Weekly Reflection by Rev. Brent Neumann

   by Brent Neumann

June 5th, 2020

Day 87

It has been a busy week as things continue to move towards the summer. Some are planning on getting away while many are remaining here in the city. I was looking at my garden last night, enjoying the new growth, knowing the delight that comes with fresh vegetable production over the next few months. It certainly is a beautiful time of year. I notice that the city appears to be busy certain times of the week, and then very quiet at other times. It seems like the normal patterns of the last few years have changed drastically, and the new norms are harder to understand or predict. When big change happens, it is hard to stay on top of all of the ripples that come because of these changes.

We have entered into Ordinary Time in the seasonal lectionary. It is a time when we have moved past the Season of Pentecost and are now exploring the whole theme of faith development and practice. It seems more important now than it has been in probably 60 years. We are seeing the issues coming up in the United States at a level that is reminiscent of the protests in the 60’s. Unfortunately, we here in Canada are not immune to this reality. Our First Nations sisters and brothers experience this truth on an ongoing basis. We see it in our jails, on our welfare rolls, in the mental health stream, and in our healthcare system. They speak about the exact same kinds of encounters with police that the black population tells us about. These truths are around us, and for many, it is easier to turn a blind eye.

Being blind to the plight of those in need is really easy to do. It comes out in the simple acts of not looking. It can come out in acts like rushing past a panhandler on the street. It comes out in the simple act of allowing someone to run a poor person down, and letting the comments pass. It comes out when we demand our government to clean up some particular poverty problem, without trying to assist in finding the solution. Racism can spread under the guise of cleaning things up without caring for those who are affected. It is all around us – all we have to do is look.
Changing direction begins with one small step. One person I heard about would intentionally take the loose change they generated the day before along with them. When they walked down the street, they would give that change to the first person they encountered who was asking. It was a simple act, and one that they found rewarding. They commented on some of the conversations, recognised a few regulars, and started to have small conversations.

In our readings this week, we have begun to explore Genesis and have started to read the early stories about the beginning of time, the blessings bestowed, and the truths about life in general. This grounds us in the reality that everything that we have comes from God. We are blessed in ways that are absolutely incredible. Everything that we do in our faith is held in light of this truth. If we accept this, then everything that we bring and everything that we do is done from a perspective of thankfulness. It becomes rather humbling knowing that everything that I have is a gift. It is in the sharing of our gifts that we continue to express that truth.

Over the past few weeks, we have begun to look at the Annex. This process has been hampered due to many things, the major one being that we do not meet every week to talk about the needs. We discovered this week that the needs assessment has not gone as smoothly as one would hope. Communication happens in so many ways, but when in community, its primary fashion happens when we would get together on Sunday. This loss creates so many gaps that it does not matter how we try to reach out, someone always gets missed. The hurt that comes when they do not feel consulted by others is something that I still have to figure out how to do effectively. Each time I communicate, I discover that someone else is missed. So many of you have invested in this community over the years, and you have a stake in its development. We are currently developing a wish list, and once it has been approved, we will distribute it to the community so that all of you can see what is being discussed. We are still in the early stages of this part of the project, but there is significant pressure to get this part of the renovations done within the next few months.
I hope everyone is enjoying the sun and warmth.

With love,
Brent