AND THEN: A Christian Perspective

Part 2

Person walking into the light
AND THEN:  A Christian Perspective
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About the Author

Reverend Dr. Morar Murray-Hayes

Reverend Dr. Morar Murray-Hayes

The Reverend Dr. Morar Murray-Hayes is the Minister of Maple Grove United Church, and is a member of the Interfaith Councill of Halton. A chatty extrovert with a conversational preaching style, a multi-tasker who is a “multi-worrier” when it comes to caring about people’s problems, and a leader who treasures teaming with the lay people in her church, Morar says that at Maple Grove she has experienced “a deeper level of ministry than I thought possible.” Anyone who has personally received Morar’s deeply compassionate caring and wise counsel will testify to what an inspirational, healing and encouraging ministry it is.

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Weeping women gather at dawn with spices to prepare the body of their loved Jesus and find an empty tomb and encounter their precious Jesus.

AND THEN, the women run and tell the disciples who come to see for themselves.

Fifty days after Easter, disciples gathered in secret in an upper room and in wind and fire feel the very power and presence of God. This is called Pentecost (‘pente’ = fifty).

For the disciples, the rest of their lives, their purpose, their mission, their ‘AND THEN’ moments began after Pentecost.

The description of Christian community as it begins: oh my goodness, it is beautiful.

What did the disciples’ AND THEN look like?
“They devoted themselves to the apostles’ teaching and fellowship, to the breaking of bread and the prayers. Awe came upon everyone, because many wonders and signs were being done by the apostles. All who believed were together and had all things in common; they would sell their possessions and goods and distribute the proceeds to all, as any had need. Day by day, as they spent much time together in the temple, they broke bread at home and ate their food with glad and generous hearts, praising God and having the goodwill of all the people. And day by day the Lord added to their number those who were being saved.” Acts 2.42-47

They are doing theology, they are living together, they are eating together, they are praying together. The new Christians are literally giving everything away that they have so that no one will be hungry or homeless and doing it all in awe and with gladness and joy–and the community just keeps growing every single day.

Ordinary people in a common purpose begin to bear witness to an uncommon experience of the holy.

This time between Easter and Pentecost is a gift we receive, like the disciples, to ponder on the presence of God redeeming our lives. Easter is about God’s gift always redeeming our present, always being a means to the end of empowering us to share that gift with others. It’s a time when we can contemplate our next steps: our ‘AND THEN’ moments.

On Mothers’ Day, the tendency is to idealize or romanticize mothers and families. That kind of ‘AND THEN’ does happen — beautiful moments, lovely pictures.

But mostly, ‘AND THEN’ is ordinary, difficult, sometimes heartbreaking.

When God gives us family with all our warts and faults, ‘AND THEN’ involves recognizing our mutual poverty and vulnerability — knowing we are bonded together by the need to share in fellowship, teaching, sharing meals, prayer, taking care of one anothers’ needs.

When God gives us church community, ‘AND THEN’ involves recognizing our mutual poverty and vulnerability — knowing we are bonded together by the need to share in fellowship, teaching, sharing meals, prayer, taking care of one anothers’ needs.

When God is present in the world, ‘AND THEN’ for Christians involves recognizing our mutual poverty and vulnerability — knowing we are bonded together by the need to share in fellowship, teaching, sharing meals, prayer, taking care of one anothers’ needs.

It’s in these ordinary moments, that there will be Easter moments: the presence of the risen Christ will be felt and there will be more ‘AND THEN’ moments! And that’s what will protect and grow the institutions that are important to us.

And when horrors such as the kidnapping of almost three hundred girls happens, there must be a global ‘AND THEN’ moment as we pray, cry, wail for their release.

And yes, we continue to see brokenness in our own family lives, in the church, and in the world, but as the disciples discovered as they encountered conflicts and disagreements, Jesus is never done with us; he is at work in our families, in our church, in our world, bringing transformation and hallowing all our ‘AND THEN’ moments.

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