By REV. DAVID McCLEARY
At the start of the year it is only natural for our minds to cast back to the year that was, while we also look towards the future with expectancy and hope for what this year might hold for us.
In principle, we all know that time marches on, regardless. But these days, the onward progression of time seems somehow different. The American author Annie Dillard writes: “The life of sensation is the life of greed; it requires more and more. The life of the spirit requires less and less.”
These days it seems the usual passage of time is gone – instead these days we more often mark our time by how many seasons of a series we can binge watch, how many things we like on social media, or how many threads we can read through as we trip our way down the endless rabbit holes of the Internet.
It is not hard to fritter away our countless hours and moments of our lives, still without having anything to show for all our consumption. Or even when we do manage to stay on track, we still feel keenly the call on our lives at the end of the onslaught of all our obligations and responsibilities after the blur of one day into the next.
At Calvary Baptist Church, we very intentionally want our lives, and the passage of time, and all our moments to count for something.
There is a line from her poem A Brave and Startling Truth in which the famous American author and poet Maya Angelou says: “We, this people, on this small and drifting planet – Whose hands can strike with such abandon…life is sapped from the living – Yet those same hands can touch with such healing, irresistible tenderness…”
As a church community, at Calvary Baptist Church, we are actively choosing to reach out in tenderness in order to make our moments together as a community and in community count! As a church family we are actively choosing to set aside more of our time this year for things that matter. We are actively seeking ways to make our church community and our larger shared Beach community better.
We do this through groups like The Grace Pascoe Care Centre and foodbank, which has been in continuous operation in some way for 50 years or so now.
We seek to help those in our midst who need a little extra food and social support to make ends meet.
We have added a community youth outreach program through which our community is reaching out and building into the lives of young people in our neighbourhood, and helping to resource their families with practical parenting help even as we continue to faithfully offer the hope of the good news of God’s love for them.
We continue looking for more ways to make our moments count, as we have fun together, as we support each other and our neighbours, and continue to actively look for ways to serve and improve the lives of our friends and neighbours in the larger Beach community God has placed us.
We are actively seeking community partners that have similar ideas about improving life and making the most of our time together.
We are starting more little things like game nights, exercise groups (I’m most looking forward to the martial arts group), and are continuing to look to start things like a community supper club by having a professional chef come in to teach food skills and how to best use the supplies from the foodbank to make nutritious and delicious meals together.
And, of course, we are starting new topical and focused Bible studies to help us all better understand our lives and challenges in order to better discern together what truly matters in order to get the most out of our days.
We are also continuing the time honoured tradition of Music On Main events, where we invite musicians to share their musical gifts with us in order to help raise money for ongoing ministry to help improve our Beach community.
With each passing day we at Calvary Baptist Church are seeking to answer the deeply human question about where all our time is going by answering the call of God’s love from deep inside of us that tells us to seek to add life to our moments and quality to our life in community.
We are choosing to do that by seeking the good of our neighbours and our neighbourhood, both within the church and in the larger Beach community of which we seek to be an ever more integral part.
We are seeking to mark the passage of time by trying to look not only on our lives, but focus instead on our lives together in community with new eyes. With eyes that are focused on adding to the quality of our lives and our lives together in community.
My hope for you and for me in 2019 is that together, each of us as individuals, and as individuals in this diverse Beach community, we would look for chances to add life to your days and not simply days to our lives.
I would hope that we would look for opportunities to add quality to our lives and if we must add only more meaningful activity to our already active lives! What is one small change that you can make, what is one small thing that you can do, that can make a significant positive difference to your life and the lives of those around you in community?
And yes, we are still looking for help to start a new community garden at the church. If you are interested please feel free to drop me a line at firstname.lastname@example.org or give me call at 416-691-4721.
God bless you all!
David McCleary is a transplanted Jamaican Canadian and new Beach community contributor, seeking to add new life and vibrancy to the Calvary Baptist Church community and the wider neighbourhood.