Sensing Loss, Clarifying Mission

032121 Lent 5    

The reflection with music begins at minute 24:00 of the video

Jeremiah 31:31-34; John 12:20-33


I have mentioned before that a group of folks, including vestry members, have met every two weeks during the past year to guide, monitor, and envision ministry at St. Athanasius during, and beyond, this crazy year of pandemic. We began 2021 asking what we have learned about being church from and during the pandemic. We weren’t talking about technology – what we’ve learned about Zoom and Facebook and doing church virtually. 

We were asking deeper questions prompted by experiences of 

  • our lives being so surrounded by and close to death, 
  • our bodies being so separated from other people, and also inspired by and protective of them, 
  • our worship not needing buildings, eliciting Jesus’ statement that true worshippers shall worship Abba God in spirit and in truth
  • our society revealing inequities that were always there but are obvious to more people now, 
  • our environment beginning to be healed by getting rest from lack of overuse.  


As people of faith, we need to do two things at once with this experience. We need to fully engage our loss with all the senses, letting it touch our hearts, minds, souls, and strength, because we need all those parts to obey the first commandment of loving God with all those dimensions of life. Then we need to get on with the loving – of God, of others (including creation), and of ourselves. That is the mission that each of us carry through life, and it is the mission of the church. So we need to first sense loss and then clarify our mission.

This morning we are inviting you to be part of this journey. We begin with step one: sensing loss. We don’t just want to ask the question about what we’ve learned in our heads. We want our whole body to be engaged. We have designed this morning’s worship to help us do that. At this time we are going to break into groups, each with a facilitator.

  • Sit quietly with a loss you or someone you love has experienced this past year. Let the feelings it brings dwell in your body. 
  • Gather in groups to share whatever arises with others as you desire. 
  • If anyone prefers to be alone in the silence, send me a private chat and I will assign you to a quiet room with Annie Wells.


And remember as you enter the room:

  • We are here to listen to what others want to share. The only response should be a prayer for God’s healing.
  • What is shared in the room is confidential and should not be shared outside.
  • Please be mindful to be lean with your story to leave room for others to share as well.