Easter Season (1) Fresh Hope
Even in our wildest, most hopeful moments, we cannot really imagine what God has in store. In our most agonizing, decimating, heartrending moments, we cannot really imagine what God has in store.
Neither the gladness of being found, nor the suffering of being lost, can prepare us for the wildly good, fiercely messy labour of transformation God is even now undertaking.
If there is one thing we can count on, it is that we don’t know.
I invite you to make room for a rewilding of your faith. To allow space for the possibility that the movement of God is beyond your imagination. To allow room for a fresh hope in the endless creative possibility of God who is perpetually birthing new life.
Peter, speaking on behalf of the community of the Beloved, recited these ancient words of David to the crowd gathered before him on Pentecost:
“Because God is at my right hand,
I will not be shaken.”
Having been shaken to the core by the death of Jesus, he then witnessed Jesus rise again before he experienced the surprising rush of the Spirit on Pentecost—both experiences he could not have imagined or predicted while grieving Jesus’ death.
In her Revelations of Divine Love (circa 1393), Julian of Norwich reflects on a series of visions she had during a time of extended prayer, which included an experience of intense physical suffering, almost as if she was experiencing in her own somatic body the suffering of Jesus. Here is a small portion of her writings:
“And in this he showed me a little thing, the quantity of a hazelnut, lying in the palm of my hand, as it seemed. And it was as round as any ball. I looked upon it with the eye of my understanding, and thought, ‘What may this be?’ And it was answered generally thus, ‘It is all that is made.’ I marveled how it might last, for I thought it might suddenly have fallen to nothing for littleness. And I was answered in my understanding: ‘It lasts and ever shall, for God loves it. And so have all things their beginning by the love of God.’ In this little thing I saw three properties. The first is that God made it. The second, that God loves it. And the third, that God keeps it.”
We are made. We are loved. We are kept.
While Peter’s initial hope for the Messiah was falling away, Peter was kept by God, loved by God, and then remade by God. At Pentecost, Peter keeps hold of these profound experiences of suffering and hope, and extends them out to us.
This goes way beyond just “embracing mystery”. This is “keeping faith”, alongside Peter; faith in a wild and fierce God, a God in whom death gives way to life, a God who blows Spirit wherever God wills, a God whom we cannot contain or control, a God who is even now planting good seed for future generations in the loamy soil of our suffering.
Even now the roots are sprouting, way below the surface in our dark places.
Deep peace and blessing,
Rev. Anne Baxter Smith
Pastor, Church at Southpoint
PS. Please remember there will be no service at Sunnyside on Sunday the 23 and Sunday the 30 (see below).
If you’re planning to join us for an in-person service, please read our Covid policy. It’s kept up to date, here.
Location & Zoom. We meet on Sundays at 15639 24 Avenue, Surrey. Zoom is offered if you cannot attend in person. If you have trouble with the zoom link, use: meeting ID: 831 1690 9977 with password: 753319
Sermons Are Podcasted
Catch up on Southpoint sermons by finding the podcast “Meditations from the Church at Southpoint” on Spotify, Apple and Google. They’re also available on our website: www.southpoint.ca.
Sun Apr 23
We are enjoying small group brunches in each others’ homes and there will be NO service at Sunnyside.
Sun April 30
Annually, we celebrate Good Seed Sunday to honour the Creator and creation on a Sunday near Earth Day. Our cherished tradition is planting tiny onions at A Rocha’s Brooksdale Environmental Centre with the farmers there, helping towards the harvest for their Farm to Families program.
Sun May 7
Fresh Mercy Acts 7:55-60
Sun May 14 — Mother’s Day
Fresh Vision Acts 17:22-31
Sun May 21
Fresh Voices Acts 1:1-11
Sun May 28 — Pentecost
Fresh Affection Acts 1:6-14
ALL IN service
New to Southpoint?
At Southpoint, it all begins with God’s love. Just as a plant grows, it receives sunshine, so we grow as we receive God’s love. At Southpoint, we are growing in our capacity to love God, ourselves, one another, and creation.
We seek to be a community of grace that is intentional yet organic, spacious yet authentic, grace-filled yet accountable. * We are fully welcoming. *
We encourage relationships rather than run programs, yet we recognize the importance of intentionality and structure as we nurture life together.
As a community, we seek to put our love in action. We value helping out on Sunday mornings, sharing food, and showing up in hard times. We keep our church life simple so folk have time to build relationships with family, friends, and neighbours. We encourage folk to serve in tangible ways within the wider community. We rent space rather than own a building, allowing us to do more with less, supporting missions at home and abroad.
Curious to know more?
These six slides express what motivates our ministry (best viewed on a monitor). Read Pastor Anne Baxter Smith’s bio here. Our website is southpoint.ca.
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To reach out by email please write to firstname.lastname@example.org.