This week's 'From the Vicar' comes from the Rev'd Devin McLachlan, Associate Vicar
Tuesday's sonic boom was the last straw after a week of unexpected surprises. We were outside in our local park when the air above us seemed to explode. The kids thought it was impressive; Iza and I, who were grad students during 9/11, were more shaken. And then there was last Wednesday night when, at the end of an extraordinary meeting of the PCC to suspend public worship, I saw the news that an armed right-wing insurgency had stormed the US capitol.
Life is full of surprises. A sentiment that sounds very exciting when you're a child, perhaps exhausting in later years. It's a truth that the Bible confronts again and again — 66 books of plot twists, liberation, failure, healing, death and resurrection — examining with sometimes brutal honesty (hello, Psalms) the myriad ways in which we wrestle with the question of why God allows bad things happen even to good people. Or at least to us.
When I heard the news about the storming of the US Capitol, perhaps unsurprising given the long build-up of white nationalist violence in America but shocking nonetheless, I finished up the eMag and then cycled out to the American Cemetery, to pray and to watch the stars hang in the firmament over this changing world. Yet even the stars change over time — their dance is a long one, but their courses and colours do change.
When I was younger, the changelessness of God seemed rather, well, boring. In middle age I suppose I need to be wary of hoping that God is boring in His changelessness. I wonder these days if perhaps God nonetheless grows, as a vine, as a forest, as the infinite, grows — not with the jagged chaos of human development, not blowing hot and then cold in His faithfulness, but in the evergreen and changeless surprise of love.
On Monday we begin the Week of Prayer for Christian Unity, whose theme is "Abide in my love." In a week of surprises, political violence, and surging infection rates, that's an answer we all could use: Abide, not in the disruption of this world, but in God's eternal love. Abide.