses surrounding us, let us also lay aside every encumbrance and the sin which so easily entangles us, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us…(Hebrews 12:1)

1 comment:

  1. Thank you Marion for bringing 4 points to our attention that I believe we as a church (congregation) often ignore or misunderstand. First we need to thank those who come on the holidays, the camp weeks, the summer holidays, the winter holidays, they are there because they believe in sharing in worship with their friends. Second we too often forget that the expenses just keep on coming even when we aren't there to bring our contributions. Third, sign up for PAT it is the easiest, most generous way to assure that you fulfill your committment to share God's generous blessings. And last but not least, to remind us that it 'US' who will bring the good news to our neighbours, our families and our friends, no one else can do this for us.

    Thanks again.

    Mel Mills

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