I must admit to a certain fascination with the Grace Life Church happenings of late. It has become a focal point for protests and the idea of freedom or lack there of but is it really about that?
These are, of course, challenging times full of uncertainty and confusion and people are naturally scared. I don’t know what the protests are really about for everyone, but it feels like the way it is going on is a no-win situation. I understand both sides, at least to a degree, and honestly, I don’t see it going anywhere. As far as I can tell, everyone is doing their best in a very difficult situation where we really don’t have definitive answers.
Given this protest seems to be centred around a Christian church I think about what Jesus did in the case of oppression by earthly rulers (not that I’m seeing our rulers being oppressive in this case) ... Oh yeah ... nothing. Rather he taught that freedom, and oppression, come from within; it’s an inside job and that’s where he focused his attention and his teachings, and it’s how he lived, not just what he said. He had no need of a physical church to have a relationship with the Father, he showed us that it is already within each of us.
Wherever we are is our ‘church’, our bodies are temples of the Holy Spirit and the only oppression we experience is in our own thoughts and beliefs which often lead us to resist what is. He accepted, and he was not controlled by any outside forces. What did he do and invite us to follow? He went often to the hillsides by himself to pray, he fed the hungry and healed the sick and comforted the grieving. He blessed and loved people where they were. He taught love, he lived love and he reminded us that we too have a divine nature and all the things he did we would do also. We may not do it in the same way, but we can do it in the same spirit.
He taught us to love one another, forgive one another and surrender our life to God. He expressed what he came to express but he didn’t fight and resist. We don’t have to agree with everything but our energies may be better spent on supporting our fellow man. That is how we follow Jesus, not just by standing up in church on Sundays and singing Praise God! A building and large gatherings are lovely but they do not make anyone more holy than they already are.
We are blessed with so many ways to connect today, why not do what we can where we are with what we have as we learn what it really means to love God and love our neighbours as ourselves. This pandemic gives us the perfect opportunity.
Rev. Yvonne Racine, St. Albert