Senior Minister’s Message
Rev. Dr. Mark Boyea
A few years ago, the staff at Cedar Creek Church in Toledo, Ohio conducted a research project to determine why people visited a church for the first time in a while or the first time ever. Not “why” as in how they heard about the church or who invited them, but “why” as in the underlying need which lead them inside the doors.
They then analyzed the responses and determined three general categories of need:
Somethingwasmissing: Peoplecametoachurchintheaftermathofthedeath of a loved one or colleague, when a personal or professional achievement failed to provide the kind of satisfaction they expected, or following an incident which made them question whether the life they were living was truly meaningful.
Something was broken: A strained or unraveled marriage or other close relationship, a lost job, a child struggling to find their way, or an addiction.
Something was new: Marriage engagements, the birth of a child, relocation to a new town or city, or some other new start.
Missing; Broken; New.
As we move deeper into the journey of Lent this month and reach it’s end on Easter Sunday, let us keep those three words close to our hearts and minds since they are not just reasons people come to a church for the first time. They are also the daily state of humanity.
Each day, we are all living some combination of “missing, broken, and new”. And that is because change is the law of the universe. As Zen Buddhism suggests to us in its frequently paradoxical way, change is the only constant. We are never the same person today that we were yesterday. The context of our lives is never the same today as it was yesterday. People and things are always being subtracted or added to our lives through death, birth, new jobs and new homes. Some things are building up while others are breaking down, perhaps our careers, our finances, or our health.
What the path from Lent to Easter reminds us each year though, is that change isn’t the only inevitability. God is too. Lent and Easter call us to enter more deeply into the times when Jesus also experienced something “missing, broken or new” in his own or others’ lives, and believe that if we open ourselves up to God’s power, God can take every instance of change – every instance of “missing, broken, and new” – and change us – make us stronger, more resilient, more flexible, less anxious and fearful. Lent and Easter call us to embrace God's power to transform life – our lives.