I have this theory.
It’s been rattling around for some time, tested in various places, amidst a variety of audiences, in multiple arenas.
It goes something like this: our church is living in Holy Saturday, wedged firmly in between Good Friday and Easter Sunday-between the death of the known and the birth of the new. An uplifting thought as the leaves are changing from green to brilliant red, yellow and orange across much of the country.
In these days of unknowing, there are those calling for the death of the church on one side, and those proclaiming its triumphant resurrection on the other.
There are others stuck in the middle.
There are those of us who stop and look around to see the stinging loss and disorienting confusion of unknowing. We lament the death of the old, not knowing what new life might come, if it comes at all.
Holy Saturday is a tricky spot.
Back in 2010, Welsh singer-songwriter Martyn Joseph penned the award-winning song, “There’s Always Maybe.” The song prophetically announces: “There is always maybe / When there’s no answers / That’s what faith becomes.”
We live in a time of Maybe. While many outwardly acknowledge that the church will look very different in the years ahead, we are still afraid. We’re afraid of the loss of familiarity, of stability and, if we’re honest, a loss of power. All that we’ve known is passing away.
And so, a question remains: in the midst of uncertainty, will we remain faithful?
It has become clear to me over my years of working with young people that they are the ones best equipped to walk through this tension. Young people know a world of ambiguity and provisional answers, of religious and cultural differences.
Even as we stare the uncertainty of our church’s fate in the eye, God has called, gifted and sent young people to translate the gospel into this time and place. They, like Mary and the women, wait faithfully at the graveside of all that has been. Hoping, waiting and praying, they bring their fidelity to bear witness to a resurrection we never could have imagined.
If only we would listen.
Andrew Stephens-Rennie is a member of the national youth initiatives team of the Anglican Church of Canada.