Perspectives by Rev. Geoff Howard


Clergy, lunch and so much more…

Last Wednesday, I had lunch with a group of clergy. Clergy are an interesting bunch.

On the first Wednesday of each month the ministers and pastors of South Dundas get together. Over lunch we do some business, discuss issues of concern to all our churches, plan events and actives that we do together and enjoy each other’s company.

We share concerns over the state of the church in the world today and commiserate about congregational challenges. 

We laugh. We shake our heads. We share stories of struggle and faith, and we celebrate the power of Jesus Christ to bring hope and new life. We see it happening in our community and world even today.

For me, the great joy and inspiration that comes from our time as clergy together is a profound sense of hope and encouragement. 

I can tell you the ministers and pastors in our communities deeply care for people and passionately give themselves in the service of Jesus Christ.

And for me that gives rise to a tremendous sense of hope and encouragement. 

And as I was thinking about this, I was struck by how we all need hope and encouragement, and how we can all be hope and encouragement to others.

The Season of Lent is about half way through. Lent is a season of preparation for Easter.  Lent is a time of discipline and commitment. We know well of the Lenten tradition of giving something up. In Lent accompanying the self-denial of giving something up the ancient church encouraged people to replace what was given up with some sort of spiritual activity.

And maybe half way through this season of Lent, we can give thanks to God for the hope and encouragement that comes to us in many ways.  And maybe we can commit ourselves to be agents of hope and encouragement.

So why not give ourselves to offer an expression of encouragement to someone each day up until Easter.  A word of grace, and act of kindness, a gesture of love, a simple expression of encouragement is all it takes. 

We all know what such things have done in our lives. Imagine what such things can do in the lives of those we meet during the next month or so. 

So there’s the challenge. It is not too late to take something of Lent into our everyday lives and bring hope and encouragement to others. And in that they and we will come to experience the presence and the blessing of God in new and exciting ways. 

For God has destined us not for wrath but for obtaining salvation through our Lord Jesus Christ/who died for us, so that we may live with him/Therefore encourage one another and build up each other…       

 1 Thess 5:9-11 NSRV

Rev. Geoff Howard, Knox 

Presbyterian, Iroquois

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