Drummond Hill Newsletter, May 11, 2022
Wednesday Meditation (Luke 14:34,35)
‘Salt is good; but if salt has lost its taste, how can its saltiness be restored? It is fit neither for the soil nor for the manure heap; they throw it away. Let anyone with ears to hear listen!’
Salt is bad for you. Salt is good for you. Too much salt is bad for you. Too little salt can cause all kinds of illnesses. We should not take more than the daily amount required. Restaurants’ food taste better because they use lots of salt. Kosher salt is it. No, Himalayan pink salt is it. No, sea salt is the best. Not all sea salts are equal.
All living things need salt. Not too much and not too little. Salt used to be so precious in ancient times that in some cultures, salt was valued more than gold and was used as a currency to make countries rich or poor. In times of Jesus, especially people living in the desert traded salt as a precious commodity. No wonder Jesus used it to make a point. Today we know that it is sodium that needs to be regulated and not so much the salt as we see or add to our food. Indeed, sodium comes in all kinds of forms. This is why even when we avoid salt we end up with lots of sodium because it is found in the unsuspected ingredients like baking powder and baking soda. It is found in so many of our foods.
The gospel of Jesus Christ has become more like sodium in our world. It is essential and is necessary everywhere human beings are. It is not always recognized, but it is infused in everything that we do. True, many people would not associate love, hope, and faith with Jesus. In reality, though, without love–the love Jesus shared in life and death, hope–the very future we aspire to, and faith–willingness to believe and trust in order to transcend our own selfish needs, we end up living only for oneself at the expense of others. We end up giving into the very base natures which focus us on our own selves, living in the world of the seven deadly sins. Too much sodium or not the right amount of sodium in ways it can benefit us can kill us. So is our spiritual life. Too much or too little gospel of Christ and we are spiritually sick.
Drummond Hill 3.0
Today, everything is specialised in all areas of life. We find it frustrating when our family doctors can only do so much, making us wait for appointments with specialists. A simple visit to a family doctor can end up with a lengthy weight until the specialists can take a look at our cases.
A local church used to be a simple organisation. It used to be a hub or a centre of communal life for many. Churches had gyms and sports groups, Churches got together and formed basketball, volleyball, and badminton leagues. Churches were places for special dinners and picnics, Bible studies, movies and had libraries. Today, we have community centres, community libraries, and community gyms. Churches are for worship, Bible studies, and so called spiritually centred activities.
To be part of the community, some churches are sharing facilities and resources with community groups. As these churches become part of community centres, they become part of the world. These churches have learned to join with communities. This is certainly a very innovative way to be a church in the 21st century.
In our case, we are on the way to build a church as a community. The difference is that others are being part of the community while we are building a community of Christ in a similar way that early Christians formed monasteries. We are here to build an authentic Christian community while others are helping to become people to be more authentic Christians in the community as they live out their lives a part of this world.
To do this, we are starting a community based first and foremost on ethics and practices of Jesus as best as we are able. There are two main components for us to base our community on: love one another and love even the enemies. Love one another is to be understood in a communal love to share and care for one another of those who belong to the community. In this context, loving the neighbours is understood as within the community itself. Loving even the enemies will be understood in so far as forgiveness and reconciliation are given and worked for. With neighbours who are outside of the community, loving would be specific to forgiveness and reconciliation.
These two foci will form the basis by which the community worships, glorifies and enjoys God. Out of them will come the joy of sharing the good news of Christ that God’s kingdom is at hand in words and deeds. In establishing this community, the initial invitation is to those who have been waiting in expectation of God’s reign. In the meantime, invitations will also be extended to those who are interested in experiencing glimpses of God’s reign.
With many different ways people follow Christ, we can easily lose ourselves by arguing over whose way is more authentic in faith. Many have written books, preached sermons, laid out cogent arguments, and lived out the best possible way. No matter how we have expressed our faith, one thing is indisputable: our lives in faith are summed up as denying ourselves, taking up our crosses, and following Christ. In other words, at best, we are participating in God’s mission being undertaken in God’s creation. After all, the world is not ours, but God’s and in God’s world we are in it to participate in life God has created and as God’s created servants are carrying out God’s will.
A simple shift in thinking can make all the difference in the world about what following Christ is all about. Let me explain./p>
Especially since the early 1990s, church leaders were focused on casting visions for the faithful to accomplish. It became vogue since for charismatic church leaders to point to their visions for people to work toward. In this context, to say that everyone who is following Christ is participating in God’s mission changes the focus from strong church leaders and their visions and goals to loving actions of God that we are asked to live out in daily lives. This means that instead of trying to spend time and energy to find the right vision and making plans to do things right that leaders set for their church members, we get to serve God by loving. We become free in finding ways to participate in what God is doing already. Loving God and neighbours is not as difficult or complicated as it looks.
What can we do today as a church?
We have been saying a lot about downsizing and starting different ministries. Here are things we are preparing and how you can be part of this new Drummond HIll:
- Pray. Pray that everything we do are to serve God by loving our neighbours as Christ taught us to do as we begin preparing new ways for people to join us,
- Get to know and participate as much as you are able in things we are doing as preparation like Cinnamon Bun Tuesdays, Tea Tastings, and other programs’
- Learn about new programs we are planning (Summer Concert Series, New worship, new ways of sharing God’s love, etc.),
- Begin to share with anyone and everyone who will listen how we are beginning to reopen with new programs,
- Pray. Pray that we are being faithful to and enjoying God in all that we do.
Whenever you pray, go into your room and shut the door and pray to your Father who is in secret; and your Father who sees in secret will reward you. When you are praying do not heap up empty phrases … for your Father knows what you need before you ask him. (Matthew 6:5-8)