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“Not the Sermon” Message

This Week at Trinity, Beamsville

Friday, November 29, 2019

Dear Friends,

            This week is one that I’ll be glad to have behind us.  Please don’t panic or worry.  On the whole, all is well and life is exceedingly good.  I’m not usually one to wish away the time, but at this point on the calendar, it is increasingly true.  It is rooted in some sense of what has been going on in some of your lives, and longing for future times, for healing and strength.  It is also inevitably rooted in some of the usual end-of-the-week fatigue, for where I’m at personally, but in this very moment, it is said with exasperation at the present place of our commercial world.  To explain: 

            As you’d expect and likely know, there are a few email addresses I check.  There’s one just in my name, that I’ve held since the earliest options for email.  There’s a family address that houses all things household and financial, etc., etc.  And then there’s my address here at the church, where most of you find me with some regularity.  The latter has yet to be ‘discovered’ by most of the advertising world.  I suppose I’ve just been far more picky about using it to sign up for anything other than church life.  The individual and family emails, however, are in the midst of inundation, as even the very few retailers that I’ve said yes to accessing me that way, have all but blown up my phone, as they say, to remind me that this is Black Friday.  I really could do without it all.

            I know this is a make or break time of year for much of the retail world.  I can imagine their hope at moving financially in to a stable place for the year end.  Even so, I cannot for the life of me understand the shopping frenzy that is stirred and encouraged, nor the language that comes along with it.  According to just a few of the messages I’ve deleted today (Thursday):  ‘Black Friday has landed’; ‘Black Friday is here to stay all weekend’; ‘Black Friday has EPIC Doorbusters All Weekend’; and (most sadly?), ‘Black Friday was made for you [read ‘me’].  I’m still sighing, audibly. 

            If all of the above excites you, then turn me off now, but please know I’m not judging anyone for shopping, and certainly not for being frugal in finding epic deals.  I’m more than a little sad, however, that I never seem to see this same push and urgency to speak hope and security into hearts and lives that are tattered and worn.  I’m easily wearied by the suffering and losses, and I’m easily worried by what and whom are ignored and set aside, in what sometimes seems like utter avoidance of the truest needs for God’s beloved people and creation. 

            I guess that’s my commercial for the week.  Call it a rant if you will, but I’d love for it to be heard and offered as invitation.  I’d love for us to enter this new season together; to enter with humility and joy into this new year of celebrating God’s incredible gifts to humanity.  Advent isn’t the easiest piece to communicate to our world.  The concept of waiting in a consumer culture just isn’t an easy sell.  But waiting we are:  with hope and confidence and prophetic imagination, for the Holy Child of Bethlehem, who comes in the simplest of means and places.  Jesus is coming again, to speak, live, and blanket us with hope, for all that truly consumes us.  May we be ready with love and welcome.  With Mary, pondering the words of the angel, may we trust that this is time to truly treasure.

Blessed Advent, and love to you all,


Hope is a candle, once lit by the prophets, never consumed, though it burns through the years;”

 (Richard Leach, ‘Sing the Story’, 15)

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