At the end of February, a rector of another diocese who was two years my senior in theological school, passed away. I was able to make arrangements to attend the wake. We were together in school for only one year and moved on to different dioceses, so we did not have much opportunity to see each other. We were not so close, yet he was a person who made me able to feel that closeness, where we would naturally confirm each other’s well-being when we occasionally met. It was only one theological school year, but the experience of being within the same time and place may have created this sense of proximity.
The other day, when I went to service at the church whereI am in charge of, a certain elderly person consulted with me whether she should further attend church services. It seems she has been suffering from a mild hearing loss, and it has become difficult for her to hear the sermons. I understand that she feels a certain amount of inconvenience not being able to hear the sermons clearly, but I asked her to continue attending the services for it is a place where God and Jesus are together with us. (She is also considering about using hearing aids.)
Jesus promises, “I am with you always, to the very end of the age.” (Matthew 28:20), and in the Old Testament God says, “I AM WHO I AM.” (Exodus 3:14) God the Father and Jesus, and of course, the Holy Spirit is there, and with us.
The church, and the service that takes place within, is a space where God is present. And for us to be present at that place is the best shortcut ever to be able to meet God and Jesus and to receive the power of the Holy Spirit.
The Rt Revd Peter Ichiro Shibusawa