As many of you noticed, I was away from Sunday morning this week as I attended the Annual Meeting of Maritime Conference.  For the less churchy of us out there, basically the representatives of our United Church congregations from New Brunswick, Nova Scotia, PEI and Bermuda (yes – you read that correctly) meet once a year to connect, worship, and work out what the Holy Spirit has set before us.

We have the largest annual meeting in Canada.  We surpass even the General Council meeting of the national church! 

 

We also have the largest Youth Forum and Intermediates group of youth in the country.  Ok, at the risk of starting to use words like “big-ly” and “best-est” I think you catch my point.  It’s not about ego. It’s just plain awesome.

 

No matter the financial pressure on us all these days, delegates continue to say it’s one of the most important things we do as a church.

 

I love worship at conference.  I’ll often hear music and preaching that are so rich precisely because we draw on such a wide group of people who have very different gifts. 

 

Our music team, led by Kevin Parks and Dana Pardy, introduced me to this beautiful number.  I invite you to sit back with your second cup and savour the meaning behind these syllables.

 

In this world there’s a whole lot of trouble, baby
In this world there’s a whole lot of pain
In this world there’s a whole lot of trouble, but
A whole lot of ground to gain
Why take when you could be giving?
Why watch as the world goes by?
It’s a hard enough life to be living
Why walk when you can fly?

 

In this world there’s a whole lot of sorrow
In this world there’s a whole lot of shame
In this world there’s a whole lot of sorrow
And a whole lot of ground to gain
When you spend your whole life wishing
Wanting, and wondering why
It’s a long enough life to be living
Why walk when you can fly?

 

And in this world there’s a whole lot of golden
In this world there’s a whole lot of pain
In this world you’ve a soul for a compass
And a heart for a pair of wings
There’s a star on the far horizon
Rising bright in an azure sky
For the rest of the time that you’re given
Why walk when you can fly?

 

You can also listen to Mary Chapin Carpenter’s version here.  If you want to skip the intro, pick up the song around 1 minute into the video.

 

Why walk when you can fly?  That’s a question that hit my soul pretty hard this past weekend.

 

You know you can fly right?

 

For so much of my time in the United Church, I’ve felt we’ve been struggling to drag our feet let alone walk.  So many churches are inspired with big vision, but the response is often “it’s too expensive”.  “No one has anything to give.” 

 

We can’t even get to the runway because we’re convinced running the other way is somehow safer.

 

It’s ironic because over the last year, I’ve occasionally heard much the same in our church. 

 

And yet.  People have stepped forward to sponsor many of our banners for the beautiful Fabric art project. 

 

And yet.  Our church was named at the annual meeting as one of the success storie