Years ago, CBC Radio had a show hosted by columnist Arthur Black. The show often ended with an opinion piece. One memorable monologue had Arthur poking fun at Wendy’s restaurant for investing a million dollar to survey its costumers as to what they preferred on their hamburgers. After all that money and effort they discovered that their customers like what Wendy’s was already putting on their burgers. Still, I suppose, it was good to know.
We didn’t spend a million dollars, but last year we invested in a feasibility study. I doubt very highly if any of us were surprised by the results. We learned that most of us don’t think we need a new hall at this time. We learned that people are waiting and hoping that Parish Council will put its budget in order soon. We learned that people want to know what’s going on, financially and otherwise, so we need to have better communication. We learned that people have been hurt and frustrated by people and programs at St. Paul’s Church. Frankly, I learned nothing from the study; I knew all of this before. Still, I suppose, it was good to know.
One other thing we learned from the study and it was perhaps the most important thing. We learned that people truly care about St. Paul’s Church. We care about one another, about the buildings, about the finances, about the ministry, about the worship, about every aspect of parish life. Not a surprise, but without a doubt, it is good to know.
Every healthy community posses the ability to acknowledge its imperfection; sometimes we hurt and frustrate one another; we need to seek forgiveness and grant forgiveness. It’s not always easy to forgive but we try. And I’m not so foolish as to think that just because I say we will forgive one another at next week’s service that we actually will. Forgiveness takes time and if someone’s not ready… well, when you are, in the words of Boomer when there’s a promise of another weather forecast, “we’ll be here!”