Turns out that being in a creative writing class takes up all of the time and writing energy you would otherwise pour into a blog...
Easter weekend is possibly the busiest weekend of the year, and likely will be the busiest for the rest of my working life. I do look forward to next year, when I will not have to juggle writing final papers with planning and playing in Maundy Thursday and Good Friday and Holy Saturday and Easter Sunday services.
Yep, we've got all those services going on. Someone at Jacob's Well, upon hearing all of these liturgical celebrations at our church, asked me what denomination I'm from. When I said, "Baptist," he seemed shocked. We aren't really known for our attention to the church calendar.
Last night was our Maundy Thursday service in Kits. We walked to six different places in Kits that represented brokenness in the neighbourhood, including the alcove where a homeless man died last fall, and the Georgia Straight offices (the last several pages of that newspaper, advertising "massage" and "escort" services which essentially pimp women, make the newspaper $2 million a year). Each place was linked to one of the "shadows" or "tenebrae" of Jesus' journey to the cross: desertion, accusation, crucifixion, etc. We talked about the brokenness, read Scripture, prayed, and sang a short song. We picked up a large stone that had been placed at each spot, and carried them to the final spot, under the Burrard Bridge, which represented the tomb.
This afternoon, we're doing a similar service in Strathcona, which is where my new church will be, as of this week. Though we've invited a lot of guests, and this feels nothing like a "launch", I am conscious that this is our first time worshiping together as a church plant. Jodi wisely pointed out that we couldn't "launch" on Easter without first walking through Good Friday together - you can't skip over the cross. So we will name the brokenness in that neighbourhood as our first act of worship together. We may have a Native drummer join us. Gladys will serve us bannock and deer stew.
Saturday night, we will hold a vigil in Kits, under the Burrard Bridge, where we laid our tombstones. We will sing songs about waiting and longing and disappointment and fear, marking the space in between Good Friday and Easter.
Sunday at sunrise, we will celebrate the resurrection in Strathcona Park. Sunday at 9:30, we will celebrate the resurrection at Kits Church, and that congregation will officially "commission" and send us to Strathcona for the church plant. All of this back-and-forth, overlapping, will hopefully help me to transition between the two communities, though it still feels so sudden and overwhelming. I am excited, and I am anticipating good things, but I also know that church planting is hard and requires much patience.
On top of this, I must finish three papers and one creative writing portfolio. And this seems to be the week for visits from Saskatoon, because Jordan, Evan, Anna, and the Emmanuel youth mission team are all coming to Vancouver in the next few days.
It is a rich time! I am praying for sunshine (though rain is forecast for Easter - which would make it the fourth rainy Easter day I've had in Vancouver). I am praying for energy and imagination, enough to live in the present moment and walk through this weekend faithfully, alongside the disciples.