Stories of Suffering: Wendy Saunders
Some have suggested that there are five stages to grief. Others have written about six steps to suffering. There are lots of ways to understand the process of suffering, but the bible suggest one metaphor that seems to make sense: "walking". We don't get through our suffering by "running" away from them, or by "racing" through them, or by "lying down" and letting them consume us. Instead, the bible suggest that we "walk through" our suffering. If we adopt this process of walking, then we will find that we are not alone as we walk, God is with us. And with that knowledge we know that our suffering will not overwhelm us. Join us this Sunday as we explore the process of suffering through word and song.
In the middle of many operas there is a key piece of music in which the lead character sings a transformative and emotive aria that moves them from the depths of suffering to the possibility of new life. It is ironic that at the darkest moment of the story comes one of the most beautiful pieces of music. This raises an important question: Can suffering ever be beautiful? Is there any purpose to our pain? Is there anything good or beneficial that comes from hardship. Join us today as we explore the possibility that suffering can work for us, and not just against us.
With so much being written these days on the negative effects of the "church growth movement", it may make us think that wanting to "grow" the church is a bad thing. Is it? The answer depends on "why" we want to grow the church. If we want the church to grow so that we have 'bragging rights' over the church next door, then that is a bad thing. Of, if we want to grow the church so that we have more people under our influence, under our power, then that is also a bad thing. But wanting to grow the church in order to help more people, deepen people's spirituality, or reach out to more people in need: these all seem like great reasons to grow a church. At the beginning of a new year, we begin an exploration of what it would take for our church to (finally) "break 150" and expand the ministry God has given us here in Port Colborne. Join the conversation!
Canon Robert Hurkmans has been the minister at St. James and St. Brendan since 2006.