Preparing for Worship – Heather Mustain, associate pastor.
This past Monday evening we hosted an iftar dinner with our Turkish Muslim friends from the Dialogue Institute to learn more about the holy month of Ramadan.
Yusuf began the program by discussing four portals of connection that when opened help the believer to connect with the divine. He talked about fasting, prayer, reading the Koran and engaging more deeply with community through iftar dinners and charitable work.
As I listened to him explain these windows of connection, I couldn’t help but connect it to our own Christian season of Lent — the liturgical season we just concluded. As we sat around the tables, the commonalities of our traditions became more apparent than our differences, and I could not have imagined a more holy experience than the breaking of bread together to begin this Holy Week.
Our Lenten theme, Seen. Known. Loved., has flowed from Kate Bowler’s work, Bless the Lent We Actually Have. Every week we have read aloud a specific blessing for our gathering of worship time, today being no different. Her blessings always seem to strike at the core of our human frailty and induce an emotional connection to the truth of our lived experiences. It’s true that this is Resurrection Sunday, a day that offers us immense hope that even though death has come, it does not have the final word. And even still, as Bowler writes, our earnest and faithful prayers may yet be realized.
It has occurred to me during this season that to truly be seen, known and loved requires a great vulnerability from within. To quote Brené Brown, “Vulnerability isn’t about winning or losing. It’s having the courage to show up even when you can’t control the outcome.” To be Easter people is to choose, even in our doubt, fear and grief, the realized hope of the Resurrected One. And for some of us, choosing hope on this Resurrection Sunday will require great courage and great vulnerability.
No matter where you find yourself this morning, remember that all new life starts in the dark, and there is no alleluia, great or small, that will not reach the ears of our Savior. Happy Easter, Wilshire.