Sermon by Rev. Shawn Newton.
The idiom about “the writing on the wall” has warned of doom and disaster since this dramatic depiction of revelation first appeared in the story of Belzhazzar’s feast in the Hebrew Bible’s Book of Daniel. Today, to not see the writing on the wall is to be ignorant, often willfully so, of an emerging reality. In our time, many would say the writing on the wall speaks to the growing crisis of climate change. Today, as we mark Earth Day, there’s much cause for despair. But is there something beyond despair? Something more productive and life-affirming that can lead on to a more hopeful future? Is there anything else written on the proverbial wall? On Sunday, we’ll search for clues in the story of Passover, which our Jewish friends celebrate starting tonight, and the work of Buddhist scholar Joanna Macy, who points to our need for “active hope.”
This week, I officially began the Doctor of Ministry program at The University of Toronto. Already, the work with my cohort (comprised of four Anglican priests, an Orthodox priest from Ireland, a Baptist lay leader from the Philippines, and a female Sufi psychologist) has been opening my mind to new ways of thinking about the challenges religious communities face. It has also made me very grateful for the relative strength of our congregation and the freedom our tradition affords us for experimenting and growing in different ways. Thank you for supporting me on this journey as I grow and deepen my knowledge. I look forward to sharing my academic explorations with you along the way!
In faith and love,