Friday, May 18, 2018
This week’s transition back to life on the mainland has moved at an incredible speed. I suppose it’s all part of the reacclimatizing from Pelee Time to Southern Ontario Time, but I confess I’m having some trouble reconciling how two places, still rather close geographically, can seem so far apart in lifestyle. Please don’t get me wrong: I am grateful to be home, and to call this community our home… but I also think there is something quite right that the Island space has retained, in remembering when and how to breathe. It goes far beyond the birds.
Part of the re-entry process has included sharing pictures with a few of you, but perhaps not those you might expect. The ones in focus are those of changing shorelines; of radical shifts in Island markers as winds, waves, and water levels are adjusting what is seen and known. Perspectives are changing, willingly or not, and the humans blessed to share the space are reassessing their generations-old ways of being. It is not an easy time, in that regard, and yet it also opens thoughts and decisions. The gales that topple trees have also carried renewed energy to engage in deeper, longer-term conversation about the Island’s identity, along with the people who take shelter there.
In the Scripture from Acts 2 that we’ll focus on this Sunday morning, there is barely a passing reference to a mighty wind. In describing what we call the day of Pentecost (the celebrated beginning of ‘the church’ in the coming of God’s Spirit), both The Message and New Revised Standard Versions mention only a sound like a gale force. They don’t say anybody had to hang on to their hats, literally or otherwise – and yet that is what my heart hopes might have happened to theirs. The earliest configuration of Jesus’ church was trying to figure things out, with as much confusion and wondering as we often hold today, and so I take great comfort and hope from this telling of a moment when God’s Spirit was made known, with life-changing, upending, and invigorating grace. I find peace in trusting that the same can happen to us, here and now, as many times as we open ourselves to the possibility.
So my guess is that the greatest gust you’ll feel this Sunday, in a physical sense, will be limited to whatever the overhead fans send our way. Our sanctuary is truly shelter, and it holds us safe in so many respects. At the same time, I hope and I trust there in our time together, there will be a sense of strong and beautiful movement, that upends and then rights us in the most life-giving, Jesus-centred way. It won’t all happen in a solitary gust, but in the process of this whole life together, all extraordinary things are possible.
With love to you all,
“I have a learned a lot from trees: sometimes about the weather, sometimes about animals, sometimes about the Great Spirit.”
(Walking Buffalo, from the Introduction to The Things Trees Know)